This time of year I have flashbacks…triple flashbacks. You see, all three of my kids were born in the month of July each two years apart. This may come as a huge shock to most of you, but I made a horrible pregnant person. Think of the most swollen, cranky thing imaginable then throw in real fun stuff like hyperemesis gravidarum (that’s a fancy medical term for excessive vomiting in pregnancy which required multiple hospitalizations, daily medication, and even an IV at home. Oh, and that was all three pregnancies). With all three kids I think I endured three of the hottest Spring and Summer months in the history of the Earth. Anything that came close to a pregnancy “glow” for me was either because I had just puked or because of my size and resulting persistent sweating. That’s really the abbreviated version too (I also had bleeding, back problems, gestational diabetes, and some blood pressure issues among others ailments).
It should come as no surprise that I was counting down the days to delivery. Nine months had never felt longer, and at times I felt so bad that I took it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day until my time had come. As each pregnancy came to a close and labor commenced, however, I noticed a progression of emotions.
1. Denial: Labor begins. You would think I’d be popping the figurative champagne, be jumping up and down (if not for my massive size & the laws of gravity), and would have been running to the Maternity Ward, but that wasn’t the case. With both of the boys my water broke at home yet there was still some doubt. Was I ready for this? Can I do this? Am I really ready to pass a human through my body? This can’t be happening already?
2. Anger: It may seem pretty cliche or like something right out of a sitcom’s delivery room, but with each of my kids I had some fleeting anger towards that man who did this to me. I looked at him envious as I labored through, well labor, and he sat in the chair next to me and ate Combos. Then came time to physically push a human from my body and he was going to coach me? Oh, no thank you. You may have gotten me into this, but I’m clearly the one getting me out of it.
3. Bargaining: The first time around the bargaining began just as the nurse told me it was time to start pushing. Should I be having a C-Section? I’m really not sure the physics of the situation are correct. I’d been doing some calculations and thought there was no way this 8lb baby was going to fit through the allocated exit. I desperately wanted to trade places with anyone in that room and would have given just about anything to be able to do it. I asked the nurse, the doctor, and anyone who came within thirty feet of my room if I should actually be signed up for a C-Section? Someone call the OR and get me on that list God dammit! Or call someone who can help me! I’ll give you anything you want! Name your price!
As the baby crowned I remember thinking, “With all our technology how is there only two ways for this kid to get out of my body: ripping through my vagina or having this
butcher doctor slice it out of my abdomen? Is teleporting a reality? Can’t we beam it out? Someone call Captain Kirk before this kid does what I think he’s going to do….”
4. Depression: Oh, and he did do exactly what I thought he was going to do. Yes, he made it through the allocated exit but not without leaving me ripped to shreds. At the last minute my doctor was called for an emergency and I was left with Doogie Howser, OBGYN. Moments before giving birth I yelled out to the twelve year old standing between my legs, “I want an episiotomy!” to which I got the reply, “I don’t like doing those unless necessary.” Just as I began to give a rundown of the calculations I have been doing of the size of the baby, my estimations of the exit, I was hit with the final contractions and Joey was born.
As they cleaned him off and were checking him just a few feet away, the doctor proceeded to give me 18 stitches to hold my insides in, and I was overwhelmed to say the least. It felt like I was ripped in half. After the “doctor” sewed me up a nurse held a mirror and made me look at the remnants of my lady parts. Was she a sadist? In retrospect, I think so. At the time I believed her reasoning which was that I needed to see where the stitches were and what it looked like so if I had a problem , I would have a reference. Mustering all the courage I had left, I peered down at the reflection of the monster in the mirror and felt a sense of deep despair. My whoo-whoo now looked like a what-what…
5. Acceptance: Just as I was about to throw in the towel, they brought my baby over and placed him in my arms. It was at that moment, looking at my new born son, becoming a Mother, I forgot about all the pain and even that my body was split in half. It was never more apparent that all the sickness of the last nine months, all the doubt, all the worrying, all the pain, was worth it for this very moment. Truly, nothing worth having comes without sacrifice and even after all my troubles, I’d never trade a second of it for any of my kids.
Can you relate? What kind of experience did you have? Was it a breeze or a nightmare? Leave me a comment!