The Birthing: Part Four

Time to play catch up before the culmination if you haven’t stopped by yet this week.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Abridged Version

HEADS UP. This one gets a little personal. Possibly gross, depending on your delicate sensibilities.

Sorry to say there is no Big A commentary on this one, if you’ve been enjoying his input. He said he had nothing to add and that this was my story even though he was THERE. And this being, in fact, HALF HIS KID, TOO. But whatever. He did say it looked like my vagina was blowing a bubble. There is that. But he didn’t want to tell y’all that. But I just did. I have zero shame.


Part Four

It’s Go Time.

I am in position. They are giving me instructions. I’m trying not to flip out. OB tells me that on the next contraction, we’ll do a practice round.

I practice push. And the OB’s eyes sort of bug out. Because apparently I don’t practice. I just $#^@ing go for it. And that practice push became my first real I’M HAVING A BABY WTF push.

One, two, three. four, five, six. No vacuum needed.

JUST THAT FAST. We are now the proud owner of a newborn.

Six minutes. Six pushes. Three contractions. Apparently a little poo.

AND A BABY.

Apologies if that’s anti-climactic. It is what it is. I can’t help that he whooshed on out of there.

Six pounds, nineteen inches, a tiny little thing with a big head and chubby cheeks.

He was healthy, pink, screaming and scored a 9 on that Apgar scale thing, already an overachiever. He also lacked that ugly newborn look and was NOT A CONEHEAD. He got bonus points for those things. I may have sent him back otherwise.

Just minutes old. Hard to believe that was living in me.

They put the cheesy, sticky thing on my chest, Big A cut the cord (they called the cord “chewy” and for whatever reason, that cracked my $^@& up). I was tired and confused and hungry and emotional and overwhelmed and I found it hard to open my eyes to look at him. This being that had been making my body his home for months was now a part of the real world. MY world. OUR world. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I had thought so much about what he would look like that I almost couldn’t look at him.

The nurse asked me if I had even seen him yet.

I said I had. Briefly. And then admitted babies freaked me out.

And they laughed at me. This was becoming a theme.

As the OB was stitching me up – because while there was no episiotomy, there was a significant tear that I definitely was not aware of because I really couldn’t feel feelings – she kept telling me she couldn’t believe how fast that went and that I was designed to have babies. And even in that moment I totally agreed with her. And was already thinking about the second one.

She took that opportunity to remind me that breastfeeding was not birth control.

So why do people complain about this!? Pregnancy, labor AND delivery were all a giant piece of cake! (Note: Dudes, I totally know I got off beyond easy.) I was willing to go through all that @#%^ again in a hot minute. I loved being pregnant. Loved. What I wasn’t sure about was actual motherhood. I was sure I wanted cake.

The nurse started to chime in, telling me that I did awesome and she wasn’t just saying that to be nice. I began to wonder if I had set a new hospital record or something. I’m sure I chuckled but I was still in a deep haze of confusion. I was also trying not to think about what a mangled mess my underworld probably was.

I asked if I could eat. Food was a definite priority here. I got laughed at again.

I happened to look down and was shocked to see the lack of the bump I had grown so fond of. Well, DUH. I was warned that I probably shouldn’t let the other new moms in recovery see me as I seemed to lack the I-was-just-pregnant look. I gave myself a mental pat on the back for being awesome and basked in all these accolades.

See, he got cuter already! Except for the crazy Vitamin K eye goo.

As everyone was finishing up their duties, I held Little A again before he was taken to the nursery and was told that the meds I was so delightfully enjoying would be cut and to take a few extra hits if necessary. So I did. You know, just in case. I was also given a menu and I gleefully selected the first food I would shove in my facehole in over 18 hours.

My desired food after 18 hours without? Chicken Alfredo, Onion Rings, Apple Pie, Coke. WHAT. DON’T JUDGE ME.

I can’t feel my legs, I have an ice pack in my underwear, I’m exhausted, I am ravenous, I am suddenly svelte again.

And I have a baby.

I JUST HAD A !@#%@ING BABY.

The Birthing: Part Two

Welcome to part two in the series of five. Just joining in? Catch up on the story or skip ahead to the quick and dirty abridged version. SPOILER ALERT! It ends with a baby.

Part One
Abridged Version


Part Two

Obviously, I had not gotten around to filling out my pre-registration paperwork, so Big A had to stay in the ER to handle that as I got wheeled up to Labor and Delivery. I have to tell the admitting nurse my life story. I’m really tired of telling it. Because, no, I don’t know how far apart my contractions are, because I’m not sure I’m having them. Yes, I am positive my water broke. No, I don’t have that paperwork. Yes, that is in fact my birthday. Big A says: the funny thing was that she really did already have everything filled out from her milking class a couple days earlier so I can’t really take credit for being awesome here…though I have many other attributes, such as my modesty, that do make me awesome.

The OB on duty comes to check out the nether regions. She confirms my water has broken, but I am only a centimeter dilated and I would not be leaving here without delivering.

WAY TO F’IN LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER, KID. YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A BED TO SLEEP IN. IT’S JUST A %^!# PILE OF WOOD. YOU SHOULD BE STAYING PUT FOR TWO MORE WEEKS.

We could have had veal for dinner.

Then this nice, sweet OB decides to continue to root around in my hooey and do what I come to find out is “stripping membranes”. It hurt like a #^@!$^ing bitch. I wanted to punch her square in the face. SQUARE IN HER PRETTY LITTLE CHIPPER FACE. You know that scene in City Slickers where he has to reach up into the cow to help deliver the calf and then he loses his watch? Yeah. I was the cow. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced. AND SHE DIDN’T EVEN WARN ME.

YOU HAVE TO WARN SOMEONE IF YOU’RE GOING TO ROTO ROOTER THEM. WTF. Big A says: I’m pretty sure she did warn you. She said something like “hold on a sec, hon.” That seems legit.

At this point, aside from the unannounced hooey activity, I am uncomfortable but not in pain. I get told to rest as much as possible and that we’ll see how far I progress on my own. Big A crashes on the couch, I try to sleep but it’s pretty much impossible. I’m concerned, I’m perturbed, I’m excited, I’m scared, I’m asleep: says Big A. I’m so not ready for this.

A few hours in, around 4am, the pain starts to come mostly in my back. I get offered a drug; I take it, obviously. I have zero intention of being one of those natural birthers that are hyped up on TLC on weekday afternoons. NO %^!@ THANK YOU. I sleep, but it’s that sleep that makes you more tired than if you just stayed awake. Around 8 am, a new OB appears, tells me she’s 99% sure I’ll have the baby on her watch. I freak out. She checks my progress (slim to none on that front) and I hold my breath hoping she doesn’t try to deliver a bovine from me like the other one. She doesn’t. I like her already.

They start me on Pitocin to speed up the process to avoid infection. I have heard nasty things about this stuff, like how it intensifies the contractions. They were all true.

Holy Shit. THAT’S what contractions feel like? What the hell was I feeling for the past ten hours? I felt all of my core muscles clenching and tightening at once, then stabbed with a knife a few thousand times for about 30 seconds. So, those who have yet to experience this shit, you deal with intense pain for a few seconds. And then you’re fine. And you forget. And think to yourself, hey, that wasn’t so bad. And then like two minutes later OR LESS another one comes and you go all WHAT THE F@#$ IS HAPPENING TO ME WHY DOES THIS BABY HATE ME.

Let’s recap:

This isn’t so bad.

WTF IS HAPPENENING TO ME JEBUS CHRIST.

I don’t know why people complain about labor so much.

HOLY SHIT CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG.

My pain level isn’t so bad right now, I’d give it a 3/10.

MAKE THAT A M^&!$#^%ING SEVEN AND A HALF AND LET’S TALK ABOUT DRUGS.

And so on.

Eventually we really did get to talk about drugs. The good ones.

I’ve watched enough TV and heard enough stories that I had to ask if there was any point where the epidural would be too early. Because we’ve all heard the tale of the woman who gets the thing too early and then winds up feeling everything and I didn’t want that to happen. I didn’t want to feel anything. I didn’t even want to feel feelings. I was assured it was not too early. I’m all in.

Around 11 am the angel of an anesthesiologist comes in, explains the rules, I sign without reading the terms and conditions because I’ve learned nothing from South Park and we get this s%&t on the road.

She asks me what my tramp stamp means and I can’t even remember. I told her it’s been there so long I didn’t even remember I had it. They laugh at me. I get the DON’T F%^^&ING MOVE FOR ANYTHING lecture. I realize that whatever she is doing is less painful than giving birth to the calf. But it is pretty damn unpleasant.

And then she hits a nerve and my leg twitches and shoots out and I start laughing because that feeling was so involuntary it was like a knee cap reflex test but 178 times more intense and then I apologize profusely because she told me NOT TO F%&@ING MOVE (though maybe not in those exact words) and I moved and now I think I’m paralyzed.

But I can still feel feelings. SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT. They had to run another line because something hit something and the whatever wasn’t clear and I don’t know what the shit they were discussing at this point because the another contraction was starting. So she put in another line. It lacked the spastic leg twitch but she seemed really proud of herself. And then they asked me a question.

“Did you feel that contraction?”

“….no.”  I thought it was a trick question.

“What about that one?”

Big A laughed at my “dead feet”. Check those things out. And those sausage toes.

“Was there seriously a contraction?” I was convinced they were bullshitting me and it’s not very nice to play mind games on a chick in labor so I was about to THROW DOWN and then I realized they were serious and I wanted them both to be my best friends.

Now I have two new best friends, I can’t feel my legs and I feel like a m^&#!F%^#^ing rock star.

GAME ON.

Nightmare on Newborn Street

We brought Little A home on a Wednesday. Each of us wound up taking a nap with him on our chests in the following 48 hours. On Friday night, those crazy mid-Atlantic storms knocked our power out. The house was still cool enough to sleep upstairs and Little A was still sleeping in our room.

In the middle of that night, who knows what time since our clocks were out, I wake up. In a panic, startled, worried, frantic. Possibly a wee bit dazed from the Percocet. I suddenly realize that there is a lifeless, unmoving mass in my arms. Roughly 19 inches long. And I flip the $#&* out. FLIP THE #^&!@$#%! OUT.

I bolt out of bed, as easily as I could, which was not easy since I was only five days into recovery and we have a wicked high bed, and run to turn the lights on, which do not work. I am in total hysterics, thinking I have just SIDSed my own newborn. I cry. I bawl. I am freaking out. FREAKING THE !#$^!~ OUT.

CONFESSION TIME. I am 31 years old and I sleep with a stuffed animal. A sea otter, to be specific, though in the past it has also been a teddy bear, a gorilla and a mashed up pillow named Huggy that I stole from my husband in college. Basically, I have to sleep with my arms wrapped around something otherwise I sleep like total crap.

The Furry Culprit

Now you know.

And it was at this point, after a minute of sheer panic, that I realize the lifeless thing I am holding has a shitton of fur. And a leather nose. And plastic eyes. And a starfish.

But I need visual confirmation. I’m still in a frenzy. And I can’t even find the actual baby. I need light for that. I’m not sure I’m breathing.

I try to chill out, take some deep breaths, stumble over to my husband’s side of the bed where I stub my toe on the Rock ‘n Play thingy and hear the gentle snores of a live baby. I am still unconvinced so I reach down to poke it and I am pretty sure I stabbed him in the eye. I am still cradling the stuffed otter I have suffocated, so I give it a squish and mash its face around to make sure it is in fact a stuffed cotton sea creature.

Finally convinced everything was fine, I tried to go back to sleep. It must have taken at least 45 minutes for my heart to stop racing. It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt and I feel a lot of feelings.

One would think that after said traumatic event, I would just not sleep with the otter.

But I can’t NOT sleep with the otter. And that awake-with-a-sudden-panic feeling? Still happens. Every night. At least once. Sometimes I think it’s lifeless, sometimes the crying through the baby monitor makes me think the baby is in the bed. Though I convince myself almost instantaneously that I have only suffocated the otter, it is not pleasant to startle oneself awake every night thinking such horrendous thoughts.

But the choice between zero comfortable sleep or sleeping with that grimy ocean beast and panic for 15 seconds a night is somehow an easy choice.

It doesn’t hurt that otters, even stuffed ones, may be the only thing that can rival the cuteness of my own spawn.

And I Get to Keep Him?

So it’s been a week, but Little A, the !@$#! Baby, arrived on June 25! Unlike his procrastinator parents, he decided to not follow my instructions and came nearly two weeks early. Between the drugs and the crying and the diapers and the feedings and the 60+ hour power outage and heat wave, I just couldn’t sit down long enough to post this. But look at this face, how am I supposed to get anything done?!

In case you were not privy to the live updates, here’s how it all went down on social media:

Stay tuned, there is plenty more to come. It’s going to be a wild ride!

You Breast Be Believing

I still know shitall about babies. I also hate going to classes. I am much more of a hands-on type learner – sitting and listening to someone spew information isn’t generally the best way for me to absorb facts. That’s why I opted to nap instead of going to class during the college years.

That being said, my mom was adamant that we take classes. Birthing, Childcare, Breastfeeding. I refused the birthing class, because it seemed to be geared toward natural birth, which I will have no part of. Childcare we probably could have used, but my husband refused to go, citing “HOW HARD CAN IT BE” plus it was like seven nights or an entire weekend and who has time for that shit. But mom was going to ignore my phone calls until I booked something.

I’m not fully comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding, but I figured I would attempt it, mainly for the health benefits. Also to save to $1300 a week formula apparently costs (which may be a slight exaggeration). I figured I would just wing it, like everything else in this adventure thus far, shove the boob in the kid’s face and watch TV while he had at it. That plan of action did not appease Grandma. So I registered for a class.

Breastfeeding 101. $20. Game on.

June 21, 2012

After circling the hospital, making sure I know where the ER entrance is so I know where to go on Dooms Day, telling the fetus that this is his birthplace and he better cooperate, then freaking out because HOLY SHIT I’VE NEVER ACTUALLY STAYED IN A HOSPITAL BEFORE AND NOW I AM STARING ONE DOWN IN THE FACE, I find the Medical Wellness building, park my gas guzzler crossover SUV in the hybrid row and head inside.

I’m about five minutes early, which never happens, so I panic.

I get told to “pick up the papers on the back table” and “grab the baby of your choice from the bucket”.

IS THAT HOW IT WORKS? GRAB A BABY FROM A BUCKET? Seems legit.

Bucket Baby

They live in buckets. They mostly come out at night. Mostly.

The woman who told me to do these things is the custodian who is finishing setting up the room.  A few additional people stream in, get told to grab a Bucket Baby and that will give the latecomers (not me for once!) a few more minutes. There end up being about 25 of us, five husbands, all of whom are squirmy and clearly not happy. Everyone is awkward, with their Bucket Babies laid out on the table. And crazy old custodian is just hanging out in the front of the room.

Maybe she ISN’T the custodian.

I have concerns.

Nothing against crazy looking ladies, but this woman was wearing black velcro Reeboks, navy blue Dickies work pants and a yellow t-shirt. Grey thin hair tied into the tightest, wormiest bun I’ve ever seen at the top of her head. Glasses. Hearing aids. Looks a little rough, nothing like the gentle, soft-spoken lactation consultant I had envisioned. More like a lunch lady.

She starts the class. Indeed, she is the lactation consultant. But she’s been teaching this shit for over 25 years, so I’ll give her a chance.

It was one thing when she started fondling the fabric boob. Which for some reason had a pull cord like those talking dolls used to have and I kept waiting for her to pull it to see what it did. A talking boob may have salvaged my night. But alas, no pull cord pulled. And I get that she HAD to fondle the fabric boob to show us how to do things correctly. But is was when she starting fondling her own boob, which was down around her belly button, that I started to lose my shit.

And it all went downhill from there. The “giggle loop” had begun. You know, those times where you start laughing at inappropriate moments and can’t stop and everything is exponentially MORE hilarious and you cannot. stop. laughing. Even if it’s not actually funny? Yeah. That was me. In the corner of the horseshoe of tables. Biting my lip, ducking my head, jotting down “notes” so as to not make eye contact, eyes tearing up, coughing, etc.

Everything was funny.

We were told to make baby open wide before latching. I started picturing large mouth bass. Being baited with boobs.

She passed around a book she recommended, but she “thought” there was more recent 3rd edition you could look for. The book jacket proudly proclaimed Fully updated for the 90’s!.

She said “consimated” instead of constipated.

One of the husbands (comfortably seating backwards in his chair, WHAT UP UNCLE JESSE) started a question crusade, at one point asking if they could “train the baby like Pavlov’s dog” to eat when certain music was played.

Everything was “as long as (event) is happening with baby, he should be “basically fine”. BASICALLY. FINE. Everything would be “basically fine”. AWESOME.

She demonstrated nipple shields. Over clothes, thankfully, but still necessitating a firm PICKING UP of herself.

IF THIS IS WHAT BREASTFEEDING DOES TO YOUR DIRTY PILLOWS I DON’T THINK I WANT TO PLAY.

That was when I had to excuse myself to use the restroom.

When I returned it was Bucket Baby time. We were shown how to properly do two of the 38 possible hold positions. Little A was not a fan of Bucket Baby and kicked him repeatedly, claiming his territory. Bucket Baby remained stoic. I did not need corrections on my holds. NAILED IT. You proud, mom?

We then got to watch a video that was produced around 1993. I’m talking Powerpoint-esque gradient title screen, crocheted vests with long skits, spiral perms, floral leggings when they were originally in style, Cosby sweaters. It was like Full House Goes to the Doctor with bonus boob footage.  Now, I’m sure the techniques and all are still the same, but it’s been 20+ years. This is a world-renowned medical organization. UPDATE YOUR SHIT. At least once a decade.

Custodian Breast Expert moved on after to the video and started discussing pumping and returning to work – which actually did provide some answers I was seeking – she rambled about correctly sizing the pump to your nipple. Some women have ginormous nipples, according to the size of some of those hole diameters. And it took everything in me not to look down my dress and examine my own set. I know so little about my chest, evidently.

I even asked a question! Of course, it was about alcohol.

Was it a waste of time? Not totally, though I did get home past my bedtime. I was amused, so there is that. And I went in knowing nothing and at least I feel like I know SOMETHING now. But will I be requesting that my mom reimburse me that $2o fee?

You bet your sweet boobies.