The Labor of Love

Well… turns out, when you blog every day for a week during nap time, you finally close your laptop and look around the house and realize you have 7 loads of laundry, (how is that possible with just 3 people???) a full sink of dishes, sketchy old bottles laying around, and the diaper pail situation takes you back to the porta potty strip at SAE’s Jungle date party. So hi, Xanga. It’s been a long week and I have missed you, but I needed to wash my house and my hair. A man’s capacity to live in filth amazes me. Barry doesn’t even notice when our house is horrendous, which is good and bad. I love that he doesn’t notice the mess, but I hate that I can spend four hours rearranging the cabinets and cleaning out the closet and he doesn’t notice AT ALL. For my sanity and for my own validation, we’ve worked out a weird routine where I walk him through the house and physically point out what I’ve done and he practices his surprise face *gasp* “Oh my gosh that’s SO incredible!!!” bit. Totally awkward and insincere, but I need it so he does it. What a gem.

Okay so today’s blog post is going to be more for ME. I say that because there’s no lesson, no real encouragement or words of wisdom for my readers- just plain old story telling that I want to have in the universe to be able to look back on and read later. So here it is, the graphic post that I knoooow you’ve all been waiting for: Owen’s birth story!

Let’s rewind to the week prior to Owen’s birth. I was SO desperate y’all. I tried EVERYTHING to go into labor on my own. And when I say everything I mean I even sat on a bowl of boiling water and coffee grounds because I read ONE, single, solitary, non-research based suggestion from a total stranger on my baby app chat forum that vaginal coffee steams SOMETIMES maaaaaybe induced labor. So that was smart. I basically put myself on bed rest the weeks leading to Owen’s birth because I’ve been watching Grey’s anatomy since tenth grade so I know how to make important medical decisions concerning the well being of myself and an unborn baby.

Barry would come home from work and find me breathing heavy in weird positions all over the house wearing what we refer to as my “pregnancy uniform” (underwear and a bandeau) more often than I should be comfortable admitting. We had a nightly routine of me getting on all fours on the bed and Barry rubbing a tennis ball on my tailbone, because Owen was fully engaged in my pelvis (aka at a fetal station 1) at only 36-37 weeks. The pressure on my tailbone was sooooo very awful- I almost burst into happy tears when my OBGYN told me that she would induce me if he hadn’t come by 39 weeks gestation.

Side note: if you’re reading this and you are thinking “Ew she is so dramatic and selfish for wanting to be induced early. The baby is not ready. Her body knows what to do. Her baby should be able to pick his own birthday.” Blah blah blee blee SHUT UP. Stop right here and poke yourself in the eyeballs.

Owen was medically considered full term. He was measuring a week ahead based on size, and he was healthy. He was okay. You know what’s NOT okay? A psychotic, aggressively pregnant woman who was getting acupuncture, going to sketchy hole-in-the-wall chinese foot massage parlors (spending $100 a day), and turning her vagina into a starbucks for the sake of “spontaneous labor.” So you get it now.

Let’s fast forward to the night before my induction. My sweet sister wanted to celebrate the night before Owen’s birth and also father’s day by hosting a family dinner at her house. Everybody was so excited! So much chatter about what tomorrow will bring. SO happy and excited to meet Owen. Everybody was SO giddy… except for me. I basically ate in silence and was sick to my stomach all evening. I was SO AFRAID. I had no clue what the hell I was doing, and the reality of “nah let’s not take any birthing classes” began to slowly sink in. We took celebratory family pictures in April’s backyard, and everybody kept referring to the evening as “the feeling you get on Christmas Eve!” Yeah, yeah. But what if Santa was coming down your birth canal and not your chimney? Pretty sure I don’t cry tears of fear and panic on Christmas Eve, and there’s definitely not as much nervous diarrhea.

So anyway, that night I stared at my ceiling for 8 hours. Just kidding, if I laid on my back I would surely suffocate myself and die, so I stared at my night stand until my alarm went off at 5:30 am. Barry and I did what any couple would do on the morning of their first child’s birth- we packed the car and got some Sonic grilled cheeses. I had already planned to have my placenta encapsulated (by now you understand that I am a hormonal fire monster) because I wanted to be as proactive as I possibly could be about avoiding any chance of postpartum depression. As we were packing the car with our hospital bag, car seat, etc… Barry was frantically searching through the garage as I was waiting impatiently in the front seat. I heard him say, “YES! I FOUND IT!” and I watched him open the trunk and throw in the crustiest, muddiest, sketchiest yeti cooler that he hauled to and from well sites when he was an oilfield engineer in south Texas. I said “What the hell is that for?” Barry said “It’s for your placenta, obviously!” …… Lord help us.

We got to the hospital and everything in the beginning is such a blur. Both of our families were there, and April was our birthday photographer. (To any expectant mothers- you will NEVER regret having somebody with a camera there to snap pictures throughout the day. They are literally my most prized posessions.) They began induction at about 8:00 am. We had the most incredible and attentive nursing staff at Lakeside. They were so thorough, careful, thoughtful, gentle, and kind to me. (I love you Amanda and Amber) Right after my OBGYN broke my water, and my pitocin drip was starting, my sweet nurse started filling out my file in the computer. She was asking me all kinds of important questions about myself, my pregnancy, and my fetal care. She asked me if I had used any drugs or consumed any alcohol during my pregnancy, to which I said “Absolutely not! I would never.” Literally MOMENTS after answering this question, Barry came into the room to deliver a bouquet of flowers sent to the hospital by Jackie and Neelie, my best friends of 20+ years.
“Oh my gosh that’s soooo sweet!” I said. “Who is it from? Read the card!”
“Congratulations on being sober for 9 whole months.”
AWESOME. I looked back up at my nurse, totally mortified. Luckily she seemed to understand that my best friends are hilarious idiots. Jackie had been pulling this crap throughout my whole pregnancy. A few weeks earlier I got a delivery of cupcakes and the delivery girl refused to give me the card that went with it. She was SO awkward when she was giving them to me. Turns out the card said “Eat up, you fat ass.”

So moving on… I lasted 4 hours of pitocin contractions before I got my epidural. (Shamelessly tooting my own horn.) The epidural was heaven sent. It completely took my pain away for a couple of hours, but my contractions were so low that we couldn’t seem to figure out how to completely numb them. April sat with me and talked through my contractions for a good hour. She was the only one I wanted to talk to. She’s so calming, and she made me feel so much better- she’s a saint. After an hour or so of still feeling my contractions I told my nurse that I felt like the epidural wasn’t working. I told her how low my contractions were, and how painful they were, so they propped me up into a different position to “move the epidural down lower.” I had some relief, so I took this time to eat an entire route 44 of crushed ice, two popsicles, and another 2 cups of ice from the hospital in about 20 minutes. April came back in and we were chatting it up when I started feeling the contractions again. She said “maybe we should move you to your side?” She started to pull up the sheet that was covering me to untangle it and she scream/gasp/laughed. She was absolutely cracking up. My epidural had moved straight to my feet and my ankles were literally 5 times their normal size, which is extra shocking to see since I came out of the womb with beefy cankles to begin with. From my knees down I was totally numb, but I still had feeling from the knees up. COOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. This went on for the remainder of the day- phasing in and out of feeling contractions.

At about 6 pm I started getting really nauseous. (Also, I just tried to spell nauseous five different times and couldn’t figure it out. Also, I just did it again while typing that sentence.) I threw up a couple of times, and didn’t think anything of it. Barry came in the room and I told him I had been throwing up.
He said, “so… what did you throw up?”
I said, “Nothing really.. just my Popsicles.”
“So no grilled cheese?” -Barry
“Uh.. no?” -Me
“You know what that means……it’s not in your stomach anymore.” -Barry
“What?” -Me
You guys…. this was honestly my biggest fear going into child birth. I know that sounds so stupid, but I truly was SO freaked out about pooping in front of my husband. We are a couple that doesn’t do ANYTHING like that around each other- So obviously Barry thought it was SO hilarious.

Speaking of pooping, let’s move on. I was at a 10 and ready to push at about 9:00. I was in so much pain, and so overcome with fear when they checked me and told me it was time. My OBGYN, (whom I love with all of my heart), was doing an emergency C-section, so when it was time for me to start pushing, they told me to wait for a few minutes. I totally understood. To you, this day is the most important day of your life- it’s ALL about YOU. But there was another woman who felt the exact same way, that was having a much worse day than I was, and was probably a million times more afraid. I fully understood that, and I was okay with waiting. I will say; however, that 10 or 15 minutes of waiting felt like a zillion years. I turned into a full blown, raging psycho in that 10-15 minutes. I literally SCREAMED at Barry to go get me gum. “BUT MAKE SURE IT’S THE GUM THAT YOUR MOM HAS!!!!!!! ROOOOAAARRRR!!!!!” ??? I don’t know- it was VERY necessary. It took him probably 2 minutes to go to the waiting room and get the gourmet gum for me, but I promise you that in the 2 minutes that he was gone, I had mentally divorced him, and was planning his funeral. “WHERE IS BARRY!!!????! DOES HE EVEN CARE ABOUT ME?????” My sister and my mom were just staring at me…very confused. Also in these 10-15 minutes I demanded my hairbrush from my packed bag ASAP. For some reason I felt like I couldn’t push out a baby without a braid. In my head, my hair might get in the way and everything would go wrong and surely we would both die.

Here I am brushing my hair/sobbing??????

My tailbone hurt SO bad during that 10-15 minutes before pushing, so I desperately begged Barry to massage my tailbone with the tennis ball. (Obviously we packed the tennis balls because that’s normal?!) He was rubbing it on my lower back and my tailbone and I kept yelling “LOWER, BARRY! IT HURTS!!!!” He said, “I can’t really go any lower…” to which I cried, “Looooowweeerrrrrrrr!” He looked at my mom in a panic and said something like “I think she’s telling me to put this tennis ball in her butt.” Thank the Lord above, right then the nurse and my OBGYN came in to prep me for pushing.

I was on my side facing the wall as the nurse was prepping behind me. She started to open her gloves, and the wrapper crinkled. For some reason, I was convinced that Barry was casually opening a bag of doritos to snack on during the MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT of our lives! I don’t know, y’all. I don’t know. I screamed “BARRY ARE YOU SERIOUSLY EATING SNACKS BACK THERE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!?? WE ARE ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” April and my mom didn’t know if they were allowed to laugh at me, but I know they were dying inside.

Anyway I pushed for 45 minutes, pooped literally the entire time… so that was awesome. In fact, so much that when I asked my nurse she said “let’s just say you cleaned house…”. I’m not sure what that means, but I know it’s probably gross. We Thought the intense pain standing and walking right after having him was probably normal, but we later found out that I had broken my tailbone while delivering him. Also awesome. But you know what? I weirdly loved everything about this day. I would happily relive this day every single day for the rest of my life. Motherhood is so whack- If I had to birth Owen every single morning just to spend the rest of the day with him, I would. (But also by 5 pm I would be begging Barry to come home from work to give me alone time). So Owen, if you are old enough to read this and you aren’t totally cringing at the thought of how you got here, I want you to know that delivering you was, and will be the most incredible moment of my entire life. You are worth every single second, Boogy.












7 thoughts on “The Labor of Love

  1. I died laughing when Barry put the cooler in the car😂😂😂 I almost couldn’t keep reading. after Baleigh was born I lost a ton of blood and basically almost died & the next day I couldn’t get out of bed b/c of it and pooped all over myself 😷 so there’s that. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omg, Afton!! I so look forward to reading your blog even if it’s been 15 years since I had my last son! I want to share this with all my girl friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just read this for the second time with tears running down my face. It seems normal and hilarious all at the same time. Then since I was already crying, I kept crying afterwards as I thought about seeing my baby girl for the first time. Aren’t my hormones supposed to have leveled out by now? If this is the new normal…my poor husband. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Totally worth the anxiety, stitches, and embarrassment. Thanks for sharing. Keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved it Afton! I delivered twice, but only had one baby. I was induced at 39 weeks. My doctor wouldn’t continue to induce labor because I hadn’t hit 40 weeks. So they sent me home after 16 hours in the hospital. I went home and went to work the next day. Five days later I went back for my second induction. I was 40 weeks and 2 days at this point. It took about 36 hours of labor before my OBGYN decided on an emergency C-section because Amelia’s heartbeat was slowing down and I had a giant fever. It sucked…but I would relive that moment every day of my life. While I was in the OR I could hear the radio and Tom Petty was on…”Free Falling.” To this day I can’t hear that song without just crying my face off.

    Liked by 1 person

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