Yeah, so, it started around 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
At first, it felt like horrible gas pain, but I knew it was my first real contraction. I had been having the faux contractions, Braxton-Hicks contractions (or what mighty, mighty good man David called “Taylor Hicks” contractions or “Brigham Young” contractions) for a few weeks. Also, I knew the spawn was coming soon for reasons that might be too gross to share but they involve the terms “mucus plug” and “the bloody show.”
Oh, this would be a good time for me to warn you, my tens of readers, that this post will be graphic, gross and pretty damn long. If you have a heart condition or gross out easily, you might want to skip this post and go directly to the cosplay porn sites you usually go to after reading my blog.
If you think you can handle it then click the “keep reading” link. You will be rewarded with cute spawn photos …
After the initial contraction, I went back to sleep, but I had another one at 3. I got out of bed and walked around the house. I had some water and ate a banana. At 3:30, I had another contraction, but this time I woke up David to let him know that this child birth thing was most likely happening today.
By 5:45 the contractions were coming about every 7 minutes, so we started writing it down to keep track. I called Kaiser, and they said to call back when the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart or if my water breaks. It was about that time that I called my mom and my sister to tell them that they are not going into work today and instead they are going to be holding my legs up in the air while I squeeze a baby out of my uterus. For some weird reason, this made them really excited, and my brother-in-law Tony Hicks documented it in his Contra Costa Times column.
The contractions continued to be 6 or 7 minutes apart, lasting about 30-45 seconds a piece, until about 9 a.m. Up until that point, I would breathe through them, but I could still get around the house. By 9 a.m., the contractions started coming about 4 minutes apart, and they were stronger. The only relief was bending at the waist and holding on to a chair or the couch, while David put pressure on my lower back and hips. I tried to distract myself by watching “Spongebob Squarepants.” I will now forever associate Spongebob with pain.
By 9:30 a.m., they were 2 to 3 minutes apart, so we called Kaiser. Now they were saying that I needed to call back when the contractions are 2 or 3 minutes apart for an hour. I felt like they kept changing the rules on me.
Finally, at 10:30 a.m. we called Kaiser again. They suggested I take a shower then get in the car and come to the hospital. Upon hearing that I believe my reply was, “Are you high? There is no way I can get undressed, get in a shower, get out, dry off, get dressed, walk down the stairs to the car with contractions coming every 2 minutes.”
They recommended I try it anyway and said they would see me soon.
“Sooner than they think,” I said to David. “Let’s go right now. I’m not even trying to get in the shower.”
Getting to the car was an ordeal in itself. We have some steep stairs, and at about the halfway point I got a contraction. I had to stop, hold on to the hand rail while David pressed on my back. Then it happened again when we got to the bottom of the stairs … in front of the mailman and a neighbor. Awesome.
The car ride was dreadful. I had to lay on my back, and since he was driving, David couldn’t rub my lower back like he had been. I had to really breathe through it. This is when I felt like yoga really helped me out. Some yoga positions are difficult, and I had to really focus and breathe through them. I applied that breathing technique in the car, and even though it was really painful, I made it to Kaiser without crying. Also, the traffic gods were on our side. We made it from Glen Park to Kaiser on Geary in about 20 minutes.
My mom and sister met us at the hospital and helped me out of the car. They put pressure on my back and hips every 2 minutes while David parked the car. I’m sure Kaiser employees are used to seeing a pregnant lady in labor suffering contractions in their lobby, but I can’t imagine the regular folks waiting there are used to seeing that. If anything, I probably reminded all of them to practice safe sex. You’re welcome, world.
When I got upstairs to Labor and Delivery, there wasn’t a room ready for me yet, so they put me in a small waiting room. Really small. There was a gentleman sitting in the little room with his headphones on. I don’t know if he heard me, but I said to him, “I’m sorry for what you are about to see and hear,” and then I grabbed a chair and started huffin’ and puffin’ while my mom and sister did their thing. To that guy’s credit, he kept his head down and didn’t make eye contact. Smart move.
Eventually, David showed up and they moved us to a triage room to check me out before moving me to a delivery room. In the triage room, I met like five different doctors and nurses. I had no idea who was going to deliver the spawn. Honestly, I didn’t care. I just wanted this shit over with.
One of the doctors, and her “Scrubs”-like intern, checked me out and informed me that I was already 7 cm dilated, which is great news. You need to be at 10 cm to start pushing. The doctor told me that at 7 cm I was in the home stretch. She asked me if I wanted an epidural, saying I would need to sit still for five minutes or longer in order for the anesthesiologist to perform the procedure. Seeing as how I was having contractions every 2 minutes, I didn’t see sitting still as a viable option. Also, I really didn’t want the epidural anyway, because the idea of not being able to feel my legs is totally fuckin’ scary to me. In fact, all the labor and delivery options sounded terrible to me, and I wrote about it riiight here.
Finally, they moved me to a delivery room. My mom actually referred to this as going to “the show.” “The baby is ready. He’s ready to go to the show.” I thought that when I got into the delivery room I would start freakin’ out, because that’s when the shit gets real. It’s really happening. Instead, all I could think about was getting the spawn out as quickly as possible and ending all this laboring because it’s really fuckin’ tiring.
My water still hadn’t broken, so the doctor offered to break it for me so we could get the party started. I told her to do it. When the water broke, it was like a river. I swear I thought it would never end. It was like the longest pee you ever took multiplied by 1,000.
Shortly after is when the doctor offered me drugs to take the edge off.
I never really intended to do the whole natural child birth thing. My plan was to go as long as I could without drugs then, if I wanted them, take them. When the doctor offered them to me, I thought about it and decided that drugs would just slow the labor down. I wasn’t looking to drag this whole labor thing out. I don’t want time to savor the moment. I want the spawn out! I’m over it! So, I just said no to drugs.
Then it came time to push, and I instantly regretted that decision.
Me: “I regret my decision! I want drugs now!”
Doctors and nurses: “It’s too late. You can do this.”
Me: “I’m so tired. Can’t you just go get him?”
David stayed up near my head, while my mom and sister each held a leg while I pushed through contractions. I have no doubt that I was screaming like a wild animal at the end of every push. I even apologized to the doctors and nurses.
“I’m sorry about the screaming,” I said. And they all laughed.
The mild-mannered intern quietly said to me, “You know, you can curse.”
OK, here’s where things start to get gross. I debated even whether to write about this, but decided why should I start holding back now …
David explained the labor process like this: My body was like a tube of toothpaste and everything was being pushed out from the top to the bottom, so what happened next was inevitable and completely normal. Don’t judge me.
As I tried to push the spawn out I shit on the delivery table. I know, right? TMI. Sorry. Pushing out a baby is similar to taking the biggest shit of your life. I knew this would happen. It happens to A LOT of women. It’s totally normal. What isn’t normal is what I did next: I apologized.
Everyone in the room: “You don’t need to apologize.”
“I just took a shit on a table in front of a room full of strangers. An apology seems appropriate.”
Don’t judge me! Let’s see you push a 9-pound baby out of your vagina and not shit on the table. I triple dog dare you.
I also kept apologizing because while pushing I kept knocking the heart rate monitor off my finger. It was probably the most sorry-filled labor and delivery that hospital had ever had.
So anyway, I arrived at the hospital by 11:30 a.m. And after an hour of pushing, Calvin Mansfield Tracy popped out at 2:27 p.m. We all cried. Well, except for the doctors and nurses. It’s just another day in the office for them. “Yeah, yeah, the miracle of child birth, blah blah.”
When the Spawn came out and the doctor laid him down on me the first thing I said was, “He’s huge!” He looked huge to me. He didn’t look like a newborn at all. He looked like what medical dramas on ABC try to pass off as a newborn, but really it’s a three-month old. Nine pounds! That’s how much Homer weighs.
Immediately, after Calvin came out, the doctors whisked him to the other side of the room to clean him up and suck out his lungs. Turns out I wasn’t the only one that took a shit during the delivery, so the doctors had to make sure that Calvin didn’t ingest any of his own crap. I know. I’m sorry. Gross.
While the doctors did their thing with Calvin, my doctor and her intern started stitching me up.
“Can I have those drugs now?” I asked.
Doctor: “Yes. Yes, you can.”
And now what you have all be waiting for: Cute spawn photos!