I wasn’t a blogger seven years ago when Keshi was born, but I have always been addicted to reading birth stories. So, before I wither from old age and forget, I thought I’d tell you all the story of his birth. Seven and a half years late. Because I’m timely.
Did I ever mention that I got pregnant with Keshi in graduate school? While living two thousand miles away from Gregg? (Oh hush, he visited.) It was super!
The reason was that we thought I couldn’t get pregnant. We’d been trying for a few years, and only had one lousy miscarriage to show for it, so this was a tiny bit unexpected. I thought about dropping out of school, but I am an eternal pessimist, and I thought that if I dropped out, I would have a miscarriage. Basically, my master’s degree was saving my child’s life. Because that’s how science works. Shh, I know. I once took a science class.
I had a few weeks between the spring semester ended and the summer semester started, and that’s when I was due. Except that when I went in for a non-stress test for my gestational diabetes (because I gained 22 pounds and my baby was going to be a GIANT OMG) at 34 weeks, it turned out I was having regular contractions, five minutes apart. So I was briefly hospitalized, and then put on bed rest. If you have not been to graduate school, bed rest is NOT ACTUALLY POSSIBLE. It’s just…no. I laid on the sofa, I skipped a few classes, and then I am pretty sure I ignored medical advice because if I was in labor, I was in the most painless, effortless labor ever. And listen, I go all Eeyore sad when I get a stubbed toe, so I knew I wasn’t in any real kind of labor.
It turned that even as my contractions continued, they did nothing. Nada! So I got to go back to school and work while nine months pregnant, fun! And somewhere in there, my fellow graduate students threw me a surprise baby shower, since my original Nebraska one had to be cancelled because of dumb fake labor. I may have cried a lot.
Everything was looking good at the end of the semester and I finished my finals and was almost done with my last paper. I only had to write a few pages and then I’d be done forEVER, or a month. Whatever. On May 6th, 2005, with about 800 words left to write for the semester, I got up in the morning to pee, and my water broke on the bathroom floor before I even got to the toilet. I think I screamed at Gregg (who was kind enough to be there instead of 2000 miles away) and said, “AAAAAH MY WATER BROKE MY WATER BROKE MY WATER BROKE GET A TOWEL RIGHT NOW I’M LEAKING.” And Gregg, being still asleep, said, “Murfl?”
And then I killed him.
Oh wait, first I screamed some more and he finally brought me some towels and some new pants, and we called the midwife and went to the hospital and called everyone we knew because OMG TODAY WAS THE DAY WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A BABY YAAAAY! What stupid n00b parents we were.
We got the hospital and checked in and got a room and were set up on a monitor so I could see the contractions.
There were a lot of wires, and I wasn’t allowed to get up because I was in Nebraska, also known as the fucking middle ages for women giving birth.
Needless to say, the second I was put in that hospital bed, my contractions stopped. They’d been happening steadily for FIVE! WHOLE! WEEKS! so they just petered out. I measured just over one centimeter.
I was given Pitocin, Evil Drug TM, at a low dose, to perk things up a bit. They did nothing. We put on Austin Powers and waited. And waited. And waited.
I was given more Pitocin. Things started to feel a little stabby in my midsection. We watched something else I can’t remember, and waited. And waited. And waited.
I was checked again and I was at…one centimeter.
So I was given more Pitocin, the highest dose, and we waited. And waited. And waited. I had to breathe through all the terrible Pitocin contractions and I was sure they were working.
The next time I was checked, I was at one centimeter. I was told that since my water broke (and continued to gush out throughout the day like I was filled with an OCEAN of amniotic fluid), I couldn’t leave the hospital and continue labor at home sans Pitocin, Evil Drug TM. Because this was the middle ages.
I asked for an epidural. I didn’t care about my fucking hippie drugless birth plan any longer because it was already shot to hell with the Pitocin.
About an hour later, I was checked again. Can you guess where I was at? ONE FUCKING CENTIMETER.
The midwife on duty told me that I had to have a C-section since it had been twelve hours since my water broke and I wasn’t likely to make any progress. (It’s alright, people who have given birth. I know now that she was a complete jerk and just wanted to go home instead of doing her fucking job and getting me into labor, but! back to the story!)
I was prepped for the OR and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed about not wanting a C-section, about possibly dying, about not getting to experience the birth like a “real” woman (OMG I KNOW! I KNOW I WAS WRONG! I’m just telling you what I was thinking then), and then I sobbed some more.
I was wheeled into the OR around 10PM, the anesthesiologist did some tinkering with my epidural to make it into whatever they make it into for surgery, and a curtain was put up at my midsection. Gregg was asked if he wanted to cut the cord or watch, and Gregg, Guy Who Faints At Sight Of Blood, politely declined. I wasn’t entirely sure he would make it through the surgery, so I just said, “Do NOT look over that curtain or I will KILL you after you wake up from fainting, you asshole.” It was politer than that, because people with sharp tools were around, but that’s the gist.
They started cutting and I felt absolutely nothing. Not a weird tugging, nothing. And then! THEN I felt something creepy and scary and painful and I panicked and told the anesthesiologist that I could feel knives and them opening me up and he gave me all the drugs I was allowed to have (see also: Eeyore about stubbed toes), but it wasn’t enough and I winced and prayed and winced and did deep breathing, and then…there was a little baby wail. I think I said something deep like, “Oh!” and tears immediately sprang to my eyes and I couldn’t stop crying. I told Gregg to go over and look and I was so, so jealous that I was going to be the last person in the room to see my kid, but I laid there and waited for someone to bring my baby over.
And then they did, and suddenly everything in the whole entire Universe was good, at least for that moment.
He starts second grade this week, even though he was born yesterday. He’s a tiny bit nervous that it will be just awful and he won’t do so well, so if you could send some invisible love through the air, I’d be very grateful.