~Monday, April 10, 2017

The Worst Day of My Life

Author's note: For every piece of advice there is on the Internet regarding anything to do with pregnancy and child-rearing, there is equal and opposite advice. It narrows down to two different schools of thought: those who treat their pregnancies naturally, and those who desire medical supervision. While I agree that pregnancy isn't an illness, it has been proven that pregnancy is inherently riskier than non-pregnancy. For this reason, I am and remain pro medical supervision. Also give me all the drugs.

The day I gave birth was the worst day of my life. "But you got a baby out of it!" the nurse justified. I don't care. Everything that I had to go through to get there was the worst thing to ever happen to me.

I was overdue and in my doctor's office. He pulled off his gloves after the examination and leaned back. "Why don't we talk in my office?"

I dressed slowly and waddled to his office down the hall. "Uh oh," Abe breathed.

"No, it's fine. We do all of our talking in his office," I explained. We took our seats.

"So you are past your due date. With your age and your gestational diabetes, you are now at an increased risk of stillbirth."

I inhaled sharply through my teeth. It wasn't anything I didn't already know--I had done my research--but hearing it acknowledged shocked me. At a certain point past your due date, your placenta breaks down and no longer delivers nutrients to your baby, causing stillbirth. Additionally with gestational diabetes, it is possible that your baby grows so big that it can outgrow the womb and die. It happened to a friend of mine. And I was not going through this, this 9 months of wrecking my body, to not get a baby out of it.

He continued. "For this reason, I am recommending for you to be induced. The bad news is that I am not working at the hospital for another week, and that is too long to allow for you to go. I won't be your doctor. Sorry." I nodded in agreement, although my mind was reeling. "How's Saturday?" he asked.

Saturday? Saturday is a week away! I burst into tears. "I don't want to be pregnant another week!" I wailed.

Abraham touched my shoulder. "Saturday is tomorrow," he said gently.

Oh! That Saturday! The one before the one next week. I laughed through my tears.

My hospital is nicknamed "The Baby Factory" because it delivers more babies per year than any other hospital in the country. We arrived at night, after having a big meal. It was New Year's Eve. The nurse wore a Happy New Year tiara as she handed me a stack of paperwork to complete. Abe stood in front of the TV, trying to find the ball drop.

"This is the best they could do for New Year's programing?" I asked. "I don't even know who these people are."

Abe shrugged.

Something wasn't right with the program; it felt off. I kept watching TV. "Abe!" I screamed, "YOU HAVE US WATCHING CARSON DALY!" I ripped the remote out of his hands. "How is that guy still a thing?" I muttered as I flipped to Ryan Seacrest.

The ball dropped and Abe pecked me on the lips. I changed the date to January 1 as I continued signing the paperwork.

The nurse missed her New Year's party as she put an IV in my hand. The vein rolled and she dug to find it. That hurt. I was fighting tears about the pain, then I was fighting tears that I was complaining about the IV when THERE'S A BABY INSIDE MY BODY THAT HAS TO COME OUT.

"It's okay," she consoled. "This really is one of the most painful parts." I'm pretty sure she was lying but it made me feel better.

She gave me the first of the induction cocktail and I went to sleep. When I woke up, my water broke. Then they started the Pitocin, which causes contractions. I slept for a few hours until I woke up in pain. I could have crawled the walls with how much pain I felt. It radiated within me and felt stabby at the same time. I cried for the second time that day until I got my first fentanyl injection. Then I texted my friends now I understood why Prince died.

I had the epidural placed by the time I had dilated to three centimeters. I certainly didn't last long. The relief I felt was glorious, and I don't understand why these are not given as soon as you walk in the door. ("Placing the needle in your back is more painful when you are not yet in other pain," the nurse explained.)

And then I slept again. They turned out the lights and I slept all afternoon. When I woke up, it was 8:00 PM and I was fully dilated.

I'm going to have the best birth story ever, I thought. I slept through labor and now I'm going to push three times and have a baby. I'm going to sit on my sofa with my baby in my arms and smugly tell people how wonderful my birth experience was. That IV in my hand really was the worst.

And that's the exact moment things went to shit.