Labor (Pains) Day: ‘My Labor Was Kind Of Like A Circus’

I had anything but a “normal” pregnancy.

A blood clot in my leg that had thrown to my lungs had me laid up in a hospital bed when I was about eight months along. It was also how I found out I was pregnant in the first place. So for the last two months of my surprise pregnancy I was barely able to walk and injecting myself with anti-coagulants four times a day. My daughter arrived nearly two weeks late and by that point I was literally yelling at my stomach, begging her to be born. Then, at two am on a Tuesday morning I began to feel a huge amount of pain in my back.

I woke my then-boyfriend-now-husband with a sharp poke to the side and told him I thought I was going into labor. His response, “That’s nice, sweetie” and he rolled back on his side and was out cold. Again I woke him, this time with a pretty hard punch and yelled that I was nearly 100% certain I was in labor. My dear husband–not really awake–politely requested I “man up” and once again drifted into dreamland. I did finally succeed in waking him, without even attempting to be gentle this time, and when I told him about his suggestion that I “man up” he knew it was going to come back to bite him again and again and again (and oh, how it has). And so we were off to the hospital.

When we arrived my stomach was so small the ER nurses attempted to send me to the NICU, assuming that I was in very premature labor. I was not and finally convinced them that I could indeed go to see the high risk doctor who had been following me since my blood clot was first discovered. That’s when the fun began. First, because I was on regular doses of anti-coagulants I wasn’t allowed any sort of pain medication. I never thought I would beg so much for a nurse to drive a giant needle into my back, but I did and I was still denied.

When it became clear to me that I would be doing the whole giving birth au naturel thing I freaked out. I genuinely did not believe that I would survive the labor process and I repeatedly assured my boyfriend, my mother, my doctor and anyone else who happened to peep into the room that I was certainly not going to be able to have a child, so we should probably just call the whole thing off. It took some time before it occurred to me that hundreds of millions of women had been surviving childbirth since the beginning of time without pain medication and I could probably deal with it.

My labor was kind of like a circus. Because I was high risk and I gave birth at a city public hospital, I had about 16 different people, many of whom I did not know, in the room at any given time. At shift change there must have been at least 24 non-essential medical personnel standing around chatting about my “case” and glancing at my chart and exposed lady parts. The funniest part was that as long as they didn’t distract my doctor and nurse I could not have cared less that they were there. Except of course for the one poor, male first year who looked about twelve and had a twangy Southern accent and asked my nurse what kind of pain medication I was allowed. I think he was the only person I actually asked to have removed from my room.

My daughter was born roughly eight hours after my initial labor started and despite the numerous onlookers I don’t think it was much of a show. After comparing “war stories” with other moms it seems like it was a pretty normal labor without complication or real difficulty of any kind. Of course it hurt a ton and I literally called each and every one of my female friends warning them to never ever ever have a baby without the assurance of lots of drugs, but the old cliche is true. Once my 8 pound 10 ounce bundle of joy was put into my arms nothing else seemed to matter much anyway.

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