So there we were, awake and still in labor after a decent night's sleep. I was loving the epidural and my husband was too. It made me very pleasant and easy to be around. I remember saying, "This is nothing like the movies. Movie labors and births are pretty...this is bullshit!" The only pretty thing about this was the green paisley hospital gown I brought to wear. And that didn't end up mattering. I didn't feel prettier. It just got covered in blood and who knows what else while I pushed. Nobody tells you the truth before you have a baby. It's like you can't be privy to this secret club until you physically experience it for yourself. Sure women write articles such as "The Seven Things No One Tells You About Labor" or "Myths of Childbirth." But they all sugar coat. I'm even sugar-coating right now...and I do not like to sugar coat...but no future mom really wants to hear about the blood and shit and screaming and fear and pain and overwhelming emotion. They just want to think about precious little babies and rainbows.
Maybe no-one would want to have babies if they really knew the truth. Perhaps that's why we don't tell you moms-to-be until after you have actually gone through labor and delivery.
But back to pushing. I was only six cm dilated when I woke up. My doctor gave me Pitocin. Then I got a fever and needed antibiotics. After hours I finally hit 10 cm...well almost. A little tiny piece of my cervix just wouldn't fall away. When it finally did, I started pushing...and pushing...and pushing. Nothing! I pushed for two hours and that tiny little human didn't want to shift his head a bit to properly make his entrance.
His heart rate started dropping. Time to get that baby out...time for a C-section. My husband put the scrubs on and let the 20 family members pacing back and forth in the waiting area know. They wheeled me in to the operating room. My epidural was leaking so they replaced it with a spinal block. I was freaking out. I couldn't move or feel my legs. I was scared. My husband came in, sat beside me, and held my hand. I squeezed his. The OB began the procedure. The medicine they put through the IV made me nauseous. They gave me more drugs to calm me down and make the nausea go away. I was stoned. The nurse held my other hand while I took deep breaths. After what felt like hours I heard a cry. My baby was here. I think he was perfect. A perfect baby boy with a full head of hair. I saw my husband hold him and watched in awe as he brought him to me, his high as a kite and emotional mother. Wow, I was a mother.
Post C-section, the nurse wheeled me to a recovery room. I breastfed my son. He latched like a champ. He would never do that again. They don't let you go to your room or see anyone until you can feel your legs again. When I felt my legs it was past 9pm. The family members trickled in to see and hold their new grandson, great grandson, nephew, my son. I looked like I just smoked a bag full of weed...so high from the meds...there is photo evidence.
I think I felt at peace in that moment...pure joy. Maybe it was the drugs...maybe the exhaustion. I will never know, but my son was here surrounded by so much family and love. Family that loved him before he was even born...family that traveled to welcome him into the world. I would be at the hospital for three more days to recover. I was happy then. Friends and family visited often. My mom brought me turkey, brie and pesto mayo on a baguette everyday (the food I craved most during pregnancy). I slept and rested while my son hung out at the nursery. I held him when he came to our room. I tried to feed him. He never wanted to latch. I tried to pump. I was so tired. I chose formula and would keep trying to pump. I watched my husband change the first dirty diaper. I watched my mom and dad and mother and father in law all hold their very first grandson. Our siblings met their first nephew.
The hospital gave me a happiness questionnaire before I left. I checked off 5 (the highest level) in all areas. Everything was wonderful in the hospital. People took care of you. They took care of your baby and you could rest. Home was different. Something was off when I got home. I became sure of it by the second day. I knew something was horribly wrong when I wished for a reason, any reason that would take me back to the hospital. That maybe if I got sick and had to go back to the hospital, people would take care of me and my baby again. I didn't want to take care of my baby. What was wrong with me? This couldn’t be normal...
To be continued...