Wednesday, December 29, 2004

And I Give Birth

This is a continuation from yesterday's post.


So my December 7 due date slid right on past without any indication that my son was ready to be born. Well, there were those contractions I was having at the squadron Christmas party. But they didn't move anything along.

I remember that party very well, not because of my contractions, but because I quietly cried through most of it. There were hardly any men in attendance. I found it so touching and wonderful that many, many waiting spouses of deployed squadron members attended the party. When the acting commander made a little speech and thanked them for coming, the waterworks started for me.

They also showed slides throughout the party, of our guys in OEF. That just killed me. I sat there, one of the only women with my husband by my side and I felt so guilty. There were so many babies born in the squadron during that deployment, and the many more to come. I wasn't special just because I was breeding. But still, I was glad he was there. Who wouldn't be?

My doctor just kept pushing my due date back, but at some point we had to decide to induce labor. Christmas was fast approaching, and since he was late already, we planned his birth so that we could be home before the holiday.

This time, my poor mother had been at my house for over two weeks, just waiting for the special event. She babysat my daughter while my husband and I left for our December 19 date with a cervical ripener.

And it figures. My contractions started just as I was stepping out the door. And continued during the car ride to the hospital.

When I was all checked in and they attached all of the monitors to me, they were surprised to see my contraction reaching the 30 range. I was too. They just didn't hurt that much. It was nothing compared to the extremely painful oxitocin-induced labor I had with my daughter.

So when at about 1 a.m., the nurse offered me a pain killer, I decided to take it. I figured it would help me sleep and I could be well-rested to push that big baby boy into the world the next morning.

That was a pretty bad decision. The medication did make me sleep, but not enough to sleep through a contraction. But because I was waking up every five minutes at the height of a contraction, I wasn't breathing right or preparing for the pain in any way.

At 4 a.m. the nurse said I was ready for my epidural. Oh thank all that is good! My labor still wasn't anywhere near as painful as when I had my daughter, but I was looking forward to being pain-free and being able to sleep, just like I was when I had her.

And that's when the hell started. I should have waited a few hours for the day shift anesthesiologist. Rather than dropping down the bottom of the birthing table and letting me sit up and lean over with the nurse's support, they just bent me in two on the bed. That's not exactly comfortable, especially when your child is being squished and your womb is contracting.

Now, epidurals are painful, but they are nowhere near as painful as labor, so I was pretty stoic at first. Until the doctor couldn't seem to insert the needle right. He tried six times. Six times. Six times he stuck a needle in my spine and wiggled it around trying to find the right place. He also used the heel of his hand to thump on my back repeatedly. Hard. I think I still have the bruises.

After an hour of this hell, he decided that he had done the best he could.

The pain was lessened. At first. But within an hour, I was in just as much pain as before.

The nurse did what she could. She sat me up. She lied me down. She insisted to the doctor that something wasn't right. But he insisted right back that I should still feel "pressure" so that I would be able to push.

Pressure my ass, buddy. This was full blown labor pain. I'm not stupid. I'm not a first time mother. Just because I handle my pain well and you can't see that I'm writhing in agony on the inside, does not mean that I'm not hurting.

But okay. I can handle that. Tons of women have their children naturally. It isn't something I would choose to do, but I could handle it.

After an hour of pushing, the doctor said, "We can try pushing a few more times, or we can use the forceps now. I really suggest the forceps. This is a big baby. You're doing great, but his shoulders just need to be turned a little to help him out."

To which my husband replied, "We'll push a few more times."

What? We'll push a few more times. Now I understand that my husband had promised his mother that he wouldn't let them use forceps, but fuck that shit. I wanted that baby out, right then.

"No we won't!" I gasped out. "Get him out, NOW!"

So, he used the forceps, which hurt like hell, and I pushed with all my might.

This doctor didn't believe in episiotomies (asshole), so as I pushed I could feel myself ripping my own flesh. I swear I was torn to shreds.

Unlike my daughter who quietly slipped out into the world, taking me by surprise, my son was ripped from my womb screaming and crying.

And so was I. Screaming that is. That is the first and only time in my life I have ever screamed. Oh horrible, horrible pain. Apparently, six pound babies are easier to deliver than 8 pound, 11 ounce babies. Who'd have thought it?

But wait. It actually gets worse.

Now remember, my doctor didn't believe that my epidural hadn't worked. I had been in no position to argue with him.

So as they tended to my new baby boy, he started to stitch me up. With no pain relief. At all.

I barely remember but I must have winced and gasped. He paused and started again. And this time I know I yelled out in pain.

"Oh. Huh," he said. "You can really feel this."

I think I may have actually said, "No shit!"

So he injected a local and started again. Just as painful. He injected more local and started again. Just as painful. This went on for a half hour. Him trying. Me crying out in pain. He finally called the anesthesiologist. He also was called away to two emergencies during all this repair work. He kept apologizing to me. It didn't help me feel better one iota.

My husband handed me the baby during that time. I don't remember that though. I was pretty much like we have a baby...cute kid. I was afraid to hold him because I was so weak.

Finally the day shift anesthesiologist came baring Demerol. The rest of that day is a blur.

I do remember seeing my son getting a bath in the nursery as I was wheeled by. I remember thinking that he looked just like pictures I had seen of my brother when he was a baby.

So at 8:59 a.m., on December 20, 2001 my son came roaring into this world, and my husband was there to be terrified through it all. My husband would then be gone to war for at least half of his first two years of life. Sometimes I think I would rather have had him on that first post-9/11 deployment. Seeing your baby born is one thing. Raising him and knowing him as a baby is another more important thing completely.

But when it comes right down to it, my husband was with me for the three most important days of my life. Just barely, in each case, but he was there.

And as for my baby boy, he is my life's joy. He's so much like me. Considering how he was born (and I swear I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for months after), we have always been especially close. I understand him. I get him in a way that only a mother can get a son. He is beautiful, sweet, smart, and funny.

And he turned three last week with a very small party and a trip to Edaville Railroad.

I hope my kids never read my blog, but just in case I'm sending this out there:

I love you, baby boy. With all my heart. Happy birthday, little man.


Speaking of military stuff and things that make me cry, go read this. This is one small part of why I love Aaron. How could anyone not adore him?

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