First, yes, I am alive. I am alive but I’m back in bed, AGAIN, until I kick this post-labor, my child and dirty placenta tried to kill me and I’m still not better, style. I think I’m on bed rest until baby Jesus arrives at least or else my mother is going to have a nervous breakdown or move in until further notice.
So. While in-between feeding my little monster and waiting for my uterus to clean up its goddamned act, I thought I’d do everyone a favor and go over my personal labor experience so we all have a better idea of what child birth is like. I wouldn’t want anyone confused about what shooting a seven pound child out of your one lady taco is like, because somewhere along the way, even I, the child hater and professional skeptic of life got all dreamy about what birthing my child was going to be like, right up to the part where I’d lie in bed and think to myself, I bet you can just lay at home and wait out the bad parts in the tub until it’s “accidentally” too late and you have to stay at home and give birth in a nice, familiar relaxing environment but you can blame it on labor coming so fast and effortless and pain free that you’re not a hippie, really, it just happened that way. With the puppies around staring adoringly and the Mr. handing me a celebratory glass of wine, with candles and someone in my hall playing a violin as the German fireworks light up the sky.
Yeah. Labor is nothing like that. If I had stayed in my tub for this event it would have looked like a goddamned shark attack. I would have clawed the walls apart, scarred the dogs for life, smashed the wine glass and tossed the wine and just jumped out my window hoping for the best.
For those of you who haven’t given birth yet, feel free to stop reading or schedule your drugged out c section now. For those of you that have given birth and forgotten what it’s like, feel free to be reminded and also if you have more than one child, I don’t know how you got any of this out of your head for long enough to be tricked into it again. Before I had Sawyer, Mr. H was all, If labor goes as well as your pregnancy did, we could just go back to back and have Irish twins right away. And because I was in love with being pregnant and somehow extra charmed by the love of my husband I was delusionally like, Of course we can. It’d be great to raise two kids right away, consider it done, I said enthusiastically daydreaming about doing this all over again in ’14, easy peasy, like a STUPID, NAIVE, DESERVING OF PUNISHMENT, IDIOT.
For the world’s information, there will be no Irish twins. There will be no way humanly possible for this uterus to grow anything and I MEAN ANYTHING BUT EMPTINESS AND SHATTERED DREAMS for a good, long, very long, probably unbearably long for my husband, time.
Labor was like surviving 16 hours of being hunted and taunted by something that you put inside you. It has to be like war, but with more fluids everywhere and probably equal amounts of swearing and less strategy. It’s like running 4 marathons with legs that don’t work and then playing a football game without pads, then an episode of being dragged down a street behind a mack track by a rope by your big toe, only to be dropped off a bridge into the ocean where you smack against the water so hard that you’re positive you broke your back instantly.
I think that’s a better description of what labor is like than say, hmm, what these unoriginal and mild mannered women had to say. Also, in the second half of the article, where women describe labor as NOT SO BAD, they are fucking liars. They are also evil and heartless people with no souls and probably have been trained to survive situations involving torture or they are all of German descent or they the type of people who consider dipping your foot in a tank of fish to get a pedicure as a suitable weekend pastime. Basically the worst people on Earth.
So let’s go over my day. Some women like to write about their birth story in a dreamy and magical way. I feel like they are leaving all of the torture parts out. I will do you no such favors. Enjoy what I like to call, The Day My Child Was Born/Tried to Kill Me
The day before I went into labor, I was back in the hospital for high blood pressure. The Germans wanted to induce, but since I was in the Filderklinik, a holistic, homeopathic, wellness promoting hospital, they were going to try it naturally. I chose this hospital because I wanted to have a calmer, quieter, more natural and less hospital-y type experience. Somehow my girl crush on my South African midwife, reading the book Your Best Birth and thinking I’m superwoman had convinced me I could do this with as little help and machines as possible. Idiot, I know.
To induce my labor, they hospital made me a castor oil cocktail, not realizing I have held the Queen of IBS title since I was 12. Therefore, my body laughed in the face of the castor oil and carried on. There was no way castor oil was going to launch me into contractions. A plate of cheese or a bowl of ice cream, maybe. Castor oil? Everything remained unmoved and I think I even heard my intestines laugh a bit. And so I waited overnight, watching Dead Poets Society, eating cookies and listening to Mr. H sleep loudly with his mouth open.
The next day, I went home for lunch, breaking out and angry that I had to stay in the hospital when nothing was happening. I ate a chicken salad sandwich, drank a ginger ale and played frisbee in the yard with the dogs. I only had 2 hours before they’d notice I was missing and so at 1230, off we went, back to the wellness jail with my mother, leaving Hr. H at home to nap, as we were one snide comment away from killing each other. The third trimester had made me an angry, fluid filled troll. A troll that wanted to fight her husband by kicking him in the crotch with her hobbit feet. He was best at home relaxing without me, as I figured I was going to be in the hospital doing nothing for days.
I was wrong. My contractions started at 1pm, just fifteen minutes after arriving back at the hospital. They came out of nowhere and I’ll have you know, there is no mistaking contractions. Just days before a friend had asked, so are you having contractions? To which I replied, Not sure yet. Maybe a few. No. I was not having a few. I was having sugar plum fairy dreams of pretty contractions that I assumed I was handling like a champ. 1pm and the first round of lightning hit me and didn’t stop shooting out of my ass and vagina for the next 16 hours. By 2pm I had demanded Chris get back to the hospital, and fast, as I was sure this was going to be quick and painful. I am a moron. I was only 2 cm dilated, at most.
By 4pm, I was positive I was going to die and could be found kneeling on my bed, face down in the propped up pillows in my bed. I looked like I was either trying to do yoga or getting ready to take it and either way, I was sweating and realizing that I was nowhere close to where I needed to be to have this baby, though he was on his way. There was no time to be terrified. I had no energy to be terrified. I could barely speak and I was probably only 2.5 cm dilated.
By 5pm I was agitated and could be found with my face pressed firmly against the concrete walls. We had run out of the ice supply we had brought to the hospital and now all of my juice, water and ginger ale were warm and that was pissing me off more than the actual labor was for two seconds. I thought I was going to pass out from overheating and the wall was the only cool place. I couldn’t jam my whole body up against it, as my stomach was in the way, but pressing my face up did the trick for about 12 seconds. The midwife was kindly rubbing a few pressure points and talking to me about the contractions but I had no energy to respond. Back on the bed I went, where I spent the next 45 minutes rocking back and forth like an emotionally damaged twit, shaking my head around, moaning no no no no no and wishing someone would knock me out and wake me up when it was all over. The pain was coming not so much in waves like everyone says, but more like a fucking tsunami. A tsunami with lightning bolts ripping through my taint and a tornado trying to escape my uterus. Sawing off everything below my hips with a butter knife might be much less painful, I reasoned, and I tried to think of other things less painful. Paper cuts had dropped below labor but stubbing my toe and jamming my finger in the car door remained slightly above this. I had to be realistic about my pain and my perspective about all this.
Just as I thought I couldn’t handle any more of this torture I signed myself up for, I felt a huge rushing sensation and, swoooooooooooooooosh. My water broke. I’ll have you know it’s not as theatrical as people make it out to be in stories or on tv. How they act all, Ooops, how inconvenient and embarrassing, look at me in Target out shopping and I’ve wet myself. I better get myself into the car and get to the hospital sometime in the next 5 hours, is beyond me. My water breaking was the greatest and most welcomed release of pressure on earth.
and by pool flooding, i mean dam. my vagina dam flooded is much more accurate.
I am positive I let out a wail that rivaled that of a dying cow and the vision was that of when a plastic pool pops and water, people and toys flood the damned yard in a second. The water seemed to keep coming and coming yet it must have been quicker than I had realized because before I could even take the time to try to smell if the water covering my velour pants smelled like vagina and death, the event was over.
Put me in the tub, I demanded, thinking it’d give me the same relaxed feeling it did in my last months of pregnancy when I was swollen, angry and ready to cut someone. It didn’t. What it did do is start the naked show I was about to give the entire labor floor and my mother. After 30 more minutes, I wanted out of the tub and positioned myself back against the wall, face first, feeling my legs shake uncontrollably, like those of an athlete doing two a days in the middle of August sun, yet not as athletic and I was only wearing a shirt.
The noises I was making were beginning to sound animalistic. I couldn’t keep up with the contractions and I could only say I don’t think I can do this, I don’t think I can do this, over and over again. Encouraging or touching me was a no no and punishable by death at this point and so everyone in the room tried being as agreeable and hands off as possible for this stretch.
Do you want something for pain? Just something little to help?asked the midwife, while she vigorously rubbed the pressure points in the bottom of my back.
Yes. Now. Please. I felt relieved, knowing something, anything, was coming to help me.
After a few minutes she returned with two pills the size of tylenol, which actually turned out to be ibuprofen, and encouraged me to insert them up my behind. I shook my head violently. Not only would I not be doing that, I didn’t know how to insert pills up my ass and I was not in the mood for a tutorial, either. My legs were barely holding up, though, and I was starting to half squat/half curtsey in the most awkward, half naked manner and so I gave the midwife the go ahead to do it for me. So there I was, now standing over the toilet, hands firmly placed on the wall like a drunk in a urinal, shaking like a damned leaf from legs down, pantless, as I felt the midwife drop off two pills in my ass. It was all a bit overwhelming and so just as the midwife said, keep in, keep in, I clenched my cheeks, turned my head, spit bile on the floor and jammed my face against the bathroom wall, cursing the Germans for their lack of ice and their preferred method of pill taking.
It was only 7 o’clock. I was only on hour 6 of 16. It was going to be a very long night.