I dunno what to do. I wanna cry, I wanna yell at Dane for telling me having a baby was good idea, I wanna tell Tara to stop being so nice because it’s making it hard to be a cow, which is all I wanna do. I wanna tell the nurse that came to hang out that she should have been an anesthesiologist instead of a nurse, I wanna tell my mom to stop rubbing my leg, I wanna scream and tell Olive that she’s being a real brat and she needs to come out NOW. I wanna be doing anything but feeling pain. Which is crazy right? Cuz who doesn’t like feeling pain?
Tara suggests maybe jumping into the shower while we wait for Mr. “emergency C-section” to get his little behind in with the drugs. So I waddle over to the shower. I can’t stand anymore because the contractions are too strong and I wanna puke. So I lay down in the tub. Tara sits on the edge of the tub and with the shower handle pouring hot water over my belly, and It kinda helps. KINDA. Like a really big KINDA. But it helps. Then I get this brilliant idea that I’m gonna start pushing, but I know Tara won’t let me and tell me it’s a bad idea. So I tell her that I really want Dane in here for support. He comes in all not sure of what to do, and he sits where Tara was. Then I start pushing down and making who knows what kind of face. He looks at me like I’m insane and says “what are you doing?! I don’t think you’re supposed to be pushing until you’re completely dilated….” I give him my wife look, which basically every wife has (you know the look!) Basically means do NOT tell me what to do right now. I’m getting this baby outta me. So I try that for awhile, but no baby comes flying out. Tara comes into the bathroom around 11:30 pm and tells me that the anesthesiologist is going to be here soon, so I need to be ready, on the bed with my sports bra off. Having to get up and out of the tub, honestly, was one of the hardest things I had to do that day. And that’s not really an exaggeration. I have been in labour for almost 2 days, I’m exhausted, I’m scared, and I just want to sleep. But I get up. I go to the bed, and trying to take off a soaking wet sports bra, well flip, I might as well be having twins. Dane has to help me wiggle out of that thing, and if I wasn’t exhausted, and in pain, I might have almost cared. Because a 9 month old woman wiggling out of a wet sports bra very well could be the most unattractive thing you might ever see. Picture a hippo trying to do up a belt with only his teeth. Thats about as graceful as one can look.
The anesthesiologist waltzes in at 11:45 pm, all chill and I wanna punch him in the face. I’m sarcastic, I know I am. But my sarcasm got to a whole new level that night. He asks how I’m doing and I look at him and go “buddy, how does it look like I’m doing? What the heck took you so long?” He thought I was funny cuz he chuckled. My mom was horrified, because young, polite ladies don’t talk like that. I ain’t no lady today Momma. (Did she not see the hippo trying to do up the belt?) He tells me that I have to be extremely still while getting the epidural. Because if I move and he hits somewhere else I could be paralyzed, die, my husband would divorce me, my dog would probably get run over, and I could possibly lose all my possessions, blah blah blah, with some other side effects. So I tell him he better know what he’s doing, and he laughs at me again and says he’s done at least a couple before (Mr. emergency c- section is trying to be funny now). So I sit as still as possible, and then I feel the needle go in, and of course that’s when I get a contraction. So he pulls the needle out and tells me I need to be still. Dude, my contractions are less that 90 seconds apart, and you’re being slower than a turtle trekking through molasses, what the flip do you want me to do? He goes in again and it works. But then I see Dane’s face and I get scared. Because he looks like he’s about to pass out. (He told me afterwards that the guys hands were covered in my blood).
They tell me to lay down and relax, I’m hooked up to an IV now pushing fluids through me, and I can almost handle the pain. My contractions slow down and get further apart. It’s close to 1:00 in the morning now. Tara tells my mom and dad and brother to go home, get some rest, because I’m not having this baby till the morning, at least 7:00 am she tells them. So they say their goodbyes and leave. As soon as they go, my contractions start to feel super strong again, basically just like before. And I start to FREAK. OUT. “Tara, this feels just like before. I don’t think the epidural did anything.” She tells me I need another dosage because the first one wasn’t enough. She goes to the front desk to see if Mr. emergency c-section can come back. He comes back pretty quick- probably because he doesn’t anymore lip from me. He tops me up and leaves, and I start to relax in like 15 mins. And then in like 20 mins I tell her I’m ready to push. My parents have literally just left maybe half an hour before, and Dane is trying to get sleep because “I’m not having this baby till the morning…” At least we thought. Tara is knitting, and she doesn’t really think I could have dilated to the full 10 cm in that short of time. So she tells me to relax and get some sleep. So I grab the hand rails of the bed and start pushing like I have never pushed before. Not really the sleeping Tara had suggested. She rushes over and checks me, and her eyes go big. “Your mother is going to KILL me. I sent her home. You’re ready to push. Holy crap. Dane, call her mom, tell her to come fast.” Dane calls my family, they were just getting home. He tells them I’m ready to have this kid and they better come fast. They all jump in the bugatti (we’re loaded like that), and drive all the way back. My brother and my dad wait in the waiting room (for obvious reasons), and my mom comes stands at the end of the bed. Not even Dane ventures that way.
I feel every contraction. I knew when I had to push, I knew when the contraction was over. It was brutal. I swear that that epidural wore off, even though I’m sure it eased the pain. Tara coaches me on how hard I need to be pushing, when to ease off, when to go hard, all to prevent from tearing. It takes everything I have to not just bear down and give it all I have. I keep yelling at her that I feel like I’m taking the biggest poop, and she tells me I kinda am. It’s just a baby this time. Now is not the time for jokes Tara. I remember my mom saying she can see the babies head, and in my mind that means her head is out. I ask how much of her head they can see and Tara says “like the size of a toonie!” I wanna cry. A TOONIE?? I thought her head was out! I almost lose it there. I feel like crying, and I hear myself ask “can’t you guys just like…. pull her out??” The nurse, Tara, my mom, and Dane all laugh at me. I wasn’t trying to be funny. I legit was asking if they could pull her out.
I can go on about the pain, and the pushing, and I can get graphic, but here is the short, pretty version. I closed my eyes, put a damp cloth over my face because I knew my face about to do things that might possibly give Dane nightmares. I felt this strange wave of strength come over me. I knew that this was it. I knew that this next push was going to make me a mother. No more Dane and me. No more of just him and me doing whatever we pleased. This next push was going to be the most life changing push, and I closed my eyes and asked for a little help from above and I pushed. I pushed when I could feel myself getting light headed. I kept pushing when I wanted to stop. I kept pushing, and I kept pushing. I could hear Tara “she’s almost here. c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, you can do it, she’s almost out! You got this.” I pushed until I felt relief and I knew it was my baby, my daughter whose head I had just brought into this world. Tara tells me to reach down and touch her head, and I do. It’s soft an squishy, and slimy and warm. I close my eyes once more and I bear down and there it is. This swoosh of relief, of warmth, of adrenaline. I just brought a life into this world. I fall back and I wanna sleep. You thought I was gonna say I cried didn’t you? No. I closed my eyes, and the exhaustion is like not other feeling I’ve ever felt. They put her on my chest and she cries. Her first gasp of air that this child has ever taken, and it was on my body. That is something that sticks with you for a long time.
I don’t feel much of anything, other than relief and tiredness. Olive is sleeping on my chest, and she feels slimy and warm and like a baby bird that’s all skinny and dangly. I ask Dane for juice box after juice box. I chug 3 juice boxes in less than 2 minutes. They leave her on me for about an hour and half, and it still hasn’t hit me yet, that this life is my child. We lay there, Olive and me, and she starts to root looking for milk. How is it possible that this baby, only and hour and some old, already knows where she will get her nourishment from? I suppose the same way I know when I see them golden arches.
My labour plans didn’t go according to plan. I should’t be surprised, my plans usually suck. But she’s here, and she’s eight months old, and she’s the cutest kid I’ve ever had. If you’re expecting, do yourself a favour? Don’t be too hard on yourself if your plan doesn’t work out. And thank you for reading this if you read the whole thing. That’s pretty crazy. I conclude this very long post with “On May 24, 2016, after forty-four hours of labour, Miss Olive Rose Redel came into my life.”
Thank you for everything Olive. Your Momma,