I haven't posted since my original Valentine blog post because quite frankly I couldn't remember how to, or where my last blog post disappeared to, but since I feel strongly about this awareness, I took the time to figure it out again. I have zero patience or interest for technology which really doesn't work out well for me in this day and age. But I try, and this is the second time writing this, as the first time didn't save. Welcome to my non technology savvy world. I also feel blogs are a thing of the past, I certainly haven't looked at one in years and assume everyone else hasn't either, but off we go anyway.
I've only have had 5 pregnancies and babies, so am by no means an expert on this, but I have had babies about every which way possible. I've had them with doctors, midwives, medicated, unmedicated, vaginal, emergecny c-sections, posterior, anterior and upside down. Ok, maybe not upside down. I've had intrauterine growth retardation, low amniotic fluid, high amniotic fluid, full placenta previa, amniotic bands, ultra thin uterine wall, partial placenta previa and other random issues. But guess what the one thing is that I never had? I never went into natural labor on my own. This is sad, but it is NOT the end of the world and so today I would like to share a bit about my labors and my story with you, as I think there a lot of pressure on women toady due to social media and lots of sharing and opinions on the subject.
I am rating this post R for repulsive, because if you are a teen, or a man (or woman for that matter) who has not ever given birth or watched it, this may be way to much information for you and please stop reading. Also if you are just generally sensitive to oversharing of stuff like this, please stop. You've been warned. I also want to state that I write with lots of sarcasm and humor so please don't ever take anything I write serious or be offended. I may make fun of people or situations but I don't ever judge anyone and I think we are all beautifully different and unique and I'm always thankful for this!
When I got pregnant with my first child almost 17 years ago, the most pressing concerns I had on my mind were where we were gonna snowboard that weekend, what fun restaurant we were gonna try (we lived in downtown Denver at the time) and if I was going to get off work early. I was a nanny for the founding family of Vail Ski resort and to say I had some fun perks was putting it mildly. I was having the time of my life and to be honest I hadn't really factored a baby in to it. I was a naive, ignorant and innocent farm girl from ND who hadn't once thought about pregnancy or labor or any of that, I was about as far removed from that stage of a womans life as you could be.
So there I was, young dumb and completely clueless and ignorant about birth and the process. About all I knew was what I knew from growing up on a farm, so I assumed I would pop out a baby in a few minutes and then go back to eating hay (chips and salsa) while my baby calmly nursed. This is before the age of social media, google and the oversharing of all things birth related, so I was totally in the dark. I didn't even have an email or cell phone, let alone the ability to research anything on the internet. I started reading the book what to expect when your expecting and decided they were way overacting to this whole thing and put that away without finishing it. Just yesterday I had a video pop up on Instagram of a woman in labor, like the full on view, this is the norm nowadays, so I don't think anyone, anywhere is going to have any big surprises in this day and age.
I was also so busy fighting a severe case of morning sickness, that labor and delivery were the farthest thing from my mind. I puked every day, all day, for 4 months and I did it ALL over Colorado. I wasn't going to let a little pregnancy keep me from exploring and keeping up with my very active husband (when I really just wanted to be home in bed moaning) so I left puke all over, from the top of Pikes Peak, to the bottom of the Colorado River, the top of the Beaver Creek ski resort to the Garden of the Gods and about everywhere in between, including about 70 alleyways in Denver. I was 115 pounds when I got married and I dropped several pounds so I was basically a walking, puking skeleton and I'm sure my new husband was wondering what on EARTH he got himself in to.
He spent my pregnancy cleaning up puke through various and random parts of CO and our home and on a funny side note, I was puking the very day I had my fifth baby (at that point I was up to 9 months of morning sickness/puking) and I got the giggles so bad as I was watching my husband empty my puke bucket. It occurred to me that he had literally cleaned up hundreds and hundreds of puke messes by me. Someone good at math could figure it out, but 5 pregnancies with 6-9 months of puking many many times a day, to just a few times a day or sometimes even none (as I got towards the end) and that adds up to a LOT of puke. He deserves some sort of puking medal.
By my fourth pregnancy we were taking this bucket list trip where we sold our house, our cars and pretty much everything we owned and we were traveling the US in a motorhome and I left puke in almost every state in the western part of the USA. Now how many people can say that? The things I have to be proud of. On that one, when I was pregnant with my only boy, I actually puked so much that I started vomiting up blood and it was determined I had torn a hole in my esophagus from puking up to many undigested solids, so I had to go on a soft liquid diet to heal it so that my puke wouldn't be so chunky going up. I spent many many days and hours in the hospitals with each pregnancy, hooked up to IV so they could keep me hydrated and get some vitamins in me, this was true with all my pregnancies but my second was the hardest. I wasn't able to keep enough down to keep my baby or my placenta hydrated and this led to intrauterine growth retardation on that baby and such low amniotic fluid that it became dangerous.
So, I am not telling you all this to feel sorry for me, in fact quite the opposite. I would have people just shake their head at me and almost get angry at me for getting pregnant 'again??' Why would I do that? (as if its their business or concern) What was wrong with me etc. To be honest, I felt very fortunate that I was able to even get pregnant and have the wonderful opportunity to have children, many people don't have this and I would gladly take 9 months of the worst stomach flu you can imagine and have a baby, than not be able to have one at all. I've heard of women who say that pregnancy was so inconvenient and labor was so painful, that they are never doing that again. This is true, its extremely inconvenient and I disliked being pregnant very much and I also for sure didn't love the process of having a baby, but how could it not be so worth all the inconveniences?? Without fail, when I held my baby for the first time, every single hour spent in misery was instantly worth it and the cost was never to high for the reward. This may sound cliche but it is the total truth. I would do it again and again because its always worth it and its a privilege and honor that not everyone gets. I got to where I hid my sickness from everyone as I got tired of the drama, criticism and eye rolling it would invoke. By my last baby, the only ones who really even knew how deathly sick (that one almost did do me in) I really was, were my hubby, kids and my mother who also shared this problem.
Ok, I got really sidetracked here, this is about labor, not about puking. Your probably all nauseous by now, I know I am! I think our first clue about how clueless I was, was my very first doctor appointment. I had never been to a gynecologist before and had no idea what to expect. I was in my twenties and it wasn't on my radar to go to a doctor. I'm really bad at seeking regular care, the only times in my life I've ever been to a doctor were for my pregnancies and my head injuries. I would never ever go for a simple checkup. I mean I've only even been to the dentist once in my married life, yes, once in 17 years. But I've never had a cavity or needed a cleaning so why go? But please don't follow my example, I think all people (besides myself) should go to a doctor regular like and rest assured, my children all see a dentist and doctor yearly. Ok, where was I?
Oh yes, my first prenatal visit. We meet our very classy and beautiful Obstetrician in her suave and sophisticated downtown office and I instantly like her. After the preliminary introductions are over, she hands me this paper disposable shirt to wear and a paper blanket/sheet. She tells me she is going to leave the room while I change and she will be back. So I put the shirt on which comes almost to my navel, like a belly shirt, and then try and figure out what I'm supposed to do with this blanket/pad thing. I ask Rye and he's as clueless as me (to be expected, he was way out of his element too) so we finally decided I must be supposed to sit on it to keep the table nice and clean. Yes, I felt slightly akward to be sitting there basically buck naked but I figure this is how its going to be at my pregnancy appointments from now on and I might as well get used to being naked from the waist down.
So in breezes my sweet doc who takes one look and me and without missing a beat turns right back around with her back to me and very helpfully suggests that I drape the blanket over my lower body and then we can continue our discussion. I guess even with all her experience, she wasn't comfortable having our long appointment with me sitting there naked. This may not be funny to many of you and you may not even get it, but once you've been around doctors and clinics and appointments as much as I have now, you will know that this was a huge breach in protocol and etiquette. Any doctors reading this will have a good chuckle away.
Then there was the time when I had to have a Rogame shot and she told me she would be giving it to me in my butt so to lower my pants and then bend over the table a bit. Since she didn't specify exactly where on my butt, I figured I'd cover all my bases and I dropped my pants to my ankles and bent over. She stammers out something about pulling my pants back up and then just slightly rolling the waistband down and she would give it to me. So when they say a shot in the butt, they mean your very upper butt, basically your hip, so don't ever feel like you have to completely drop your pants off. These are just little things your mother doesn't teach you. Cause she doesn't realize this is something that would actually need explained, what can I say, I'm very literal. Again, much funnier now that I've had a million of them and now know the proper protocol and procedures. I'm sure she entertained her colleagues around the lunch table with all the storeis about this poor ignorant hick from the sticks who didn't have a clue. I did notice she got rather specific with me from then on.
She eventually decides, rightfully so, that we might be good candidates for a Lamaze class and even though we weren't very interested, we decided to humor her and sign up for one. And then became probably the only people to ever be kicked out of a lamaze class. I'm not proud of this, but I've honestly never received so much unhelpful and ridiculous information in my life. I was pretty sure our instructor had never actually had a baby. I certainly didn't know anything about having a baby, but I knew that cleansing my aura and worshipping the sun goddess was not going to help me. I've no doubt my aura needed cleansing like crazy, but it wasn't on the top of my list of priorities about labor. I had to double check and make sure I was still in Denver and not in Boulder.
We gave it our best shot and we did actually get SOME good helpful information but I knew that channeling my inner goddess and having Rye gently rub my back and blow affirmations in my ear, was not going to be helping me. He knew this too and so I don't remember what happened but we got the giggles and then the rest of the class started laughing, except for a few eager beaver couples in the front, and pretty soon we were all laughing hysterically. We all have different personalities and mine is, when I'm in pain or wounded, I don't want to be coddled or touched at all and if you do, I will likely punch you. Leave me alone and ill get over it and then you can blow your silly love words in my ear and I'll just roll my eyes instead of punch you. Rye knew me well by this point and so we just weren't taking it serious enough and we got asked to leave. I felt bad about this and we were let back in to the next class were I was going to be on my best behavior and Rye wasn't allowed to make any smart remarks and make me laugh.
I was trying to learn how to breathe right in the next class, which was shocking to me because I didn't know we had to LEARN to breath, I thought that was a natural instinct and I must not have been doing it right because despite my earnestness, I got reprimanded for not taking deep enough breaths and so on. By the time it came time to write a birth plan I was so over it and then I was so confused. Why was I supposed to have a plan? Didn't they have a plan? They're leaving it up to ME to have the plan??! Please tell me they have A plan for getting this baby out of me! In fact, I am paying them big money to have the knowledge, to have A PLAN for petes sake. Why on earth would I have a plan, I have no idea what I am doing, I've never done this before. I'm panicked, looking at this blank sheet of paper and I don't want to flunk again, so I finally write something honest and this is what it looked like.
Go to the hospital. Have a baby. With the least amount of pain possible. Don't kill or injure husband in the process. Try to be a good mother even though I haven't the faintest idea how.
Needless to say, I flunked Lamaze, but that birthing plan served me well for 5 labors and never did really change. Now if you have or had a birthing plan, I do NOT judge you. If you cleanse your aura before brith I don't judge you. You are way more organized and efficient than me. I just don't make plans, ever. I don't even know what I'm making for supper yet, in fact, I better go take out some meat. I can't even commit to going to story hour every week because thats way to scehulded and planned for me. I live in the moment, I wing it all and I never EVER have a plan. I wouldn't even have a plan the minute before I go into labor, I take each minute as it comes and have no idea how I am going to respond to any given situation, let alone labor. This is not a good quality and I admire greatly everyone who has a plan, and a 401K and the normal 2.4 kids and the white picket fence and the budgets etc. But thats not me and never will be.
So here we are, I'm finally done puking, I've reached my due date and I'm ready to have my baby. It never once occurred to me that I would ever have pain killers, drugs, epidural or any of that. Wasn't even on my radar, I was just was a fan of doing everything natural. I didn't have google to look anything up, I didn't ask anyone any questions, as it just wasn't discussed then, and I most certainly didn't know the first thing about breastfeeding or if i would do it. Back then there wasn't a big movement to breastfeed and everyone I knew still used bottles, like all our moms and aunts and everyone before us did. So I was about as clueless as could be going in, but sometimes ignorance is bliss because I had NO idea the nightmare that was about to unfold.
To be Continued. Sorry, this got way long.