I must say, the 41 and a half weeks of my life for which I was pregnant flew by faster than I could have ever imagined. I had managed to never purchase any actual maternity clothes (That’s what the large sizes at Zara and H&M are there for) and I even managed to not leap through the phone and strangle anyone who called me during the 10 days I went past due to say, “no baby yet??!??”. Life was good thanks to the blogs that kept me sane: www.pregnantchicken.com(best pregnancy resource for the modern mama) and www.garancedore.fr (best non-pregnancy blog for anyone with good taste and a love for all things Parisian).
I was feeling fantastic (even though I looked like I was smuggling a basketball under my shirt), so when my OBGYN informed me that she wouldn’t allow me to go more than 10 days past my due date, I begged and pleaded for her to leave me the hell alone for just a few more days in hopes that I could avoid a medically induced labour; however, since she was kind of a bitch and apparently 10 days is the golden number for OB’s, my induction was booked for 8:30am the morning I reached my 10 day limit – a Saturday. So on the preceding Wednesday, I marched my pregnant ass through a blizzard to get a “labour induction massage” as suggested by my doula (a professional birthing coach for women who want a bit more steadfast support in labour and delivery than the queasy, confused, terrified dude who got them there in the first place). It was wonderful and relaxing… But nada. So as a last ditch effort, I went in again on Friday at 5pm and lo and behold, I went into labour right there on the massage table.
So with that, I did what any normal woman in labour would do: I went home to play with my dog and eat an eggplant parmesan sandwich, DUH! (I may or may not have been in a bit of denial at this point). Anyway, my boyfriend scribbled down the contraction times as things got more and more intense – no time has ever gone by faster than the 7 hours I spent labouring at home. Thank god for my practice in Ujjayi breathing techniques (thanks yoga) or I don’t think I would have been able to crack jokes between contractions… but focus and breathing techniques can only get you so far; when the contractions started coming fast and furious, I knew it was time to go to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital with what seemed like 2 weeks worth of bags, pillows and blankets, only to be sent to triage for 3 hours while we waited for our delivery room. I was 3cm dilated so we all thought I’d be there for a while. Luckily a completely adorable gay guy was my resident and he kept me in good spirits the whole time (it was as if they knew I was coming!). That is, until I could no longer catch my breath between contractions. Then shit got real, and I got mean. I barked at the poor front desk nurse that there had better be an epidural waiting for me when I got to the delivery room – so she paged an anesthesiologist and assured me that I would be on pain meds before I knew it!
“Wonderful”, I thought as I walked down the hall to the room I would soon become a mother in.
Well, the second I set foot in that room, I knew there was no fucking way I would be bringing my child into this world in there. Sorry, but a room that smells like piss was NOT going to cut it for me or my offspring. So I paced the hallway as the nurses rolled their eyes and started prepping room number 2. It was slightly less disgusting and there was an anesthesiologist waiting in it so I said fuck it, this would have to do.
Well after 30 minutes of getting repeatedly stabbed in the back with a needle (word to the wise, if your anesthesiologist doesn’t get it right the first try, REQUEST A NEW ONE) I had finally gotten my dose of pain killers. The medical staff decided to check how far along I was and SURPRISE! My water broke all over my cashmere socks and they informed me that I was actually 9cm and ready to push!
If only it were that simple. As the words “ready to push!” came out of the nurse’s mouth, my little man’s heart rate began to plummet.* Before I knew it, I was flat on my back, flying down the hospital hallway looking at the ceiling lights rushing by, just like in the movies. I was off to the O.R. and for the first time, it occurred to me that we were not guaranteed to walk out of the hospital with our son – there was a chance that Anthony and I could leave the hospital as a family of two.
But the tarp went up. Numbing meds went in. Heart rates stabilized. Scalpel came out. And through the magic of modern medicine, baby Beau had completed his dramatic entrance into this world. Yes, he is certainly his mothers son.
A c-section was NOT in my birth plan. I hardly even entertained the possibility of needing one, but once it happened, I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback by the amount of pressure I could feel in my abdomen during the operation, the intense shakes that followed, and the doctor calling out a checklist of all the organs they were shoving back into my stomach, one by one. But what was truly shocking was how non-traumatic it all was. From first contraction to screaming baby, the whole ordeal took 12 hours, almost to the minute. My little man made his appearance exactly 2 hours before our scheduled induction time.
The best advice regarding labour and delivery I received was actually from the masseuse who jump-started the process for me; she said, “the most incredible thing about giving birth is how little time something so profound and life changing takes in the grand scheme of your life”. Never have truer words been spoken.
*as it turns out, my son had managed to get tangled in his umbilical cord. It was wrapped twice around his neck so as he began to descend into the birth canal, it began to tighten and cut off his oxygen supply causing his heart rate to drop significantly. Scary stuff.