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Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Most Horrific Childbirth Story Ever! (A Guest Post by Kid Id, From Diapers to Diatribes)

I don’t remember exactly when was the first time Kid Id and I made contact.  I believe it was over a post I did on 'This is Me' meme (correct me if I’m wrong, Kid Id).  So inspired was Kid Id by my brilliant post, that she felt compelled to write a similar post on the same subject.  Upon reading it, I found myself fascinated by the workings of Kid Id’s mind, although I admit I was also slightly annoyed that she did one heck of a better job than me in writing that post. Grrr.
Kid Id
Since then, I tried my best to visit her blog, From Diapers to Diatribes, and read her posts regularly.  My visits led to the discovery that Kid Id and I shared many similarities.  Among many:
• our tendency to over-analyze EVERYTHING,
• our ability to find the most random and weird stuff amusing,
• our perpetual failure to do reverse (or ‘paradoxical’ as Kid Id liked to call it.  See??  Why called it 'paradoxical' when you could just use the word ‘reverse,' right?  Well, that’s Kid Id, for ya!) psychology on our freakishly canny children,
• our usage of psychobabble, more often than not to cover up our incompetency as mothers,
• we have zero cooking skills and almost burned the house down on the few times that we tried,
• we both studied psychology (although Kid Id, the overachiever that she was, went on to become a shrink.  Me?  An unemployed housewife, thank you very much).

I found myself drawn to Kid Id the more I got to know her, from what she’s written in her posts.  I’d like to think that it’s because great minds think alike (ahem).  But most likely it was because Kid Id is brilliant, and I found her posts to be refreshing, uniquely one-of-a-kind, and damn funny.  Of course the fact that I secretly think that she’s a bit disturbed and neurotic also added to her appeal, we of the kindred spirits and all!

So it is to my delight that busy as she is, Kid Id has agreed to share more of her psychobabbles in my blog today!  I hope that you find her as ingenious, entertaining, and hilarious as I do.  Below is her guest-post:
The Most Horrific Childbirth Story Ever!
 by Kid Id

Well, that got your attention, didn't it?  If you're a mom, then you know that the one thing we like to share with each other most of all is a good childbirth story.  We like to one-up each other.  The unimodal normal bell curve would have us believe that most women experience an average run-of-the-mill childbirth.

But my anecdotal research tells me that if we took the stories we tell each other at face value, the totality would be represented more as a bimodal distribution:

That’s because the women on the right side are lying, and the women on the left side either don’t know what normal childbirth is (is there such a thing??) or love the attention they get from retelling their hyperbolic and overdramatic labor stories.

I should also say that women who have given birth seem to relish sharing their horrible childbirth stories most often with women who have never given birth.  It's especially cruel when birth-experienced women share their horror stories with naive 9-months-pregnant women.  It's even more uncool to tell women who have never given birth that it will be a wonderful experience.  It won't.  Like I said, they’re lying.

Moderation is the key to sharing just enough but not too much.  Let me use my example and show you how the story must be retold to the innocent.

My first childbirth went fairly smoothly.  Why?  Because I asked for an epidural and I got my epidural, that's why.  And because a magical midwife contorted me in various positions to get the baby out faster.  And because I was lucky enough not to have any complications and not to have to push too long (remember the midwife magic?).  Consequently, I ran around informing any future women-to-birth that once I got my epidural, I put my hands behind my back, chillaxed, and waiting for the birth to occur with very little pain.  So not cool considering I had a number of friends who later dealt with scary complications.  And this is from someone who is known to be very sensitive to others' feelings!

I wanted to have the same experience with the birth of my second child (I can already hear laughter from the experience mothers out there who have had multiple births).  During my second pregnancy, I informed my OB/GYN that I wanted an epidural and looked over her shoulder to make sure she wrote it down in her little chart.  Right next to her notes about my concerning obsession with the epidural.  I checked in with her several times again during future visits to make sure she was clear that I wanted my epidural.  She was clear.  Though I'm not sure it was a very convincing confirmation on her part.

I told my husband to make sure that regardless of anything that happened the day I went into labor, his only job was to remind the doctors and nurses that I wanted an epidural.

Perhaps I should insert here that I have a very low pain threshold.  I DO NOT enjoy pain.  I do not welcome pain.  I do not embrace pain.  I do not tolerate pain well.  I have a very low tolerance to pain.  My husband tells me it must be because I never get sick, so physical discomfort must be completely alien to me.

Some women actually look forward to tolerating childbirth pain.  They actually want a "natural" childbirth.  I'm not sure why they even go to the hospital to birth children, then.  The hospital is associated with modern medicine for those of us who welcome medical intervention to treat painful diseases.  Like childbirth.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Women who want a natural childbirth are literally amazing people with amazing strength, endurance, and will.  They enjoy facing adversity and punching it in the mouth.  I enjoy facing a physically-comfortable life.  Which is why my lack of exercise will ultimately turn me into a jellyfish in a few years.

As a psychologist, I welcome emotional pain - bring it on, I can take it.  But physical pain?  I will avoid at all costs. [insert a good transition by a better writer here]  So, my water breaks at home and I calmly alert my husband: "Darling, unless I've lost complete control of my bladder, I think my water just broke."  The Hubby responds tactfully, "Really? My dearest lovely wife, instead of standing on our carpet leaking, would you perhaps mind moving to the tiled floor?"  He's very considerate of both our furnishings and my emotional state.

Now, this is the part of the story where, to the childbirth-naive, I would complete my story with: "Two and a half hours later, A-Lo was born!"  What I don't insert is the following:

After my water breaks, we call the on-call OB about 5 times over the course of a half hour before we realize no one is going to call us back, at which point, I was no longer feeling just dandy.  My husband drives me to the hospital as the contractions are getting worse.  I remind my husband clearly and calmly in the car that his only job is to get me my epidural.

We get to the front desk.  Before my husband can say anything, I state clearly to the clerk, "I'm going into labor.  I want an epidural."  I am feeling a little irate that I forgot to order the companion T-shirt:
We go into an intake room.  I wait like 10 minutes - way too long.  The young resident informs me that my OB is out of town and that I'll be treated by a different OB.  I am in active labor and I state through a gritted-teeth half-smile, "Okay, as long as I get my epidural."  We are escorted into the birthing room.  The nurse introduces herself.  My husband does his one major husbandly duty and informs her that I want an epidural.  I wait like 15 minutes (!!!!) before the anesthesiologist finally comes in.  I state loudly, but not completely unpleasantly, "FINALLY!"

The nurse pokes and prods my arm with a large needle for a half hour, eventually announcing that I am dehydrated and that she can't find a vein to stick in an IV in order to allow the anesthesiologist to even start an epidural.  They can't give me water but are willing to give me ice chips.  I devour the ice chips hoping to hydrate myself and the nurse continues to work on poking me for like AN HOUR!!!  Did I mention I hate needles???  I hate needles.  But I’m willing to beg for an epidural.

She finally gets an IV in.  My uterus is seriously contracting like every 2 minutes now.  I’m sitting on the edge of the bed holding another nurse in a headlock, shaking from pain so bad I want to vomit, while the anesthesiologist starts to try to stick the epidural in my back.

Now here’s how much I want an epidural:  The anesthesiologist asks me to keep as still as possible.  He is somehow expecting me to keep perfectly still bent over on the side of the bed while shaking violently from the pain of something constantly trying to rip out one part of my body, while he tries to insert another painful object on the other side of my body.  And I absolutely comply with his request and do it.  Because I WANT. MY #$%^&*. EPIDURAL!!!

He finally got the epidural in just in time for me to say, "I think I need to push."  They check and sure enough, that baby is ready to come out.  The nurse calmly but firmly says, "Sorry honey, but you are going to have this baby before the epidural can kick in."  I replied with shear terror in my voice, "WHAT??!!"

And then, I felt the most horrific pain of my life and screamed at the top of my lungs like someone was trying to kill me.  And that effing nurse actually whispered in my ear to quiet down because I was scaring the other birthing mothers!!  As if I had any control over my response to someone trying to rip my body inside-out!  It's like a cop walking over in the midst of a murder and asking the victim to please keep it down because other victims might get scared.  No wait – even better: it's like the victim begged the cop to at least shoot her before the murderer got to her and the cop saying, "Sorry, I'm fresh out of bullets.  It's best if you endure the agony quietly and with a little dignity."

During this time, they gave me a mirror.  A MIRROR!!  If I want an epidural and I’m screaming my freakin’ head off, do you think I really care much about seeing how amazing and wonderful and natural this all is and that I want to witness a miracle happen??  Okay, some people would, but I absolutely did not want to witness how something inside of me was turning what was once a delicate flower into something that probably looked more like a blowfish under attack.

And 20 minutes and 2 pushes later, that little murderer was finally out of my body.  I might have also subsequently screamed, "Where's my g-ddamn ice pack?!" but I don't quite recall much after that.

Also, seconds later, the bottom half of my body finally went completely numb from the epidural. Thank you very much.

You all still with me here or have most of you passed out?  The fact is that this story is by far not nearly the most horrific childbirth story ever.  Amongst my friends, it probably falls somewhere in the middle and I am extremely lucky that it actually went so smoothly with no really complications.  But to those who plan to give birth, it is not a story that really needs to be told in that much graphic detail.  Mostly because it really won't tell them anything about what their own experience will be like.  Instead, I give them an answer that is completely honest without being traumatizing:

"No real complications - my water broke around 8:30pm, got to the hospital, really really wanted an epidural, told everyone I really wanted an epidural, but by the time they got it in, it was too late so I had to have a 'natural' childbirth, which I really didn't appreciate.  Was it painful?  Yes, yes it was.  But luckily for me, it was over fast and it went fairly smoothly.  And thinking back on it now, it was certainly an empowering experience to know I did that.  But every childbirth is really different and my experience probably won't reflect your own."

It usually receives a response like: "Ugh, you are SUCH a psychologist."

Have you fallen in love with Kid Id yet?  I thought so.  I urge you to follow her where she resides:
Blog: From Diapers to Diatribes

Here are also some of my personal favorites from Kid Id’s archives:

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