So, I’d like to tell you about my birth experience. But first let me say I am going to have to be honest about this and not try to sugarcoat it.
This is going to sound crazy, but part of the reason I waited to have a child at 43, was because I truly didn’t want to give birth,merely because of the pain I knew you had to endure.
When I was 6 months pregnant we ( my boyfriend and I ) moved up to Michigan. I was doing really well eating the foods my midwife in Austin recommended. By the time we arrived to Michigan I pretty much decided to eat whatever I wanted. I put on a lot of extra weight and it made it hard to move around. My hips were so tight I could barely walk. Just a couple weeks before the due date, I had hemmeroids so so bad that I couldn’t walk. I kept wondering to myself, how in the world is this baby going to come out? We took birth classes, I read books, heard birth stories and still I couldn’t imagine or believe this 10 pound baby was going to exit through the same place where I pee. One of the most unbelievable experiences I keep thinking about is how a woman gets checked to see how far along she is dialated. I’ve never been raped, but I can imagine this isn’t too far off. The midwife/doctor has to shove their fingers UP into your opening til they reach the cervix. Yeah. This doesn’t just happen once, like I thought it might be, but about 10-15 MORE times!!!!!!!! Come on, you have to be kidding me. I finally had to tell the midwife, that she was going to have to take it slow and tell me to relax specific body parts, not just to tell me “relax”!!!! At this point we’ve already been at the hospital 24 hours…I was doing my best to do this thing naturally, because of course I had endless friends and family tell me to go “natural”. My cervix was NOT opening. The midwife came in and gave us the next option and that was to administer an epidural. I was extremely hesitant, but giving birth naturally was starting to look dim by now. I shrugged my shoulders and said alright let’s do it. I was in a good deal of pain already with the contractions coming and going…I did feel like I was closer to dying than living. Once the epidural took effect, I didn’t care about much. I could still feel the contractions, but there wasn’t any pain, only sensation of my insides being squeezed. Probably an hour or so passed, the midwife had broken my water….still the baby was not coming out! The midwife gives me the last option, CESEREAN!!!! What could I do? What else is possible? Is this really happening to me? I envisioned candles and my mom strumming her harp, sister massaging my head, aroma of lavender and people smiling…telling me “one more push Sapphire!”
There was NONE of that. The looks on people’s faces were serious. Okay then, roll me into that bright lit, cold surgery room where I don’t know a soul and trust them to pull out my baby and keep me alive.
As they were rolling me down the hall, I heard one of the nurses ask, ” is there anything we need to be aware of with her? “. The nurse pushing the opposite side of the bed told the nurse, “no, just advanced age and can’t swallow pills”. What????? Did she say “advanced age?” I never thought of myself like that. I only saw myself “not aging”e as a matter of fact. It wasn’t long and they had me curtained off so I couldn’t see past my chest. My arms were strapped down in a T position. They numbed me above the pubic bone and asked “can you feel this Sapphire?” I said “no”. Soon after that I felt some massive tugging, pretty much like my insides were being ripped out!!!! Oh….they were being ripped out. William was in the surgery room too, all gowned up. Nothing like this bothers him. At one point he even was able to look over the curtain and see all my insides resting on my chest. Yuck. All I could think about was our baby girl Paloma. I couldn’t wait for this to be over and be able to kiss her. I was going to be a “mom”!!! Me, a mother. Good Lord.
A MOTHER!!!!!! To a child that is going to look up to me for guidance and love. Whew. That is quite a job I sure hope I can do. Let’s just get out of this hospital and situation and I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do that IF I survive this. When my guts were being ripped out and they said they found a cist on my uterus, did I want them to remove it?…that’s when I thought I was going to be leaving this world behind. I was thinking of William raising our child on his own. Finally, they Pulled Paloma out and lifted her up above the curtain so I could see. She was dripping with blood and looked purple to me. Her eyes found mine and I instantly knew her. It felt like I should be holding her right away, but they took her and soon William was holding her and he put her close to me, so I could kiss her face. Before I knew it, they put me under. About 2 hours later they brought me to my room and I was trying to wake up from the anesthesia. They put Paloma on me to breastfeed, but I don’t recall any of that. My family was there waiting for me to wake up. I was still hooked up to an IV and for 2 more days still hooked to an IV being pumped with antibiotics. Eventually I told the nurse I’m done with that IV and antibiotics, go ahead and remove it. They were hesitant, but did as I asked. I was in EXTREME pain every time the pain medicine was wearing off. I was relieved that I was on the other side, but still I was so weak and recovering I couldn’t enjoy holding Paloma. We eventually left the hospital and headed for home on my birthday. On the way home I was quiet, reflective. I knew I had changed and was now no longer living just for my needs, but for this little baby sitting next to me in her very large car seat, was relying on me and William. I was also feeling bummed out because instead of bringing my family closer, it seemed to push us away from one another.
The birth story that I didn’t want, is the one I endured. I have no idea why. All the olive oil, positive thoughts, turmeric and mantras were definitely NOT going to work in this case. Paloma,we found out afterwards, had the umbilical cord wrapped all around her body and each time I had contractions it would get tighter. I am grateful for folks who spend years and years studying and then practicing and then actually DOING these types of surgeries so that women and babies can live. Will I have another child? I love the Spanish culture as they say ” si Dios quiere “. ” If God wills.” But if left up to me to decide I’d say “HELL NO!!!!” There is absolutely no way I would want to relive that story. BUT could I imagine my life without Paloma? Certainly not. This darling little girl that smiles her whole soul into mine? This little girl that one day is going to speak and call me “mommy!” No wonder women endure what they must to receive a gift so unbelievable.