So, I was 23 when I had my numero uno and Shaine was one week shy of 21. (yesiliketorobcradles. Ask me again, pls.) We were basically 2 and 5 years old and were like, alright! Let’s have a baaaaaabyy! Woo hoo! Well, not exactly, but, looking back now it kinda feels like that. I was about 38 weeks and his mother, brother, and mom’s boyfriend flew in from OKC to CA to be with us, bc, surely I would be having this baby any day now. Surely. Welp. Maybe not. Let me tell you, having your in-laws travel thousands of miles to meet their first grandchild and then failing to deliver said grandchild adds no pressure to the whole experience what. so. ever.
So, the due date comes…and goes. My in-laws come…and go. Shaine’s time off work comes…and goes. My sanity comes…and goes. (We planned things well, didn’t we?) Baby girl still happily crushing my innards all the while. A week past my due date and I go in to get the stress test where they check the baby’s heartbeat and level of amniotic fluid to make sure everything’s still a-ok. Well, I guess her heartbeat was a bit lower than they wanted it to be so, a call to my husband and off we go to the hospital to finally evict our little baby squatter. On the way to the hospital, ish got real. Not as in I started to actually go into labor. LOLOLOL, please. Don’t be ridiculous. No, ish got real like I realized, (maybe, unnervingly?) for the first time that I was actually about to become a mother. Up to this point, I had ZERO experience with babies. I didn’t really even have any experience with little kids besides my brother who is autistic and a Martian and in no way prepared me to deal with other, non-martian children (yes, I am allowed to say that. He’s my brother, for crying out loud.) I looked at Shaine at one point on the drive down and said, “I don’t know if I’m ready for this.” To which he replied, like the sage that he is, “You better get ready.”
We get to the hospital and I’m checked into a broom closet that will surely, surely only be temporary (it wasn’t), and the doctor (nurse? midwife? janitor? I can’t remember) asks me about my birth plan. Of course, OF COURSE, I was going have a completely drug-free, vaginal birth! Did I look like one of those women who selfishly drug their babies? And, no, the fact that this birth would be induced with large amounts of torturous Pitocin made absolutely no difference whatsoever. Why should it? Pe. Shaw. This convo is taking place literally (and you should know I only use literally in its correct usage as a rule) as a woman down the hall is screaming and I’m all “what’s going on with her?” and the doc says she is having a natural labor also and this does not faze me AT ALL. I’m just like, oh good for her!
Fast forward to an hour later and I’m hunched over while an anesthesiologist is prepping my back, praying that the needle will just freaking get in there and GIVE ME THE JUICE! At one point the nurse mentions the so-recently hated, currently-beloved and coveted-above-all-riches epidural might not work and she officially becomes my Most Hated Person for the next 20 min or so.
Hallelujahx5billion, the epidural does take, the nurse, along with every person who has ever wronged me in my life, is pardoned in my mind, and all I say for the next 3 hours, over and over again in my mind, is thank You, God, thank You, God, thank You, God.
I could bore you with the next 20 or so hours of nothingness (sleep, watch TV, pee in a bag, sleep, watch TV, pee in a bag) but let’s fast forward to the next day when I’m finally getting ready to push (still in the broom closet! I’m not even joking about this. I mean, it probably wasn’t an actual broom closet but I’m positive it was not meant to be used as a labor and delivery room. It was literally (again, correct usage) the size of a broom closet and how my husband, mom, and sister all slept in there with me overnight defies logic (though it’s seriously the sweetest thing ever, right? I think they slept on the floor!).
(Side note apology: that paragraph belongs in the run on sentence Hall of Shame. How many parentheses did I manage to squeeze in there? So sorry you had to suffer through that.)
I push through a few contractions. A few more. A half hour goes by. An hour. 2 hours. The world turns. 10 women in China deliver babies effortlessly. I push. I push. I push. Nada.
Suddenly, a horrid buzzing noise goes off on the baby monitor and every doctor, nurse, and cafeteria worker in the hospital crams into my minuscule room at once. An oxygen mask is pushed on my face and one of the multitudes of doctors tells me the baby’s in distress and I need to get a C section NOW. I look over at my husband in shock and he is kneeling on the ground, praying his heart out, God bless him. The crowd files out to get the OR room ready and I just start to bawl. This was so NOT how my labor was supposed to go. This was so NOT how I was supposed to meet my baby. I was supposed to give birth naturally, easily. This was supposed to be the first of many, many children I would give birth to naturally and easily. My husband and I had wanted a large family. We calculated that, God willing all went smoothly, we could manage to have at least 12 (!!!!) children before I went through menopause. I knew you couldn’t have 12 children if you had c-sections. I think I’d heard the max was 4. I felt like such a failure. I felt like I had let my husband down, like I was this lemon that he was stuck with the rest of his life when he should have married a baby machine instead. Of course, he didn’t feel that way and was amazingly sweet and wonderful and affirming, but I was crushed. I was also exhausted. My body had been in forced labor for over 24 hours and I hadn’t been allowed to eat anything in all that time. I was beyond done.
Enter Dr. Crazy Pants. A doctor I have never seen before bursts into the room at some point during my breakdown, thrusts her giant hands inside me, and shouts (really! shouts! and laughs! I’m not making this up!) that a woman “my size” will never give birth naturally. My mom kinda gives her the stink eye and says something like, cool it, lady. This is a girl who wants a large family. To which Dr. CPants hoots, What?! Why?! I’ve got 2 and that’s too many! Then she whisks me away to OR.
I’m not 100% sure how C-sections go for those who are not in emergency situations, but for me they somehow fixed it so the epidural affected my whole body rather than just below my hips. For some reason, this amount of epidural didn’t sit well with my system and my head and arms started flapping uncontrollably, which was as wonderful as you can imagine. Dr. CPants is still there, haunting me, and has now started shouting, “LAWD JEEEESUS! LAWD JEEEEESUS!” I’m unsure whether she is cursing or praying but, honestly, neither explanation is very comforting. They’re prepping me and pulling the big sheet between my face and horror show that will soon be behind it, when I feel a panic attack coming on. I’ve only had one other panic attack in my life (while being forced to run the mile in high school on a 110+ day which I still maintain is straight up child abuse), but the feeling is unmistakable. I’m trying to distract myself, to think of anything but the fact that my body will be cut open in less than 2 minutes so I desperately try to strike up a conversation with the closest person to me, who (I think?) is a nurse.
“Are you reading anything these days?” I ask in a scary, high pitched voice, pretending to be totally casual.
“Huh?” she says and looks at me like she’s suddenly realized I’m not a cadaver.
“Books!” I squeak. “What books are you reading?” The panic in my voice is obvious.
“Uh…” Still looking at me like she can’t figure out how the cadaver is talking. “Medical books, I guess…” She throws me this little scrap of human conversation then goes back to sharpening knives or whatever else device of torture she’s planning on slicing me open with.
Thanks be to God, Shaine (who unlike some ppl actually has the skill of speech) is allowed into the room. He takes one look at me and sees I’m spiraling. “Tell me about the Hobbit!” I yell, right off, like the truly insane person I am. And Shaine, just like the absolutely heavenly creature that he is, says, without any weird looks or eyebrow raises or anything, “Once there was a wizard named Gandalf…”
Oh my gosh, I’m loling writing this right now because I’m realizing what a crazy, awkward, nonsensical birth story this really is.
I don’t know how far he got into the story bc I actually did have the dreaded attack once the smell of burning flesh hit my uncontrollably flapping head. I remember someone showing me a very blue, eerily quiet baby then I think they gave me some anxiety medicine bc everything’s a little blurry after that.
To be continued…