LABOR PARTY

I’ve been pouring my heart out here lately, so I thought maybe it was time to shift gears just a little bit and share a funny.  For those of you who cried or teared up on some of my recent posts, I think you’ll walk away from this one unscathed!

Let me just briefly start by saying that I am loving being a mama!  I now realize that it’s brought a part of me to life that either did not previously exist, or that I had silenced and pushed down into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul for safe keeping or emotional distance. Further, I’m confident in saying that I didn’t need to get pregnant and carry a baby for nine months for this part of me to blossom, and I think that’s pretty remarkable.  Sure, I know there will be days when I will wonder what it’s like to “grow a baby” and experience childbirth, but I no longer feel sorrow that it is not a part of my mommy story. I also feel so incredibly blessed to have had the next closest thing…

When my best friend and soul sister gave birth to her son nearly nine years ago, she allowed me to be in the room when he was born.  That was nothing short of one of the most amazing and beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. I can still remember just how calm and focused she was throughout the entire process, despite how tired she was and the fact that she was pushing an oblong bowling ball out of her body.  She would twist and wince a little when she was uncomfortable, but she would breathe and sigh her way through it.  She would even quietly apologize to her almost-born son as she was pushing when she didn’t think she was doing it right. She was quite the trooper:

So with that beautiful image of childbirth in mind…

The Wednesday that “Baby Man” came into our lives, he was the only birth in the hospital on that day. Just imagine how peaceful our first day was with our new baby.  We had the whole place to ourselves–the run of the joint!  Thursday??  Well, that was a different story.

The place was hopping!  It was a baby factory!  A baby factory with an open-door policy!  Seriously, nobody closed a single door in that place!  They’d just pull the privacy curtain across the doorway, so while you couldn’t necessarily see all the babies being born…YOU COULD HEAR EVERYTHING!!!

The first lady came in around 8:00am and took her spot in her room–right next to ours. We might as well have had her over for tea and pleasant conversation because it was like we were in the same room with her.  As we tried to quietly snuggle and fawn over our new baby in the “privacy” of our own room, we were treated to a symphony of moaning that went a little something like this:

“Shit…shit…SHIT…Oh my God this hurts…shit-shit-shit-shit…I’m sorry for saying shit…but shit….oh…shit…shit-shit-shit…Ohhhh…Myyyy…GODDDD…SHIIIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!”

It started slow with a few shits here and there and then built to a crescendo that went on for about an hour during her most active labor.  Around noon, a baby girl popped out.  We listened eagerly for the first baby cry to indicate that all was well, which was followed by the team of nurses and family members congratulating each other.  I half expected them to say, “Congratulations! You just gave birth to a baby shit!”

After a while, their room began to fall silent — I’m sure all that shitting had just worn everyone completely out!

Then there were a few more births…they seemed to come about one per hour for the next couple of hours.  But then…the highlight of my day, and night, arrived.  She rolled in around 3:00pm looking like she was carrying a litter of babies in her belly.  Poor thing. She was hanging so low in the front, she could have juggled her belly on her knee caps like a soccer ball. They put her in the room furthest away from ours down the hall, but the door to her room and the door to ours faced each other…it was like the perfect design for the travel of sound waves from her room to ours.

Shortly after she arrived, the tippy-top-of-the-lungs kind of wailing began:

“oooohhhhhhOoohhhhhOOOOOHHHHHHHH-OWWWWWWWWWWWW-OOOOOHHHHHHOooohhhhoooohhhhhh…”

The longer and more intense the contractions became, the longer and more significant the arc of her wailing.  This went on for SIX HOURS!!!  By 10:00pm Frank looked like he was about to have an

Can't handle the rippin' and tearing', and moanin' and swearing'!!
Can’t handle the rippin’ and tearin’, and moanin’ and swearin’!

aneurism and had to leave to find comfort and silence at our nearby apartment.

I, on the other hand, held our newborn baby close and whispered to him that it was all going to be ok and nobody was killing that poor lady down the hall. He did not seem convinced.

As the ward became quiet in the late evening hours, I was able to focus more of my attention on the laboring mom down the hall.  I heard the following:

“I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!  YOU CAN’T MAKE ME DO THIS!  I WANT A C-SECTION! IT’S MY MEDICAL RIGHT TO HAVE A C-SECTION!!  IT HURTS TOO MUCH!  IT’S TAKING TOO LONG!!!  I’M DYING!!!! PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME DO THIS!!! JUST GIVE ME A C-SECTION AND THEN EVERYONE CAN GO HOME!!! PLEASE!! PLEASE!!!”

Apparently, her pleas for assistance went unanswered because she continued to moan and wail and writhe and scream.  I became so invested in her process that I began to time her contractions.

10:45pm – 5 minutes apart
11:55pm – 4 minutes apart
12:30am – 3 minutes apart

Sometime after that, I feel asleep.  Dammit!

I woke up around 1:00am to one of the nurses coming into my room to check on my baby.  At this point I focused in and could only hear a steady stream of screams–literal screaming– from down the hall! It was the kind of screaming I’d expect to hear from a Revolutionary War battlefield medic station after someone took a cannon shot to the groin!!  If I’d heard someone shout, “Here!  Bite down on this stick!!” I would not have been surprised.  I was sure she we was going to give birth to something with hooves and horns and a tail!  It was verging on INSANE! She was clearly unmedicated and now in active labor.  I wanted to pop some corn and settle in for the main event! Then I heard this:

“I HATE YOU!  I HATE YOU SO MUCH!  I HATE YOUR STUPID FACE AND I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU EVER AGAIN!!!  GET OUT OF MY ROOM!!! GET…OUT!!!!” Oh, her poor, poor husband.

Before “Rosemary” could have her “baby”, the sandman took me for good and I was out for the rest of the night.  Around 6:00am one of the nicest nurses on the ward–the kind that’s as perky during the first hour as she is on the twelfth hour of her shift–came in to check on us.

Me: “Oh, my God.  Please tell me that lady had her baby.”

Awesome Nurse (AN): “Yes. She had a little girl (I thought she was going to say demon spawn, but she definitely said little girl) at 2:25am.”

Me: “Thank God.  Were you one of her nurses?”

AN: “Well…I was until she threw me out of the room at 1:00am.”

Me: “Oh my God!!  That was you???  I totally heard her screaming at you. How could she be so mean to you?  You’re so, so nice!”

AN: “I told her she was almost there and to try and breathe.  She didn’t like that.”

Me: “Well, I guess you can’t hold it against her because she was obviously in a lot of pain.  It was a natural child birth, right?”

AN: (with the smuggest look she could muster after a 12-hour shift) “She was so drugged up, she couldn’t feel a thing and probably still can’t feel her toes.  Some people just have, how should I say this?… A flair for the dramatic???”

Me: (complete disbelief) “You have got to be kidding me?!?!”

AN: “Oh, I wish I was.”

So that’s that.  The second day of my child’s life, and THIS is what I have committed to my memory.  I had heard some things though, people.  Lots of wildly unpleasant things, that for as long as I live, I will not be able to un-hear. I am now doubly glad for the present of a peaceful and wonderful birth that my bestie shared with me, and now even more at peace with how my mommy story unfolded…because God knows, I too can have a flair for the dramatic, and no one would want to see, or HEAR, that manifest itself in a delivery room!!!

But now I can’t help but wonder with all that screaming and cussing…what would have happened if one of those babies HAD come out sideways???  Well, SHIT!

 

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