Archive | Birthstories RSS feed for this section

Carry Me

25 Sep

Did she hold me now? Three hours ago? 12? Did they leave me in her room, snuffling, comatose little child beside her as colostrum poured from her breasts? Did she look out the window, perhaps at the rain, as they wheeled me away from her 17 year old unfinished hands, clutching at her elbows as she suddenly felt emptier than ever? Was I alone, screaming in a room, my echoes covered by those of a multitude of other lives I’d never touch again, their mothers waiting in their rooms, warmed by the slow engorging of their breasts, the blissed tiredness of their labours?

Did I know she had left me? Did my small trembling fists know what had happened, that she had signed a paper releasing me from her, just another cord to slice through? Did I feel the gulf then, as I do now, wavering and shimmering, a golden forest of time, of pressure, of regret between us.

Does she think of me today, now? Does she drink the beer she drank for years, not knowing, or is she at peace, knowing I survived, knowing that I have grown strong and tall, if not a little knicked and torn in place?

Did she love me, ever?

**************************************

Do you love your mother
The way I love mine
Expecting nothing of her
’cause she was changing all the time
I couldn’t take my mother
And I’ll never hate my home
But I learned to rock myself child
And get on

Do you feel your mother
The way I feel mine
I tried to change the nature
But now I like it ’cause it’s mine
And I let you love me up
And I let you bring me home
And I could go away
But I don’t wanna

I don’t wanna be too smart
I don’t wanna talk too fast
I don’t wanna look too precious
First impressions never last
There’s always complications
Weird vibrations
Frustrations
Have patience

Do you love your mother
’cause God I love mine
In a dream she let me love her
Gotta hand it to my mind
In case you never meet her
I’ll tell you what it is
She was lonely like a woman
But she was just a kid

Oh mama
What are ya doin’
Yeah yeah yeah
Ooohhh
Shit
Carry me

**************************

Today I turned 31 at around 2:15am. And it hit me, mid afternoon, that I’ve never known when my mother said good-bye to me, when the finality of all she had done and decided had hit, when she last touched me, held my fingers. I’ve never known, and when I met my biological mother, I was too young to think of these things, to young to understand the heartbreak of saying goodbye to your first born.

All my life, I have felt lonely on my birthday. I have always craved as much fuss and bother as I could get, and rarely, if ever, have had it. I figured this had much more to do with losing my adoptive mother than with being adopted. But what if? What if a body retains that initial abandonment, what if it remembers that hand leaving, tears trailing, months of unwillingness swirling in the womb. What if the body remembers what the brain dare not?

I don’t much like my biological mother. Or much of my biological family for that matter. Blood isn’t thicker than water in my case. But when I met her, I wanted, more than anything, to find a mother, my mother. I wanted to be embraced, welcomed. I wasn’t, not as I needed, and perhaps finding her at 18 wasn’t the best of ideas, but there was something poetic about meeting her around the age of when she lost me. I couldn’t grasp the enormity of it-bearing life at that age!

I’m sure it hardened her. She told me that for years, she would get stinking drunk on my birthday, wondering where I was, how I was, and that the year she found me, that was the first time she didn’t have to drink herself to sleep, wondering. Turns out I was 40 minutes down the road after all, blissfully ignorant in the arms of two parents who loved me more than I could wish. But she never told me how it all felt, how long her labour was, how scared she had been, if she saw me, or if they took me before she could.

My narrative is incomplete. I feel the echoes of that part of my life, my beginning on every birthday. It no longer hurts, I don’t know if it ever did. But it was a space yearning to be filled, a place that will likely never know fullness. A place to honor what she gave, the arms she left barren, the people who she gave such joy to.

Happy Birth Day to you Mother. I hope your womb has healed.

“childbirth – stuff you don’t want to know”

1 Aug

Heh. Where to start.

 Let’s break down the 5 senses.

Smell:

When you’re pregnant, everything smells odd, and sometimes, awful. Excruciatingly so. People on the bus are magnified until their stench fills your entire being and you want to retch and retch. Food might disgust you. The memory of my father cooking a steak during my last pregnancy comes to mind-the smell and even taste of blood filled my head.

After you’ve birthed your child comes the lovely smell of lochia, magnified if you’ve hemorrhaged. Throw in unwashed human stink and sour milk smell from leaking breasts, and you are a veritable ball of blech that only time can rid you of. I never smelled that wondrous baby smell-I was too busy reeking from the various things dripping from me.

Find good things to smell, to create a barrier between you and the stench. Vaporub comes to mind.

Taste:

Nothing tastes the same when pregnant. Thankfully that comes back afterwards, but then it’s all tied up in memory. I ate X when I breastfed for the first time. I was eating C when I switched to bottles, I had Chinese the first night we were home. Taste cuddles up with memory, and you find stages in your child’s life to be melded to food.

Somethings taste FANTASTIC. I’m intolerant/allergic/whatever to eggs and dairy. When pregnant, I could eat ALL OF IT I WANTED!!! And I did. However, the guacamole/tortilla/bean with bacon soup meal I had one day? NOT a good idea. Just sayin.

Touch:

My entire pregnancies were full of touch me/get away from me. It was a greek drama I swear. During the births themselves, I know my husband was there, but I cannot remember what he was doing for the most part. I’m sure he was touching me, but I don’t remember. What I DO remember are the hands of strangers. My own OB/GYN was on vacation for BOTH of my births 2 years (almost) apart, so I gave birth with no familiar faces other than my husband. This is part of the reason I want to go into midwifery. No one should give birth alone in a crowd like that. No one should have their uterus entered by handS after birth to detach retained placenta either, not without drugs. No one should have to remember that helplessness.

Remember that you can control your birth and surroundings. Your body, your child. Take what is yours. Demand what you can, stand up for yourself. Don’t come to regret anything later.

Sight:

My eyes are already terrible, and didn’t get any better after the birth. But I can tell you, you learn to navigate blind in the night since putting your glasses on makes you stay away. Unless you want to watch the Daily Show at 3 am. Then go ahead and put them on.

I will say that the sight of your child for the first time, regardless how you feel about them, is an incredible thing. I made that! It came from me! now it’s pooping everywhere! You’ll see your eyes, your nose, his mouth. You’ll see years in a moment, and no words could contain or release that. It’s a transcendent sight.

Hearing:

Childbirth is funny-you will hear everything, and nothing. Time will condense into a moment where everyone holds their breath waiting for you to deliver, and yet they’re all screaming at you to push. (Real helpful btw, the screaming) All the intense moments in your life-they build up to this, to the real thing, to the moment of truth where you find the strength you may have never realized you had. This is where being a mother starts-saying you can’t while doing what needs to be done.

And then, they will cry. Personally, I hate hearing newborn cries, but still I remember them taking Rosalyn from me because she had pooped inside, and she was quiet and I remember worrying and realizing how I had counted on hearing that voice.

And then she let loose. How sweet is the sound of life truly beginning.

The stuff you don’t want to know? It WILL change you. Say what you will-say that you won’t turn into a “mom”, that you won’t be uncool or whatever. But to parent, and parent well, you must change in subtle ways. You become stronger, you become a mama bear standing over your cubs, you become a version of you that was never anticipated, but always there, waiting in the wings.

You couldn’t imagine it. I couldn’t. Yet today I sit here wondering what kind of person I would have been without my children. I wonder if I would still feel so remote and distant in the world, so aimless. For me, having children served as a guidepost, a catalyst, for good or ill.

The same might hold for you. No one will tell you this, because it isn’t cool to admit, but suddenly, having the newest “whatever” won’t matter, at least not for the first little while.

But no one will tell you how fantastic of a ride having a child, birthing a child, on your own, without drugs, really can be. Please try it-so many women have such horror stories of their births, of the regrets they have, the voices they didn’t use. USE YOUR VOICE.

Find the answers. Ask the questions. Listen to your body. There really is no stuff you don’t want to know, just stuff no one will tell you.

New baby Today?

20 Jun

mamaloo thinks today is the day!

Go wish her some mama love and good happy thoughts that her home birth STAYS a home birth!

Folds.

16 Jun

I’m folding laundry in front of Paula Zahn Now one night, relaxing after another chasingyellingfeedingsmellinggiggling day with my girls. I love doing the laundry-a simple mindless task with one purpose-clean nice smelling clothes. I grew up using the laundromat, so I find doing my laundry in the privacy of my own house a luxury.

As I folded the shirts and the pants of my daughters, I thought back to being pregnant with Vivian. After a business trip to Houston, I stopped at my in laws where they had a surprise shower for me. I lugged home what I could, the rest was mailed. I opened the suitcases, and the boxes in the empty sunny room, blue carpet, green walls, that was going to be my firstborn’s room. I sat on that floor, opening every tiny piece of clothing, marvelling at it all, at the fact that I would need it all, and the tiny fact of it’s being.

It was so new. I washed it all, drying it on the line in the backyard, in the sun, whipped by the warm late spring wind. I stood back to stare at all the little shirts and socks and hats and facecloths. It hit me at that moment how real the whole thing was.

I spent time folding it, hanging it, wondering if my baby would wear it, how long they would wear it, how I’d get it ON the baby. I let my fingers linger in the drawers, on the shelves as I entered the room, waiting, waiting. I stared at all the soaps and cremes, dumbfounded. I had no idea what was to come.

How new it all was. How clean and unfolded and sharp those few months before Vivian were. How I wanted everything to be just right, how I grew up so fast. How wonderful and happy my daughter was.

Folding my laundry now, I can’t help but be  struck by the speed of light, of time. Not four years ago I was in a different house, waiting for my life to change, folding newborn diaper shirts scared shitless. Their pants get longer and longer, the shirts bigger the stains harder. We grow. The baskets overflow, and I can no longer dictate what they wear, already!

I ache for the changes in those piles, how quickly they have changed, how soon the tiny outfits of babyhood are lost to the wider world of shorts and skirts and nail polish and haircuts.

How quickly it all has gone.

The children of my heart

13 Jun

Last night I finally got around to watching “Children of Men

This movie is loosely based (emphasis on the loose) on the P.D. James book of the same name. I think my view of the movie is biased by the fact that I LOVE the book. It’s just not the same, not by a long shot. I’m not saying it wasn’t a good movie-it just wasn’t the book.

If you haven’t read it, or watched it, the premise is that in 2009, people just stop being able to have babies. For no apparent reason. Then suddenly a pregnant woman, Kia is found, and the main character, Theo, has to protect her.

While I was unimpressed by the movie, I found myself incredibly moved by the scene where Kia has her daughter. She births in a cold, dirty room on a single mattress, with no real help, or knowledge of what to so.

As they are escaping a building later on, and everyone stops the minute the see or hear her little girl, the true sense of miracle comes through. And I cried.

I cried for women who do not see their children, their births as miracles. I cried for a world which has forgotten how beautiful birth is. I cried for a world when children are tossed aside, devalued, left to wither.  I cried for my loss, my inability to love my births and babies, my utter failure at that part of womanhood.

Then the newborn infant screams started. I began to feel like I would burst. The tears fell fast and my anxiety grew-that SOUND! I cannot bear it. Despite the miracle, I wanted to staunch the flow, cover the hole from whence those cries came. I couldn’t bear it-I can’t bear it. I twisted my hands over themselves, and quietly sobbed, my heart aching and my fingers twitching to turn off the sound, if not the movie.

Then it ended, and my heart recovered.

Inside my chest live the children I could not bear, the babies I cannot hear. The places I will never be, the mother I never was. I physically react to the miracle that is life, try to dissolve the fear by focusing on something else, anything else. But the interaction between one person’s miracle, and a clear reminder of one of the worst periods of my life hit me harder than I thought it might, left me quiet and sad.

My heart is bruised by the days I try to forget, days whose sirens are infants, small babies guilty of nothing but arrival. My miracle it seems, is moving, pulling to the side to let them pass.

“loser unhappy weepy mom”

24 May

oh hon….

You aren’t a loser. You’re not a bad person.

The first few weeks after birth are not always perfect. Actually, they aren’t perfect at all. They’re full of snot, milk, spooge, poop, scabs, lochia…so many smells and textures you’ve never seen before. They’re full of crying, little sleep, anger, sadness, joy, awe.

The first few weeks after having a baby is like taking your entire adolescence and bottling it up into a month or so. Then shaking it and adding responsibility and your nose.

Anyone who isn’t a little unsteady and unhappy is lying.

Maybe you’re like me, and you weren’t expecting or wanting any children. Maybe you were surprised by what your body did, the growing belly, the expanding breasts. Maybe you were saddened by capitulating to drugs, to their wishes. Maybe you’re sad because you don’t want the baby.

Maybe you’re sick, as I was.

I felt for a long time that it was my fault, that my rejection of my second born was something I caused. I still feel it sometimes, the guilt, the horror I felt at the sight of her. I see my blank stare in her blank stare those first few weeks. I’ve always felt responsible. She wasn’t a happy baby. I wasn’t a happy mother. But it wasn’t my fault.

PPD is a sickness-post partum depression is not your fault, it’s no one’s fault. If anything, it’s the fault of our medical system that it doesn’t do more to root it out, to prevent it, just to understand it. You aren’t a bad mother. You are NOT a loser. So many of us feel this way, after the birth, and long after. PPD doesn’t just go away. You deal with this for years-mother’s aren’t supposed to not want their children, to feel sad because of them.

We’re supposed to be joyous, and happy.

Happy took a long time for me. I don’t like babies. I see infants and I feel a tightening in a my chest, an awareness of all I lost by being unable to enjoy that first year, that year that I lost to my fucking disease. I barely remember my second born as an infant-I was too sick. But I’m past blaming myself. I’m not a terrible mother. I’m just a mother with a sickness that will never end. I’m a mother who couldn’t have fixed it.

My bipolar diagnosis was almost a gift horse-it made me understand that this isn’t my fault. That the weepy, unhappy me originated in bad chemistry, not in a bad person. I’m not a bad person. I’m just a mother with a brain that doesn’t always work as it should. Or it works too well. I’m not sure which yet.

I’m not a loser because of it. And neither are you. Talk to your doctor, your mother, your spouse, someone. Talk.

The most beautiful birth story…

25 Apr

made me cry at work. Reilly Kate keeping the secret is the best part I think. Go here to read it. Bring tissues.

Clementine

6 Mar

Oh my darlin, oh my darlin, oh my darlin Clementine

Rosalyn, in 3 days you’ll be two years old. Two years old.

Today, a co-worker brought in her son, her 6 weeks old son who weighed the same as you did at birth. He was tiny and defined, like a bird. His mouth moved absently, his hands struck out mindlessly.

He was just beginning.

Just one year ago, I wrote this. Just one year before that, I actually did it.

It hasn’t been easy. Standing there this morning, looking at this girl looking fanfuckingtastic 6 weeks postpartum was rather depressing as well.

Where have 2 years gone? Where did I leave them? If you’re two then Vivian is almost 4 and I’m almost 30 and CRAP. Where is my life? Where did I leave it?

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I don’t belong to “The Club” anymore. You know the one. The new mom, fanatic about everything, passionate about parenting issues, knowing glances in the baby aisle at Wal-mart. That Mom is gone, if she ever existed. I stare longingly at the baby stuff, knowing that mine time there is gone. I glance at the young mothers, tired and worn and confused, yet together, browsing through nipples and wipes and tiny t-shirts. And I realize that an entire part of my life has ended.

I grew up.

I don’t worry about breastfeeding guilt anymore since my kids are just as smart and healthier, if not more so. I don’t worry about crying it out. I don’t worry about eating organic, or not. (Hell, i’m happy if whatever Ros is eating is actually food) I don’t worry about the little things.

I don’t recognize any of the newest baby gear. The crib section in Babies R’Us is a faint memory, as is my giant belly. There’s a girl I lost, starting with being pregnant with Vivian, and ending with having Rosalyn. She turned into a woman.

I mourn this, I really do. Sure, it’s necessary, but it’s sad. I’ll never again choose bottles for my child as hot tears of shame pour down my face, knowing I should be breastfeeding. I’ll never buy a teeny tiny little sleeper for my own baby again. I’ll never debate the merits of diaper brands again. I’ll never be so new ever again.

Because that is what I remember, that is what I feel from those days-the wet newness of it all, like kittens with eyes closed we were, I was. That golden sense of surprise and wonder, along with the tired and lonely. Becoming a woman. It was magical, wasn’t it?

And now my babies are becoming girls, soon to be women.

Me-Maw is proud.

Doorstep

7 Feb

You’re 18. You’re alone. You’re pregnant.

Imagine this was you.

You’re 18 and you give birth ALONE. You’re scared, and broke. You’ve hidden this pregnancy since the day you began to show. No one knows. No one can know.

You cut the cord yourself, somehow. You frantically try and figure out what to do. You leave the baby at the house with the lights on.

Try as I might, I can’t imagine charging this poor girl with anything. Imagine how crazy you would feel, how isolated you must be to feel that you can’t go anywhere for help. Other reports I read stated that she had a “difficult” backround, so she wouldn’t trust others easily I’d imagine. She felt her only option for the child, a healthy, full term baby girl, was someone’s door step where the light was on.

Imagine you’re that girl. Imagine.

I don’t know if Saskatoon has safe haven laws, and maybe they should. Yes, that baby could have died.

But what of the mother? What drives a girl to this? How have we failed her?

Tea

22 Jan

Sitting over a cup of Earl Grey, in a dingy coffeehouse on Queen West, my friend and I talked and laugh, wondering about a magazine devoted solely to Airports, questioning our pasts, our futures, and the amount of ice cream in her soy milkshake. She tried to convince me that a Master Cleanse was a good thing. I tried to explain I was good with moderation. We agreed to disagree at many things, much as we always have, a roll of the eyes, a toss of hair, a glance and a sigh.

We started talking about my favorite pet subject, childbirth, and I went on my usual rant about how transformative and incredible it was, and yet how our culture demeans it so, treats women as imbeciles who don’t dare question a doctor or know their own bodies. I talked about the intensity of birth, of your body straining to expel your child, about the smell about 3 days after, dead blood and sour milk, and the overwhelming icky feeling to your skin. I spoke of choice, of options, of deciding for yourself what is best, of being sure and confident.

She waited for me to pause and said, “You’re making me not want to have children.”

I’ve never wanted to jump up and scream NO NO NO! so much in my life. I didn’t intend this, I only want to warn her, to provide a pause for her, so confidence, a warning that expectation is, at heart, an evil we bring upon ourselves. I only wanted to let her know that it is this altering experience, good or bad, and that she should go with it, educate herself and just see where it led her.

Yet I scared her. The one thing I never want her to feel, the one reason for talking so much, was to keep her from feeling fear when she finds herself pregnant. And I failed.

Entries-Event! Post Partum Crazy Race

16 Jan

Sorry for the late posting-it’s been a busy few days for me.

Put on your Big Girl PantiesMe & PPD

Miss PuddingCrazy Mom

One Weird MotherPostpartum Oppression

Few Good MemesAfter Birth

Veggie VixenPostpartum Recollection

Liprap No Title

KatsplaceHi I’m Kat and I fed my children with a bottle

Taming EstellaPigpen

AmerimamaPostpartum Abandonment

By hook or pointed stickPost Partum Crazy Race

Magdalena’s RevengeAfterbirth

Mom’s Lost her Mind!- No Title

Sarah’s Story

Since most of our stories are ‘sad’, this time I might just pick names, or something along those lines.

Tired. Waiting to leave for the airport. AGAIN.

Le sigh.

Birth or Something Like it-WINNER!!!!

26 Dec

So we finally have a winner for Birth! or Something like it!!!

I liked all of them, cried at many, got angry at some. But I was looking for something I couldn’t even name. A feeling, a sense of completeness.

So I asked Karrie, who liked a couple of the same ones the best. And so, without further ado:

Taming Estella-you are the winner! (insert fanfare here) You had the birth many of us wanted, and you had it BECAUSE you wanted it. But at the same time, there were many common themes, the giant ass birth being the one that sticks out. It was funny, but it was also touching, quietly strong, and like every one of our births, amazing.

I have to give props to Connor however, for making his appearance in a moving vehicle! 🙂

Estella, email your mailing address and your book will be on it’s way next week, or this weekend. (I’m terrible at actually making it to the post office)

New event next week, if I have time to set it up!

And thanks to everyone for telling their stories-if I have time in the next few weeks, and your permissions, I’d like to start a web site for these as someone had suggested.

Birth or Something Like it-Entries!!!

21 Dec

Entries for “Birth, or Something Like it” in no particular order:

From KatsPlace: Libby’s Birth Story & The Twins Tale

From AmeriMama: Freyja’s Birth (and can we get a HELL YA! for that name?)

From Eden: Zoe’s Birth, Holden Pt. 1 & Holden Pt. 2

From Taming Estella: Rylan’s Birth Story

From Nat: Rita’s Birth Story

From Meggie: DJ’s Birth Story

From Karrie: No vaginas were harmed in the making of this story

From Jen: Lucy’s Birth Story

From Venessa: Birth 1, 2 & 3

From Puddlejumper: Birth Stories

From Karen: Connor Augustus Takes The World by Storm! Pt. One & Pt. Two

From Kind Of Crunchy Mama: Birth Story Pt. One, Pt. Two & Pt. Three

From Amber: Gabriel’s Grand Entrance

From Dawn: Silent Night

From Not So Pregnant in Texas: 12/16 “re-edit”

From Magdalena: Artifically Flavoured

From Miss Pudding: Birth Story

From Caitlin: “He’ll go home any day now”, and other lies they tell in the NICU & Look what Santa brought Me.

Holy crap folks. I’ve got a LOT of reading ahead. Everyone’s is so moving-I’ll be looking more for that certain “umph”, that chill up my spine. If you haven’t, I encourage everyone to read everyone else’s stories-they really speak to the common bond we all have regardless of how many or few drugs we have.

And no, I will not be judging based upon tear volume. 🙂

I hope to pick a “winner” by Christmas Eve if possible. Feel free to suggest favorites!

Birth, last call!

19 Dec

It’s the last day to submit your birthstories for Birth or Something Like it!

then I have to spend some time reading y’all again. 🙂

REMINDER-ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT!

18 Dec

Birth-Or Something Like it! entries will be allowed until midnight AST December 20. Tell your friends! Add your link in my comments, and add a link to here on your site.

it’s not just about winning a copy of this fab book-it’s about making honest birth stories available and accessible for other women, and about releasing some of our own demons, gunk stained socks included.

I haven’t read them all yet, and will be doing so through the end of the week, picking a “winner” to decide  on Christmas. 🙂 or maybe Boxing Day.

So if you haven’t yet, GET WRITING! One never knows when I might totally lose my shit after all…

And so it begins

16 Dec

The only breastfeeding advice I received was a nurse pushing Vivian into my boob, and saying “There you go!”. Was I too filled with false bravado? Did I look like I knew what I was doing? I didn’t think I knew what I was doing.

Did crying onto my child’s head while I sat feeling like an utter failure count as knowing what I was doing?

I don’t remember much about being in the room, aside from the blood. Blood was everywhere. A friend came to visit, wheeled me out for a smoke. After one, she got this scared, pinched lip look on her face, and rolled me back into my room. She said I was pale, and looked like I was about to fall over. Merely getting up and into the chair meant torrents of blood. I did my best to control it.

And yeah, I still had a catheder because they were unsure about something. I don’t remember what, but I do remember being so out of it that I didn’t even care that I was being wheeled around with a bag of my pee.

They brought in a breast pump, since I didn’t feel like much was happening. But hell, what did I know? I couldn’t walk to the bathroom without leaving a trail of clots behind me. I sat staring at the pump, wondering how in the hell I could get both boobs going at once. Then the nurse turned it on. I looked at my giant boobs, and back at the machine, and started to cry. Nothing much came out anyway. They pushed the formula, and water, since apparently, the part about colostrum is left out of training.

Eventually, the stopped the bleeding. They tried to convince me into doing a transfusion, and if they knew how woozy I really was, they wouldn’t have let me out of their sight. But I’m the queen of “hey, I’m fine!” so no problems. Vivian was gaining weight like a champ, and we stole a bunch of the formula they had left in an easy to reach place. I just wanted to get out of there.

We made it home, and I lay on the floor for an hour. Any movement made me light headed and weak. I stared at the baby, and felt nothing. Not a thing.

I’ve never been so lost in my life. I’ve never felt so helpless and alone ever. Sure, my husband was there, but isn’t it the mother’s responsibility to know what to do, to figure it out? It came out of her after all. But I couldn’t get up off the floor, figuratively and literally.

I started crying, and I didn’t stop for a very long time.

Yup, that WAS my water breaking back there.

15 Dec

So we pile into the cab, and seeing the empty carseat, the driver gets slightly…bug eyed.

“I’m HAVING the baby. ” I say. Eyes bug out further. “But not right this minute!” I babble out quickly. I can see the tenseness leave his shoulders and he pulls out of our driveway.

On the short drive to the hospital, we keep staring at each other, almost hysterically, and saying “This is the last car ride alone. This is the last time we’ll go up this street alone. Next time we’re in a car, we’ll be parents.”

I swear, at that last thought, I almost opened the door and jumped out. Me, a parent? That only triggered MORE hysterical laughter.

I was not coming to terms with my approaching motherhood all that well.

At the hospital we slowly made our way to Labour and Delivery, carrying all the assorted crap you bring with you the first time. You know, “The List”. Actually, my list wasn’t very long, since I don’t ever travel with a lot of stuff. But it was still more than I was accustomed to lugging along with me. We wandered past the dirty looking “family” waiting room, and into labour and delivery. We waited for a nurse.

And we waited.

Finally someone came over, and told us to go wait in the “family” waiting room. They were full up, and didn’t have time to see us right then. We’d have to wait for a bed to open up. So I stood and waited, leaning on the wall, wondering why I had bothered to come in. I wasn’t contracting, I wasn’t uncomfortable. Aside from the usual discomfort of pregnancy. I was nervous and scared, and increasingly annoyed. (And to make it even better, someone I absolutely hated from work was in the next labour room.)

Around 7pm they finally came to get us. They propped me up in a bed, confirmed my water had broken, and that I was barely dilated, hooked me up to monitors right off the bat, and told us to wait.

We waited. And waited.

Then they informed me I’d have to be hooked up on the drip, which I didn’t want.

Oh I didn’t want it. If I had of been stronger, if maybe I wouldn’t have been feeling so alone, and confused, maybe I could have fought them off.

But they were busy, and had no time to coddle me. They plugged me in at midnight.

One of the joys of being on the pitocin is that a nurse needs to monitor you. Constantly.

I had the joys of the most annoying nurse ever sitting 5 feet away from my head. And talking constantly about her union, and how unappreciated nurses were and why they should get more money. She kept talking. And talking.

Eventually I fell asleep, thankfully. (I’ve never wanted to pray for a bolt of lightening to strike someone quite as much as I did then) Apparently, they even turned the drug OFF at one point because they were “busy”.  I didn’t find that out for awhile after, or I would have been even more pissed of than I am. The very thought of someone fucking with my birth like that still rankles me.

3 hours later, I was woken up by the feeling that someone was trying to kill me by beating their way out of my stomach. I woke up immediately, sitting straight up and yelling. My husband almost fell out of his chair at the sound. The nurse started yattering again.

oh lookie! Labour. HARD labour, after nothing.

I had to go to the bathroom, and somehow made my way to the bathroom, lugging the IV pole. I closed and locked the door, and spent at least 30 blissful minutes on the toilet, my favorite place for menstrual cramps. I loved that bathroom. The nurse wasn’t in it.

They eventually convinced me out, and I began to lean on some table. At this point is about where I began to scream obscenities.

I discovered that there are many ways to swear and include the word “Fuck” in the phrase. And I screamed. And moaned. And yelled. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.

This went on for about 2 hours. I really wanted to die. All my reading about magically easy and transcendant births, it was crap. I yelled at everyone I ever knew. The nurse, sadly, was just out of reach, and I was too far gone to actually take a swing at her anyway.

I’m thinking that the nurses had gotten sick of my screaming and carrying on, because at that point, they began to pressure me into the epidural, aka, the thing that I don’t want. They kept at it and kept at it, reminding me frequently that the doctor was only coming in once, since it was 4:30 am, and that if I couldn’t do it, the epidural would make it better.

I hate them for this. I absolutely hate it. They checked me at this point, and I was 9.5cm. I now know that I could have done it, and had my daughter, by myself, within ten minutes most likely. But they convinced me otherwise, and I begged for the epidural like I imagine I’d beg for crack if I needed it. I asked for the happy man from happy land. I didn’t feel the needle go in.

After that, it was like I had smoked 2 bags of hash. I couldn’t feel anything, and I felt stoned as shit. It was a relief, after contractions that barely left me enough time to breathe, surrounded by nurses disinterested in actually helping me handle the waves and waves crashing in on me. After the epidural, I just sat and waited until they told me, THEY TOLD ME! to push.

At around this time, I estimated to myself my child would be born at 7am. At 6:30, I began to push, and a few pushes later, my daughter, Vivian Dianne Sara, was born at 6:52, into the arms of the resident, the only person who was nice to me all night.

“No Penis!” my husband yelled. I had felt my body do the work, I had felt my child moving down the birth canal, my hips moving, my uterus expelling her, but I felt lazy, like I had cheated myself. The resident showed me the placenta, and muttered something about the amount of blood coming from me.

I ended up hemorraging severely, had the hands of a few doctors well into my uterus, dripping blood and clots everywhere. The birth felt like it had broken me-going from nothing to BAM everything. A nurse later would tell me that once I was on the toilet and she thought I was peeing-it was blood, pouring from my body.

I’ve never been as scared as I was when the nurses were washing my body for the 3 or 4th time, and I was muttering oddly, and they just looked at each other. That look of “something is very wrong”. They wouldn’t answer me when I asked what was wrong.

After two manual attempts to remove the retained placenta, without drugs, during which I screamed and screamed because it hurt like nothing ever had before, they did a D&C.

I was returned quietly to my room, pale, weak and sad.

I was more alone then than ever before. Except now, my daughter was there, and I had no idea what to do with her.

I think my water broke…

15 Dec

We all know I never intended to become pregant.

Or rather, generally speaking, we were usually careful about it. But once we moved to the armpit, I kept having trouble getting the Pill, and we both hated other forms of BC. When I finally had a prescription, I lost it.

A week after getting pregnant, I found it again. Go figure.

Prior to doing the test, I noticed my boobs getting HUGE-I broke 3 bras, and my face broke out into this slimy mess of acne and gloss. In the dead of winter. It seemed rather unfair that after an entire summer of slime face, I was suddenly experiencing it again.

I had a slight idea that I might be pregnant. My body was odd to me, and it was very sudden.

I had to pee every 5 seconds it seemed. On a drive back to the Armpit from Halifax once, I started bitching at my brother that unless he found a bathroom very soon, we’d be pulling over so I could pee in the snow. And I was constantly nibbling on something. Constantly. I felt like a hamster or something.

I’d fall asleep watching the news, just like that.

My pregnancy was uneventful. I carried Vivian like a fat lady, not a pregnany lady. I was pregnant into the summer, which meant I could wear skirts instead of pants. Which was good, since the only pants I could find split in the ass about 6 months in. I smoked the entire time, which had the side effect of keeping the kid small. The doctor estimated 6 pounds, if that, and chastised me silently each appointment.

And no, I don’t blame him for that.

I was due August 21, according to the ultrasound. The ultrasound, where both the Dorf and I shed some quiet tears. We were unprepared, and scared, and still wondering if we wanted this child, and yet we were moved to tears by the sight of our little punisher moving in my womb. He held my hand the entire time. He took her picture to work.

I bought a pregnancy diary on Mother’s Day, 2003, and kept it as faithfully as I could. I had no history of my birth-this child would. I saw my child in my dreams, older, walking with me. I called her Vivian in the dream.

And Vivian it would be. We were convinced we were having a girl since we couldn’t figure out a boys name if we tried. The best we could settle on was Darwin.

August 10, we went to the mall to kill some time, and buy a few things. As per usual, I was infuriated by the all too familiar lack of common courtesy and sense, and was incredibly irritated by the time we got home. Sitting playing Civ II, I suddenly felt very….moist.

I went to the bathroom to discover that my giant shorts had a giant wet spot. Beyond the usual giant wet spot of pregnancy. I clearly remember saying

“ur….uhm….uh….”

I searched for the mucus plug. Everything I read talked about this nasty ass plug that would come out. I had nothing but a slightly sticky wetness. I grabbed a pad, and waddled out to the living room.

“yeah, I think my water broke”

“you’re sure?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never been pregnant before.”

“what do we do?”

“I don’t know!”

That went on for a few more minutes, until I finally called the local telecare line, who told me to call L&D. A bored nurse answered, telling me that if I think it’s broken, I have to come in to prevent infection.

Rationally, I know that I had 12-18 hours before that was any worry. I should have sat my ass at home. I had no contractions, but she insisted it didn’t matter, I needed to come in.

I had one last smoke, and stared at the Dorf on the back porch.

“Are we ready?” we asked ourselves “Is this it?”

We were both filled with a nervous, giddy excitement.

We gathered our stuff, and the car seat, and called a cab.

To be Continued. Here

New Event! Birth, or something like it.

14 Dec

The Surprising History of How We Are Born, Tina Cassidy

Karrie, being the wonderful woman she is, sent “Birth-The Surprising History of How We Are Born” to me after I whined that I couldn’t find it locally. (No big shock here-the Chapters here is ridiculous in not having anything worth reading). When done, she said keep it, or pass it on.

This book is incredible, and not only for the number of times I squished my legs together, winced and said “OW OW OW” out loud. It’s an enthralling journey through the crap people have put labouring women through over the years, and it made me glad to give birth when I did, despite how miserable my first birth was. My second was fast enough that they couldn’t possibly do anything to me. It also helped to further remind me how I’d like to be a midwife someday, if I can do it.

I knew a lot of the things in this book, but some I didn’t realise were so commonplace. Strapping women down, tying their feet to stirrups-I had never known details before, and in some cases, like the descriptions of high forceps, ignorance would have been bliss.

It got me thinking. So many of us have our birth stories, good, bad, and ugly. Some of us have incredible stories-as I stated, my first was terrible, but my second, with hardly a drug to be found, out in less than two hours, was an incredibly moving and empowering experience for me. We read people’s birth stories all the time, the nitty gritty, the details about what time your contractions went from 5 mins to 3 mins, how your irritating nurse’s breath smelled.

But I want more. I want the details of how your birth made you feel as a woman. I want to know if your soul felt some odd sense of completeness, or if you felt helpless. I want to know if your c-section was just as incredible as you waiting for that first breath and yell from your child. I want to know if the awe stayed with anyone else, 1 year or 10 years later.

So that’s your assignment. Write your “birth story” on your own blog, link to me, and leave me a comment since I likely won’t notice the link. Either I’ll pick, or I’ll make Karrie help. The winner, the person who most eloquently conveys the birth, and ultimately, their birth as a mother, will receive this awesome book in the mail.

Already have it/read it? Well then, you might just get “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant instead, since I love that book, despite my atheism.

The Red Tent-Anita Diamant

So go forth, and tell me your stories. You have until December 20 to leave me your comments.

 

Rosalyn Virginia Frances! You’re One!

9 Mar


A year ago March 9, you made your very quick entrance into your current dimension. At 2pm in the afternoon, I was sitting at this very computer (well, not THIS one, but the same spot) bitching on Messenger to my brother and 2 friends that, no,I had not yet popped and YES I was going insane. I had false labour all morning long, and it was annoying.

I won’t even mention the incessant peeing, the ass in my ribs or the inability to be nice to anyone at all. GOD could have walked in my front door and I would have told him to kiss my fat ass and go to hell.

But I digress.

In true “I have kids” form, I decide to take a nap, and guess what. Go on, GUESS.

Yup. I get a contraction.

I ignore it, as I was ignoring the previous ones that went 3 minutes, 15 minutes, 2 minutes, 35 minutes, etc, etc ALL MORNING LONG.

I go back to my shut eye. Another contraction. About 4 minutes after the first.

Uhhhhh…..

I get one more. I realize that:
a: I’m not going to get a nap
b: It’s time to pack some shit in a bag
c: I didn’t eat lunch. (This will come back to haunt me later)

Another contraction. Oh. My. Fuck.

A breathe. I’m good. Get shit in bag, go downstairs, make that “oooh DEAR!” noise at Mogo.

I look at my father, who if left to his own devices, would have already called the ambulance.

“You should call the cab.”

Oh I’m fine! I tell him, as I keel over like a listing ship to breathebreathebreathe and crouch like I’m crapping…Just fine I’m

“MOGO CALL THE CAB!”

I hear a vague mumbling as he walks in the kitchen, then he sees my face.

He calls the cab. He’s not THAT retarded.

I’m having contractions pretty close, and it’s around 2:30ish. We get in the cab.

The cabbie, not a stupid man, puts “Hospital”, “fatlady” and”weird breathing” together and asks, ‘Will we make it?”

Yes, I tell him, We’re FINE. Plenty of time.

Heh. He ehehehe…..gasp

I get out of the cab at the hospital. I immediately bend over a bench, thinking it’s the best thing I’ve seen all week, and how I love thee, oh kind bench. Mogo begins asking stupid questions about my bag.

‘Little BUSY right now, thanks.”

After the contraction finishes, I answer his question, and we go in. SOMEONE finally points us towards L&D (why is every hospital ever made really just a way to determine who’s insane? I mean REALLY..)

We walk into the labour ward, eventually. Bored nurses stare at me when I say ‘I think I’m in labour.” Actually, all I was thinking at the time was “I REALLY need to take a big crap.” At this point, you’d think I would have figured it out. Apparently, labour makes me dumb.

I lock myself in the bathroom. Mogo makes feeble attempts at communication. I’m grunting, moaning and carrying on, trying to figure out what that nagging voice in my head is saying.

I’m not stupid. In hindsight, I know that voice was saying “PUSH YOU MORON! PUSH!”

A nurse finally notices that my “could be labour” is more like “could be delivery”. She convinces me to open the door, and discovers I’ve shed most of my clothes. Somehow she gets me to the labour room, althought I have no recollection how I got there. At this point, the contractions were oneafteranotherafteranother…They decide to break my water. FUCKFUCKFUCK. I thought it was bad before..

The next thing I can remember is reciting the “Litany against Fear” from the Dune books. All the while thinking
a: I’m SUCH a DORK
b: I don’t care
c: I’m DOING IT

Did I mention NO DRUGS. Upon getting my fat, bitchy wanting shit ass up on the table, they discover I’m 10 cms, ready to go. I’m offered Nitrous, which I suck on like a 15 year old at a brothel. It helps me focus my breathing, but that’s it. Once I confirmed with the nurse that this was all I was getting, something in my head said “Fuck it. You can do this.”

And in my mind, the worse was over. The “labour” was finishing, so how bad could it be?

Don’t laugh. I really didn’t find it to be that bad. Ok, the crowning part, that KILLED. And I can STILL hear this popping noise in my head, like someone shucking an oyster, as her head exited the birth canal. That hurt for a few seconds. I had a GREAT nurse though. I do recall the words “Biggest shit in your life!” coming out of her mouth.

Pushing that hard was the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done. I had to look past the pain, past how tired I was, and just DO IT. I remember someone saying “The only way out is through.” They were right. And I did it.

There was meconium in the fluid, so they suctioned the mouth, and told me to pop the rest out. That was easy. Then I heard the words I waited 9 months to hear.

“NO PENIS!”

WOO HOO! 2 for 2!

Rosalyn Virginia Frances was born March 9, 2005, at 15:50pm. She was 8ilbs10oz and 20.5 inches long. She was not pretty. She was MAD. From the start she’s been her mother’s daughter.

This was the easy part. After it came the bleed, going home and adjusting, near post partum psychosis and me dealing with if I really wanted this child.

Lately, as she screams at me and I scream back and we both giggle, I know we made the right choice.

Rozamonkey-it’s a big bad shitty pretty world out here. And it’s all waiting for you honeychild. Be good to it, and it will be good to you.