Wednesday, January 2, 2013

6 Gross and Surprising Things About Giving Birth

Lorelai is 6 months old today, which means that I have put off sharing our birth story for half a year. My powers of procrastination know no bounds.

Lorelai, 6 months old
I plan to post a video about my labour experience, but I need Chase to sit down with me to film it; I was so delirious with pain and blood loss, I'm a little fuzzy on the details. Long story short: I was planning a hospital birth (I would have planned a home birth, but I had a C-section and I hemorrhaged last time, so I wanted to increase my odds of, you know, living), but the Powers that Be had other plans. I ended up delivering in my bedroom, partly because I refused to believe I was in labour, partly because my midwife didn't think I would deliver so quickly, and mostly because Lorelai hated the whole experience as much as I did and said "Eff this Ess! I'm out of here!". Then, I lost a ton of blood and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

It might take me another 6 months to actually sit down in front of a camera, so in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you 6 gross and surprising things about giving birth.

1. Fake labour feels exactly like real labour.

That thing you heard about labour feeling like period cramps? True. But I've never had period cramps that 1) made me sit up taller, and 2) made me pace around the house in a vain attempt to distance myself from, and even outrun, the pain.

Also, you might think your water broke just because you soaked through your pants. Unless you're sitting in a puddle big enough to bathe in, your water probably didn't break.

2. If you have not peed in a few hours, your midwife will make you get up to use the bathroom, even though the very thought of moving makes you wish for death.

Apparently, giving birth with a full bladder is dangerous. If you are unable to pee, they will catheter you. I thought the catheter was an idle threat. It was not.

3. Giving birth feels like taking the biggest, most horrifying shit of your life.  Times a million.

I was under the impression that pushing would be a relief from the pain - if not a full out relief, at least a place to redirect the pain. Total lie. Pushing is terrifying. I screamed like I was in a horror film; I was told to keep it down lest my neighbours think I was being murdered and call the police.

4. Once you give birth, the painful part isn't necessarily over.

My first words after I gave birth were "It's over! I can't believe it's over!" I should have known that was too good to be true. After you give birth, you deliver the placenta, after which, a team of women poke, prod and knead your sore stomach to make sure your uterus is contracting. And then, if you're super lucky, you get your vagina sewn back up. And then, if you're still unable to pee because, say, you start to faint on the toilet, they will give you a second catheter.

See that shopping bag and gloved hand in the top right corner?
Definitely a midwife poking around in my placenta.
Also, I'm pretty sure I was getting stitches when this photo was taken.

5. You might be asked to play with your nipples if your uterus fails to contract.

...Yeeeeah. It's just as weird and awkard as it sounds.

6. Fainting after you give birth is fucking awesome.

Seriously, it's better than getting high. For one, while the midwives are calling the ambulance and, in my case, preparing your catheter, no one messes with you and you get to relax. I laid on my side rather than my back for the first time in hours and it was such a relief, I almost cried (maybe I did cry?). My bed has never been so comfortable. For another, and maybe this is the blood loss talking, fainting makes you euphoric. I knew I could potentially die, but I didn't give a shit about anything. I may or may not have said "Come on in! Witness me in all my glory!!" to the EMTs who came to whisk me away in the ambulance. I was completely naked, and there was a bag of my own pee beside me at the time. I did not.give.a.shit. It was amazing.

Bonus Surprising Thing About Giving Birth, At Home, With Complications

Even though it sucked all kinds of ass, I would do it again. My midwives were fabulous, and they were a stark contrast to the hospital treatment I got afterward (speaking of which, the doctors didn't do anything for me that the midwives weren't already doing. Except, I guess, they offered me a transfusion on my second day - which I refused so I could go home earlier). All in all, it was a pretty amazing experience.

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