Before I forget, which after a month of sleep deprivation is already happening. Before I just continue to get lost in my son’s blue-brown-grey eyes, I will share what I remember of this crazy thing called birth.
Allow me to first say I hate pain. I really just dislike any and all pain. Now with that said, I was in a birthing class when the instructor said something that changed the way I looked at pain. Usually pain means something bad is happening. But in the case of birth, that isn’t true. The more pain you feel, the closer you are to meeting this life that you created, that you nurtured for months, that you talked to and sang to and danced about with. The more pain you feel the closer you are to the moment that everything in your life changes and suddenly makes sense.
Friday morning I woke up, got out of bed and suddenly thought my water was breaking. I grabbed my vagina, like that would stop it, and rushed to the bathroom. After calling my Dr’s office we waited a few hours then headed over. I knew in my gut I wasn’t in labor and they would send me home. But something happened. Well, it was mucus. And I know that is gross, but it is all part of this process. There is a mucus plug that protects the baby from any infection. I lost that mucus plug. Sound like I am close to birth I thought! Only this can happen 2 weeks before birth. So here I am, still pregnant, no dilation and baby hasn’t dropped. He’s like in my throat he’s so high.
All weekend I was in pain. Terrible pain. I kept thinking, if this isn’t labor then God is playing a very cruel joke on me. Perhaps it’s gas bubbles trapped in me causing me excruciating pain. That’s what I convinced myself. It was gas. HA! Oh no, they were contractions. No rhyme or reason to the timing of them, but they were without question contractions. Needless to say, I took the weekend off from teaching. How was I supposed to play make believe when I felt like I needed to fart out a baby?
Monday during the day the pain subsided. That or I finally got used to it. Kurt had his Old Milwaukee show at iOWest for the cage match. He didn’t want to leave me. I didn’t want to make him miss another show. He’d missed Friday & Sunday and still there was no baby. I felt like the boy who cried wolf. So we flipped a coin and I won, I went to the show with him. Now I neglected to tell him the pain returned, but honestly I didn’t want to be alone if something happened and I was hoping that I would laugh so hard at the show my water would break and we could get this show on the road. I also thought, this may be the last time I see these boys for a long time. The show was good, from what I remembered. I was contracting through the whole thing. I tried to pretend I was fine, I didn’t want to worry any of my College Team kids who were sitting by me. I didn’t want to be that girl who was distracting everyone from the fun night out. We left right after the show. I just looked at Kurt and said, “we need to go.”
On the way home… oh damn those contractions. Once we got home I washed up and got into bed. Now I hadn’t slept in days. My Dr had told me on Sunday to take a Tylenol PM to help me sleep through the pain. So I took one, thinking I need sleep. Well… the pain was getting more intense. The contractions were getting closer. At 3 am we thought “Are we in labor?” At 4 am we were timing the contractions. At 5 am I got in the shower the pain was just too much. I said to Kurt, I don’t care if the hospital sends us back home. I need to go to the hospital. He grabbed the bags, the camera, walked and fed the dogs. Then it was time. Here we go.
The car ride… I didn’t want to yell at my loving husband. He’s amazing. But why does LA have such crappy roads? I yelled, “Fuck you bumps, fuck you!” Yeah the pain was getting to me. Contractions are now 3 1/2 minutes apart.
We check in and the guy at the desk asks if I want a wheelchair, I say no. I can barely walk. What was I thinking? Then the lady asks “Are you in labor or do you think you are in labor?” I say, “I think I am in labor.” It feels like labor, but I have never been in labor lady, how would I know? Then I had a contraction and she immediately said “You’re in labor.” Then they put me in a wheelchair.
The labor and delivery nurse comes down to get me and as she see’s me and says she’s putting me right into the labor and delivery room. Skipping some other room to labor in. Did I look that bad? I did take that Tylenol PM and haven’t slept. I was quite exhausted. Once we got into my room, I had two nurses and they asked if I wanted an epidural. YES, YES I DO! They check me and I am 4 cm. At this moment Kurt and I both start crying. You know that cry that is like ‘it’s happening’ and not really crying crying, more like a rush of various emotions all good and overwhelming at the same time. That.
This was it. Today we were going to have a baby.
The epidural, in my opinion, is the best thing. It didn’t hurt at all. I didn’t even feel the sting they talk about. A paper cut hurts worse than that epidural did. The pain was gone. Just vanished. Ahh… For the first time since Friday my body wasn’t screaming in pain. Lovely epidural. I love epidurals. The rest of the day was fairly easy. We just labored, slept, chatted, listened to music. Anne was with us. Kurt kept reading facebook messages to me. It was long, but not bad at all, after all I was about to meet my son.
There was a scare at one point. My Dr came to visit just after she left the baby’s heart rate dropped. Suddenly the room was filled with people, including my Dr, they were putting oxygen on me, turning me and telling me how to breathe. Within moments all was good. They were all very calm and explained to me after what happened. The way the hospital staff handled this kept me calm and I cannot be more grateful for that. If they had walked in and said “his heart rate is dropping we need to ____.” I would have panicked, but they know better and I was better off for it. This happened one more time and again all turned out fine.
At 8:30pm it was time to push. There was talk of using a vacuum to help. But it wasn’t needed. I was a damn good pusher. I wanted this baby out. Now if I am going to be honest, here is where the honesty really comes in. If you are having a vaginal birth and pushing out a baby, you are pushing hard and long and you will poop. If you don’t poop, you are not pushing right. And that’s the truth. Let’s all just know, this is part of birth. Poop. And as I realized I was pooping I announced it loud and clear for the entire room to hear. I don’t know why I did. Perhaps it was because I was mortified. I couldn’t have been more “out there.” My vagina was in my Dr’s face. The nurse was wiping my poop away and watching my contractions. Kurt refused to look (thank you Kurt). Anne I think caught a glance and then never wanted to look again. It was all very real and not pretty. Not pretty at all. And nobody acknowledged that I pooped. Did that make it worse or better? I laughed, they laughed, but nobody said, “yeah girl you pooped.”
Then that damn heartbeat dropped again and it was time to get moving. NICU was in the room to make sure he was okay. The ring of fire kicked in. Oh man that burns. Then my Dr cut me. Yes I had an episiotomy. I said nice and loud “She cut me, she’s cutting me.” But as soon as that happened, I pushed his little head right out. Then the shoulders and he slid right out. I gave birth.
NICU needed to make sure he was okay, so they had him over to the side in the room. Kurt and I cried and laughed and in complete awe. Our lives would be different forever. Better. Then there was that first cry, the absolute best sound in the entire world. Now he is on his own. He is breathing for himself. Best moment ever. All that pain, the last 9 + months, was totally worth it. That cry made it all worth it. He was cleaned off. Everyone kept saying what beautiful color he had. He was very pink. He was placed on my chest and there he was, my son. Minutes old and perfect in every way. He was still crying. Once Kurt held him, he stopped crying. Daddy is the baby whisperer. The rest of the night was surreal. I was more tired than I had ever been. I was breastfeeding for the first time. I was looking at my boy. He was just inside me. This fully formed person. These long fingernails and full head of hair, all was just in me. He was here and I was his mom.
The stitching and episiotomy are the worst part of this story. I am purposely leaving it out. Just pray that if you have a baby, you don’t need one.
My Dr’s were the best. I am so happy with them. The hospital was fantastic. The nurses were supportive. I am grateful for my experience with them. I am grateful I changed Dr’s early in the pregnancy.
Words cannot express the level of joy I feel. I am tired all the time. My nipples are sore and my back hurts. My belly is soft and mushy. My heart is full. My soul is happier than it has ever been. My love for Kurt is deeper and more intense. My life makes more sense now than it ever has. I am grateful to God for giving me a perfect baby. For giving us Crosby James when the time was right.