Monday, November 9, 2009

Guest Appearance by LeBron James

That's right, my wife is the LeBron James of the birth experience and we're all just witnesses. That's a Nike ad campaign if anyone's muttering to themselves, "That's a weird and obscure reference." Though we may have some overlap in our descriptions, Carrie sheds a vivid and insightful light on the experience. Enjoy.

Just Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale...

A tale of a fateful trip,
That started on a Monday night
and ended early Thursday morning with much swearing, crying, and icky bodily fluids.

Labor started (maybe not officially but definitely in my book) Monday night with regular contractions, then stopped Tuesday during the day, then started again Tuesday night and continued regularly Wednesday and into Thursday morning. Isaac took time off starting on Tuesday, so I've had lots of support from the beginning. The first stage of labor was pretty mellow. We watched TV, went for a walk, and listened to music. The midwife came to stay in the late afternoon/early evening. The harder labor didn't start until 7 or 8. I was trying to watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report, but I had to keep checking out to manage the contractions. It got worse and worse, but still seemed manageable, right up until right before the pushing phase, when it became pretty unbearable.

Now, I had read that the pushing phase can be a "relief" to the laboring woman. To that I say "bullsh*t"! First of all, I didn't know what I was supposed to be pushing on. Second of all, the midwife, Carla, told me to hold my breath and push. How am I supposed to hold my breath if I'm vocalizing through the pain? Have you ever tried to NOT make a noise when you've stubbed your toe? Plus, I was so tired that I almost kept falling asleep in between those final contractions. I hadn't slept through the night since Sunday and here it was Thursday morning. After maybe half an hour or so into the pushing, I began to think that I was going to end up at the hospital. I thought, there's no way I can do this. I also thought, how can anyone do this more than once??? Why would you knowingly put yourself through this kind of agony? Would I have had a natural childbirth if I knew what it would be like ahead of time? I don't know. I would want to try--that's the mindset I had going into this anyway--and by the time I regretted my decision, the baby was almost born! My midwife Carla really came through at that moment when I felt like "I AM DONE!" I really felt that if she thought I couldn't do it, she'd send me to the hospital anyway--so I might as well just carry on until I have a baby or end up at the hospital!

Finally Amari started to crown--what a euphemism! Finally, she started to rip through my lady parts into the outside world. Carla put up a mirror so I could see--but all I could see was what looked like a hairy finger! "That's not a head," I thought. That's like a cat or something! Carla kept saying "almost there" and all that, but I wanted her to be more specific. Exactly how many more pushes do I have to do? Amari's damn head kept popping back in again--it was SO frustrating!!!!! So another misconception that I had heard was that this part feels like taking a big dump. Well, unless you're pooping a giant turd out of your vagina, it didn't feel like any dump I ever took. Turds are nicely colon shaped, and babies have evil round heads, and even though these heads attempt to conform to a nice cone shape, they still look and feel like giant beach balls forcing through teeny rubber inner tubes. Looking in the mirror, I was both appalled and enthralled. I could NOT look away.

At this point, I was in "kill me now" pain. I was crying and whining and not being very stoic at all. Each emergence was like a new level of torture. I was shocked by the amount it HURT! "Oh my GOD!" I whine/moaned. "God can't help you now!" Carla replied. "You're going to have to push her out yourself!" I disagreed. I was convinced Carla could just reach in there--"Take her out of me!" I commanded. Fortunately, that was very close to the end. Amidst tears and cries of pain, her head popped out. Carla placed Isaac's hands so he could deliver the rest of her and then the rest came splooging out. Then I was stupefied! Everyone was saying "shhhh"--so as not to disturb Amari--I was sobbing. Don't shush me! They placed her on my belly and I said "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I felt very bad for her having been through that journey.

Carla was working on getting the placenta out and it came out shortly after Amari. I had seen pictures of them in our birthing class so I asked "is it gross?" The ladies said "oh, no!" but Isaac said "yes!" I appreciated his honesty.

So that's the birth story! Now it's like you were all there--but without the visual images that you will never erase from your consciousness. Amari's cute as can be and we're figuring out this whole baby thing one day at a time. Often one hour at a time.


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