I’m starting to look forward to writing class every week so instead of doing my usual Quest post, I wanted to share one of the stories that I had written for class. Our assignment was to write about an experience that we had and describe it to the reader as if they were there with us.
For some reason the story of Jake’s birth came into my head. Some of you may have heard this before but many of you haven’t so enjoy my story about The Birth of a Parent:
“If I told you the truth, you wouldn’t have done it.”
That’s how my good friend answered when I asked her why she hadn’t told me the truth about how everything was going to shake out when I gave birth to my son Jake.
Most women talk about the birth of their children as one of the best days of their lives. They coo about the baby smells, wrap themselves up in the memory of those initial bonding moments and most of them proudly tell their story of how quickly they gave birth and were out running a marathon the next weekend.
No such luck with me. Jake was late, a trait that he has actually carried on into his school years. He was two weeks late to be exact so my doctor, Dr. Crofoot, scheduled me for what they called an ‘inducement” which I understood to mean that they were going to figure out a way to get him to come join us in the real world. I was given my instructions about not eating anything after a certain time of night and to arrive at the hospital at 9am the next day.
Not knowing what to expect, my ex (we were married at the time) and I got to the hospital on time and settled into my room waiting for the arrival of my son. Dr. Crofoot checked on me a few hours later to ask if I had wanted the epidural. Yes, oh yes we both said at once. “I don’t do pain very well,” I added. “Gotcha” said my doctor, “I’ll put that in your chart.” Good one, I had thought, being glad that Doc Crofoot had the same strange sense of humor that I do.
With the epidural and inducement procedures completed, I was trapped in my hospital bed. Everyone was sure that my baby would be here ‘any minute’ so we waited. Several hours passed and nothing. Dr. Crofoot and the nurses tried this and they tried that and still nothing. They checked the baby to see if he was ok and it seems that Jake was more then content to stay where he was for as long as he could get away with it (another trait that he seems have carried over into his personality).
Two days passed and I was still sequestered in my hospital bed. I still hadn’t been given anything to eat as the nurses kept telling me that Jake would be here ‘any minute’ so I couldn’t have anything in my stomach as that would affect the birth. My doctor kept trying new ideas as he claimed that he wanted to do everything he could to avoid me having to go through major surgery of the c-section.
By 10pm on the second night, I was delirious and lost all ability to make any clear decisions. The one thing that I did know was that I was done and wanted this to be over. In between deep breaths, I sobbed “I don’t want to try anything else. I want him out … I just want to eat.” Dr. Crofoot chuckled and replied, “Alright let’s do this … but trust me, eating will be the last thing you’ll want to do when I’m done with you.” I just remember answering back, “You laugh little man but you have NO idea how much I like to eat! Get this thing going now.”
After two days of living in a sedated world, the hospital staff kicked into high gear looking like they had all suddenly taken crack. I was quickly moved down the hall into the operating room, placed on a table with my arms spread out and strapped down like a person on death row about to be given a lethal injection. Maybe they do it like this because everyone in this room knows that this death of my childless life. From this minute forth, I will always be a parent.
They pulled a sheet over to separate the top part of my body from the rest of me so that I couldn’t see that I was about to be cut open. The only people I could see were Jake’s dad and another man standing over me with a mask over his mouth. I can’t remember his name or the fancy word for what he does but I remember his presence well. He patted his shirt pocket with about 10 syringes filled with pain medicine and told me that if I was in pain then to let him know. I didn’t even hesitate with my answer, “You can go ahead and give me something now. I don’t do pain very well.” He laughed and said, “Yes, I see it says that in your chart.” Did Dr. Crofoot really put that in my chart or was this just a running joke in the hospital for the day?
The surgery went quick and problem-free, even though I believe that something got put back in me in the wrong place. To this day, I still continue to have the same heartburn problems from certain foods as I did during my pregnancy.
The rest of the night was a blur as I tried to recover from the surgery. For some reason the nurses thought it was a good idea to leave a 4 hour old newborn in the hospital room with a woman who hadn’t eaten in over two days and was coming down from several syringes of pain killers. Bonding, they told me, ‘it’s important for you to bond with the baby.” By 5 o’clock that morning, I’d had enough bonding time and begged the nurses to please come and get him so I could get some sleep. That was my first moment of parent guilt and I cried myself to sleep.
Three days later I was released from the hospital, put Jake into his new car seat and we headed for home. Looking back, I know that my friend might have been right. If I had even the slightest idea what giving birth would be like, would have I have done this? I’d like to think that I would but you know, I don’t do pain very well.
Photo credit: Hospital