So a month ago I had a baby. The parasite that hung out inside my midregion for 41 weeks decided to make her grand entrance. And I’m now positive that I’ve given birth to the modern version of Helen of Troy.
And I feel that I’ve taken enough of a post-partum break from blogging, so here you go. Because some of you have asked, I will give you input as to how the 19 hours of birth went. But because I was drugged for most of it, first with a narcotic called Staidol (to take the edge off the contractions) and then later with an epidural, I only remember snippets of it. Here’s what I remember:
*Deciding, around the 4th hour of contractions, that I was looking at this childbirth thing all wrong. It occurred to me that the reasons that I’d had earlier for wanting a pain-med-free birth were not nearly as important as they used to be. I wanted to keep the meds out of the baby’s system? If this is hurting me this much, I figure maybe it’s more traumatic for her: her house is giving itself an exorcism–I imagine she may need the drugs! The personal challenge of seeing if I could handle the pain? This suddenly seemed like the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. In a matter of seconds, I decided that even though I hadn’t reached the limit of my pain tolerance, there was no logical reason to see what that limit was. And, holy string cheese, there were drugs available to help me keep myself in the dark about that limit! I felt I’d grown, matured as a person.
*Being forced to give Clayton the epidural safeword that we’d agreed on three times in a row before he’d agree to tell the nurse I wanted one. Back decades ago, when I had wanted a pain-med-free childbirth, I warned him that I’d likely weaken in my resolve once the pain really kicked in and would need him to push me to stick to my decision. And I made him promise not to give in to my pleas for meds when it got rough. So Clayton and I agreed on a safe word that I’d have to repeat 3 times before he’d call the nurse. Clayton was like, “What’s one word you’re guaranteed not to say during childbirth?” And without thinking, I was like, “Blueberries.” And thus a safe word was born.
*Talking to the nurse after the Staidol had kicked in, which made proceeded to send me through the roof. I’m talking, see Smurfs on the ceiling kind of high. So when the nurse walked in and asked me how I was doing, with my eyes closed I was like, “Oh, I’m FABULOUS! But I’m sorry, I can’t look at you right now.” When she asked why, I told her, “Because I don’t have any eyelids.” Because this made perfect sense to me at the time.
*Somewhere in the epidural haze (because I’m really sensitive to drugs), waking up for approximately 3 seconds to insist to my family that they should go to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then falling back asleep.
*The 2 hours of pushing that absolutely kicked my ass. During which I remember feeling better by chanting a choice curse word under my breath for about 15 min. And reaching the end of my endurance, after about an hour, and declaring, “That’s it! I’m done!” The nurse kept telling me, “You’re the only one who can get her out now,” and I remember thinking that we only live a half hour away–surely we can call SOMEONE to run home and grab our vacuum cleaner to suck her out. I also told the nurses that I was having a severe case of buyer’s remorse. For some reason they thought I was kidding. (Clayton swears I also hollered out, “I see God!” but I don’t recall this and question his memory.)
*Moments after she came out, I apparently informed the nurses, “Holy crap. That felt like the Biggest. Poo. Ever.” In hindsight, this was probably TMI…
Since she’s busted out of solitary, to my very huge surprise, most days with her are amazing. EVEN with the crying and the diapers and the poo that’s in the diapers that, for some reason, is now smelling like Cream of Chicken soup (don’t worry…this baffles me too). But it’s crazy how interesting this creature can be when she really doesn’t even DO anything. I’m captivated just watching her figure out how to control her facial expressions. And I have a near-compulsive need to want to hold her all the time, even when she’s sleeping. And reveling in what her hair smells like and how her skin is so soft my fingertips are almost too rough to feel it. It’s crazy–I’m totally hypnotized.
I will admit that there are some days, like a few days ago, where all I want to do is catch a few hours’ worth of naptime and she, knowing this and being spiteful like her Father, refuses to sleep in her co-sleeper so that I can. So, I spend the day tired and frustrated, trying to limit the curse words I say when she starts bawling for the 522nd time in a 10 minute span. I can tell, on those days, that she’s frustrated, too, though and I do feel bad for her. On those days, the crying’s because Mom can’t get anything right: the body language says, “I’m hungry,” but Mom can’t get the feeding position right, and actually, it’s because she’s overtired too (probably because SOMEONE was up screaming all morning instead of napping…that must REALLY suck) and can’t express it and Mom keeps trying to shove a boob in her face. I’d get ticked and scream, too, honestly. And all her screaming seems to convey is, “Mommy, you’re a dumbass.”
Thankfully, in the month she’s been around, we’ve only had about 2 days like this. Otherwise I think I’d still be locked in a closet crying.
(Just kidding…I didn’t really lock the door.)
Ok, fine. There haven’t been any closet-crying moments YET. But I’m sure they’re coming. And in the meantime, I will continue to enjoy how my baby’s hair smells. And laugh at the way she snorts when she gets SUPER angry.