If you want to play along, just go see CableGirl. She’ll tell you what to do; she’s bossy like that.
Mary Sunshine Post:
It was a cold, sunny winter day in December, 15 and some years ago. 1992, in fact. I was massively pregnant with my daughter at that time, which is actually the subject of this post. I was newly married, having found out just a month or so after the most beautiful wedding EVER that we were going to have a much-longed for baby. I was one of those lucky women who actually lost weight during pregnancy, but wasn’t sick at all, and had no problems whatsoever; I sailed right through pregnancy and looked forward to having a baby with all my might.
We went into the hospital at 7:00 that morning, where I was told to go walk around town because while I was in labor, it was the very earliest stages. We took this as an opportunity to spend our last day as a couple without children, having a leisurely breakfast in a quaint little cafe and walking around town holding hands and talking about the much anticipated arrival of our little one. When we went back to the hospital, I was still not progressing much, but they opted to admit me because we lived quite far from the hospital and the plan at that point was to induce me the following morning. I slept like a log that night, and woke up in the morning refreshed and ready to begin this new journey. My then-husband had packed my bag to my specification, so I had soothing music and fuzzy socks for my feet. Although I eventually ended up having a c-section, the labor itself was not nearly as bad as I had been told it would be, and when they handed me my sweet baby Hannah, I fell in love immediately. She nursed beautifully, we never had a single problem, and lived happily ever after.
The Cold, Hard Reality:
I really did get sent to walk around the town, because we really did live quite some way from the hospital. And we did go eat, an actually quite tasty breakfast that I promptly puked up on the sidewalk. The rest? Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit.
Labor was even worse than I had been led to believe. For some reason, I had it in my head that I was going to do the whole thing drug free, because if I succumbed I would be labeled as some pussy, a woman who cared more about avoiding pain than her baby’s health. And labor was terrible for me. In addition to feeling like I was going to due from the pain, that it. Because my fucking husband had packed for me a book, the birth announcements (for me to fill out, perhaps, between contractions?), and my toothbrush. That’s it. Plus he kept running out into the hallway and eating things, which would maybe be a reasonable thing for him to do EXCEPT for the fact that I was extremely sensitive to smell during pregnancy. Everything made me puke. I lost 24 pounds. So he would sneak out like an alcoholic to take a small bite, then casually saunter back into the room with popcorn on his breath. POPCORN. I think that is when I started to fall out of love with him, actually.
So by 6 that night, it was time to push, which frankly wasn’t working for me. I tried, I really did; tried so hard that I burst the blood vessels in both eyes. But finally, after a really, really long time, three hours, Dr. H decided that maybe we should just go on ahead and gut me. Coincidentally, Baby ALSO decided that it would be a great opportunity to scare the shit out of me by having these…episodes…where she just didn’t have much of a heartbeat, so it became somewhat an emergency. And honestly, by then I was just so wasted and tired that I just wanted it over with. The anesthesiologist who came in to give me the spinal block instantly became me new best friend because within minutes, the pain was GONE. I didn’t care that I felt like I had been hit by a truck or that I was incapable of moving, I didn’t hurt anymore. And then blah blah blah, they did whatever it is they do and handed me this kid, and I was like, “What the fuck is THAT?” She wasn’t at all cute; she had a terrible cone head from being stuck in the birth canal, she also had a cut on her cheek from where they couldn’t quite tell where the wall of the uterus ended and her FACE began (yikes!), and she was basically like an alien. Not cute in an ET kind of way, just-alienish.
But you know, they did let me go home with her, so I must have hidden my disgust pretty well. And this was after,the point where I woke up from my Vicodin-induced sleep to find that she had slipped in my arms and her head was between the bars of the bed and the mattress, and still, dude, they sent me home. I tell you, I was so NOT prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for all the blood the first time I stood up, nor for how godawful my hoo-ha hurt. She sucked (no pun intended) at nursing, and it was a lot of hard work to get her to latch on. I couldn’t poop for freaking EVER, and then my milk came in and I was pretty sure the old boobs were just going to explode. On top of it all, I got a staph infection at the site of my very large, ugly, oozing incision. All told, I was a wreck, and it showed. For months, it showed, and I kept looking at her, looking at myself, looking at my husband and thinking all sorts of things like: “How in the hell did THIS happen?” “When does she get cute?” “I used to be kind of cute,” and the best, “I had SEX with that man? Eeeew.!”
Now I don’t really recall just when I started to love her, or any specific moment where I thought, okay, this isn’t so bad. I just know that after awhile, it seemed like she had always been there, and most of the time, even 15-ish years later, I am still glad.