I don’t want to keep blabbing about my kids making me crazy. They are truly perfect, even when they’re perfectly monstrous. But leaving too much time between posts gets me jittery. I have nothing to write about? So here it is. Let me beat a horse. To death. I’ll tell you about the births of my kids. You may also want to check out this link from Fieldnotes from Fatherhood: http://fieldnotesfromfatherhood.com/2012/06/22/the-straight-poop-on-parenthood/ . I enjoyed this post but had a strong reaction to it. See how you feel about it and let me know.
Luke. He’s my first baby. My boy who’s 5 already. Omg, do I love that kid. When he came out he was just so darn good looking, and still is. I prepared and prepared. I read everything written on birth. What does it feel like? Could I handle it? Would I just writhe in agony or would I rise to claim my innate womanly power and transform into some kind of She-Ra? You remember the Princess of Power, don’t you?
It wasn’t exactly like that, but I thought I came in pretty close. Except when I screamed Get it out! toward the end there. Pretty ridiculous now that I think of it. It was all on me so was I just screaming at my own uterus to do its job? That’s a thinker. Luke was late by 2 weeks and my OB wanted to induce me. Ahhh…no. Thanks, though. I took castor oil. You’re thinking Ewwww. Yes, that’s right. It was hideous. I don’t think I’ll ever see that much poop come out of me ever again. But it worked! Shortly after the castor oil, and all the pooping, I began having regular contractions. I dimmed the lights, lit candles, created an atmosphere of calm and rolled on my pilates ball for hours. And I mean HOURS. Enya was there with me. Gotta love Enya for moments when you just have to calm the hell down immediately. My husband was asleep. Can you believe that crap? I tried waking him up several hours into labor when things started to get rough. But he just snooooozed away. I got him out of bed eventually and onto the couch but he fell back asleep. I was mad. Really mad. I considered dumping a pitcher of ice water on him but those contractions were pretty distracting. Then, light bulb. I got in the shower and aimed the shower head at my belly with each pain. The hot water was soothing and I didn’t want to get out. It’s fine, I’ll just give birth in here. Then I started to feel it in my butt. Hadn’t my poor anus been through enough already?
Not even close.
For those who have no idea why the anus would be involved in childbirth, when the baby moves down – way down – the head puts pressure on the rectum and the sensation is intolerable. You feel like you have to have an enormous bowel movement but nothing comes out. Until the baby does. I’m shuddering right now because the feeling is that powerful. I knew we had to go to the hospital. Ladies, don’t worry about a thing: You. Will. Know.
I’m going to take a moment to say that my husband was as amazing as possible with both of our birth experiences, but really what the hell could I expect the guy to do? Did I hate his guts when I felt overwhelmed with pain and fear? Yup. Did I want to punch someone, possibly him? Yeppers. But that wouldn’t be fair. Besides, he’s more than made up for it by being a stellar dad. Great job so far, honeybun.
The rest went like this…
6cm dilated at arrival. Guilt over not having an all-natural birth. Epidural administered by anesthesiologist who looked like he’d just been woken up from a nap after a night of raucous boozing. The clouds parted, angels cast a warm light over me and I felt numb from the waste down. Yippy! Modern medicine rocks! I’ve never done drugs, so many of you who have can imagine why this experience with artificial euphoria would be exciting to me. Anyway, I labored delightfully for a few more hours, totalling about 17 hours by the time I met my boy. When I first saw him I was delighted, yet so exhausted and in a state of What the hell just happened that I just laid my head back and rested until the nurse handed him to me all clean and wrapped up in a blanket. Also, the doctor had her arm in my lady parts up to her elbow so as to help my uterus contract. It was not comfortable. And let’s not forget the stitches.
My experience with bringing Madeleine into the world – almost 3 years later – was a bit more rushed and nerve-wracked. I’m so very grateful for her. She has an unmistakable twinkle in her eye and she surprises me everyday.
Labor began in the very early hours of a May morning…
1:14am Contractions began.
I ignored them and attempted to sleep through it. (I had tried castor oil again earlier in the week but it was ineffective. Poop for no good reason.)
2am Contractions became stronger and a funny feeling like a water balloon in my pelvis about to burst.
“Michael, I need a towel,” I said. I was trying to be calm because he – yet again – had been ripped from sleep by his laboring wife.
“What, what? Are you ok?”
The balloon sensation increased. “Towel, towel, towel. I need a towel.”
Pop! My water broke. This was a completely different experience. I felt shaky and nervous and everything felt rushed. No second-time-around confidence boost? Yes, ladies, one more time…You. Will. Know.
Grandma Debbie came over to stay with Luke while we headed to the hospital. Madeleine had a one-way ticket to Vaginaville and she was on the express train. My husband almost missed her birth because he was sent to some ridiculously far away area of the hospital to fill out paperwork. When I was admitted, I was 6cm dilated but I reached 10cm within about 20 minutes. That was an intense 20 minutes. I yelled for my husband so loudly that I’m sure I drove fear through every laboring mother on the unit that morning. I didn’t know I could scream that loudly and when I look back on Madeleine’s birth I’m a teensy bit embarrassed that I lost complete control of my body and my emotions. I know, I know, it was 100% natural childbirth. The way nature intended. No time for an epidural. (Nature, you’re a bitch, by the way.) There was no controlled pushing during this birth. Nope, just all out crazy-eyed, screaming, grunting, grabbing of bed rails and profuse sweating. I felt primal and I don’t wish to relive it. Hopefully, if we have a third baby some day, I’ll be all gorgeous and teeth brushed and smiling and Oops, I have to push. Please excuse me. Help yourself to some hors d’oeuvres that I just took out of the oven! I did unfortunately shout Get it out! once again, as with Luke’s birth. It didn’t help matters any. And of course, all that moaning and whatnot kinda sounded like…you know what I’m going to say. Sex. Yes, childbirth is as real and primitive as it can get in our fancy, modern, tech-driven world. We have solutions for all the gross things our bodies do. But those deep, guttural sounds your body wants to make, those are inescapable. It sounds like you’re having really great sex as you feel that excruciating sensation and push with everything you’ve got. How misleading.
War story aside, my baby girl came out perfectly healthy and I fell in love. Moments later I thought, when can I do this again? How’s that for crazy? Even with the inevitable stitches in my special area, I wasn’t scared off. It’s just peachy down there nowadays (attention new moms: you’ll be fine) but I think I’d rather have stitches up my nose next time – please and thank you.
Five years later I know love that moves me to tears like when I saw Luke in his Pre-K play, laughter that nearly lifts me off the ground (Madeleine may be the next Zooey Deschanel or Kristen Wiig), an ability to maintain composure amidst frustration, that urge to protect, and the hungry – sometimes neurotic – desire to know more about what’s good for my kid than any expert on any subject. Having kids has shown me I’m strong even when I feel weak, and capable when I feel utterly flawed. This boy and this girl have shown me to myself.