Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Birth Story: Pooping, Noises and Noses, Oh My!

One of my closest girlfriends had her very first baby (a gorgeous little girl with a thick shock of black hair) a few days ago and as often happens in these circumstances, its made me reflective of my own initiation into motherhood 3.5 years ago. The thing is, its never really an “initiation”, is it? 

I think “hazing” is a more-apt term.

Or possibly “trial by fire”. Or even “sucking every ounce of lifeblood out of you, by any means and/or orifice possible”.

Trust me. Its yummy stuff, y’all!  

When Jamie and I drove to the hospital that warm August evening back in 2009 we had no idea what “walking out with a baby” truly meant. At the time we were solely focused on the labour process, suddenly realizing with shock that “Omigod, this baby is coming out one way or another in a matter of hours. And its probably going to be out the hoo-haw”.

I recall being admitted at 7 cm dilated, insanely proud of myself because the nurses kept commenting on how well I, a first-time mother, was handling the pain. I was all “YEAH! {chest bumping Jamie} Hell yeah! EAT IT, everyone in triage. SUCK. IT. I am AWESOME at this labour stuff, ya hear me? AWESOME”.
Jamie chose the scariest-fucking shirt he possibly could to welcome our first child into the world
What can I say? I’m ever-so-slightly competitive.

That was around 1am. By 6am, after labouring all night sans epidural, I just about came across the room at Jamie after the nurse asked me how my night went and he replied “Ugh, not great. No offense, but these chairs aren’t exactly made for sleeping in”.
In full labour? Check. Make-up bag with lipstick inside? Check.
“Jamie,” I whispered, barely audible from my place on the bed. And then my voice rose to a shrill scream. “Are you FUCKING kidding me? She was asking ME how my night went. ME, the person IN LABOUR over here! I’ll tell you how my night went. It. Suuuucked! And you wanna know what made it worse? Listening to your god-damn SNORING while I was working through FUCKING CONTRACTIONS all by MYSELF!”. 

An hour later I asked for the epidural. A quick assessment told the doctor that I was fully-dilated and, in fact, ready to push. The team encouraged me to go without it, promising me that the contractions would feel better once I was pushing. “Really?” I asked the nurse. “Really. I promise.” she replied. And awaaaay we went.

Three. Hours. Later.

Three hours later, the baby was finally “almost there”. And I learned a few things about myself: 

(1) I learned that I really fucking hated it when Jamie would count “1, 2, 3 …” and then take a 1 second break to swallow before continuing on “…4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10”. “Jamie” I finally hissed through contractions “Jamie, for fuck’s sake either count the whole way through or don’t fucking count at all. You just made me push a whole second longer. Get some water or stop fucking counting!”.

(2) I learned that I did not, in fact, want to “see the baby crowning” with a mirror. “But Andra, that’s what you said you’ve always wanted! Are you sure? {turning to the doctor} I’m sure she really d …” “I do not want to see the fucking baby crowning! Are you fucking kidding me? Like I want to see that shit while it’s ripping me apart?! Fuuuck!”. And then the doctor told me it was “time to use the squat bar again” and I just about punched him. 

and lastly

(3) I learned that, swearing aside, labour makes me keenly aware of just how important other people’s opinions of me are. In fact, I had three separate things I was focusing on throughout the duration of the pushing stage: poop, noises, and my nose.

Weeks before, while worriedly discussing the prospect of defecating on the table to my girlfriends they told me “Oh god, don’t even worry about that. That’s the least of your worries during labour! When the time comes, and it always does, you won’t even care. Trust us”. So imagine my surprise when it was one of the main things on my mind the entire labour. I kept apologizing to the nurses: “I’m so sorry if I’m pooping right now. I’m so sorry! I can’t even tell! I’m so, so sorry. Just tell me if I’m doing it and I’ll stop. Please? I just can’t tell!”. And I really couldn’t. And to this day I have no idea if I did or not. Jamie swears “not”, but he’s also well-aware that I would never talk to him again if he told me “yes” so he’s wisely remained silent.

I was also overly-aware of the noises I was making that last hour of pushing. The deep moaning and animalistic sounds emitting from my body were unlike any I’d ever heard before. “Oh Jesus,” I thought. “Oh, lord! Oh Jesus!I’m freaking out some poor woman in the next room. I sound like a crazy person! I sound like a caveman! What the fuck?!”.

And in those final moments, just prior to Mason making his grand entrance, the inside of my nose started to itch. Badly. Looking back I’m sure it was some sort of weird stress-reaction brought on by exhaustion but at the time it was driving me crazy. And crazily enough, spred-eagled and hanging over a squat bar while a doctor and two nurses probed my insides I was still embarrassed to put my finger into my nose to scratch it. I kept saying “I’m so sorry. I swear, my nose is just really itchy. I’m sorry, I don’t usually put my finger in my nose” to which the doctor replied, laughing “I can honestly say that after 20 years of delivering babies, I’ve never had a woman, no epidural and with the baby crowning, complaining about an itchy nose. Just go ahead and scratch it … what’s the big deal?”.

And then I told him (and I swear this is true) that I didn’t want him to think I was a coke addict.

He was like “Uh … what?”. And, still pushing, I replied “You know …. like how coke addicts always have itchy noses. I don’t want you to think I’m some sort of coke addict.”.

Because that’s reasonable, right?

Sometime around 9am, Mason finally arrived.
Even at 0.5 minutes old, Mace already had more hair than his dad.
This was the moment I’d been waiting for. This was the moment when I at last became a mother. This was the moment I would cherish forever, as I’d been told by countless parents before me. 

And I looked at my new baby. And I went “Uh …. hmmmm.”.

Because here’s the thing: Three hours of being stuck in the birth canal not only sucks for mom, but makes baby come out looking like a prizefighter who just lost in the ring.

This was his good side.
But you know what? Even though I didn’t really know this little person who’d been unceremoniously dumped from my body (not literally, I hope), I still knew I would fight to the death for him. And I think that’s what being a parent, biological or not, is all about. If you’re willing to lay your life down for this tiny creature, you’re in the club. And welcome to it.

Those of you who know me personally know that Mason’s birth story does not actually end here. However, I’ve yet to decide whether I want to share the full account of “Part 2” on this platform, as I usually reserve this space for humour. In a nutshell, minutes later I had a massive post-partum hemorrhage, lost over 1/3 of my blood, wound up in the O/R, and required four blood transfusions within 24 hours. Other-worldly shit, believe me.

So for today, I will end here. And as I snuggle into my bed tonight, I will rest easy with the knowledge that for me, my days of delivery are done. Those of you pregnant and trying … good luck. The torch has been passed.

Just don’t poop. Whatever you do, do not poop. Photobucket


  1. I've read your birth story before but this is definitely a hilarious take on it!

    I can't stop laughing at all your picture comments! The shirt, the makeup bag, the hair!!

  2. You know you are the greatest blogger of all time right?!
    Good lord I love your sense of ha!
    I was so worried about poopin too!

  3. I can't even stop laughing... I read this to my yet-to-be a mother sister, just to scare the shit out of her!!!

  4. omg...officially.scared.shitless. [hmm, pun intended? ;-)]

  5. LOL! Love Love Love this! And oddly, I thought I was the ONLY one ..... I was so scared and I thought about it the WHOLE time (you'll forget about it my ass ... when it feels like a watermelon is coming out of your ass!!!!!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails