Anyone who knows me knows that I always have a crazy story to tell. The strangest things always seem to happen to me. My pregnancy and birthing story are no different. It was the craziest, and in hindsight the funniest pregnancy and labor that I would ever experience. Therefore, I must share my story and give you a tiny look inside my life during my first pregnancy.
Before I start talk about my pregnancy and labor let me take you back to the year before. It was Christmas 2009 my husband and I decided to announce to our families, between dessert and present opening that we would start trying for our first baby. There hasn’t been a baby in the family in almost 20 years. This was the news that everyone was waiting to hear. Their excitement would not be short lived as within 30 days the, “we’re trying” was officially followed by “we are pregnant!” Talk about quick.
It was January 2010 was when I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t need a pregnancy test to tell me. Like most women, we can feel it. We’re acutely aware of the minute changes that our bodies undergo as life begins to take shape within us. Not to mention, I had a serious chocolate craving when I’m actually a cookie girl and no matter how much sleep I got it never seemed to be enough. I took a test for confirmation. Those 2 pink lines would change our life forever.
I was thankful to have almost a year to process everything that comes with being a mom. The only thing I didn’t have time to process was this itch on my stomach. Why my stomach so itchy? Why was it covered in these huge like mosquito bites? Surely mosquito season doesn’t start in March. Whatever it was it was not only growing in size but making its way to my back and arms. I would later discover via Dr. Google this is a classic symptom of PUPPP’s or its clinical term, Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. Wait. What? A plague? This can’t be right. There’s whole explanation of it but in layman’s terms it means, my body is allergic to my baby while in utero. I didn’t even know this was possible. With the only cure being to give birth I would from then on spend my entire pregnancy, both of them, slathered in Benedryl.
In addition to my nonstop itchiness there was also my lack of sex drive. I heard so many other women talk about how pregnancy increased their sex drive. I don’t know what they’re talking about I was drier than the Sahara. I spent 11 months of 2010 sexless. My husband, bless his soul was so understanding and did what any other man would do when he wasn’t getting any, he played Play Station…lots of it.
As if that wasn’t enough, I also fortunate enough to get pregnant during the hottest summer NYC had seen in very long time. It was 100 degrees 6 out of 7 days and when it wasn’t 100 it was a cool 98. I cannot tell you how many times I contemplated quitting my job so that I wouldn’t have to walk from the Lexington Avenue 6 train to the FDR. Those were some of the longest walks of my life. I thought for sure I was going to melt away it was so hot. I made a mental note that my next pregnancy should be fall to spring. It wasn’t my son was born in December 2012. Thankfully the weather wasn’t as hot.
But all of that aside, from a health standpoint me and baby were well. That is until I was passed my September 27th due date. I did everything from walking to eating spices, sex wasn’t going to happen so there was no reason to even listen to that suggestion. Nothing was speeding this process along. My baby had decided (without me) that she would live in my stomach longer than I wanted her to be. This was going to be a fight.
At a week overdue I checked into the hospital on October 4th to be induced. I was anxious, nervous and starving. Surrounded by my family I realized they all had food and none of them was sharing any with me. I asked my mom if she could please for the love of humanity please give me a bite. Finally after how many please she got up, leaned in close, smeared a piece of chicken on my upper lip and declared, “this is all you’re going to get.” I was her child why would she treat me this way? But then again my mom has an affinity for practical jokes. I should have known being in a laboring room ready to birth her first grandchild would not change that. I would starve.
Once I got hooked up to the machines the induction process began. I thought to myself, this is easy. The contractions weren’t that bad and I was actually able to get some sleep. Due to heartburn and my hyperactive baby I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in months.
My screams could be heard on the entire birthing floor. I was only 5 centimeters dilated but it felt like I was 10 and crowning. God help me if that was the case. I called for the drugs and was assured they would kick in quickly. 30 minutes later. 45 minutes later. I was pushing the button so much I looked like an over-hyper Jeopardy contestant. The pain is nothing that I can describe, it’s a you have to experience it to truly know what I mean kind of thing. The anesthesiologists were perplexed as to why this was happening to me. I was perplexed that they were perplexed. The more they poked and prodded me, the more my baby’s heart rate dropped. It was announced the epidural would have no effect on me, the baby was breach and an ER needed to be prepped stat. This was going to be an emergency c-section.
I was wheeled into the ER at a rapid pace. If I wasn’t in so much pain I would’ve been able to enjoy the ride. I had very little expectations of this new set of drugs working since the first epidural did nothing. But before I could finish that thought a slow lifeless feeling started at my feet and rose up to my neck area. Where were these magical drugs 6 hours ago? While everything else on me was numb my sense of smell was on point. The entire room smelled like a flamed broiled hamburger. I asked to no one in particular who had a hamburger in the room? My doctor said, “Val, its you” as she proceeded to show me a smoking cutting machine. Gosh I wanted a burger. To take my mind off of hunger I hummed the Jeopardy music in my mind and before I knew it there was a baby looking at me from over a curtain. I was overjoyed. I was officially a mother.
I wanted to reach out and hold my baby but I couldn’t because I had the shivers like something crazy. And by crazy, I mean shaking as if I needed of a hit of something illegal. This is something they clearly don’t show you on those birthing stories. My teeth chattered so much the doctor had to stuff my mouth with gauze. Then it all went black. All I remember is the doctor asking me if I wanted something fun? Why yes, I love fun! That’s when I woke up in my room with Jeff and baby in their own little private world.
As if the last 24 hours weren’t fun enough for me fate decided to have a little more fun and give me not 1, not 2 but 3 of the the most annoying roommates ever. I had 3 over the course of a 7 day stay. They’re truly the reason why private rooms were created. The first talked on her phone all night long, the second snored like a lumberjack and the third talk not only talked on her phone and snored but she also argued with her family the whole time. Isn’t having a baby supposed to be a joyous occasion? I think people forget that only a curtain divides you and the other person not a brick wall.
But you know what ruffled my feathers more than my roommates? The fact that hospital dinner is at 6:00pm? Don’t they realize that people are still hungry? Or at least I was. I was so hungry I would sneak out of the hospital to Wendy’s for 2 chicken sandwiches, chilli and a frosty. I’d sneak out again with no shame hunger is no fun for anyone. Just as a suggestion they really need to add a late dinner option or add a snack cart.
I begged for discharge papers. I got them after 6 days later. I was so happy to be going home I vowed that I would never be back.
But I’d be back. My second kiddo was born in December 2012. We wasted little time. I was still itchy and sleepless but the only difference was there was some intimacy (Yay!), I planned a c-section and I even though I had a shared room there was no roommate in sight with this baby. I was at a new hospital with tighter internal security system. So I wouldn’t be able to leave but I did order lots of take out. I bonded with my baby, ate and enjoyed 5 peaceful days of bliss.
I never considered telling my birthing story until Tiffani from My MommyVents convinced me to do so for her weekly PhenomeMOM profile. I’m glad I did. Thank you Tiffani for giving me a reason to share it.
Did you have a crazy birthing story? Please share I love to hear about it. It lets me know I’m not alone out here in the world.