I went and had my baby. And I mean this almost seriously…for those of you who haven’t had children yet, I highly recommend you rush right out and get it done NOW. Because it is really pretty amazing.
I will say that actually *having* the baby was not so amazing. In fact, probably one of the more harrowing ordeals of my life. For the duration of my pregnancy my “birth plan” had been something to the effect of “avoid an induction, avoid an epidural, avoid a c-section…but if you need any of that then just get it and don’t let it get you down”. Not very elaborate. And so when my son was showing no signs whatsoever of making his own entrance into the world, and with days of empty schedules slipping by at the vet clinic with days with fuller schedules rapidly approaching, I opted to be induced three days after my due date. I knew that my odds of making it through a pitocin-induced labor without pain medication would be slim, but I tried. And I failed. We started at 8am, by noon I was feeling regular but very bearable contractions, by four they were quite painful and I really had to concentrate to get through them, and by 8pm I was almost weeping and, faced with an unknown duration of that pain, asking how the hell long was it going to take the anesthesiologist to get there to get the damn epidural.
So then with the epidural I was able to relax a little bit for a few more hours. By about 1am, I was starting to get more painful, and indeed was fully dilated and “ready to push”. I’ll keep this part short and will just summarize that I never felt the “urge” to push, and when asked if I felt like I needed to push I was so confused…physically, no, but otherwise, um, I was 3 days overdue and fully dilated so sort of felt ane motional need? Was that good enough? Anyway, I pushed. And pushed. And personally I never felt like I made much progress, although the baby did descend in tiny increments.
FOUR HOURS LATER I was falling asleep between contractions and being woken by the pain to push for as long and hard as I could, only to pass out again when they subsided. I was vomiting sporadically and shaking uncontrollably. Since I was making *some* progress and the baby was fine, my OB left it in my court – we could try forceps or vacuum extraction, or we could go for a c-section. Since there was seemingly no great reason why he couldn’t come out the old-fashioned way, I opted for forceps or vacuum. Neither worked. The OB couldn’t explain why she couldn’t get forceps positioned properly, and my baby had too much hair for the vacuum to get a good grip on his little furry noggin. So when the OB said it was time to seriously consider c-section, I said “yes, please, immediately. Can I get more pain meds now?”.
So at 5am, I was wheeled into the surgery suite, my epidural was used to completely and blissfully numb my lower half, I vomited one last time off of the surgery table, and my baby was born. He had passed meconium in utero (duh), and so they held him up for me to see for 0.2 seconds and whisked him off to work him over. I was still shaking like a leaf and beyond exhausted so I wasn’t too upset to be deprived of the happy mama-meets-her-baby moment. I sent my farmer to stay with our son while I alternated between shaking and sleeping during recovery. At some point I fell asleep and woke up at 8:30am back in my room. It took me a minute to realize that I wasn’t shaking or in pain. “I’m normal again!!!”, I said to my nurse. “Can I have my baby??”
I could. He was perfect, and perfectly healthy.
And now, let me share the moral of this too-long story: All’s well that ends well. Because that ordeal is fish sticks compared to me getting to meet this amazing little person: