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Protected: The Afterbirth

August 18, 2010

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Danny’s Birthday: 6/6/07 (notice significance of date, please)

August 2, 2010

Welcome back, guys. So nice to see you here. Guess you might be wondering if I actually gave birth to Danny or not. For all you know, George had to run a series of errands while I was in the active stages of labor, and I still haven’t gotten to the hospital yet. And yes, that was well over three years ago.

5:00 AM, on 6/6/2007

So I did the impossible that morning. I managed to get George up on time. It took a cattle prod and fifteen bags of ice from 7-11, but I did it. We’re on our way to St. Joseph’s Hospital and nothing will stop us from getting there. If a spaceship had landed on our car at the intersection, I would’ve shrugged, gotten out, and asked to hitch a ride.  They probably didn’t have any last-minute errands planned. Before we left, we took one last picture.

Would you fuck with that?

7:45

We arrive at the hospital.  George is still breathing and has most of his vital signs, so he obviously played it safe and drove straight there. I get out of the car, and reexamine my attire. My “E=MC Squared” Hammer shirt is stretching at the seams, and the black grease paint I’ve applied underneath my eyes has started to run.  It’s June in Tampa, so remember the temperature was equivalent to hell.  In summer.  During one of their heat waves. And like animals can sense a natural disaster, Danny was probably biting as his nails while hiding on the top of my uterus.

8:00 AM:

These labor and delivery people really have us pregnant women figured out. How’d they know that signing a tremendous stack of scary paperwork and marking my stomach with a huge black X would make me feel calmer?

During my pregnancy, I got asked a lot if I had a “birth plan”. I also got asked about my mucus plug and frantically searched my Target baby registry to make sure it wasn’t something I forgot to add.

So what do you think? Did I have a “birth plan”? Absolutely, and here’s what it was: PLeaseAdministerNarcotics.

So when they called me back to my very own labor and delivery room (which I don’t think I noticed, I would’ve given birth in the spaceship, waiting room, or the back alley behind the hospital kitchen) I kept saying things like, “Drugs. Drugs now. Gimme the drugs.” And “Drugs dru-drugs-dru-DRUGS” (in the tune of “Thong Song”). signing all the paperwork was just another barrier to me getting to the drugs, and the hospital administrator across the desk from us was probably a little put off when she asked me to “sign by the X” and I pricked my finger and wrote DRUGS in loopy cursive on her wall in blood.

Why so focused on the drugs, you ask? Let’s make a U-Turn and turn left back onto the road of bitterness. During vomitgate of 2006, I threw my back out while vomiting. When I called the nurse to ask her what I should do (this was after I army crawled to my cell phone since I couldn’t stand up) she said, “Alternate heat and ice. And you can take some Tylenol.” Ohhhhhh really? Can I now? Why hadn’t I thought of that? If I happen to chop my arm off and I call you, will you say, “Just put a band-aid on the stump?” I had to mentally talk myself down from calling her back and requesting she send Dorothy over with the oil can to squirt me a few times so I could walk back to the bathroom. Where’d I’d vomit again. And a biopsy without any good drugs is a great time, too. So , that’s why I wanted the drugs.  Any questions?

9:00 AM

Someone comes to my put IV in. Now we’re about to get this party started.

I’d never gotten an IV before, but I figured I would be totally fine with the whole thing since I’m not afraid of needles at all. I was all casual, like get that puppy in for the drrrruuuugs and then the the lady couldn’t get the fucking thing in. I still wince when I think of this portion of my labor and delivery experience. What was the worst part of it all? When Danny’s humongous head emerged from my body? When George was doing nothing but sitting in the corner rocking back and forth on a chair? Nope, not those parts. You know why? I was ALREADY DRUGGED.

But holy shit this IV hurt. I watched as she toggled the needle around in my hand and looked to George for comfort. He’d slowly started inching out of the door (on his way to the hospital cafeteria, I’m sure) thinking I wouldn’t notice. If this IV wasn’t going to be a pipeline to some good drugs, I would’ve put a stop to the whole thing and dramatically pulled that shit out of my arm like I was an accused but not-guilty fugitive waking up in the hospital in a suspense movie ready to break free out the window.

9:30

The IV is in, and the pitocin is a drippin’. One of the nurses mentions casually that I’d been having contractions from the second she strapped the contraction measuring doppler thing on my stomach. I remember thinking, those were contractions? Pshhhh, these are notttthing. And after that IV experience, do you think I wanted to fuck around with other needles? Not especially.

9:45

A random lady doctor I’d never seen before comes in and tells me she’s going to break my water (or “puncture my membranes” if you’re an intellectual). I’d already done some Googling, so I knew a little of what to expect. I was a little disheartened when she unwrapped this long thing that looked like a couple of popsicle sticks glued together. That’s what you’re going to use to break my water? That? Couldn’t you have at least procured something a bit more elegant? If I’d already been on the good drugs, I would’ve wondered why Chester had been allowed in the hospital because awwwwww, look at that nice stick from outside he brought for me!!!!!

And I know that doctors and nurses do and see this shit everyday, but I’d never had anyone shove a wooden yardstick into my uterus. So can you be a little bit more professional than saying, “Spread your legs for me,” then jamming that stick in my person as if it was a puck on an air hockey table, lady? And it wasn’t just one jab. It was like four or five, and each jab more aggressive than the last. I started wondering if I knew this woman from somewhere, and if I’d killed a member of her family or something. I was also picturing Danny holed up in there, covering his face with his hands as if involved in a bear attack. I kept hearing my Mom say, “It’s all fun and games until someone gets their eye poked out.”

All of a sudden the doctor got a satisfied look on her face and said, “There we go. Done.” I think that exact second was when George stopped being able to stand up. His eyes turned to whirly black cartoon swirls and he collapsed in a chair, never to get up again.

10:15

With my water broken and the pitocin kicking in, my uterus occupant was closer and closer to making his debut. Dr. Minton, a guy who I’d seen the first time I started vomiting up my organs was going to be the one to delivery Danny. He came in and explained with my water broken, Danny wouldn’t have any other choice but to come out. I kept picturing him treading water in my womb, and gasping for air and flopping around  like a goldfish with gills.

10:45

My mother in law stops by, and wouldn’t you know that my contractions decided to get horrendous at that exact same time? My knuckles whitened around the rails of the hospital bed and I tried to form the word “Hello” in my mouth, but all that came out was a deep gutteral sound, about as close to a human growling as you could get.  She didn’t stay much longer.

11:00

Dr. Minton comes in and says, “You’re still pregnant?” Totally deadpan.  No smile, nothing.  At that second I decide that I love him.

11:15

If another person comes in here to check my progress, they will also have to check and see if there’s a space at the county jail because I’m about to kill a motherfucker. Although I appeared calm and collected on the outside, the inside of my head was sounding like those car alarms that go off right outside your window the second you fall asleep: “EEH EEH EHH. WHEE OHHH WHEE OHH WHEE OHH. WHOOOOOOO! WHOOOOO!”

I tried to stay cool, since I’d already made the decision that I wasn’t going to cry, scream at anyone, or choke George in the presence of others.  You know how you say that you shouldn’t fuck with the people delivering your food?  I rationalized the same should be done with those that deliver your child. I remember overhearing one of the nurses say to Dr. Minton, “She is so nice and relaxed.  Can she stay here forever,” to which I almost screamed, “BITCH I AM TRYING TO BE NICE TO YOU, SHUTYOURFUCKING MOUUUUUUTH (low growl).” I’d reasoned that the nicer I was to them, the more drugs they would give to me.  And I was about to need them.

11:45

What does a bad contraction feel like?  Well, so glad you asked.  Imagine someone slicing open your midsection Touristas style with a cake slicer from Publix.  Then imagine they rip out your uterus  like in Mortal Combat, wring it like a wet towel, throw it on the floor,  and then stomp on  it with their heel like it’s on fire.  That’s what a bad contraction feels like.

12:00

My evil planned worked.  Upon requesting the epidural, the nurse tells me the anesthesiologist was on their way, and fast.  Those minutes before the epidural were the most horrendous of my entire life.  They say that pitocin makes contractions worse, and I will certainly cosign on that.  I’d been to my happy place (Donnie Wahlberg and I alone in the first scene of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the cast sees the candy trees and chocolate rivers and shit) and tried to breathe deeply like the nurse told me but this shit was getting too much.  Fuck it all, bring that huge needle in here.  Bring twenty for all I care…stop stomping on my utttterussssssssssss.

12:30

My epidural is kicking in.  I tell the nurse not to worry about George, who I tell her is “sleeping” in the corner.  I’ve wrapped a bedsheet around his neck to hide the strangle marks. My best friend in the history of friends Julie is there, and I’ve spared her life. She mumbles something about never having a baby ever and I sink deeply into a drugged coma. 

1:30

A nurse comes into check me again.  I didn’t give a shit at this point.  Want to stick a chainsaw up there?  Or maybe a lamppost?  Whatever.  Let me just push this epidural button again.  She asks me if I feel like I have to go to the bathroom, and even though I haven’t felt the lower half of my body now for over an hour, I realize I kind of do.  Actually, holy shit do I ever.  “You feel that pressure, she asks,” and I nod my head.  “He’s right there,” she says, and I wonder if Danny was already halfway out of my body.  I told her I didn’t hear any crying, and she told me I’d have to push.  Push?  I have to push?  What the fuck? I hear her tell George to get ready, and I poke him with a long stick (thanks, Chester!) like we’re on Weekend at Bernie’s.  “He’s just really tired,” I tell the nurse after I notice her checking him out, concerned.

1:45

All of a sudden, the room is wild with activity.  The nurses start pushing buttons on the wall, and shit comes flying and popping out of random crevices and corners.  Metal tables with scary looking instruments get wheeled around my bed, and Dr. Minton walk in the room.  “You ready to do this,” he asks, and I nod. He releases my IV so I can run up and down some steps like Rocky, and I come back and tell him to get started.  We fistbump.

2:00

I’m in the prime birthing position, and a nurse tells me to push.  Since I hadn’t gone to any birthing classes or learned pretty much anything while pregnant, I don’t know what the hell she means.  Do I push Dr. Minton? More drugs into my veins?  What do I push? 

2:15

I’ve figured out what she meant by pushing, and this is no fun.  Definitely not in my top ten list of fun things to do if you have some free time.  The whole time I’m pushing, I have the same expression on my face.  It’s my gameface, in case you were wondering.  Dr. Minton asks me if I was an athlete at some point in my life, and I nod between pushes.  He also asks me several times if I want to take a “breather” and I shake my head.  Someone has resuscitated George so he’s standing by the side of my bed, looking like a Wheeble Wobble about to fall down.  I keep asking him if he’s alright, like I’m seriously asking my husband, who has done nothing but sit down on a chair and eaten food from the cafeteria if he’s all right.  He tries to touch my arm during a push but I backhand him J-Woww style and I think he gets the message.  No one will break my concentration.  No one will fuck with the groove I have going on.  This is the most important athletic event of my life, and I don’t plan on anyone (Danny included) fucking it up.

2:45

A nurse asks me if I want a mirror to see what’s going on.  Does anyone say yes to this?  Like yes, let me voluntarily view my ten pound child exiting my body because I never want to sleep, eat, or have sex again. 

2:50

Dr. Minton (who was now my favorite person in the world, as he didn’t do stupid shit like yell or count while I was pushing, who just sat there and gave me reassuring looks when things got bad) calmly asked if I was ready to meet Danny.  “One more push,” he said.

So I pushed with the last ounce of strength I had left.  In that last push, I felt the moment wash over me, the ten horrible months of being pregnant paused in the air, and I remember thinking, finally, it’s finally time. My son is almost here. My son.  This is all over, I thought.  I felt relieved.  And in the same moment, I felt elated.  I felt calm.  All in one last push.

I hear Dr. Minton do a little satisfied chuckle, and I hear Danny start to cry.  He’s placed on my chest and Dr. Minton says, “Was everything worth it?”

I look down at Danny, all scrunch faced and old (Benjamin Button) looking, and I realize that I’ve started crying.  I nod to Dr. Minton one more time, and he smiles.

Yes, Dr. Minton, it was.

The Birth: Let’s Pregame This Bitch

July 28, 2010

One thing I’ve noticed about blogs written by women who happen to have children is that they all have one thing in common: the quintessential birth story; wherein they discuss the birth of their child(ren) in great detail. Some I’ve read have been funny, some have made me cry, and others had information that even I didn’t want to know that made my mouth start to pre-vomit salivate. This will be a little bit of this, a little bit of that. (That line was just rapped by a hamster in a hoodie, btw.)

Basically, I’m saying that in order to be a real “blogger” (and by blogger I mean someone who could stand to profit from their tales of misfortune and woe) this needs to be done, and quickly. I’m opting for the “24” timeline feel, where pertinent information is shared in timelogical order. Please note that my child is three, so most of these “times” will be bold-faced lies. I can’t remember what I was doing half an hour ago, so to hell with accuracy. It’s really pretty simple: one morning Danny lived in my body and later on that day he didn’t.

Pre-Gaming

5 days after seeing the “You’re Pregnant” sign on the tenth pregnancy test I’d ripped open frantically:

My first visit to the doctor. No one besides George knew I was knocked up, and I felt like I had a special little secret that only we knew. (That’s the part where you should start to pre-vomit salivate.) My visit was super pleasant, and I looked around the waiting room and smiled at all the visibly pregnant women rubbing their bellies. They were so cute! That will be me! It will be so magicaaaaal. (Strum strum strum harp sound effect.) I just happened to gloss over the fact that they looked more miserable than people in Atlanta waiting for the Marta.

Two days before Danny’s birf’day:

Here I am at the doctor again. This fucking place. I’m a professional appointment haver now. I have my co-pay out before I even exit the car, I see the lady at the front desk more than I’ve seen anyone in the history of my life, and I try not to shoot eye lasers at the still happy pregnant women. The only thing that was motivating me to even go to the doctor at that point was the fact that there was a Dunkin Donuts directly across the street from the office. Since I couldn’t eat during seven months of my pregnancy, my goal was to make up for lost time. I’d shove donuts down my gullet like it was 2012 and I had an hour to live . On my last binge visit a construction worker going through the drive through yelled, “You got some twins in there?” Good thing I didn’t have a gun with a silencer at that moment.

Sixteen Hours, Five Minutes, and Two Seconds Later:

I’m finally in the exam room. Speaking of which, the whole baby doctor’s office was like the grass maze in The Shining and I never really knew where I was going. I’d be in the waiting room, and a nurse would call me in just to make me wait in a smaller room.  Then, someone else would usher me into a little cubicle thing where they would weigh me and take my blood pressure and then that person would send me back to the still small but a little bit bigger than the cubicle office room where I’d wait to be called to the Holy Land, the exam room.

There, I’d sit shivering in a gown thinner than the cheap toilet paper they had in their bathroom and wait for approximately sixteen hours, five minutes and two seconds for the door to open and for the real fun to start. Bitter, party of one?

So a lady doctor walks in, someone who I’d already seen a few times but couldn’t remember her name even if bribed with a donut.  Their practice required all patients to see each doctor (SIX OF THEM) at least once before your baby was born.  This was “protocol”, they’d explained, because if my “regular” doctor wasn’t available when Danny decided to make a run for the border, I’d be familiar with someone else. But really, let’s call it what it is: the only socially acceptable gang bang. Lady doctor was going to check my progress, she said cheerfully.

For those not familiar with pregnancy shit and/or are grossed out easily, skip this paragraph and save yourself. Go! GOOOOO! OK, so “checking your progress” is the phrase these gyno folks use to describe a horribly invasive procedure that involved my northern region and about 75% of the gyno’s arm, including partial shoulder. And what’s really some bullshit is how they sound so chipper and pleasant when they say it, all “let’s get in there and check out how things are goin'”, all light and airy, no big deal, like, “Let’s check out the flights available from here to the Bahamas and you can totally use my sky miles to pay for it”. But instead, a glove snaps on and thirty seconds later your dignity will fly out the window along with the money you’ve just paid someone to fist you. So, this random doctor “checked” me, and asked when I was due. The 10th, I told her (it was the 4th) and she looked shocked. This woman, whose arm has seen more action than The Situation was shocked by my situation.

“We have to get this baby out of you,” she said. “From what I’m seeing, this kid is already pushing ten pounds. And I just felt his head. He has a lot of hair, by the way.”

I’ll let you digest that for a second.

Danny’s dad proceeded to projectile vomit and the doctor starts explaining what being “induced” means, and then asks, “How about tomorrow,” also super casually like we were making lunch plans. George starts scrolling frantically through the calendar on his Blackberry. That man actually said, “Tomorrow? Tomorrow is actually really busy for me.” Craziest thing? He’s still alive.

“Tomorrow is perfect. I’m good. It’ll work,” I chimed in, very matter of factly. The doctor cocked her head at me like a dog who’d just heard a high-pitched noise and said, “Huh?”

You see, I was in no mood to mess around. I’d had this during my pregnancy, and I was over having Danny live in my person. It’s worth noting that during my aforementioned “first visit” I’d asked the doctor silly questions like whether I could still run during my pregnancy (now I can laugh at that sentence) and if she’d be the one to deliver my then cashew shaped human. This was before I got sick sick sicker than sick and add about 90% and that’s how sick I was sick.

I’d left the office that day smiling and saying things like, “I feel good, things are good, I like her.”

By June 4th, I couldn’t have cared less who helped me evict Danny. I could’ve picked random people up off the street and started delegating, all, you right there in the wife beater- get a towel, any towel. Doesn’t matter if it’s clean. What’d you just say? Do you need to wash your hands? Nope, we have bigger things to worry about. And you next to wife-beater (no need for formal introductions) start fashioning a shank out of anything you see lying around. We’ll need a sharp object to cut the whateverit’s called after this thing comes out.

So no, George didn’t have to be there. He’d told me he didn’t want anyone else in the room but us during the delivery, so my parents were awaiting Danny’s birth in Georgia. I think back now and realize, I had a human funneling my nutrients and life-force for ten month, so my best friend from kindergarten (big ups, Rosemi!) can be in the got’damn room if I want. So you know what, George, Mr. Tomorrow Isn’t Good for me, you don’t need to be there either. Doctor whatever your name is (I pointed at her) and Danny (I patted my stomach), let’s do this.

She left the room to call the hospital to see if there was a bed available. I sat there shaking my head and thinking, I didn’t know you had to make reservations. Probably one of the other things I forgot to do, like oh, I don’t know, research things like labor and breastfeeding and how to put a diaper on a baby since I’d never done that before. She came back with a look on her face that instantly told me we were (in Suze Orman voice) DEE-NIED. “If I could say it to you in french I would, DEE-NIED.”  I love that bitch.

At that moment, I may have cried a little. I also may have punched George in the stomach like he was the hippo with the crown from Punch Out. We probably tried to slip the doctor a Jefferson (those $15.00 co-pays add up, kids) to work her magic. But noooo, I had to wait until June 6th to push this kid out.

My body was already showing signs of serious readiness (Google it) the doctor explained, so it could be earlier. Apparently this thing I had called a cervix was already quite “dilated.” How’d she know that, you ask? Let’s just say she checked. I believe a protractor may have been involved. Immediately after she told me this, I got super panicked. I expected to get up from the exam table and have Danny slide down my legs like he was on Splash Mountain. Thank the lord this was before shows like you have to be a fucking idiot “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant” because I would’ve been looking in the toilet bowl and in the legs of my jeans before I put them in the wash like a paranoid crackhead scanning the perimeter for police.

This is where you can choose to keep riding or get off the train that’s the Fuckery Express.  This will only get worse, and you’ve been warned.