Tuesday, June 10, 2008

May He Be a Bar of Soap

Before I got pregnant with Weston, I was scared to death of the whole notion of giving birth. Images of women with their sweat-stained hair pasted to their red faces as they concentrated on expelling the contents of their womb did nothing to reassure me. I worried about nausea during pregnancy too. Nobody likes to throw up, but just the thought of vomit is enough to make me anxious. I’ve always been pretty vain too, so the thought of becoming huge and bulbous during those nine months of gestation filled me with anxiety too. Not surprisingly, I didn’t sleep so well the night I found out I was going to have my first child.

Flash forward about 8 months, and many of my fears had calmed or at least been replaced by new fears. Did I mention that I used to be a little high-strung? Instead of worrying about nausea, I worried that I would be totally incapable of dealing with a newborn. I no longer worried about becoming huge and bulbous. Instead I wondered how quickly I could lose the weight after giving birth. The one fear that remained unchanged was that of giving birth. Steve and I went through child-birth classes, and the information disseminated there went a long way towards making me feel more prepared though. So when the big day arrived, and Steve and I headed off to the hospital for my labor to be induced (2 weeks and one day past my due date (not that I was counting)), I was mostly feeling glad for the chance to face my big fear.

Many of you will want to kill me for saying this, but labor and deliver was really pretty easy for me. Labor was induced for both of my children, a few hours later I asked for a received my epidural, and until pushing time arrived; I was blissfully unaware of what was going on in Uterus Land. With Weston, I started pushing around 3:10 and he was born about a half hour later. Pretty darned easy for a first pregnancy. Not that it was totally without pain or stress, but calling it “labor” seemed a bit overdramatic. Prior to giving birth to Garrett, a bunch of people at the company at which I was working at the time sent me well-wishes. The best was from our lead biologist at the time; a guy named Doug Bell. Doug’s wish was, “May he be a bar of soap.” And Garrett was. At 3:00 in the afternoon, the L&D nurse came in and informed me that I was at 10 cm and that she was calling my doctor to tell him to get in his car (!!!) and drive the few miles to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital so he could deliver my baby. Traffic was heavy, so she turned off my Pitocin drip and had me lie on my side. My doctor must have broken all land speed records because he got there by 3:08. By 3:10, and after two pushes Garrett was born. So as far and unfounded fears go, my anxiety about labor and delivery rates pretty high on the list. The one about being totally incapable of dealing with a newborn, well….. that’s a whole other post.

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