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Drama Mama

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By Jessica Dallas from The Sexy Mama Manifesto

I took Lamaze classes to prepare for the birth of my first child. I told myself that I wanted to have a natural birth with the possibility of an epidural if I required it. I studied the breathing patterns and put together a bracelet to concentrate on during contractions. I made a CD of music to bring with me to the hospital. I did everything my instructor said to do. But the baby decided he wanted to cook a while longer.

My doctor encouraged me to schedule an induction and to be honest I was in that place that most expectant mothers are in during their 9th month of pregnancy – get this thing out of me. So I scheduled to induce.

My family was notified. My husband and I packed for the hospital. I counted the hours when I would get to go to the hospital. I saw the birth in a positive light. I was so excited.

However, a few hours before I was to head to the hospital, I found out that my father had tried to kill himself. He had been checked into a facility in nearby Indiana and was under 72-hour observation. Much of my family was driving to meet him. All were alarmed.

I think that’s when my contractions started. My brain was completely out to lunch that he would do such a thing…or attempt to do such a thing on the day that I was to have his first grandchild, something he claimed to be incredibly excited about.

This was not how my birth was supposed to go, I told myself. Clearly this is a damn mistake.

I got to the hospital to find my husband’s family there, while mine was not. When my mother did arrive she passed out in the hallway. The crash cart was summoned. To this day I don’t know why that happened other than a divine sense of drama. Suffice it to say, my husband’s family were left to serve as primary supports, which they did, splendidly.

I told myself that this birth was not going to be about my dysfunctional family. I gritted my teeth. I was ready to rock and roll. The nurse hooked me up to the machines and administered the pitocin. Given that I was already contracting, it wasn’t difficult to get things moving. The pain, while unexpected, was manageable, at first.

As with all births, that quickly becomes a different story…the pain, that is. I said, on with the epidural. It helped.

I was almost fully dilated when I found out that they were going to perform an emergency c-section.
My little guy’s heart was racing, his blood pressure was fluctuating far too much. There was cause for alarm.

We tried all kinds of yogic positions to get him to jostle around in there, but he seemed to be pretty ticked off. He wasn’t budging. And there was some concern that he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. That’s never a good sign.

C-sections are the funniest things. After 8 hours of labor and waiting for breakneck pain to happen (the crowning and emergence of the baby vaginally), I had none of that.  My pain pretty much ceased as soon as the word c-section was uttered. The procedure was ordered, I was wheeled back, everyone was gowned and I watched as the docs tented the area to prevent me from seeing everything they were about to do.

I leaned over to my husband and said, “Perhaps this is something you shouldn’t watch…the actual cutting and pulling. You know you can’t really take that back.” Being a macho guy he said that he wanted to anyway. That he would be okay. And as they cut and tugged the little boy out of me and lifted him up into the light my husband said, “Oh Jesus,” like he had just been kicked in the nuts. He didn’t pass out or barf, thank God, but he did lean on a table for support. Then he went over to the station that the little guy was in and watched as they cleaned him up.

I could hear him screaming, I could hear him breathing for the first time – my son, that is. My husband was holding his little hand and soothing him with the sound of his voice. In fact, as soon as my husband said something, our little guy stopped crying entirely. He recognized the voice. It was Daddy.

Just a few minutes after the procedure was ordered, I had been sliced and diced and had my little guy in my arms. All went as well as it possibly could considering the concerns for the baby’s health. Our work was done. And he was so little, so precious.

I felt for the first time in my life what I can only equate to as the feeling that God must feel for us…love on a completely different scale.

I still struggle in talking about the birth of my son. That day was such a ridiculously draining event with so many unforeseen factors. The great plans I had were completely foiled and for a year-and-a-half I’ve mourned the loss of what I conceived to be the perfect birth.

It was not the best day of my life by any stretch of the imagination. But it was one of the most defining.

My father still lives today. My family remains colorful, to say the least. I am mother to a little boy who never needs to know the drama that preceded him and possibly complicated his birth. I am learning to let go of the pain that I feel.

Sometimes we don’t get what we want. And that’s okay. It needs to be okay. My baby is a miracle. He is a beautiful thing. I might not know his beauty were it not for the pain.

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