Let's commemorate this week with a run-down of last year's events...
I'm not a big fan of birth stories--it's not that I don't care about a baby's birth, it's just that for some reason I can never read a birth story in its entirety. Maybe I'm scorned. Maybe I'm just easily bored. Or maybe I'm not a birth-y person. Either way, here is an annotated version of what took place a year ago.
Cramps escalate into full-on waves of pain. I can't write. I can't sit. I shake. I throw up. I writhe in the corner in a nest of pillows. Day passes into night and I'm exhausted but the pain forces me UP can't lie down can't sleep can't eat can't even drink a goddamn sip of water. I rock on a birth ball. I cry. I throw up blood and can't stay still and time... passes... slowly... I want to go to the hospital but I don't want to be turned away and have to come back home. Moans, cries, wails. I become dehydrated. I call the midwife and leave. Bags are packed. I won't be back until I have a baby in my arms.
Five A.M. into the hospital. I rock and barely and talk and wait for the wheelchair to push me to the third floor. The woman who wheeled me upstairs said, “Are you in labor?”
“Yeah…,” I responded.
“Get ready. Your life’s never going to be the same.”
Bitchy nurses in triage yell at me for not coming in sooner (apparently my doula told them I was coming in earlier on the 18th... whatever. It's not a damn hotel.) IVs make it better. Doula arrives. I go into the waterbirth room, later dubbed the "pain room." Doula puts music on the radio. I feel better until those bastards administer pitocin because contractions are slowing down. It's either that or go home. I take the pit but don't take any medications. Nurse asks what my plan is for pain relief. I say, "doula." I actually laugh and enjoy music until the pit sets in. Then I rock back and forth. Concentrate.
Pit gets the contractions going and is taken off. Yay! I slide into the tub and my doula puts in aromatherapy and plays tribal drumming music. The water is paradise. I never want to get out. I sway to the beats and nothing else matters. I'm controlled, on top of it. This is beautiful. This is what I want. I'm active. I'm alive.
Until I lie. I want it to be over with.
"Are you feeling the urge to push?"
"Yes! Yes!" That's a lie.
I have to get out of the tub and onto the bed until I progress with pushing. Little did I know I'd never get back into the tub. Pushing lasts three hours. Soon I feel the real, uncontrollable, raw urge to push. Everyone is yelling. Random people in scrubs hold me down, and push on my legs so I won't clench up.
"You have to push! You either do this or they're going to cut you! You've worked too hard to give up! If you don't cooperate, they will get the knife!"
Yelling. A fist shoves into me. This is the most painful sensation I ever experienced and I have to bear it. Accept it, even. I think, "OK, either I work with this and get it over with or I'm stuck here forever."
Anger. Stupid nurses enter and ask when I would be done. How do I effing know?! Push! Scream! Blood. Guts. I'm losing my zen. No medication and yet I'm put on more pitocin. I pull on a rebozo and push. I push sitting on the toilet. I walk attached to an IV. Classical music plays. Get that shit outta here--I hate classical music! Stomp! Push! Wait... Push! Wait... Push! Doula pours energizing Goop in my mouth. It dribbles onto my chin. Another packet is poured in. So tired. And nothing. I know nothing is happening when I ask my midwife if she feels the baby and she mumbles. Silence.
OB enters. Blabblab medical jargon. "C-section." The dreaded words. I don't even care. Cut me open, blast this baby out, just help me. The baby is coming down. He isn't even properly aligned and I keep banging his head on my pelvis. Acynclitic. Too much blood is coming out. It's too much. All too much.
"Do whatever. Do what needs to be done."
I don't want a c-section but I want what's best for my baby. It's not all about me any more. If he's getting hurt then I'm not going to sacrifice his safety so I can have my desired natural birth.
We decide to do a cesarean. I wait for the anesthesiologist, who is taking forever. I thought this was an emergency... Where is he? I keep asking people. "Get him!"
I push to no avail. No one bothers to stand there in hopes of catching the baby. I push harder. I push and can't suppress it. But no one cares anymore. My pushing is not important. Bring out the knife! My doula hugs me and we cry. "You are so strong..."
I'm wheeled to a cold operating room. I shake. I push. They put a needle in my back and suddenly I'm wrapped in an electric blanket--so warm, so relieved. "I don't feel good..." They clamp my hands down like a crucifix. I lift my hand and the surgeon promptly pushes it back. I lift it again and he pushes it back. It's hard to remain calm when you know your stomach is being split open. I feel my organs pull and shift. I cringe. "Are you done yet?" I think the OB got annoyed--jerk.
And then, "Oh there was no way you would have pushed this baby out."
10:22 p.m. (22:22) And I hear a cry. I smile. My baby! Five minutes later and I actually get to see him. My first view of my son was from a picture Jesse took. Jesse carries Milo back and he's all bloody with a bad bruise on his head. My baby...
I'm wrapped up and can't move an inch yet somehow I'm supposed to care for this baby. They wheel me into the room and I think, "How the hell am I going to feed this baby?" I'm exhausted and I have to learn how to breastfeed him. Luckily, he nursed like a pro.
We spent four days in the hospital. Those were days of cracked, sore nipples, anxiety, annoying nursing staff (and some extremely helpful nurses and LCs!), and walks down the hall. My exercise was to walk down a hall!
My baby. My Milo. Your birth wasn't all roses, but isn't that how a birth is supposed to be?