Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Birth Story - Part 1

Many people asked for Baby Lawns' birth story and I will oblige, but I also know this turns off a lot of readers too. So let's compromise - if you don't like this stuff, don't read from here on and then I'll write you a non-baby related story and then things will balance out and all will be well in the world. How's that?

So the day before Baby Lawns was born I was all waxing New Agey about incarnating souls and whatnot and psyching myself up because I was scared shitless about giving birth in any fashion. But I reminded myself that I always dream up all kinds of crap to be scared of and nothing has ever been as bad as I had imagined it was going to be.  Until now.

One of my favorite bloggers at Blue Lotus just had a baby too, in Japan no less and I loved reading her take on birth in that country and culture. She wrote her birth story and her story shares many of the same emotions as mine. I hope she reads this. She too had no idea what she was really in for and boy did we both learn.

Now I don't mean to scare anyone here, but I must be honest and I just feel like there's so much people hide and don't tell about birth and the Internet is just rife with birth stories where babies slip through their mothers' vaginas followed by glitter and rainbows and there's no guttural moaning, sheer terror or mentions of just how bad it really hurts. Can I explain to to you how bad it hurts? There are no words for it and it's more than pain. There's nausea, diarrhea, humiliation of all kinds, impatient nurses, a lot of needles, weird machines and in my case, a lot of drugs and wow, the blood.

Childbirth is ugly.

It is so bad that I could dedicate my life to exposing its horrors to idealistic teenagers in order to scare them out of procreating. I might even be able to scare people out of ever having children. I should go work for Planned Parenthood. For real. And I think I am the only woman to ever have a child and find that pregnancy made me even more passionately Pro-Choice than I ever was, but that could be its own post.

I am sad about my birth experience. I didn't think I had that in me. Remember when I said I just wanted her out fast and safe? Well, I got exactly what I wished for, only with a lot of trauma and pain and I missed all the rainbows and glitter and I was surprised at how sad it made me.

As you might recall, Baby Lawns was not making preparations to be born. She had not "dropped" as they say. Nothing was happening and my doctor decided that I should be induced on my due date of October 26th. We went to the hospital, checked in, got a room and a nurse came and hooked me up to all kinds of monitors, jammed an iv into my left wrist (ow) and then rammed a tablet of Cytotech into my hooha and informed me that I couldn't pee for at least 2 hours. This sent me into total panic because at 9 months pregnant all I did was pee. The next 2 hours I lie in bed with Husband asleep in a recliner next to me, and thought of nothing except peeing until about fifteen minutes later when I began to have pains that felt like really bad period cramps. Oh, that's nothing I thought. That is not what labor feels like, is it? But fifteen minutes more later, I realized that it did.

All night long I lie in bed in agony. Sheer agony. The nurse came periodically to tell me how surprised she was that I immediately went into real labor with strong contractions a minute apart. She said she couldn't give me any Pitocin or any more Cytotech because my contractions were so strong already. The problem was that I wasn't dilating at all. All night long and no dilation. She offered me pain medicine and I declined. I was going to do this. I was determined. I was going to make it through this naturally. I suffered and hobbled to the bathroom about seventeen times to pee while attached to all sorts of cords and an IV on wheels. 

By sun-up I had violent diarrhea. I was extremely nauseated and determined not to throw up. The pain was constant. I couldn't determine any moment of relief between contractions and since I had been fasting so long, I was weak and delirious with the pain.

Here is what it feels like - you know when you get a bad, bad charley horse in the arch of your foot or in your calf and your whole body contorts with pain and you can't even breathe, but it's ok because charley horses only last a few seconds? Imagine that charley horse in your entire body, ten times worse and without any relief and that is what labor feels like. It is unbearable. I have never felt anything like it.

After 12 hours a new nurse came. It was ten in the morning and I was sobbing in the fetal position in bed. The new nurse, Sue, gave me Pitocin in my IV and I truly lost my mind from the pain that that caused. I kept thinking the pain couldn't get worse and it kept getting worse. My husband got panicky because he didn't want to see me suffer. Sue checked and there was bad news. I still hadn't dilated at all. I had to be at least 3 centimeters to get an epidural and get some relief from the pain. But I was barely 1 centimeter! I had an anxiety attack and in the middle I felt something inside me go pop and I mentioned this to my husband. A minute later ridiculous amounts of hot water gushed out of me and I cried more because I felt so embarrassed of this. I'm not sure why, but I felt really ashamed. Right at that moment my doctor arrived and was pleased that my water had broke and perplexed that there was no dilation. In his infinite kindness and in keeping with his promise to not let me suffer, he allowed me to have an epidural. I call it an epidural light because it didn't numb me completely and because I could still move somewhat and feel the contractions. I just wasn't as bothered by them as I had been before and I was more in my right mind.

Here's the thing though. An epidural is no simple, painless fix either. It's scary too and it hurts and you have a needle in your spine for God's sakes. It's not something to take lightly and putting it in was not a pleasant experience except that the anesthesiologist who came was the kindest man. I was instantly in love with him and he had the most compassionate bedside manner I've ever experienced.

I had about ten minutes of relief before Sue the nurse came back in and said she knew when my baby was going to be born. She showed me some print out from the machine that I didn't understand and told me that I needed a C-section immediately.

I had another panic attack. In the midst of my panic attack all sorts of people descended upon me to prep me for surgery as quickly as possible and there was a sense of urgency about them all that scared me even more. 

To be continued...(when the baby lets me put her down.)


Anonymous said...

I remember a similar experience 18 years ago, December 30th. Fortunately for me the Pitocin didn't do squat and I never had a contraction. Baby (Jessica now) in distress and rush to surgery too. Ended up with beatiful baby girl going to college next year, but very scary to live thru. Boy born 3 years later with scheduled c-section and much less drama!

Kristen said...

Holy cliffhanger batman!

Almost American said...

Similar birth story here - I remember being stunned that the doc wanted to do a C-section - I argued, as I thought you had to have been in labor for hours and hours. I've heard 'natural' labor is not as intense, but having never done it I'm not sure if that's really so. I suspect every labor is different, and we are simply lucky that modern medicine is able to help us and our babies - in the past we might have died in labor!

BoB said...

I'm sorry this was so difficult for you. I've been refraining from talking about my son's birth because it's mostly my wife's experience and I didn't want to add to the list of other people's birth stories.

I'm glad everything worked out.

Again, sorry you had to have such a bad experience.

Lauren said...

I did not wait as long as you! I think once we got to the hospital I labored for 5 hours and then gave up and got the epidural :) Oh, and I did not mind that prick in the spine at ALL. I loved it, and the epidural guy. Made the pain go away, ahh!!! I ended up having a c-section too... I agree, they DO move fast once they decide that is happening!

Kirby said...

I agree with you 100% - it was the most painful thing in the world for me too! I read several years ago that child birth is the 2nd most painful thing a body can endure - the most painful is tramatic loss of limb. So if your arm were ripped from your body in a horriable accident - THAT would hurt more.

jmm said...

I love to hear birth stories. Thanks so much WL for sharing your story. It's terrifying. I'm so glad you and baby Lawns are OK!

Consultant Calamities said...

oh pitocin *shudder* I had that too.

and, labor was 1,000x more painful/horrible than anyone ever says. I think people hide it b/c if people tell how MUCH it hurts, not as many people would want to have babies. I dunno, I'm a pain wimp too, so that made it even worse.

Tell ya what, the whole experience for me was so bad, that its 95% of the reason we don't have another child! I thought the same thing "OK it can't get any worse than this..." and then it DID! :-(

Anonymous said...

Dear W.L.,
The PAIN!!!!, Tell me about it. I've told my 4 kids that I never felt so close to death as when I was giving birth. But, hey when you and the baby survive, you feel like the queen of the universe.
P.S. What is the nipper's name?
Lil Skraps

Johnny Virgil said...

congrats! This sounds like something I never, ever want to do.

Jean_Phx said...

OMG! I don't believe that I ever could have survived that much. I am really glad that I never felt the need to go through that! Whew.

Green said...

You are not alone - I have heard many mothers say that giving birth made them more pro-choice than they'd been before.

Anonymous said...

I think what people are mostly tired of are the baby and rainbow birth stories. It's kind of cool that someone actually warns what the contractions are like and such. Thank you!

Amy said...

I did read this, I was really looking forward to it, and am sorry you had such a crappy experience. I feel like a bit of a wimp complaining about my own birth now.
You're so right- childbirth can be ugly. I don't doubt that some women do have positive birth experiences, but I think a lot of birth stories do leave some of the unpleasant stuff out. I don't think it's really on purpose though- I'm already starting to forget the bad parts, and can no longer even remember the pain. I think it must happen to everybody, or else nobody would ever have a second child.

Anyway, a belated congratulations. I think you'll be a great mom.

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