The Birthing: Part Five (Epilogue)

Seriously. You’ve honestly gone four days without coming here? I thought you liked me.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Part Five

After that amazing first post-partum hospital meal (only slightly exaggerated due to intense hunger – the food was actually pretty good!) I get transferred to recovery and am told I have to be able to get out of bed within four hours otherwise I would be threatened with a catheter. Which was totally fine when I was in epidural land, not so much now.

Due to fear, I waited until the last possible second to make the journey out of bed and to the bathroom. The aide came to assist. Now. This aide was a big Jamaican woman with a thick accent. Bubbly, funny, loud, almost over the top. She led me into the bathroom and ordered me around. Big A says: Before that awesome Jamaican tech came in, the other nurse said “if you don’t pee now, I’m putting in a catheter”. That plan sounded horrible.

She told me to go. So I went. Even though I was terrified.

And then it took 20 minutes just to go to the bathroom.

She handed me a spray bottle so I could hose myself off because that’s just what you do I guess. I did so, hesitantly and gingerly. Because, you know, POSSIBILITY OF PAIN. And I had no idea what the @$^! was going on down there. She saw how I was doing it, scolded me, snatched that bottle from me, refilled it and then went to town. Went. To. Town.

THERE IS A BIG JAMAICAN LADY POWERFULLY HOSING OFF MY PRIVATEST OF PARTS.

“You gotta use hot water, hot as you can stand. You gotta SPRAY it down, you gotta heal up fast.”

I could not stop laughing.

She showed me how I needed to take care of everything, from the wash off to the butt baths to the preventative measures. It seriously was a process to go to the bathroom now. I felt like I was building sandwiches in my underpants with giant pads as the bread and ice packs and/or Tucks pads like cold cuts. You won’t be eating a sandwich for lunch now. Sorry.

Here’s the thing. Your privatest of parts? Not so private during these times. There are numerous people watching you deliver, the nurses are checking your under regions for excess bleeding, the lactation consultants are feeling you up, your boobs are constantly out, you must have zero shame to make it through unscathed.

Luckily, I had practice from a few Spring Breaks in college so I wasn’t fazed.

KIDDING, MOM! Big A says: No, but really.

Anyway.  If you’re pregnant with your first and reading this, take heed. Total strangers, and lots of them, will be seeing various parts of your body and you best be okay with that.

The rest of my two days in the joint were a blur. It included a fair amount of napping, a lot of pain from nursing, drugs delivered on demand and being peed on. And learning what newborns are all about.

You can’t see my face but I’m certain it looked petrified.

Little A stayed in our room for the majority of the time, with the exception of the last night when he stayed down in the nursery to be under the stronger bilirubin tanning lights. I slept like a champ that night, skipping two nursing sessions since he was on a strict 30 minute limit to be out of the lights and by the time he would latch, time was up and he would have to supplement anyway. So I opted for sleep. And sleep was good. Besides, when the nurse came to wake me for those sessions she phrased it as such: “do you want to come nurse or keep sleeping?” Obviously sleep was the answer. If she had known me at all, she would have made it a demand, not a choice. Big A spent most of that night at our house. Putting the crib together.

While I was sort of hoping that they would keep us an extra day for some reason, they didn’t and we were released into the wild unknown Wednesday morning. ON OUR OWN. UNASSISTED. FULLY RESPONSIBLE. Big A says: it really wasn’t THAT big of a deal. I’ve been around little kids for a bulk of my life. I even babysat my first infant at 9. Then I remembered that my wife, my partner in this adventure, had just changed her FIRST DIAPER!! Ish just got real for her.

On the way out, there was another mother being released and I looked at my diminutive six pounder and then at her normal sized eight pounder and back at my six pounder and then up to the skies to say thank you to whomever was listening.

Plus her baby? Typical ugly squishy looking baby. Not to be totally mean but since I am, it was truly an unfortunate looking child. Once again, I thanked above. Then wondered if my kid was really as cute as I thought or if I had mommy blinders already.

I decided he was epically cute. The universe loves me.

So let’s recap.

Water breaks. I get an epidural. I push for a few minutes. I have a baby.

I wanted to end this post with further insight into my feelings on this whole experience, but to be honest, I am just not ready for that yet. I am also slightly overemotional already because the Olympics tend to do that to me and that #@%! P&G commercial with the moms viewing the athletes as children? Gets me every @!#%! time. It would have gotten to me without having spawn, but now that I DO have spawn, HOLY CRAP. I have to avert my eyes. It doesn’t help that they run it all the damn time. Between that and the Michael Phelps focused Visa commercials narrated by Morgan Freeman, I am a wreck. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MICHAEL PHELPS.

ANYWAY. So ends the story of how Little A arrived into this crazy world. Now that he’s here, to stay apparently, it’s hard to remember how life was without him.

His story, though? Our story? That’s just beginning.

Welcome to the crazy, little dude.

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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.

Pregnant by Numbers

If you are bitter about any portion your own pregnancy, I would suggest you not read the following numerical statistics of my pre and post natal adventures. You may hate me.

Pounds gained: 25

Pounds lost, three weeks post-partum: 19

Stretch marks: 0

Peed my pants: 0

Peed while sneezing (I maintain this doesn’t count as actually peeing pants): 1

Braxton Hicks that I was aware of: 5

Pineapples eaten: 11

Ugly cries: 5

Weeks able to paint toenails: 38

Weeks rocking the heels: 32

Weeks before resorting to majority maternity wear: 22

Pregnant days total: 269

Times vomited: 0

Times horked while brushing teeth: 2

Tums consumed: 200+

Hours in labor: 16

Minutes pushed: 6

Pounds of baby: 6

Inches of baby: 19

Apgar score: 9

Minutes elapsed before I considered doing this again:  60

Seriously.

Crib Stains and Tear Stains

This post was written the evening of June 24 and scheduled to be posted June 25, but, well, this happened instead.

 

Little A is less than two weeks away and our nursery is just starting to take shape. Why, yes, we ARE a family of procrastinators! But it was a process to even get to this point. We are utilizing our old (ancient) bedroom dressers for the kid’s dressers, meaning we couldn’t move them into the kid’s room until we picked out our new furniture and had said furniture delivered.

In the meantime, I found a crib online that appeared to match the color of the now nursery furniture, ordered that shit up and we were on our way. I knew the crib color wouldn’t match exact with the dresser, bench and bookshelf in the room – since none of those matched each other anyway – but it looked to be in the same color family so it would suffice.

Old furniture was moved on Thursday. Crib came Friday. Our new furniture came Saturday. Big A cleaned out the nursery on Sunday. Me, being all antsy in the pantsy, was dying to get the crib out of the garage (and away from the keg of Yuengling from the weekend full of shenanigans, but that’s another story) and unpacked so I could verify the color selection.

The crib made the journey. I held my breath as the tape was cut and the ties released. Big A flipped it open. I frowned. It was less “light 1980’s Oak” and more “rich 2000’s Cherry”. Not. The. Same. Not even close. I mentioned, several times, that it was Amazon and free return shipping was available.

BUT THERE IS NO TIME FOR THAT. But I tried.

Big A stood firm. He tried to tell me that it was fine. BUT IT WASN’T. Besides, he is color and design impaired. I didn’t like the fabric with it, it did not look at all like the color online, I was frustrated, I wanted the room done, I was so excited to have this KEY PIECE of the nursery and I was sitting there, on the floor, totally disappointed.

I tried to fight it. I did. I tried wicked hard. I closed my eyes and tried to find my happy place. I knew it was not the end of the world. I tried to be zen about it. But the lip quivered. And the breaths started to catch. Then the tears welled up.

And I cried. And laughed. And cried. And laughed.

I knew I was being ridiculous. But I couldn’t stop. Big A laughed at me. I laughed at me. My mascara ran. I told Big A to shut up. I couldn’t help it. I was crying over a crib.

He left the room. Probably to roll his eyes and find something to shut me up. He returned with sandpaper. He RUBBED IT ON THE CRIB.

I accused him of doing that so he wouldn’t have to send it back. Which was probably true, to a point.

But when he sanded it…it looked closer to the 1980’s Oak I desired. Somehow, it removed the red tone, distressed it enough and looked better. Not perfect, but better.

And he asked if I liked it. I said that I did, but it wasn’t enough to warrant the time that it would take. I mean, cribs have a lot of slats and pieces and whatevers. It would take a fair amount of sanding.

He said he would do it for me.

HE SAID HE WOULD DO THAT FOR ME.

I didn’t care if it was only because then he wouldn’t have to repack it all and send it back or if it was just to shut me up, but he was going to take the time to sand the shit out of that crib.

So, of course, I started crying all over again. Harder. Still laughing. But crying harder. Fat, happy crocodile tears.

And then about an hour later I went to hug him and thank him and I started crying again. I CAN’T HELP IT.

Oh, hormones.

 

Epilogue

Big A spent several hours away from the hospital in order to actually PUT the crib together so @#%$! baby would have a place to sleep upon discharge. He sanded the crap out of a hidden piece of it, only to discover it actually wasn’t going to work. But I am so over it now. More important things to worry about and all.