In honor of my eldest son’s 13th birthday this month, I will share his birth story.
My pregnancy had it’s ups and downs. I was incredibly nauseous for the entire pregnancy. I had to take Diclectin the entire time just to function. I gagged at the sight or smell of meat, which is a departure for me since I love meat! The only thing I could stomach were ketchup chips (true Canadian) and ice chips. I ate bags and bags of both. Clearly, healthy eating was not really on my radar.
On the plus side, my chronic illness was firmly in remission during my pregnancy. I felt great and awful at the same time.
My OB told me from the beginning that labor is not like in the movies. There wouldn’t be a dramatic gush of water breaking, followed by a mad dash to the hospital. There would be a slow buildup of contractions until it got to an unbearable point at which I would go to the hospital after they were close together.
Eight days before my due date, I woke up on a brilliant fall day. The sun was shining into my bedroom window. I got up to use the bathroom, and then headed back to bed to sleep a little longer. Once I was settled back in bed next to my sleeping husband, a little nagging voice told me to go back to the bathroom. I just wanted to keep my huge butt in bed, but I got up again anyway. As soon as I my swollen feet were on the tile, a mighty rush of amniotic fluid hit the floor. So much for my doctor’s speech. If you didn’t already know, I tend to be on the losing end of medical statistics.
Even with the loss of so much fluid, more just kept pouring out. I seriously didn’t know where the heck out was all coming from. I was a faucet that wouldn’t shut off. My husband gave me his sweats to wear, a towel to jam between my legs, and another towel to cover the car seat. With my elegant outfit assembled, we were off to the hospital!
I was put in a bed in the assessment room right away, next to an assortment of other laboring women. A resident came and checked my cervix which freaking hurt waaay more than I expected it to. But I was still not in labor, so the word INDUCTION started to be spoken. Once I heard the word induction, I went straight for the epidural. I heard scary stories from other moms about inductions being more painful than natural labor. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I wasn’t going to take a chance. I’m no hero.
It took a while for the anesthesiologist to make it to me but it was just at the moment when the contractions were becoming unbearable. People ask me all the time if getting the epidural hurt. Here is my answer: not as much as induced labor. By then I was just thinking, Get that freaking needle in my back! Now!!!
So the epidural gets set up and then I get sent to a room for labor and delivery.
Then we waited. And waited. And waited. My parents came and waited with us. A friend of ours who is a labor and delivery nurse at a different hospital came to hang out with us. I sipped apple juice and ate ice chips. We listened to the woman next door screaming her head off for a few hours. Then our time came… eleven and a half hours later.
I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. Nothing. The little sucker hadn’t moved an inch. They switched off the epidural in case that was the reason my pushing was ineffective. My pain went from zero to a zillion in shockingly little time.
I pushed and pushed and pushed. I pushed until I vomited all of my ice chips and apple juice. I pushed until my husband didn’t recognize what the heck was between my legs anymore. I was inside out and purple. Push push push….
Finally after three and a half hours of pushing, the doctor gets up. He tells me the head still isn’t even past my pelvic bones. He says it’s not because I’m not pushing hard enough, because he could tell I was pushing so hard, like reeeally hard. Then I’m given a choice: forceps or caesarean.
Again I drew upon my zero experience with childbirth but my memories of birth stories from other women. Did I really want giant tongs shoved up my vajajay and forcefully grabbing my baby’s face when there is a chance it may not even work? Nope. I opted for the caesarean. Because I know I’m always on the losing end of medical statistics, at least a c-section had a more predictable outcome.
I was whisked off to the OR, where I was prepped. My epidural was turned back on and they used an ice cube to test if I my pain suppression was enough to start the surgery. I was so terrified that I would feel something that I may have fudged my pain level a tiny bit to get my anesthetic topped off.
Then came the slicing, then the tugging, and pulling, and tugging, and twisting, and tugging. It was taking longer than usual to pull out the baby, and I was losing a lot of blood. My husband, who is sitting by my head with the anesthesiologist, watched worriedly as my blood pressure began dropping on the monitor. The anesthesiologist starts squeezing the IV bag and asking the other doctors, “What’s going on down there?” I had not idea this was going on, but my hubby was duly on edge.
The doctor congratulates me on my choice to have the c-section. Apparently I had pushed so hard during the labor, that I wedged my poor baby into the bones of my pelvis. During the surgery, it took the doctor quite a while to carefully free his stuck head. It had to be popped out like a cork, and forceps would have failed miserably. As a souvenir of this predicament, my baby was born with crimped ears, where his big head was jammed in my pelvis. You can still see a bit of a crimp in them 13 years later.
Between the blood loss, the pitocin drip and the IV fluids, I was white as a sheet and retaining so much fluid that I couldn’t open my eyes because my eyelids were swollen shut. Because it was a fairly difficult delivery, it took weeks to recover, but I would do it all over again a hundred times.
Now a teenager, my oldest boy is turning into an adult before my eyes. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. How I wish I could freeze time, or turn it back to when he had cute puffy little baby feet, like mini pillows I used to munch. Happy birthday Owen!