Thursday, January 29, 2009

Real Women Wear Lipstick

Warning: The following post contains a graphic description of childbirth. If you're pregnant for the first time, somewhat squeamish, or my father-in-law, you might want to skip this post. :)

A lot of people have been asking me lately if I'm going to have another c-section or if I'm going to try it the old-fashioned, ridiculously painful, undignified, poop while you're pushing, feet up in stirrups, oh my I think I might be dying way. Hmmmmmmm . . . I'm still deciding.

Such questions bring me right back to Megan's birth experience. Allow me to share the warm memories of my 1938497475438924278957-12348725975982 hour labor and the 984372590402 hours of pushing that resulted in an emergency c-section anyway, leaving me with the cutest baby in the whole world and TWO areas that hurt rather than just one.

Picture this . . . It was 2 days PAST my due date. I left my teaching job 2 weeks before because, quite frankly, I couldn't find clothes big enough to cover my entire belly (perhaps due to the 60-70 pounds of "baby fat" I was carrying around.)
Convinced I wouldn't be one of "those women" who look like they just fought (and lost) a war after giving birth, each day I would wake up, put on a full face of makeup, straighten my hair, put on an adorable matching sweatsuit and wait to go into labor. I imagined how put together I would look in the pictures taken after Megan's birth. I imagined people marveling that I was still wearing my lipstick. I would show the world that a woman could still look dignified after giving birth! I was going to be prepared!

It was Father's Day (June 18) and contractions woke me up at about 6 am. By afternoon, they went away and I carried on as usual and went to my mom's for a Father's Day celebration. We left when I got a terrible backache. I came home and got into the bathtub to ease the pain. I was in the tub for hours and hours and hours while John fell asleep. (not that I'm STILL HOLDING THAT AGAINST HIM or anything.) It was fine, seriously. I mean, why shouldn't he have gone to sleep while he wife was in agonizing, miserable pain?

I finally couldn't take one more second and told John to take me to the hospital. Remember my plan to have my hair done, cute sweatsuit on, blah blah blah? Ummmm yeah, forgot all about that. (When it was time to come home from the hospital, John gave me what I wore to the hospital to wear home. I looked at him and screamed, "YOU LET ME WEAR THAT OUT OF THE HOUSE???????" Yeah, so much for my plan.)

I started begging for an epidural as soon as we got to the hospital, before we even arrived at Labor and Delivery. As a matter of fact, I think I may have begged a custodian for an epidural on the way up. While in triage, I had to go walk for an hour so they could "see what my cervix would do." They wanted to make sure I was really in labor and not just faking it, apparently. (John was thinking, "I'm pretty sure she's really in labor. Did you see what she's wearing? She made me stop on the way to the hospital so she could pee pee on the side of the road. This person in front of me is not behaving at all like my wife. She is in labor alright!"

After those witches nurses in triage determined I was truly in labor, they moved me to a room. I continued begging for pain medicine to which, I was told, I had to wait. After 973489237070923840298870 hours went by (which was actually probably 1) I finally got some nubain which made me feel glorious. Then Megan's heart rate started having decelerations. At one point, about 10 people ran into my room and started yelling, "Roll over on all fours and put your backside in the air." Terrified, I did so immediately. Once her heart rate returned to normal and the panic was over, I realized my king sized, naked a$$ was sticking up in the air, facing towards the open door, and people were coming in and out. I asked, "Mom, will you please cover up my bum?" And I thought I was going to do this the dignified way.
Prior to going into labor, I was worried about the embarrassment and the nakedness. People told me you're so wrapped up in the moment you just don't care. Hmmmm, that wasn't my experience. Not my experience at all.

Next, the anesthesiologist came in to give me an epidural FINALLY and said, "Wow. You look different. The last time I saw you, you were on all fours with your a$$ in the air." He seriously said that. He was a pretty funny guy, only I didn't think that was funny at all.

The doctor came in to break my water and realized it was already broken. What??? How does your water break and you just don't notice??? Then I remembered back to the unholy pain of the bathtub and realized it happened way back then. "No wonder your contractions were so strong so early on!" Wow, if I hadn't been on an IV drip, catheterized, internally baby monitorized, and paralyzed from the boobs down I would have gotten out of bed and gone on a murderous rampage, starting with the triage nurses that made me walk around to make sure I was really in labor. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

By now, it was morning and I had missed an entire night of sleep. I was hungry but no one cared. John went to get some food (because I insisted he eat.) I was so annoyed when he listened to me and told him, "In saying go eat John I really meant you better not eat a single bite until I'm allowed to, dammit." I don't know why he was so confused.
By late afternoon, I was finally dilated to 10 centimeters and Megan's heart rate stopped dropping and scaring me half to death. It was finally time to push.

So I pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. And pushed. I said words so terrible I'm not even sure I know how to spell them. I was pushing so long the nurses had a shift change. Suddenly, I had a completely new woman elbow deep (or so it seemed) in my ladyflower. I was thinking, "Geesh. Do I know you? No time for small talk or the 'getting to know you' awkwardness. Just dive right in." My eyes were almost swollen shut, I had broken numerous blood vessels on my face, and I still didn't have a baby. The doctor came in and asked the nurses, "How long has she been at this? There is no excuse for this!" He told me that after 2 and a half hours of pushing my brains out, Megan just wasn't coming that way. She wasn't even close enough to use forcep or vacuum extraction, both of which sounded scary painful anyway. She was stuck, so it was off for an emergency c-section.

And this is how this story ends . . .

No, it didn't end with me wearing lipstick as I planned. I wasn't wearing make up and my hair was a wreck. But in that moment I realized none of that mattered anymore. I had the most beautiful baby girl in the whole world. In that instant, I became a mother and I haven't been the same since.

She was 8 pounds and 11 ounces and 20 inches long, perfectly healthy, and absolutely gorgeous.

I have to admit, I did feel a bit defeated. Childbirth was really the first thing I ever put my mind to that I wasn't able to accomplish. I felt a bit cheated out of the birth experience.

So now . . . when I think about trying again . . . I'm almost tempted. Then I remember the nakedness, the stirrups, the broken blood vessels.

No thanks, this time I'm gonna try to wear some lipstick.


Amanda said...

I couldn't pee with the door open throughout college, and my bff/roomie always laughed about how loud and snarky I can be, yet so prudish.

Needless to say, one birth later -That. Went. Out. The. Window.

For Numero Uno Kid, I managed to get a shower after my contractions started coming more consistently (I was induced, which, by the way, is obviously something God created on the 8th day, but was too tired to mention it to the dude that penned Genesis for Him). So, THOSE pics have me all lipsticky and whatnot.

But the second kid? Oh Lordy... those EVIL WOMEN wouldn't let me shower!!!!!!!!!!! (I would have more exclamations marks there, but I know my limits) So, I ended up without a shower for 40 hours, a greasy ponytail, and a severly bloated face for that Golden Moment In Time, Welcome Sweet Baby picture. Which, by the way, will be burried someday ceremoniously in my backyard.

May I recommend an induction??? Or planned C-section?


Danita said...

WOW! This is too hilarious and had me laughing out loud cause i know how true it is!
Check out Ricki Lake Birth Documentary - The Business of Being Born! Such a great movie! although no matter how the baby comes into the world you still delivered him/her and experienced the birth! Always a beautiful moment!

Kate said...

That's not quite how I remember that day.... but those details will remain a sisterly secret (unless someone asks me of course)..

If John wants to sit this one out, I can cover for him... I've always wanted to see what a c-section is like! :) hahaha - kidding

The High Family said...

Hmmmm..sounds just like my experience with Ryan but I actually pushed him out (with the help of 2...that right 2! episiodomies sp?) after 33 hours of labor AND an epidural that didn't take. ahhh the memories.

Second time around, Kara was born 20 minutes after getting to the hosipital without drugs. It was amazing and I would do her delivery over and over and over again.

I hope this delivery goes much more smoother for ya and that you get to wear that lipstick proudly!

If you are curious about my birth experience with Kara...check out June 2008 in my blog. It seriously was like something outta of a movie! ;)

3 Little Snaps said...

I love it! Childbirth is certainly a messy business but luckily you get a prize at the end!

Bee and Rose said...

You are a trooper! My daughter hung out for an extra week in my womb! And I was 38 years old! Not so fun! My hubs did the same thing with the clothes..I got a giggle out of that:)

I loved your post and pics...I just went in and hugged my kids cause they are so worth all of the junk we go through to bring them here!