Well, it is once again that time of year. The time when I become even older than the ancient age I already feel. Respectfully, 37 is not that old unless you’re a teenager looking up. With the coming of my birthday comes other dates of remembrance. My first born son and I nearly share a birthday. His is on the 12th. Mine is the 11th. I will never forget my 22nd birthday. I was the most nervous human being on the planet. Suffice it to say I didn’t exactly enjoy that birthday. I was to be induced at 5 am the following day. So there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about what was to unfold that next day at the crack of dawn. I couldn’t eat past 8:00 pm so my birthday dinner was put off until 7:30ish and I scarfed down a big juicy steak, baked potato, and macaroni and cheese which I would later regret. You see, being 21 or 22 years old makes you think you know everything, but you learn the hard way that you most certainly do not.
I had failed to ask important questions prior to the delivery date. Questions I assumed were givens. Ones like:
1. Will you be giving me an episiotomy?
2. Will I poop on myself?
3. What steps will you take to ensure that I won’t poop on myself?
4. How long will I have to push?
5. At what point do you decide I have tried to push too long?
6. How do you ensure the placenta has been delivered entirely?
Let me explain:
1. I had read about the episiotomy and to me, it seemed pretty cut and dry, pun intended. An episiotomy is an incision made so that your nether region doesn’t rip to shreds when pushing an entire human being out of your who-ha. From all of the literature I had read, it was apparent to me that this would be done and was routinely done in this day in time. I was wrong. Apparently, I got an old school doctor.
2. I had also read that it was normal for people to have a bowel movement during delivery and not even know they had done so. I further read that this would cause no harm to the baby and other than embarrassment from the father of the child knowing this had taken place there should be no worries. In this aspect, my doctor was not so old school. The first thing I was instructed to do at 4:30 am after a late steak dinner the night before was to administer myself an enema. Let’s just say that an enema at the crack of dawn following a birthday steak dinner and accompanied by severely rumbled nerves is nothing anyone wants to be part of.
3. See number 2, and no, I didn’t poop on self after #2, again, pun intended.
4. I am aware that no two deliveries are the same. Some women barely make it to the hospital on time before they’re spitting their babies out. Some women have already decided ahead of time that they are going to have a c-section. Me? I just wing it. My mother had assured me that once I start pushing it goes fast. She had ensured me that it only takes about 15 minutes to push before I would see my handsome little man. She had also told me that I would only feel the first few contractions and that wasn’t the case at all either. As soon as they started my IV Pitocin and got me hooked up the all of the leads that would record my contractions the pain started. And I had sent my son’s father back to the hotel room while I dealt with my enema ordeal. I didn’t feel the need for an audience for that. So once I had supposedly been squared away my mom trekked back to the room to retrieve my father and son to be’s, father. She hadn’t made it very far down the hall before I was frantically attempting to call her back. I guess I was very close to going into labor all on my own without the help of the Pitocin and those contractions HURT! I had yet to be given any pain medication and as is usually the case, the nurse didn’t believe I was really in pain yet. It was that sort of pain where you’re not sure if you should just try to be real still or move around a lot in hopes to ward it off.
Finally, they brought some pain medication in and not long after this young man came in the give me my epidural. He was accompanied by an instructor who was trying to explain to him exactly where the needle should go. This made me feel uneasy and then the little guy asked me if this was my first epidural. I told him yes, yes it is my first to which he replied, “mine too”. I sat straight up and turned around and looked at him and his instructor and said, “I’m sorry, but no it’s NOT!” “NOT TODAY!” I hate I cut into his learning time, but that just wasn’t an area of my body that I felt comfortable being practiced on.
I was having contractions in my groin area but those weren’t as painful as the ones in my stomach. After the epidural, I was much more comfortable. Once I was dilated enough the doctor made his appearance and told me I was ready to push. He then pinched me on either side of my private area and asked me if I could feel it. I told him yes, you pinched my left side, and then yes you pinched my right side. He looked dumbfounded and called for a second injection of something in my epidural. He performed his pinch test one more time which I still felt. He then called for more pain meds in my IV. By this time I was as high as a Georgia Pine. I began pushing. 20 minutes later I growled to my mother “I THOUGHT YOU SAID 15 MINUTES, I THOUGHT THE WORST WAS OVER?” I sounded like something off of “The Exorcist” movie. At about the one hour point the doctor told me I was almost there. In my head, this meant the head was out and one or two more pushes and wa-la, a baby would be here. I quickly discovered that I could see everything that was going on down there in the reflection of the television on the wall. No body part what-so-ever was out. At this point, I was beginning to pop blood vessels in my eyes and forehead from pushing so hard for so long. Three (3) hours and forty-seven (47) minutes later I finally had my baby boy. I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t even hold him. My teeth look like I am wearing braces in all of the pictures because they were chattering so fastly.
5. So, at this point, I was fairly mad at the doctor. I had never heard of anyone pushing for nearly 4 hours. I thought I had prepared myself for the worst pain imaginable, but I had not. I haven’t mentioned it yet but the pain medication and the epidural never worked for anything below the belt. It was as if there was some nerve being blocked and the medication wasn’t able to pass to that area. I told the doctor this repeatedly. Also, that episiotomy thing I thought was a given was never done. I could feel it slowly ripping throughout this entire elongated process. Also, when you have just spent so much of your energy trying to push a human out there is very little left to then deliver a placenta. I tried. I gave forth everything else I had and delivered it. Or so I thought. Aside from a scene off of “The Nutty Professor” which I will not explain because I have already gotten personal enough here, all was well with baby and momma. We went home after the normal 3-day stent.
And this is the point in the story where things really start to get scary.
Home with baby and feeding around the clock as normal. He really was a good baby although I wouldn’t realize how good until the birth of my youngest child. But something still wasn’t right with me. Initially, I blamed it on the pain medicine and lack of sleep. I have always been a fair skinned person. But this was taking pale to a whole new level. I was ghost white. And I was bleeding and passing blood clots the size of tennis balls. A week later I went to the ER and was admitted for 4 days. I was never given a reason for the blood passing other than that a little bit of placenta may or may not have been left. I was sent home and given instructions to wear these huge pads and take these pills made by Satan himself. These pills caused me to have contractions. I wasn’t explained this before leaving the hospital. The contractions were in hopes of expressing this bit of placenta and putting an end to this perpetual bleeding to death. They did not work. A week later I was in the bathtub and it quickly turned red and I nearly passed out. My aunt, who was a nurse and lived next door, instructed me to lay down in the bathroom with my feet elevated over my head until the ambulance got there. So I did. I laid butt naked on the floor of my tiny single wide trailer until they arrived. It was so embarrassing. This time my aunt went to the hospital and spoke with the head nurse to see what the doctor’s plans were this time for me. He wanted to admit me and watch and wait again. My aunt, who til this day doesn’t know how truthfully thankful I am of her for this and other things, told that nurse that she needed to speak to her supervisor and then told them that enough was enough. She told them I was not leaving here without a D&C. She further went on to ask why this doctor didn’t seem to give two flips about this and wanted to continuously send me home. She told my aunt that he just hasn’t been the same since his daughter was killed in that car wreck last year. Umm…excuse me… I’m real sorry for your loss and all, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill me too. If you can’t accurately treat your patients without dang near killing them then you probably should take some time off. NOW. Because to me, this alone was the reason for ALL of the hardships I had encountered. This was why I had nutty professor lips and no episiotomy. This is why I was allowed to push for nearly 4 hours. This was why I hadn’t yet gotten to truly enjoy the gift of motherhood. But once this was done, I got to love my baby with no interruptions. And I thoroughly loved and still love being a Mom!
So to sum this post up, this is our birth week. It is my birth week because I celebrate the day of my birth and also the day I first gave birth. And it is his birthday also. Which will always trump mine and cause mine the be somewhat overlooked, but that’s okay.
It is also the Month of the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. It doesn’t seem like it has already been a year. Putting that one year mark on things seems to insinuate that enough time has passed for the pain to no longer be new. But the pain is still new and it still hurts. I don’t think it will every feel any less significant.