“One must still have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star” – Nietzsche
A Connecticut mother made national headlines this week over her issues with a question on a public-school kindergarten entry questionnaire. In short, the form asks if there were any issues with the birth of your child, if your child was born vaginally or via Caesarean section, and whether the child came home with you from the hospital.
To be fair, with the amount of forms that need to be filled out for any activity or schooling that you enroll your kids in, I may have just answered those questions without a second thought. I am guilty of acting like the rest of the “sheeple” at times. But this mother, nope. She brought her concerns to the school, and was told that these questions have been on the forms for years. She asked to see previous application forms under the Freedom of Information Act, but has thus far been denied. So this mother made me think…
And I think if a school is going to ask you whether you gave birth via Caesarean section or vaginally, they should also give mothers a space within which to write their birth stories. Because we moms love sharing our birth stories, no matter the age of our children. For example:
First kid: I had read ALL of the books, magazines, websites and any other published material about pregnancy, preparation for childbirth and infant care well before my 41st week approached. I had a bag packed, nursery set up, and was so in tune with my body that I could tell that I was merely having Braxton Hicks contractions and not “real” contractions. Five days after my due date, looking and feeling much like a bloated tick, I felt the first contraction at approximately 12:15pm on Sunday afternoon. I timed the contractions for an hour until I was confident that this was, indeed, happening. Fast forward through traffic on the highway and contractions and an obstetrics resident on his first day, some really ouchy contractions, a grape popsicle that ended up reversing itself in my digestive tract and then finally…the epidural.
Which made things slow waaaaay down. I was all like, “Oooh, ‘The Simpsons’ are on! It’s the episode when they think Burns is a ghost!” I didn’t feel a thing when I gave birth, and it was just me, my spouse, the nurse and then the OB/GYN who literally came in about two minutes before she had to “catch”. And there she was, 9.8 pounds of a sweet little baby. And except for the agony prior to the epidural, I remember feeling like, yeah, that wasn’t so bad…until the epidural wore off, that is. You’ll forget the pain, they said. (They lied)
My second birth was nothing like my first; much like my second pregnancy was nothing like my first. So yes, I was definitely overconfident with the second one, when I finally realized at 5:30 am that I was actually in labor, I was like, I DON’T EVEN HAVE A BAG PACKED! Later on, I went back to my pregnancy manuals and realized that my contractions had actually started the night before, which I, in my infinite wisdom, had mistaken for heartburn.
We arrived at the hospital only to find that it wasn’t a quiet night like it was with my firstborn, but a pretty busy Tuesday morning. Whatever, I knew the drill. Get me in a room, give me that epidural, and we’re ready to go.
And when I was relatively comfortable in my birthing room, I was introduced to approximately 15 nursing and obstetrics interns and students. I remember asking the senior nurse in charge when I could expect my epidural because I really wanted it. And I will never forget her next words: “Soon, sweetie.”
And then they all disappeared down the hallway. Approximately 30 seconds later my water broke and it suddenly felt like the baby was pretty much going to punch her way out of the birth canal. After some frantic screaming, that I think was me, but may have also been my spouse, the room went from completely unoccupied to what appeared to be about 40 people looking at my wingwang . I know I was cursing like a madwoman because of the shock and pain and I was insisting I was not going to give birth without THE FUCKING EPIDURAL. The doctor leaned right into my face and very calmly told me to shut up and push because she didn’t want to do an emergency C-section because “someone” was being difficult. That pissed me off SO MUCH; you NEVER tell a woman in labor what to do! So I bore down and pushed. Without any painkillers or preparation, all 7.5 pounds of baby arrived into the world within seconds, ruining the good doctor’s new shoes and making me a very relieved and happy 2nd-time Mama. Until it came time to repair some of the damage her sudden and aggressive arrival caused. Let me tell you, having certain parts of your lady playground stitched up without any kind of numbing or painkillers can make you momentarily blind with pain. I will spare you any further details. But when that was done and some students were still milling around, I had the chance to actually look at the placenta. I thought my spouse was going to pass out/throw up/die right there, but instead he just sat down and went completely pale as I inspected what had housed the baby girl laying on my chest for the past nine months.
So the first birth was calm and controlled, and the second was complete chaos. Both were messy, but the second one was extra messy.
And those are my stories…relatively tame compared to some I’ve heard. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below. I promise to read each and every one, give them the respect they deserve in the form of a virtual mom-to-mom fist bump and hug.
And by the way, now that I’ve been alerted and given it some thought, I’d make a third checkbox titled “none of your beeswax, unless you want to read my birth stories, out loud, at the next Board of Ed meeting, and I get to video the whole thing, because I want to see your face when you have to read words like ‘vaginal’ multiple times.”