Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Birth Story: It's only a little gross I promise but yeah, prepare yourself for some bodily fluids.

People, it finally happened!  I am NO LONGER pregnant.  As you may have surmised, I did not much enjoy being with child.  I can tell you, having a kid that lives on the outside of you is INFINITELY better than having one suck the life force from within (although I will say the sucking of the life force from without in the form of breastfeeding is as painful as people described to me, but that's what GLORIOUS lactation consultants are for...that's another post).

Lots of people want to know the gory details of exactly how Booberry entered the world.  If you do not want to know, perhaps skip this post and keep your innocence.  After last weekend, I no longer have any shame, pride, or personal boundaries, a fact I fully realized as I chatted with my mother-in-law yesterday while pumping about how the machine sounds like repetitive Scooby Doo (ruh uh, ruh oh, ruh oh).

My story begins...

Booberry followed in her mother's footsteps in so many ways, one of which was that she stayed put past her perfect due date of the ides of March.  The Doctor and I decided to get Booberry her own cherry tree which will grow with her in the front yard and we will take milestone pictures in front of.  We were in sight of the nursery the Sunday after the due date when the Doctor stops for a pedestrian, a mother and her toddler.  The woman isn't crossing and is giving us an inquisitive look when BAM!  we're rear-ended.  Both cars pull to the side and the Doctor goes to talk to the driver.  The driver, like a line from a "what not to do" video, says, with a hint of surfer-dude, "Oh man!  I'm so sorry, I was just reaching for my phone..."  So, yeah, we'll call that a "no fault" accident on our part.  I thought to myself, "Hey, something just happened to me, I should just call my ob to see what's up."  And so, even though I felt totally fine, I called the doctor's office and they paged the doctor on call, a lady by the name of...Dr. Cherrytree.  Yes, that's a real person and not a character in a sitcom.  She's super nice.  But she did say we had to go to the hospital to be monitored for four hours.  BAM!  Shit got real.  

But we still went and picked up our tree.  The Doctor planted it soon after:

Then I changed into my "going to the hospital" outfit and we packed the car for what could be THE BIG ONE.  We got to the hospital and were quickly escorted to triage where I was hooked up to fetal and contraction monitors.  Booberry was galloping away in there, totally fine, which we all had a feeling she was.  My uterus was steady as a flat line.  No contractions to note.  I could see the hope fade from the Doctor's eyes, resigning to spend yet more time with the giant crazy person who ate his wife.  We went home that night and neither of us slept a wink, too dejected and stressed from our non event.  

Wednesday the 19th my doctor said they'd induce me, but not until the 24th to which I whined in a tone I am not proud of, "but that's soooo long from nowwwwwww."  So, Booberry would be in there an extra ten days.  Then the OB did what the Doctor refers to as "when Stephen Colbert fingered you" because my OB looks a bit like Stephen and he "swept my membranes" which is, yes, like a very unpleasant fingering.  The OB also said that, because of my dainty little pelvis and what he was guessing was a baby over nine pounds, I should mentally prepare myself for a c-section.  The Doctor was catatonic on the way home.  He reminded me of Cameron in Feris Bueller's Day Off after he saw the mileage on his dad's car.  He went to work and I sobbed hysterically into Catdome.  My friend brought over her six week old and let me hold her foot for an hour, which helped me feel better except for the CRUSHING WEIGHT OF MY OWN BODY.  

Thursday was dark, emotionally.  The Doctor was working late and then decided to go hang out with a couple guy friends and said he'd be home by ten.  I probably could have nagged him into staying with me, and I did feebly try, but thought it might be good for him to get his ya yas out before this thing eventually went down. I literally spend the whole day alone in the house, unable to walk more than a few pathetic steps and listless in my lack of purpose.  I knew it was bad when I identified a strange, electronic noise that was only audible in the living room and seemed to have no source and I became obsessed with it like the guy in "The Telltale Heart."  My in-laws called to check up on me and I could tell they thought I was becoming pretty unstable because, despite their 9pm bedtime, they offered to come over.  I declined and went to bed myself.  I was just dozing off, thinking, "Man I'm tired, it's gonna feel so good to be unconscious for a while..." when I felt the sensation of peeing.  Except I wasn't controlling it.  I jumped out of bed and made it the two steps to the bathroom when a large amount of clear liquid soaked my pants and puddled on the floor.  I did the STEVE HOLT pose: 

because I'd been told that, once your water breaks, they always deliver the baby within 24 hours.  THIS WOULD BE OVER IN A DAY!  Ruby sauntered into the bathroom.  She'd been weird all day, following me around the house puking.  I almost took her to the vet but was too disabled.  I tried to shoo her away from my puddle but she went up to it and sniffed...and then started PURRING SO LOUD.  WTF, cat?!

I sat on the toilet, liquid still trickling out of me, and called my husband.  No answer.  I left a cheery message.  Slightly unnerved, I called his friend.

Me: Hey is the Doctor with you?
Friend: No...he just left.  What's up?

I called my doctor's answering service.  I called his parents who were dead asleep.  I called the Doctor again and left a message along the lines of, "YOU ARE NOT DOING THIS TO ME RIGHT NOW, MATTHEW CRAWLEY!"  If you don't get that reference, you are not caught up on your Downton and need to get on it.  I called my dad and found out he ALREADY HAD A FLIGHT for the next!  He just bought a bunch of flights and had been cancelling them as days past due date rolled around. I got the call back from the doctor on call at my OB's office.  It was that midwife I don't like.  She informed me that my normal doctor wasn't on call and asked if I might prefer a midwife.  "I WANT AN OB!" I said, forcefully, and she promised to leave a note with the intake people at the hospital.  

 I called the friend again.

Me: Ummmmm....can you call the Doctor....?
Friend: Is something going on?  Do you need me to get in a cab and come over?
Me: (still on toilet) NO!  Just keep calling him...repeatedly.

I left the Doctor a message along the lines of "WHAT THE FUCK?!"

I got in the shower and my phone started ringing.  I could see the Doc's pic and said, out loud, alone, in the shower, "LET HIM WORRY!"  The phone continued to ring until I got out of the shower and I found out that the Doctor was very nearly home and was, as I hoped, freaking out that I didn't answer.  I was going to go get dressed in my backup "going to the hospital" outfit but liquid was somehow still coming out of me so I just wandered around in a towel getting things together until the Doctor came home and it was ON.  

He was so excited in the car.  He was this excited:

I had to tell him to calm down and drive safely.  

In the parking lot of the hospital, I felt another GIANT GUSH of liquid (geez, how much is there?!) and I sloshed to triage where they had to check my pee to make sure it was my water that had broken and not just me peeing my pants.  Uhhhh....yeah it was my water.  Duh.  

Once in labor and delivery, they decided to put me on pitocin to speed things along.  The risk of infection goes up when your water breaks before you're in active labor. I found out I was in the super special 10% of people whose water breaks as the first sign of baby time.  I am so gifted.  We all went to sleep and the Doctor proceeded to snore peacefully for six hours while I began to get contractions I could feel.  Nothing too dramatic, but those were real. 

In the morning, when my in laws showed up, I had not slept all night, being woken up by the contractions which were still only at a...5 on the pain scale, I thought.  I was offered the magical epidural.  

Me: But I can still talk through my contractions!
Nurse: You can still get it now since you can't sleep though them.

I actually ended up getting two epidurals because, as I've been saying for years, I have slight lower back scoliosis and the first one didn't work.  Lots of people say getting an epidural is the worst part, but, honestly, it wasn't that bad.  It was a little scary being told to hold completely still because there was a needle entering my spine, but it was a lot less painful than how my hips had felt the last week of pregnancy.  Soon I was on a painless cloud and made a glib facebook status about how I was having a contraction right then but could still fb because of the perfect epidural.  We wikipedied March 21st and were thrilled to learn it was World Poetry and World Puppetry Day.  What a great birthday for Booberry.  I took a nap.

My doctor just HAPPENED to be on call that day and came in to say hi.  

Me: I'm so awesome!  It's the best I've slept in three months!  
OB: (poking at my swollen feet) Sometimes when we get bored, we like to poke at the women's edema.  They can't do anything about it.  

And we determined that I was in... ACTIVE LABOR.

I don't know what time that was.  I know I was at four centimeters and needed to get to ten.  I know my family stuck around until the fourth hour I was at eight and then we sent them home and that was 9pm on the 21st.  At 11pm, still at eight, the baby had been having decreased heart rate with big contractions and I had what was called "failure to progress."  They had me on oxygen which I think was scary for everyone to see but my nurses were so good, they never let me see the severity of the situation.  Time for the C-section.  The Doctor got quiet.  I was secretly just so thankful they weren't going to make me push.  I hadn't slept, really, and hadn't eaten anything besides hospital "gelatin" and ice chips since some cheese and crackers Thursday night and a spoonful of peanut butter I forced down after the midwife told me to eat a meal before coming in.  I ate it on the toilet...

I felt like I was cheating the system, never having had hours of painful contractions to count before being admitted and never having to push.  My mother-in-law is helping me work though this feeling of inadequacy. 

My WONDERFUL and amazing nurse who I want to track down and hug came in to...shave me, and they upped my epidural so I couldn't feel anything below the boobs.  The OB and my husband made jokes to each other about shaving shapes into me and landing strips which I thought was perhaps not appropriate but, frankly, didn't care AT ALL because at least the Doctor wasn't just silent and pale any more.  Off we went to OR 1. It was past 11:30 and the Doctor was still saying Booberry's bday would be the 21st and I started betting on the 22nd.  The OB and nurses started taking bets on the size of the baby and my OB and I were in the "over 9 lbs" pool while most of the nurses were voting for 8 lbs.  

They took me in alone and splayed me, Jesus-like, with my arms out, tubes going into me.  The Doctor got to wear a cool spaceman outfit and had to wait in the hall for me to be prepped. They put up a big blue sheet so I couldn't see what they were going to do to me and I was warned there would be "pressure" but not "pain."  They brought in the Doctor and I said to him, as he earnestly held my hand and told me everything would be okay, "You think you want to look beyond the curtain, but you don't.  DON'T LOOK."  (he totally looked).

The whole extraction of child took only 10 mins. Yes, I could feel them pulling me apart by hand, but, no, it did not hurt.  I am SO GLAD it was a c-section because, not only was Booberry not responding well, my pelvis little, her big, but she was also face up, which would have been near impossible to push out.  The OB said they opened me up and she was just STARING at them, alert.  Incidentally, that's what they said about me when I was born.  The Doctor had the normal, human reaction to her being born: red eyes, smile.  When they brought this 9 lb 4 oz lump of flesh around the corner to show her to me, my reaction was just...shock.  As in, "HOW THE F WAS SOMETHING SO BIG INSIDE OF ME JUST NOW?!"  They plopped her down and the Doctor held her in place and a nurse took our first family picture:

Then they took her away and the Doctor went with her to get her various reflexes checked and they sewed me up. I accidentally saw the medical refuse as they wheeled me away...all I can say is...GIANT BUCKET OF BLOOD.  But, it's cool.  Something else weird about the whole procedure is that I was not cold, but everything I could feel was chattering uncontrollably.  It was like my body knew I was being ripped apart but my brain didn't.  It went away a little while after I got back to my room, where the Doctor was waiting, proudly proclaiming that she passed all her tests, and they put my daughter on my chest...where she promptly injured my nipple so severely the lactation consultant described it as "the most purple I've ever seen."  That's my girl...

Recovery is for another post, but I tell everyone I meet that having a baby is SO MUCH better than being pregnant with one.  Yes, I'm on heavy narcotics (my dad had to fill out a lot of paperwork to pick them up at Walgreens), but I'm in significantly less pain than I was that last week of pregnancy.  True, I didn't sleep more than an hour at a time from Wednesday night to the next Wednesday, but the reason for being awake was pretty cute.  Yes, my feet have been described as resembling "hairless hobbit feet," but I don't have shooting pain when I walk.  Yes, my child is a biter and I spend HOURS a day feeding her or preparing to feed her, but I could care less about any of the inconveniences.  Yes, the Doctor and I parent and sleep in shifts, but he is the CUTEST in the world with her and is exceeding all my expectations in his amazingness as a dad.  

My friend asked me what the best part of being a new mom is and I didn't really know what to say.  

All I could come up with was, "I don't know...I just love her."

Simple as that.  

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