recently you might have read about jenny's crazy accidental home birth...that went smooth as butter and there was joy and glee and maybe a little afterbirth accident or placenta gloppage here and there but overall it sounded pretty fucking amazing and beautiful and the stuff that makes you sing the lord's name and hug everyone around you..oh..and it happened on christmas eve and she is named evelyn. perfect, i know. now, before you think i am all jaded and bitter (which i am but more on that later) i also know that she ruined a perfectly good chiang mai dragon covered ottoman and that she was like 2 weeks overdue or some such horribleness. that is no fun i am sure. all big and uncomfortable for like ever. but let's define big...i wonder just how big jenny was? she is pretty much a slip of a girl anyway, so i wonder if she even got all that big. me? i weighed 200 pounds at delivery. normally i am about 135. my kid also dropped at 8 lbs. 15 oz. so yes, most of that weight was just me. fat, old me. and it took me nearly 4 years to get it all off. not 9 months as they say. you know, 9 months on, 9 months off...HA that's fucking bullshit is what that is. maybe if you are 25 or under, but i was 35 years old when i had fiona. and that shit doesn't come off so easy when you reach 30 and up. and don't believe all that angelina jolie bullcrap about "i breast feed so the weight just slides off".
bitch, i breast fed for THREE YEARS! all that does is make you eat more bc your fucking hungry as balls all the time. no angie, what you are is anorexic. don't bullshit me q-tip!!
ok ok ok...before i get carried away let me get to my point....today is the birthday of my dearest littlest five year old, fiona honey anderson. and i was asked by a fellow blogger to tell my tale. my tale of pregnancy and delivery and all that it was for me. she shall remain nameless at this time for fear my story will make you hate her for having me tell it. i think i understand...i mean..she is young..married, ready for children in the near future and wants to know from someone who never sugar coats anything on what being pregnant and giving birth is really like...you know...for the majority. b/c no matter how amazing and beautiful jenny's story is...it. is. NOT. the norm. nope. and everybody is different. if u are skinny now you will most likely be a skinny pregnant lady. i was never skinny. i was (am) curvy. i have boobs and a tummy. pretty small butt, good legs. kind of sausage-y arms...and a few chins if the angle is right. and that was before i was pregs. now it's still that way...just gravity has moved in and said...w'sup. so whatever your body looks like now...just amplify it in your mind and that's what pregnancy will do to it. pregnancy changes your body. i mean really changes it. you become more aware. more in tune to things. like taste and smell. in fact for most, things that used to smell awesome will now smell like the inside of a rotten vagina. powerful and strong like. make you leave the room, turn u into a raving bitch. as in, "mike...you cannot cook that tonight or for the next 6 months bc if you do i am liable to fucking chop your torso in half with a hatchet and then throw up all over your two halves". i remember not being able to walk through the produce section at whole foods without wanting to puke for 3 or 4 months. which is how long a normal bout of "morning sickness" lasts. but my friend anna had that shit for her. entire. pregnancy. srsly. she burst blood vessel's in her neck and shit from excessive vomiting. for 8 months. that is just evil..and would make you question the existence of god. mine lasted for 4 months. in fact it's not uncommon for you to lose weight in the first 3 months of pregnancy. i was so sick all i could do was lay on the couch and watch alias on dvd, all 3 seasons. and then it happened...i got hungry. it was joyous. i wanted...no...needed mashed potatoes! i made them from scratch. along with a gravy from scratch. it was so fucking good i am certain that i heard angels. and the rest is history. i became an eating machine. for the first time in a very long time i did not care at all about what i was putting in my mouth. i ate everything. i went from an all organic diet to, someone please go thru the fucking mcdonalds drive through and get me 1 of everything. NOW!!!!!!!!!!! and while your at it why don't u hit up chick fil a?
5 months later i weighed 200 lbs. so...be careful.
9 months and counting...
before i go any further its only fair to point out that i am a type 1 diabetic. have been since i was 29 years old. so i was what you call a "high risk pregnancy" that and that i was 35 at the time of her birth. so double risk. all this means is that your chances increase of having some kind of birth defect and/or a big baby. (diabetics have big babies all the time- but so do normal people so whatever) i was very closely monitored all thru my pregnancy. as in ultra sounds and stress tests every week. each and every time my results came back with applause and back pats, "wow, this is one healthy baby and you are doing great!! i can't tell u how many times we see such tragedy with a diabetic mother...". the doctors love to shove fear and authoritativeness in your face.
anyway...my pregnancy was rock solid. no complications and her size was right on track.
we ran into a little difference of opinion around 8 months in. the doctor said he would induce me at 39 weeks and i said the fuck you will. this baby will come when she is damn good and ready. i mean why induce if there are no complications...if the baby is doing great...if she's not too big..etc.. he said then i won't deliver the baby. and i was all...is this guy for real? can he do that?!? we agreed that i would go my full 40 weeks and then induce no matter what. she wasn't coming any time soon when 40 weeks rolled around, no dilation no nuthin! so on wednesday december 29th at 10 pm the hospital called and said, "we have a room ready for you". i remember we were at home watching anchorman. weird. but it's something i will never forget. just like my mom tells me that when she went into labor with me she was watching tiny tim sing tiptoe thru the tulips on johnny carson.
when we arrived they took us to our room and said they'd be back with the cervidil. for those that don't know, that's a drug that they insert into your vagina that hastens labor...at the very least it ripens your cervix. ripens your cervix. like a brown banana? anyway.. this is given in the evening so that in the morning you will be ready for bigger and better things..
next up....pitocin. this basically taps your baby on the face and says..."c'mon it's showtime!"
they just keep increasing the dose if they have to. and they had to. sometime in the afternoon on thursday (i lost all track of time b/c i made mike cover the clock on the wall with a shirt. i didn't want to know at this point what time it was, how long i had been in pain, how much longer i was going to be in pain etc..)i asked for an epidural.
ok, so no secret that having a baby is painful. i knew it would be. even though for 6months i was practicing the hypno birth cd's. lots of meditation and visualization. at the end of the day a whole lot of bullshit too. when that pain comes on no amount of breathing and visualizing is going to make it less painful. but here's the thing that i think will put it in perspective for you..
for me it wasn't so much about the pain...which when it comes on is like nothing you could have imagined and nothing anyone could ever say to you to try and explain it will help you to understand...but about how long will i have to endure it?? let me back up a bit...i wanted to have a natural childbirth. no pain management other than those stupid hypnosis cd's.
but as i said when that pain hit it was scary to say the least. while writhing in agony i was trying to decide how long will this go on before the actual baby pops out?? if it's an hour...i can do it. if it's 3, maybe. if it's 5 or more there is no way!! i am astonished that anyone anywhere EVER gives birth without an epidural. that said..and here's where it gets tricky...when you are induced with drugs that force contractions on you, you are not giving birth naturally. therefore the pain is worse. end of story. when u fuck with mother nature she fucks with you right back. so know that when you go to have that baby...do whatever u can to have that baby on your own (as a diabetic it just wasn't possible to go as long as jenny did) with no intervention. unless there are complications, of course. but if u are healthy, the baby is healthy...just wait. it will come.
did i mention that i still had not slept at all? yeah, so sometime around noon maybe? on thursday i was in tremendous pain and asked for the epidural. i was hoping that it would relax me enough and take away the pain enough so that i could go to sleep. so the anesthesiologist came in with a needle the size of my arm and told me to be still as he inserted it into my spine. internal guffaw was he kidding? be still? how still? every 3 minutes or so the pain would be so intense that i couldn't be still. it became a game for us all. he would sit there looking like he was dealing with a 7 year old at the dentist's office as my contractions came and went and i just prayed that i could be still for the 2 minutes he needed to put that motherfucker in my spine. tears..always tears streaming down my face. in all honesty i do not remember the pain of the needle b/c the pain in my uterus was way worse. but..as soon as that thing did it's thing...no more pain. but let me tell you...the feeling..or should i say lack of feeling in your legs is the weirdest physical experience i have ever had. you just can't feel your legs. your brain says i want to move my legs and you can move your legs you just can't feel them. which essentially makes them impossible to move. farting? pooping? can't feel it happening...more on that later..
there is a phenomenon that happens with the epidural for some people and that is extreme shaking. like if you had been out on a north pole expedition and you got locked out of your tent naked all night long and were partially frozen shaking. that happened to me. it was awful. teeth shattering crazy fucking shaking= no sleep. but at least the contractions were gone.
let's recap...wed. evening around 6:00 was the last time i ate anything or drank anything. thursday morning started having mild contractions...manageable even. where for a split second i was all...this is nothing..like period cramps! then sometime in the afternoon the wrecker ball contractions started happening and i was all...are u fucking kidding me with this bullshit? please give me the GD epidural. no sleep, no food, no water. i felt like i might die. dramatic but very very true. this is when all time started to standstill and i drifted into crazy jacobs ladder type hallucinations.
sometime thursday evening? the middle of the night? no idea here...i was told i was finally dilated enough to start pushing. this was good news. wasn't it? wait..why is there a fish standing in the corner smoking a cigar and giving me the finger? oh...no one sees that but me.
so i started to push. and push. and push. for so many hours. and here is the bit about the pooping. ok, so when you first get to the hospital you might be a little shy about being naked with your hairy (lets face it the last few months of pregnancy there is no grooming going on down there) birth cannon hanging out for all who enter the room to see. but by day 3 trust me when i say you could care less. after about 10 different nurses came in and had there hands all up inside me and i pooped so many times during the pushing- awesome really bc you smell something and are all..who farted? and then you realize it's you! you can't feel anything waist down. but everyone is all cool about it. they just quietly clean it up and throw it away. gross i know but it is what it is. although i honestly don't see how my husband could ever get those passionate feelings for me ever again after watching poop come out of my butt. or a vagina that looked probably like someone had chopped it up with ginsu knives. but he did, does...bless him.
ok, so after all those hours of pushing the fruits of my labor (pun intended) weren't panning out. so finally in walks the doctor for the first time ever! and says..either you go in for a c-section now or i pull with forceps. apparently there was a lot of stress on the baby b/c i was under so much stress. i think there were whispers of "we might lose the mother if we keep this up". i said, forceps first then c-section. well, i am sure it sounded like this: "hfuoyuopqiuehtqeu beoufhoq;ei qihr qhfnouhoe".
in all honestly i was so relieved when doctor said forceps. it was like a little metal leprechaun was going to move into my vagina and pull the baby out for me. no more work for me!!! hooray, a thousand times HOORAY!!! after about 10 minutes there were some concerned glances and silence. not only were her shoulders coming out straight on but the cord appeared to wrapped around her neck. i think they were more concerned about her shoulders. why? hmmm...that's weird and then i heard the 'pop'. an undeniable pop. thank christ i couldn't feel anything. that pop was my vagina and about 4 inches of flesh connecting it to my butthole. you see, when you give birth you are more than likely to tear a little bit and a great nurse/doula/midwife will massage that area and make it all pliable and shit. as a diabetic no doula/midwife was given to me even though i asked, so i did not have a pliable vagina..but in my vagina's defense my baby's shoulders would have torn the most relaxed vagina on the planet. see babies turn on their way out. so their shoulders are more curved. mine came out like a linebacker making an offensive play.
so she came out all beautiful and quiet. this was a concern but the doctor reassured me she was fine. but i wasn't so sure. the cord was wrapped around her but they fixed that right away. all i know is before i even wanted to see my child i wanted a glass of water. i was begging in the quietest voice imaginable for water. once i felt quenched it was back to the child. once i heard her cry i was relieved. happy. alive again. but i was stuck..on that table for 2 more hours!!! i had 4th degree tears. i think there are 4 degrees total. which essentially means the tears went so far up that stiches (2 hours worth) were required. ladies...please....massage your vagina...get a midwife!
this is the part no one tells you about! what happens to you after you get home. first of all i had to pee thru a catheter while at the hospital for the remainder of my stay. i was constipated from all the junk (drugs) in my system, no food, no water etc..plus the stitches were in my butthole, making pooping ridiculous if not impossible. imagine having the feeling that you are about to diarrhea all over the place but someone has sewn your butthole shut. that's all i'll say on that subject b/c it's too gross even for me!
in fact i'll just give you a checklist of what you can expect:
crazy raging hormones like someone has killed your best friend (now this is also known as post partum, mine was very mild and short lived, others are not so lucky)- CHECK!
complete frustration as to how in the fuck breastfeeding will ever work-CHECK! (hang in there, get help, call a lactation consultant..whatever it takes!)
yellow, sallow skin and melasma all over your face- CHECK!
hemorrhoids for days-CHECK!
still no sleep-CHECK!
your nether regions so sore it will feel like you have been gang banged every hour on the hour for a week straight. (not that i have any idea what that feels like but it has to be similar-tell me gayhooker would i be close?)-CHECK!
they say you forget the pain of childbirth over time. clearly i haven't. in fact it remains the primary reason fiona is an only child. if i weren't a diabetic and 40 years old i would for sure have another. but the hospital intervened too much resulting in a very dissatisfied experience.
this is not true for everyone. i know, i get it. this is my experience. but all too often i think women rely on epidurals, inductions, c-sections as time savers, etc...i think this is why jenny's experience was so wonderful. it just happened. the way nature intended. thus less pain, more joy.
if i were to do it all over again (minus the age and diabetes) i would labor at home with a midwife or a doula and we would decide when i needed to go to the hospital (home births are messy and if it's your first time- too scary). i would have a lactation consultant in the delivery room with me ready to go as soon as that baby popped out (barring any complications of course) and then i would ask for a sleeping pill and i would sleep for 8+ hours (waking only to feed) while grandma's took care of the little one. yep. that's the best way i feel. then go home and commence motherhood forever.
there is more that happened in terms of hospital rules vs. me that i would be glad to go into with anyone who was curious via email. and if jenny is reading this please know that i think your home birth was amazing and i am super jealous of that. i couldn't even hold fiona for the first day of her life b/c i was too weak and sick. i will never have that back either. granted, she ...SHE was healthy, strong and happy. it was me that was a fucking mess.
and today she is 5. happy birthday my little angel. i love you more than anything in this entire world. you taught me unconditional love. what it means to love fully no matter what. and i would do it all again.
art by frida kahlo