Saturday, June 18, 2011

Well Some of Us Gave Birth Using Only The Power of Crystals. In My Case They Were All Out

Thank you everyone who has not only bothered to read my blog but actually liked it! I really appreciate that you enjoy my humor.  The last trimester of my pregnancy wasn't easy, but as with most things in my life, I tried use laughter as my sliver lining.  Thanks for sticking with me and for giving me so much support!
On my maternity leave I have had some time to seek answers to many of the questions that linger after Isaac made his appearance.  I wonder if the hydronephrosis of the kidney is likely to happen with a subsequent pregnancy.  I have spent a good amount of time looking for advice as Isaac and I learn the finer points of nursing. I wonder about sleeping arrangements.  I wonder about sleeping at all...I google just about everything that crosses my mind these days.  For the most part, all of the parenting websites and message boards out there (and there are a LOT of them) are pretty encouraging and supportive. The one common negativity I see is when women discuss pain relief methods and hospital births vs labors with no medical interventions.  For the life of me I cannot understand the venom behind some of those comments.  I was talking to my mother about it the other day.  She has been a great cheerleader for both my sister and myself as we have and raise our babies, and is a great sounding board for me in the creation of this blog.  So it is only natural that I cannot wait to tell her the news: one of the negative-nelly moms who gave birth levitating on a cloud of superiority and endorphins felt so strongly about my post that she commented on my site! I'm honored! First of all, I love people who take themselves very seriously.  They are so much easier to humiliate.  Second, as my brother put it, you're nobody til somebody hates you.  Feel free to check out the comments section of my last post for some background because I decided to take some time off from blaming my child to craft a response.

  I realized when I chose the induction that it would be a different labor than if I floated into it naturally.  I did, in fact, learn about this not only from my childbirth class but my midwife, mother, sister and a few co-workers and friends, as my pregnancy did not exist in a vacuum.  I chose the induction because I could not have another kidney stent replacement surgery before delivery.  The mass of an 8lb baby pushing on the stent was wearing it out, requiring a decision: Induction and the possibility of more pain with the contractions or waiting to see if the stent failed, releasing all sorts of unsavory kidney mess into my blood stream endangering my baby and myself.  I chose life.  I will say I had a wonderful midwife and nurse who allowed and encouraged me to assume any and every position I wanted in the amazing bed in the delivery room.  I spent part of my labor on my back, a some time on my side, a good portion of it squatting, and delivered in a somewhat reclined position and using these great handles to bear down.  I will admit to glancing up at a basketball game that was on ESPN while in this position.  Having a TV on in there was probably pretty irresponsible of me but in my defense, it was a drug-free distraction that provided some relief and I couldn't reach the clicker. 
One of the first things I said after delivery was "god bless any woman who does that without drugs" and I do mean it. Childbirth with the pain relief was trying.  To undertake something that intense without medication requires a courage and determination that I don't know if I will ever experience myself. I know women have been doing it for, well, forever, but when I start to wonder if I made the right decision I stop and remind myself that medical interventions were necessary in my situation.  I refuse to crumble under the guilt and shame some women seem to enjoy heaping upon one another.  We take for granted that many of us lived through experiences that would likely have killed women of previous generations.  I'm a feminist.  Giving birth doesn't make you one, respecting other women does. I feel that pitting one woman's birth experience against another's is despicable and self defeating and I fail to see how one can value a natural labor and birth for the benefits to the mother and child while simultaneously pointing an accusatory finger at a mother who, by choice or emergency, delivered with medical assistance. It is 2011, women's health care has come very far. We might still earn $0.78 on the male dollar, have to dodge bullets at abortion clinics and seek out pharmacists without moral objections to birth control to plan our families, but we no longer have to put ourselves and our babies at risk with every pregnancy. We have the luxury of choice.  While some women may choose a path to parenthood that is less fraught with IVs and fetal heart rate monitors, that path was not available to me.  I implore all of you naysayers out there to get a grip.  Your insecurity is showing and it is not becoming of a lady.  If high school taught us anything it is that making other people feel bad about themselves doesn't make you feel better about your self.  Well, it does for a minute or two but after that you just have to go out there and find another new mother to anonymously bully.
Now if you excuse me, I am going to let my horrible baby out of his cage for a bit. But I don't think I'm going to throw rocks at him tonight.  It is high time I shoulder at least some of the blame for my choice to get kidney stones.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Miracle of Birth

As in: It is a miracle anyone survives giving birth, let alone goes on to have more children.  I know, I know, again with the conspiracy theories and secrets people keep from you when you have a baby but: Holy Shit.  Yeah, I expected it to be bad but I feel like maybe people should be more descriptive when they talk about what to expect.  One nurse even told me it wasn't "that bad", for god's sake.  I'm gonna find her and maybe suggest she not tell women that anymore. I guess I just really had no point of reference though, so no matter what anyone told me, I wouldn't have been prepared.  But were the lies necessary? I mean, they could have started with like "yeah, this is going to be pretty horrible, just so you know.  Like, Stitches Where You Sit horrible".  There's a start. Or "don't be alarmed if your husband has a hard time looking you in the eye after all this.  You're both going to experience things you never thought possible".

Our story begins mid-May when my OBGYN checked to see how things were coming along, reached up and told me "Oh wow, his head is way down there.  Just like a big bowling ball! Let's get an ultrasound to see how big this baby is".  To my credit I did not respond with "yeah, no kidding lady, have you seen me try to walk?"  I kept my profanities to a minimum, deciding instead to remark that I wasn't aware until that moment just how far up there one's cervix really is and that perhaps she re-asses her definition of the word uncomfortable as it pertains to obstetrics.  When the ultrasound tech told me Ruiner was measuring at 8lbs I tried really hard not to cry.  I contemplated running away but my dreams were dashed once I realized I would have to take Jr with me wherever I went.  Lucky for me, the doctor agreed that anything over 8lbs was unrealistic and unacceptable, if not down-right disgusting, so I would be induced before Mr. Giant Head made matters any worse.  She scheduled my induction on May 26, my 30th birthday.  A dream come true. 
Spending your birthday in early labor is just as fun as it sounds.  Some highlights include: contractions that accomplish nothing but pain, an epidural provided by a regular customer who got to see my big white pregnant lady ass up close, (I'm really looking forward to serving him again. I can picture it now: "...and a Guinness for you, sir.  I do recommend the special, I think you'll really enjoy it.  Remember when I was crying from pain and you gave me a giant injection in my back while my butt crack was in your face?"  Maybe he'll turn out to be one of those people who doesn't recognize me when I'm not in my work uniform.  And so rarely do I wait tables sans pants.  I tried asking the nurse for some of those fancy disposable panties to put on before he arrived but he got there too quickly).  Also, they gave me a sweet drug that was supposed to help me sleep and another to dull the pain of the contractions.  Well guess who had an adverse reaction to Dr. Feelgood? This guy.  The pain meds did not work at all and the "relaxing " drug actually gave me a terrifying panic attack which caused me not to recognize my mother or my husband.  It lulled me to sleep for just about one minute and I would wake up in terror and pain when the contractions hit.  I was crying for help and yelling at them to stop staring at me all in the same breath and finally was lucid enough for like 2 seconds to tell them that I was having what amounted to a bad trip while tethered to a hospital bed, in labor and in the dark while something close to a tornado was raging outside, and needed I the antidote.  I actually had to say it to their backs, as I recall, because I made them turn around to reduce the "staring".  Turns out the antidote was Benadryl. Go figure. All in all it was an awesome evening. In another lifetime I would have spent the evening nearly passed out in a dark room, begging for drugs and wondering if I should put some underwear on just in case I needed my dignity intact...oh wait...  At least it took the sting out of turning 30.
First thing Friday morning I got to start pushing which was a hell of a lot of fun and certainly beats some of the post-birthday hangovers I've had in the past.  I was so worried about being cold because the room was freezing all day. What a joke! You get hotter than you could ever imagine.  Ever.  And, that, I soon realized, is the fist signal that you are descending into hell.  I felt really grateful that no one was cheering me on or calling the baby by his name like that was going to make him come out faster.  I knew I wouldn't be able to take that kind of nonsense.  My sister, however, was just full of jokes.  She and Matt were on either side of the bed laughing it up. I don't remember what was said but I do recall deciding I didn't like her anymore.  The woman took a picture of the placenta, to give you an idea of what I was dealing with.  But we're getting ahead of ourselves here.
After pushing for 3 hours, hearing "he's almost here! We can see his hair" out of the lying mouths of people I used to call family, the midwife decided to call in a doctor to vacuum the child out.  I have never been happier to see a human being in my life than I was when she arrived- not even my kid.  I was on the verge of walking out.  Or, again, realizing I had to take the hairy bowling ball with me wherever I went, making my way to the operating room and preforming a C-section on myself.  There was no fucking way I could make that baby come out with all this "push" business.  Just wasn't happening.  And, on her end, "pull" wasn't going so well either.  No. Not only did she employ medical grade weaponry, but apparently used her hands to destroy me as well.  Are forceps no longer an option? Cause God forbid we shimmy those things in there.  Human hands would obviously be a better choice. Really? Forceps damage the baby's head? You should have seen that damn thing when they flung him on my belly.  It was like a foot long. Damage done, my friends.  Matt says the look on my face when they gave me the misshapen baby was one of sheer horror.  He, you see, has never experienced what it is like to have one person reach inside you and pull out another person.  With their hands.  I was not horrified so much at the baby (though the thought of being a mother to an alien headed newborn after going through that labor certainly was terrifying) but at the notion of never, ever being able to un-know the things that had just happened to me or to forgive my offspring for having been responsible for them.  But I got a good look at him while the doctor sewed me back together and he wasn't so bad.  Pretty much what I expected. His head was regular baby shape in no time, within a few hours.  And yeah, I told everyone while they were weighing him and photographically documenting the afterbirth, kidney stones were worse.  So at least now that's settled.
I keep hearing a lot of things like "oh, you forget all about the pain" to which I reply, "no, no you don't. Please mind your own business while I sit on a block of ice for the next two weeks". My personal favorite was from the nurse who came to help me to the bathroom after the delivery, who, crouching in front of me waiting to see if I peed, told me "yeah, the first baby is always hard.  It paves the way for the next ones though"- literally an hour after I had given birth.  Next one? Are you serious right now?  You just took out my epidural and you've already got me pregnant a second time?  Hell no.  While they took the baby to clean off all the uterine grime I told Matt that I was glad he is open to the idea of adopting children if we choose to expand our family. Cause I'm sure as hell not going through all that again!  You can have it, Mrs. Duggar!