Optional Reading: Birth

Not that all my other posts are not optional, of course. This one is just a little extra optional, since it contains blood and guts and words like "placenta." Plus, I'm sure some of you could just really care less.

Which is fine. I'm just a writer...so I write about things. Especially big things. And this was a big thing.

Friday the 13th was a rough day for me. Not because I had anything more pressing to do than an eye doctor appointment in the morning followed by a breakfast of two cookies and some hot chocolate from Paradise Bakery, but because I was just in...discomfort all day.

About 4:30 is when the walking began. Dallin quit work a little early, and we went for a nice, long walk. Then we took a break, and went for another walk. This one ended up being about 3 miles long, taking us to the Marketside close to our house so we could get some applesauce, which was the only thing I really wanted to eat that I'd heard was "early labor friendly."

I hadn't showered all day, so after we ate, I took a shower. It felt great in every way...except at the end, at which point I started feeling some amazing pressure down there that led me to believe that the night might turn out to be very exciting after all. This was about 8:20ish, and we started timing the contractions for reals while I...did my hair. Hey, I had to do something. And if my mom was going to be involved in the next several hours, you can bet there was going to be some serious picture taking going on.

Anyway, my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart for the next hour or so, so we figured it was time to go. I was a little worried they would send us back, because the contractions I was having, even then, were not necessarily painful. I mean, I could talk through them and everything. It was not what I was expecting, which was to be doubled over writhing in pain. That means that our drive to the hospital was not what Dallin was expecting, either. I think he'd been holding out for an "excuse" to speed to the hospital, but alas, it was really not necessary.

We got to the hospital around 10:00, and waited for a few minutes in triage for them to come check me out. I was at a 6, on my way to a 7. We were there to stay. They called my doctor who said I was good for an epidural whenever I wanted it, but I was still handling the contractions pretty well, so I decided to hold off for now. I got hooked up to an IV which made me incredibly shivery all the way to the labor and delivery room.

P.S. Have you ever had penicillin through an IV? Oh. My. Pain. I had to have penicillin through my IV to combat the evil Group B Strep that I tested positive for. So I wasn't really complaining, since the cause was so noble. But oh my stars, if that stuff didn't burn like the dickens in my arm. An ice pack helped, as did time...but...wow.

So there we were in the L&D room. A doctor (not mine- a resident) came to check me out again, and confirmed what the triage nurse had said. My mom and sister showed up, and Dallin went to get some food. This was about 12 or 12:30, and while Dallin was gone, things REALLY started picking up. It must have been the two cervix checks I'd had or something, because I was suddenly in some seriously intensified pain. The contractions were coming hard, and they were coming fast. I was going to need that epidural, stat.

Dallin got back and we notified whoever needed to be notified to stick a needle in my back. Let me tell you, I got that guy's name and address and sent him bouquet of daisies and a $50 Visa gift card for what he did. Or at least, I really, really should have. I don't think I've ever made a friend so quickly in my whole life.

The epidural brought blissful relief, and Dallin and I took a nap from about 1 to 3:30 or so. When I woke up, I was afraid we'd still have a ways to go, since epidurals typically slow things down, but it was soon discovered that I was at a 9 and that my water was (finally!) at the breaking point. Like, literally. It broke right after she checked it.

So my doctor was called. I guess he usually spends his o n call nights at the hospital, but he chose this particular night to be at home, so we had another 20 minutes or so to go before we started pushing. Baby did not agree. Baby wanted mommy to push RIGHT NOW. And while I was grateful that the epidural was not taking away any and all feeling below my waist, I was NOT grateful for that feeling of the need to push. It did NOT go away. I was afraid the baby was just going to plop out before anyone could do anything.

Ha. I laugh at that now.

Let me tell you why: because babies need to be pushed. Like, really, pushed. Like...really, really pushed. Do you get what I'm saying? You have to really, really push to get them out.

I started pushing around 4:25. Thankfully, I only had to push for about half an hour.

One of the scariest moments of my life was when they told me they could see the head. I looked in the graciously provided mirror and saw a little circle of skin, maybe like 2 inches wide. I remember thinking that was my baby's head - her whole head. I then remember thinking I was either giving birth to the smallest baby ever, 8 of the smallest babies ever, or the 15 dalmatian puppies from 101 Dalmatians.

Of course, if any of those scenarios had been the case, it probably wouldn't have hurt so much.

When the head was about halfway out (so I could tell that it was normal sized), they asked me if I wanted to reach down and touch it.

Um, no. Moving on.

Once the head was out, the rest was pretty easy peasy. One more big push for the shoulders and the little darlin squelched right out. They confirmed that it was, in fact, a girl. She cried. Man, that cry was beautiful. I cried. They wiped her down a bit and handed her to me. I held her and kissed her and got who knows what on my face and arms in the process. I didn't especially care.

After that...well, if you've had a baby, you know, and if you haven't, you don't want to. Nastiness ensued...cords, placenta, stitches...so so fun. I'll spare you any gory details, which means that this paragraph is over because really anything I could say would be pretty gory.

Well, I gotta say - birth is beautiful. It's not pretty, but it really is beautiful.

And of course, so totally and completely, 100% worth it.