I was hoping that something as exciting as my encounters with Oprah and Gayle, happened this week. I'm sure my children will be glad to know that I'm no longer talking about it. So here we are, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Childbirth is romanticized in the movies. Mom's hair is perfect, dad looks on adoringly, the baby glides out after 3 minutes and he/she is is spotless. That picture, my friends is far from reality. I looked like a hot mess each time, except for with Maya. I made sure my Afro puff was on fleek for that one. Frank cut the umbilical chord and blood splattered all over his shirt. And when the doc pulled Marley out and handed her to me, my first words (through my tears) were "I thought I told you to clean her off before giving her to me." The act of giving birth to a child is not fun. The end result is amazing, so it's worth it but getting there can be horrible.
5 things I hated:
1)Needles - my mom spent 20+ years as a lab tech. As a kid I'd hang out at her job, which I'm sure was against hospital policy, and watch her work. She'd test specimens and at times I'd stand behind her as she drew blood from some random person who had no problem with a snot nosed kid peering intently during what could be considered a personal moment.
When it was my turn, I loved it. I was a strange and fearless kid. As I got older, however, that all changed.
When you're pregnant all they do is stick you. What sucks for me is that my itty bitty veins can never be found. When they'd pull out the big ass needle, I'd give the tech a side eye and nod towards the butterfly needle. Even with that, they'd spend a lot of time moving it around looking for the perfect spot. I'd walk away with bruising up and down my arms as a result. And drinking a liter of water 3 minutes before wasn't going to miraculously make the blood flow.
During each delivery I dreaded that damn IV pole. The nurse would come rolling in with it and I'd scan the area looking for exits. I'd ask if we could forgo that part of the process just this once. They'd try both arms even though I would tell them that it wasn't going to work and then eventually they'd go to my hands. Once it was in it stayed for the next two days. Thank goodness. I watched it like a hawk, though, because I was terrified of infection but I was glad it was one and done.
I loved the way the epidural made me feel. I was high during each pregnancy. I have no tolerance for pain so I did not complain. I told the anesthesiologist that I loved him...after the drugs kicked in. Before however, I hated him. Why? Because he was sticking a needle into my spine. And on top of that, to CYA they made Frank step out of the room. When someone is sticking a needle into you're spine you want to look into the eyes of the person you trust most or at least a person you know. Nope, I was being held by and looking into the eyes of a complete stranger during one of the most terrifying moments of this entire process. I get the hospital wants to avoid a lawsuit but come on man, have some compassion!
My deliveries were not like they are in the movies. No "oh shit my water broke." I was 4, 5 and 6 cms and didn't know it. I worked up until the day I gave birth to each of the girls. Towards the end I felt a cramp here and there but nothing crazy. Each time the doctor had to break my water. So in goes the long ass knitting needle-looking tool and Lord have mercy the first contraction afterwards was excruciatingly painful.
When I was in labor with Marley, things were going so smoothly that I didn't think I needed an epidural. I was seeing the contractions on the monitor but wasn't feeling any pain. When that first contraction hit after she broke my water, I was looking for the white light because I knew I was dying. She asked if I was ready for an epidural and before I could answer my husband says "no we're good." This part was like it is in the movies. I grabbed him by the collar and said "WE are not laying on this bed about to push out a human." I have a very low threshold for pain and that's probably why God has had mercy on me and made my deliveries fairly quick and easy.
I've heard that they no longer perform episiotomies. I guess there not needed since the baby's big head manages to tear you up. By the time you get to that part of the process the epidural starts to wear off so you may have to re-up and get some local. I appreciated it but it's still a needle being stuck into my vagina. No bueno. Then stitches have to go in, which is not fun. Thank goodness they dissolve because if the the doc had to take them out too, Marley might have just been an only child.
4)Using the bathroom for the first time
My lady parts went through a whole lot of trauma but before you leave the hospital you have to have a bowel movement so the docs are assured that everything is working properly. I prayed each day that they'd say "screw it, we need the bed so go home and call us when it happens." The anticipation of how painful it would be gave me such anxiety. I thought about lying but figured I'd rather be in the hospital if there was a problem. In the end, I chose bravery but had that cooling spray on standby just in case.
As the babies grew inside of me they started to fill up space that I didn't know existed. My body, however, adjusted. And after 36 weeks you get used to not being able to breathe as well, the aches and pains of your body being stretched and the battle scars they leave behind. The moment each of my girls came out, I felt this intense emptiness. The physical feeling is hard to describe but emotionally, I felt sad at not having them literally be a part of me.
I can't complain too much about childbirth. For each of my girls, I was in active labor and didn't know it and my deliveries were pretty short in comparison to some horror stories I've heard. Don't get me wrong childbirth was painful, scary and exhausting but there was one thing that I did love:
The end result
They say that childbirth is the one thing that can be long and painful but forgotten the instant you lay your eyes on your beautiful baby.
No words spoken have ever been truer.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.