So, I have received a few complaints regarding the tardiness of this blog. Although it has been three months, I do have a three month old at home distracting me, as well as school, thus the delay. I have also made a valiant attempt to rein in the swearing, but lets be honest…when it comes to the joy of childbirth, there are a hell of a lot of words used, and joy isn’t one of them.
The two weeks of back up with my mother-in-law in town was greatly appreciated, but it also provided a little bit of pressure to try and convince baby to show up in that window. As such, I began doing everything, within reason, to make that happen.
The internet was filled with suggestions of random stuff to help move things in your favor. Pineapple is apparently a thing, walking and my wife was particularly enthusiastic about a thing called castor oil. Unfortunately for her, when I heard castor oil, I think of motor oil and took the steps to look into what she was signing me up for. After reading the side effects (vomiting and diarrhea), this option was put on the Last Possible Option list. Knowing my luck, I would be the poor bastard that would be clearing out my system from both ends and still not go into labor. Yeah…no thank you!
One option that my wife had mentioned in the early 30 weeks was a cervical “sweep.” Apparently this was something that helped encourage things to move along and we decided that I might as well try it. Like the other options, I googled the crap out of it, and low and behold I did not appreciate the results. My wife noted the disgust on my face as I read that this involved the doc “gently” sweeping the cervix on an internal exam in hopes of waking up some hormones to jump start the process. One thing that I’ve learned in this whole thing is that the word “gently” does not mean what I think it means. However, I was ready to get this sucker out, so I figured I might as well give it a try.
It was the week 38 check up, and I was on my own. It appeared that my daughter had brought the cold/flu version of the plague and had contaminated my wife as well which meant they had to stay home. After the usual check up questions, the topic of the sweep came up. The description of it was still haunting me and had morphed into me picturing a swat team blowing their way into my cervix with explosives and proceeding to sweep, checking each corner. I tried to convince myself that it wouldn’t be that bad, but it wasn’t working.
The doc put a sheet down and left the room. Like a well trained prego, I dropped everything from the waist down and put my fancy paper skirt over my lap. Sitting in silence in such a state is not good for me. I started thinking about the instruction the doctor had given me and realized that we were talking about something completely different before she left. I didn’t actually get any instruction…I suddenly became incredibly aware of the fact that I was bare bottomed on the table and my confidence in whether or not I was supposed to be was lowering. Why else would the sheet be out? Is there another way to access the cervix to go all tournament of hearts on it? No, this had to be it…I was supposed to drop my pants. I think…hmmmmm. After a long pause, I just figured I would gauge the reaction of the doctor when she came back in. I was hoping that it would be a non-reaction, suggesting I was in the right. If not, well then…we will just have a good laugh as I awkwardly explain why I was half naked waiting for her return. How on earth am I going to pop out a kid if I can’t even get through a doctor appointment without getting lost?
There was a knock and the doc walked in. She probably didn’t notice the anticipatory look on my face as she came around the curtain. Her head was down and she headed to the computer first so there really was no reaction to indicate either way.
“Just to be clear, I was supposed to take my pants off right?”
There was an instinctively brief laugh to such a ridiculous question and she confirmed that yes, it was a thing.
“Good. That would have been really awkward to explain why I was sitting here without pants, awaiting your return.”
Then there was the very familiar, and oddly comforting head shake that I seem to inspire in all my doctors. We were good. Let’s get this curling match over with. I had decided that associating it with curling was much more friendly of a thought than a swat team busting in. I was prepared and just waiting for the match to begin…
IT’S THE SWAT TEAM, IT’S THE SWAT TEAM!
“Holy f. and a half” I exclaimed after immediately regretting this decision while simultaneously taking my discomfort out on the exam table. I’m sure my squirming was not helping, but that was a whole new level of not-good feelings. Luckily, this new level of hell subsided right around the time I was saying uncle. If this whole experience was going to work, we would know anywhere from that night to the next couple of days. Here was hoping! Unfortunately for me, it may also just cause annoying cramping to enjoy in the absence of labor…considering my luck to date, you can probably guess that I got knee to the gut cramps and no labor. It was about that time that I decided pregnancy is a whole new level of annoying when women want to bring on the pain just to get it over with.
Another week had passed, another 20 or so km on my step tracker and still no labor. I even agreed to a second swat team sweep in order to try to push it along again, but apparently I house a 5-star hotel and the little one was not in the mood for her check out. With my mother in law in town…we needed to make this thing happen!
Two days after the 40 week mark, I had my last pre-natal appointment. The game plan going in was to wait until Saturday, and if there was room in the maternity ward and the baby was still being stubborn, then we would move to the inducement option. Well, since it was Friday, and I was so ready to get this over with, I wasn’t horribly upset when the doc picked up the phone to call over to the mat ward. She asked if there was room for a social induction. This made me giggle a little. Social induction… it sounded like I would walk right in, someone would hand me a martini and then we go socialize for the rest of the night. I feel that I would really want that martini later, but unfortunately, I didn’t think that was in the cards. Thankfully, the induction was in the cards, and we were told to come back later that evening.
Like all things re-productive, my uterus was eager to be put into work. However, just like every other step of this process, it just needed a nudge to let it know it was time to go. We went into the hospital and were walked back to our VIP lounge…sans the martinis unfortunately. If was about the same time that I realized I probably should have researched this whole inducement thing, because I had no idea what was coming down the pipe. There was a small part of me that was hoping that it would just be a nice and easy IV or something that pokes the hamster on to the wheel, but I knew better.
After being strapped up to the belly monitor, the doc came in with the nurses and showed me this little disc thing with a string attached. It’s not very often that I keep my mouth shut, but I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in shape to a little sperm tad pole. While the doc was telling me something that I’m sure was important, I was distracted by the thought that here I was, this butch lesbian about to enter the final stage of this pregnancy, and I have not had one drop of sperm near my reproductive system. Take that you big bad patriarchal society! Ha! My victory was short lived as I realized that this sperm looking (clearly designed by a dude) thing was going to be shoved up the evacuation route for some pre-delivery baby cuddles. Of course…pretty quick after that sucker went in, the contractions started to come. All we had to do now was sit and wait before being able to head home for a bit. Actually, it was my wife’s birthday the next day, so we were planning on heading out for an early b-day dinner that night because it appeared that the next day was going to be a little tight schedule wise.
After a little while, the space between the contractions were getting smaller and smaller. Eventually we decided that dinner was not going to happen, so my wife went to grab some food to have a romantic picnic in whatever hospital ward we were currently in. Not being the sit down type, I decided that walking was the best way to deal with these lovely uncomfortable feelings that I tried so hard to bring upon myself. I just wanted this done, so my mindset was to embrace the suck and knock this out.
While my wife was gone, I was left alone, pacing in my little area. I started to time the annoying feelings to occupy me. I had no idea what the different times would mean, I just knew that this is a thing that people do…once again, I probably should have read something on this topic. Is there such a thing as “Having babies for Dummies?” Probably not…but that would be awesome. I continued pacing back and forth, which made a positive contribution to my daily step count. Soon I noticed that the down time in between started to disappear completely. Now, one thing I did actually pay attention to was the possibility of my contractions going into overdrive. If this happened, then they would use that long stringy part to pull the sucker back out and hopefully the ball would keep rolling on its own. As I was still all by myself, pacing a hole in the floor, I just figured I would keep rolling until someone came back.
My wife came back first, but at that point it was starting to feel like someone was stabbing my left stomach/hip area with a javelin. Fun fact: stabbing pains limit your desire to eat. Even the draw of a delicious meatball sub did not compete with the distracting nature of the new form of suck that I was learning to embrace. The nurses came shortly after and they pulled out the trigger. After a while, the javelin pokes got farther and farther apart, until they finally settled on the 3 minute mark. It was like the dude poking me with the javelin got pissed that I limited the poking, so instead he just poked harder every three minutes as a satisfactory, sadistic alternative. Luckily, they provided me some morphine to help combat the jerk face poker dude.
Because I wasn’t having enough fun with my own little made up jerk face, we had company come into our little corner of the hospital that brought the real life version. This poor woman next to us had not had a successful pregnancy and needed a procedure as a result. I felt horrible for her because she was going through such a trying event and not only was it made more difficult by her language difficulties, but also the fact that her husband was royally checked out. He did not appear to be concerned about her at all, and in fact spent a good chunk of time talking on his phone about various farm equipment. When she left, he continued the phone conversations. Not only was he talking super loudly right behind me, but he had the phone on speaker phone and turned it up to full. I was getting so pissed off, he had no reason to be hanging out there when his wife wasn’t there (not like he paid attention anyway), so he could have easily gone into the hall for his super important tractor talk…but no. Eventually, a combination of his annoying nature, paired with this annoying labor pain thing, I had had it! I started to get out of the bed to go over there and tell him what I really thought when my wife asked what I was doing. Once I told her, which he could totally hear through the not so sound proof hospital curtain, she immediately reached out and told me to sit back down, not wanting to deal with whatever controversy I was about to stir up. Not sure if he heard the commotion (I was not quiet with my intentions) or he was suddenly hit with a sense of decency or courtesy, he decided to take his conversation into the hall. Shortly after dumb-dumb went in the hall, we were able to get out of there and headed home around 9 to get what rest we could before the real fun started. Walking past him on the way out, I wanted to smack him upside the head, or at least knock his hat off, but I figured I wouldn’t make my guys try and arrest me while in labor. That would be awkward…
Talk about a screwed up sleep. I figured that I would take advantage of the time I had and try and get some rest in. Although I had the assistance of the drugs, I was still very much aware of the pokey pokes that came at the consistent rate. This resulted in me sleeping, but not, and the few times that I was able to drift off, I got to experience random dreams that had the same annoying ending.
By midnight, the morphine had played all its cards and things were getting stupid annoying. Although they told us to come back once the pain got too bad, I didn’t want to go back too early. In a valiant effort to avoid the hospital, I decided that I would occupy my time with a shower in an attempt to start off as if this was just a normal day. I learned very quickly that javelin dude had no boundaries. Not only was he invading my privacy by attacking me in the shower, but he had also gotten pissed that I had so many hours of reprieve from the drugs, so he upped his game to a spear in my side. I remember trying to wash my hair when I received one of the pokes, and uttered a breathless “jerk face, mother f@*$er” to myself. Yeah…I decided a long time ago that this 40 week marathon of creating life, completed by a small child coming out in the end was enough to earn me a gold star. I didn’t need to experience all the feelings, and discomfort for extra credit, so I was fully planning and looking forward to my return to the hospital for my drug filled comfort. I was thinking it was about that time.
We returned back to the hospital at around 2 in the morning and went back to the same little corner. I could not sit down, so I just stood there chilling. They told me to switch into the hospital gown, but I planned for this! No full moons that night, I threw on the gown, while adding my own flare. I was stealing the show, of course sporting the standard hospital smock, while accessorizing with my baggy red b-ball shorts, and my reliable ball cap. You know, the typical labor attire. My goal was to keep those damn shorts on as long as humanly possible and well, it would’t be me if I wasn’t wearing my hat.
They tried to help with the pain by giving me another round of morphine, but it was not flying this time around. After about an hour of nothing, they decided that I would just be getting the much anticipated epidural and we just had to wait to move into the labor and delivery area, and then the doctor could come and make it happen.
Stay tuned for the second half of this “joyous” day 🙂