Monday, October 13, 2008

Labor Pains


After watching "Baby Mama" this weekend, I immediately felt a kinship with Amy Poehler's health-food hating, sarcastic, anti-natural childbirth character.  I was sure the writers must have had a hidden camera on me during my first pregnancy. 

I've always wanted to be a mom, and was thrilled to find out I was pregnant a mere 7 months after getting married. However, within 2 weeks after the EPT "positive" reading, the thrill was gone and the "pregnancy glow" that you hear about was replaced with a Shrek-like shade of green which would stay with me for months.  

The morning sickness (which continued through the afternoon and night) had me truly convinced that I was dying. During the first month of my pregnancy, Tom and I flew to Seattle and the return flight was so harrowing that I got off the plane (after filling up two barf bags, much to the dismay of everyone around me) and insisted that he rush me straight to the hospital, because I knew that I had some kind of  Norivirus/birdflu hybrid and wouldn't make it through the day. Dramatics has always been my forte.

In the mornings I used to sneak away from my desk job and lay on the cold, filthy tile of the public bathrooms just to feel the coolness against my face (that is, when my head wasn't buried in the toilet attempting to vomit in silence). The tiny baby inside of me had the power and potency of  a bottle of cheap tequila on an empty stomach. Adding insult to injury, the only cure for the perpetual pregnancy hangover was constant eating. My food addiction reached critical mass by month 7, when my sized 5 1/2 feet ballooned to a size 8 (I wore slippers at my desk), and I had gained a whopping 52 pounds (not good for a normally petite 5'2" girl). A typical day involved a half sleeve of Saltines and a Big Gulp for breakfast;  a lunch of everything in sight at my work's cafeteria and an afternoon snack of a Dr. Pepper and box of Hot Tamales. I'd come home and (like a Meth addict on a binge), whip up a batch of "cook and serve" chocolate pudding, bring to a boil and promptly sit on the couch watching the OJ Simpson trial unfold as I ate the hot pudding straight from the pan. Let's just say "health food" did not fit into my pregnancy plan. As a result of my crack-like addiction to sugar, today my son has a fetish for Dr. Pepper and anything chocolate. Sorry son.

I worked up until the day before my son was born (despite feeling like a bloated Weeble Wobble), but I'd grown so big and uncomfortable with the 113 average temperature during that Phoenix summer, that I literally begged my doctor to induce labor. A day later I was in the hospital and ready to pop. "What to Expect When you Are Expecting" had suggested that one bring cards, a DVD or  something "fun" to do during the first phase of labor. Within 5 minutes of the doctor inducing labor, there was no time for fun - I immediately felt like I was pushing a Nuclear warhead through a tiny pinhole. While my mother was in my face telling me to "Breathe" I was spitting back like Linda Blair in the Exorcist telling her to F- off". 

It wasn't long before the anesthesiologist showed up with his magic 4 foot epidural needle. At that point, he could have shoved that needle straight in my eye and I wouldn't have put up a fight. I'd gone 9 months self medicating on nothing more than chocolate pudding and hot tamales, and wasn't about to turn down a shot of instant heaven. My anesthesiologist quickly became known as "Dr. Feelgood" (I'm sure he wasn't amused) and during the next 14 hours of labor, I required a visit from Dr Feelgood no less than four times as the drug would continually wear off causing me to curse like a sailor while tearfully begging for more drugs. 

By the time the doctors warned me that my baby was "stuck in my birth canal" and my heart rate and blood pressure were dropping to dangerous levels, I was too high to care. When they told me I needed an Emergency C-Section, I said in my best Sean Penn-in-Fast-Times-at-Ridgemont-voice, "Let's Go for it". Tom watched the operation while I tried to convince the surgeon to drop the sheet so that I too could see my abdomen cut open and the birth of my son. For some reason, the Doctors didn't  go for that. At this point, I'd had so many injections from Dr. Feelgood, that  Jack the Ripper could have cut me into a thousand pieces and fed me to a hungry lion and I would have had a smile on my face. Shortly after my beautiful son Daniel was born, they showed him to me (a perfect baby weighing in at 8lbs 15 ounces). I made eye contact with my baby, smiled and the doctor put a mask over my face telling me it was time to go "night night" (apparently he didn't want my son's first bonding moment to be with a mom who slurred more than Dean Martin at a Vegas show).

Ironically, a few years later, my second pregnancy had me craving green apples and bean tostadas from a healthy Mexican Restaurant down the street. As a result (?) today my daughter is a vegetarian who drinks water constantly and can't stand the taste of soda. I still gained a whopping 45 lbs. with her, but avoided labor altogether with a scheduled C-section and only ONE  visit from Dr. Feelgood. I even managed to stay conscious after her birth and bond with her without sounding like Dean Martin or Courtney Love. Ah, the miracle of birth!
-val

2 comments:

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes thanks so much for the Dinomention...glads to see our Dino continuin' to be Dinoremembered...never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth...

Jenni said...

You make me a little bit worried to have kids someday.