While I was recently traipsing through Barnes and Noble in search of some inspiration for this week’s post, I began reading Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please! She begins by saying that writing her book was “really hard” and “almost killed her”. Mind you, this is coming from an Emmy award winning comedic genius – it must be a gross exaggeration. Then I stumbled upon The Duggars: 20 and Counting! By the time I got to the twelfth kid’s name, I was still without an idea, but was now thinking about how writing really IS a challenge…which must be why Michelle Duggar elected to go through childbirth twenty times before opting to put pen to paper. And THAT is when the idea hit me (no, I am not writing a book).
I will divulge the intimate details of my birth story.
We’re all friends so this is cool, right? Great.
Now, from my experience in trolling blogs, talking to other moms and being cornered in elevators by random strangers who like to share a little too much info, birth stories typically go one of two ways…
The first reads like a dramatic screen adaptation of a romantic Nicholas Sparks novel. It overflows with beautiful memories of two people holding hands and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes while watching the new life they both created emerge from the woman’s body. They both cry tears of joy upon seeing their tiny miracle for the first time. The baby is placed in the woman’s arms where he/she eats naturally from its mother and the entire family embraces. A children’s choir can be heard singing hymns in the distance. The new mother is glowing in full makeup and, in the midst of labor and delivery, didn’t even smudge her mascara. Meanwhile, a professional photographer has been tucked away in a corner of the room capturing every second of the glorious occasion…which will later be photo shopped to perfection and posted to blogs and social media galore. Barf.
The second reads like a disturbing sci-fi movie dreamt up by a psychotic sociopath. These are traumatic tales told in graphic detail. The woman is screaming in agonizing pain while digging her nails so deeply into her partner’s skin that blood begins oozing from the wound. A frightening doctor and his team of evil nurses are yelling at the woman to KEEP PUSHING. Sweat pours down the woman’s face and she foams at the mouth while grunting louder than Monica Seles hitting a backhand down the line. Her partner passes out upon witnessing an explosion of blood and feces splatter across the floor. After hours of this horrific battle, the doctor finally grabs some rusty instruments to yank the little freak from its mother. A bloodied alien with flailing limbs finally emerges. The soundtrack from The Exorcist can be heard crackling on an old gramophone in the background. The doctor’s head spins completely around. The mother’s face looks battered, swollen and bright red from blood vessels that have burst from the force of pushing. Hemorrhoids….lots of hemorrhoids. The only pictures are a few blurry photos taken with a camera phone that would be flagged as ‘inappropriate’ if ever posted to Facebook.
Aaaaaaaand then there is MY birth story. A screwed up mix between a Judd Apatow film and really bad porn.
Allow me to elaborate.
Starting with my very first prenatal visit, my husband was all too eager to accompany me to every one of my OB/GYN appointments. He’s SO sweet and supportive, right? WRONG. Here’s the deal, my amazing doctor who I chose because she is a badass surgeon/down-to-earth/cool/understanding/reliable, also happens to be a gorgeous Asian. You see where I’m going with this? Exactly. Once my husband realized that Lucy Liu would be getting up close and personal with his wife’s fun bits, he was 100% on board to play the role of #1 Attentive Birth Coach of the Year.
Fast forward nine months to my due date.
I am locked in our bathroom and hunched over my enormous belly with a Gillette razor attempting to blindly groom myself while, simultaneously, enduring a crap load of mother-effing painful contractions. I am all too aware that this could easily turn into a scene from Sweeney Todd. I ignore these thoughts while silently cursing myself for cancelling last week’s bikini wax. I refuse, however, to give birth while my nether region looks as if it is stuck in 1974.
Minutes later, we are hauling ass down I-95. At some point between the contractions and trying to restrain the urge to shatter the windshield with my foot, I notice that my husband has put on cologne and styled his hair in the midst of rushing out of our house.
Me: Are you serious?
Me: You put on cologne to impress Dr. C, didn’t you?
Husband: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Me: You’re sick.
By the time we arrive at the hospital and make our way up to Labor & Delivery, I look like a heroin addict and am asking everyone from security to the janitor to get me drugs. Finding narcotics in Baltimore should be easy, yet it is taking forever so I ask my husband, in complete seriousness, to go down to West Baltimore and score me something strong. He does not oblige and reminds me that this is not The Wire.
When I am finally wheeled into the delivery room, I meet the team of nurses that will be assisting during the birth of our daughter. But before anyone can say a word….I throw up. Literally. Puke everywhere.
I look around the room and it begins to sink in that EVERYONE (with the exception of yours truly) looks like they could be cheerleaders for the Dallas Cowboys.
Is this a joke?! Where’s the hidden camera?!?!
I catch a glimpse of my husband. As expected, he is ALL smiles. Asshole.
The drugs finally kick in and I am able to sleep for a few hours. Things are actually quite peaceful, for the most part.
Once I am fully dilated, everyone assembles back in the room to get ready for the main event. I am naked from the waist down and on full display to anyone within a fifteen foot radius (thank God I groomed).
I hear Cute Blonde Nurse #1 explaining to my husband that he will hold one of my legs and Cute Blonde Nurse #2 will hold my other leg while I push and Lucy Liu plays catcher in the middle. She says this process typically lasts for a few hours. I then notice Mr. Tough Guy rolling up his sleeves and saying something along the lines of, “Let’s do this ladies – I’m ready for the long haul. We got this!”
Up until six seconds ago, I had been repeatedly informed that he just wanted to hang out up by my head for fear of passing out at the sight of blood. Throw a few hot babes into the mix and he suddenly thinks he’s in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It occurs to me that I am now stuck in the middle of my husband’s fantasy.
This is the exact moment I will myself to get my daughter out as fast as humanly possible.
At 2:25am I begin pushing HARD and, thankfully, I feel NOTHING. There is no screaming or grunting. I love drugs. Three pushes later, I hear crying and see my slimy little alien princess held up in the air. It is 2:26am and my husband’s fantasy has come to a screeching halt after just one minute. I look like a train wreck and I may or may not have shit out one of my intestines, but I do not care. I did it…FAST.
There was no children’s choir singing, horror soundtrack, or music of any sort. There was only HGTV. I gave birth watching House Hunters…and the damn couple picked the absolute worst of the three houses.
I ask my husband to quickly grab the camera and take pictures of our baby girl being weighed. He tells me that he forgot to bring it. Ishefuckingserious?! He forgot the camera that we spent six hours picking out in Best Buy to capture the single most important day in our lives, but he remembered to put on cologne.
We resort to snapping pics with our phones as I think to myself, “This is EXACTLY why women have the babies.”
In all seriousness, I am eternally indebted to all of those wonderful women who took such good care of me, delivered my perfect peanut and provided an ample amount of eye candy for my husband. My advice to any anxious, expectant mother is pretty simple – get the drugs and then imagine your partner having an orgy with your entire L&D team. That will provide you with enough angry motivation to cross the finish line in record breaking time.
Looking back, my daughter’s birth truly was an awesome/relatively trauma-free experience…and probably MUCH easier than writing a book.