Maggie Moo's Big Debut: Part Four

October 26, 2009

Now here comes the part in which being a VBACer had a major, major advantage. Apparently, in my neck of the woods, when a woman comes into the hospital, in labor, attempting a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean, there have to be two things in place: 1) an operating room prepped and ready to go, and 2) an anesthesiologist ready to knock the woman out at a half a moment's notice.

So when I started screaming, as dramatically as I possibly could, to GET THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST! and GET HIM NOWWWWW! and NEVER MIND, JUST HURL ME OUT OF THIS WINDOW!, he responded pretty quickly. I'd say twenty minutes--give or take a few.

During those twenty minutes, however, I made a lot of progress. I went from a six to just about an eight--and rather than convincing myself that I could hold out, swallow the pain, and do it all naturally, I prayed and prayed and prayed that Dr. Smith would have me all numbed up before transition really set it.

Hey now, I've never claimed to be a hero.

As I waited for Dr. Smith, I continued to loose my noodle during contractions and apologize profusely in between. As soon as I'd get a break I'd turn to my OB and be like, "Oh gosh, I'm so sorry for all this drama. I'm not usually like this. I'm usually pretty fun to be around. Especially while riding a bike..." Remember, at that point I was still trying to preserve my reputation to the degree that I'd score an invite to my doctor's triathlon training group.

Thankfully, that's precisely when the very classy woman across the hall piped up. As soon as my contractions would end, hers would start and she'd be like, "Oh F*&#! F*&^! F*&#! F&^% ME! F&^% MEEEEE!!!!!" Except she was using the real word.

And that's when I stopped apologizing.

So Dr. Smith, that sweet, blessed angel of a man, appeared in my room about twenty minutes later, placed the epidural right where it needed to be--and just in the nick of time, too. As soon as the pain faded down, the contraction monitor went crazy. Transition. We beat that bastard, oh yes we did.

High fives all around.

I closed my eyes and caught my breath, and the woman across the hall? Well she just kept on going with her loud, persistent, and creative use of the F word--and I wasn't about to fault her for it.

So here's where I'd like to take a little aside, and talk about the epidural for a minute or two--and remember, this is only my experience and my interpretation. Just to be clear: THIS ANALYSIS APPLIES TO NO ONE BUT ME.

In preparation for this delivery, I read a ton of books, watched movie after movie, and listened to a zillion podcasts all about natural childbirth. Obviously, I learned a lot of very valuable things from those sources, but I also convinced myself of some additional little treats:

1) That I would feel like a loser if I took any kind of pain medication.
2) That an epidural would ruin my chances for a VBAC.
3) That the use of pain meds would leave me feeling like less of a woman.
4) That an epidural would make me lose all feeling and all use of my legs.
5) That my initial bonding with my baby would be minimized because of the use of medication.

In response to those assumptions, I'd like to say wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong.

For me (and again, this is only my experience), the epidural was an excellent choice. Not only could I feel my legs, wiggle my toes, feel a manageable amount of pain with each contraction, and change position easily (even to my hands and knees), but the epidural helped me enjoy the final hours of my labor by letting me feel awake, aware, and completely in control of everything. Loved it.

So, back to the story. Jared and I made small talk for an hour or so, and soon enough I was ready to push.

Now let me just put it out there: pushing is no joke. If there's any part of childbirth that can be compared to marathon running, it's definitely pushing. In fact, I pushed my brains out for an hour and forty-five minutes. Which is funny because my half-marathon PR? Yup, that's right, one hour and forty-five minutes.

At least when you're running a half-marathon you get cowbells, and cheering squads, and water stops, and Power Bars. When you're pushing out a baby you don't get much--just a mirror showing you the most unflattering view of your hoo-haa that the universe could possible muster up. Now apparently, it's very common to poop yourself during either of those events, which I'd like to clear the air here and now, I have never done. Really.

So, after almost two hours of major pushing, when I was least expecting it, Maggie popped out and was immediately placed on my chest.

I know that seems like just another sentence up there, but make no mistake about it--it was, by far, the most powerful, unbelievable, life changing moment of my entire life. I fell in love with my little girl immediately, and sobbed my eyes out to prove it.

Now I've known James for four-and-a-half years and believe you me, I've grown to love that boy with an intensity that's so strong it hurts. The crazy thing is, I grew to love Maggie with that very same intensity in about four tenths of a second. Honestly, my love for my children is a gift from God that I'll never understand.

With the exception of Jared, everyone left the room almost instantly. Maggie stayed in my arms, naked and new, for two hours and the whole time, all I can remember is a whole lot of tears and saying, "Look at her! Just look at her!" over and over and over again.


In conclusion, I'd like to highlight a few random points...

1) If you'd like to have a VBAC, definitely come to my hospital in Maine. Never, not once, during my entire nine months did a doctor or nurse say, "Oh, so you're trying for a VBAC?" It was more along the lines of, "Oh, a VBAC! That's excellent. You shouldn't have any problems at all." And guess what? During my labor, I only heard the term "VBAC" one time, and that was when they were checking me in.

2) Acupunture. It's the real deal.

3) Never let someone break your water.

4) Any woman who has a drug-free, natural childbirth should wear a crown everywhere she goes for the rest of her life.

5) In the end, a healthy baby and mom are indisputably the most important thing. As a mom who's had a c-section and a vaginal delivery, I'll freely admit that they both have their advantages. Woman who've had a natural childbirth can say, "I had a baby without drugs, I can obviously kick your ass." Woman who've had drugs can say, "I had all the experience and none of the pain." And woman who go the c-section route can say, "I've got a pocketbook full of pain-killers and a vajango that's perfectly in tact!"

See? They're all good things. Babies can't help but be good!

Oh, and that invitation to the training group? I'm still waiting.



Michelle Glauser said...

That's so sweet. I wonder which path I'll take some day when I'm in that situation. I have no idea. If an epidural is that awesome, why even deal without it?

Sarah said...

thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! What a wonderful birth story! You must have had a kick bum anesthesiologist! I know they CAN give an epidural that only numbs the midsection and leaves you able to move about and feel some of the contractions...but I've never heard of anyone who actually got that! Fabulous! Can I now please have your address so I can mail you some baby warmers. That's your prize. You can send me my crown any time you see fit :)

Miranda said...

You did it again...I'm at work...make up of course is on...and now it's running down my face. What a sweet moment with your baby girl...reminded me of the birth of my baby girl.

I look forward to more stories of your new mommy days! Congrats

JAMIE said...

way to go! I'm pro-epidural! So glad she is perfect and here for you to cuddle!

Anonymous said...

You very clearly rock the casbah hard. Beautiful story, beautiful baby, beautiful momma. !!!!

Beth said...

okay, i'm laughing through tears. i have four kiddos and have experienced it every which way. vaginal with epidural, ALL natural, c-section due to breech presentation, and repeat c-section, and each and every time it takes one look at those little hairless rats to feel the connection and the love. i've NEVER felt detatched, and anyone who claims they have is a sack o'crap and needs to reprioritize, not to mention an ounce of perspective. great story! congrats on bebe maggie!

Grandma said...

I love that picture of Daddy and his baby girl:))) Loved reading your whole story. To read it in only the way you can write is the best!! Here's the story of having you. Get up...think it's time, throw in the laundry so the hamper will be empty, try to get into Grandma's house at 5 am which was tricky since it was the only night she had ever locked the STORM door! drop off Katy. you arrive at 7:08 a.m. Of course Katy told the nursery school teachers your name was Wilhemena when Grandma took her to school that morning.

Mel said...

What a great story! I'm so glad she's here and perfect!.

I'm a firm believer in do what works for you too and I took the epidural and could still feel SOME stuff too. It was a wonderful drug

Unknown said...

I always said I wanted an epidural, and I wanted it placed right between my eyes as I rounded the corner into the eighth month of pregnancy. That's how much I look forward to pain.

As it turned out, I have a cervix you could dam rivers with, so I ended up with FOUR caesareans.

Which means I may well be the only commenter here who has actually SEEN her own uterus, which they pulled out and wiped down like a big ol' mixing bowl.

I know, everyone, you're TOTALLY jealous.

chattypatra said...

Hey, "Wilhelmina", I would have gotten that shot too! You should invite that anesthesiologist over for dinner. Ha! Now, more pictures of Miss Lawlet, please. ;)

P.S: Did you know Vanessa Williams' character on Ugly Betty is called Wilhelmina? She is something else!

Unknown said...

oh man. . . I'm teary here. There is NOTHING like that moment when your baby is placed on you chest. . . it is so amazing. Congratulations on your healthy baby girl!

MsDarkstar said...

Thanks for sharing the story. I envy your "bonding moment" alot. It never happened for my daughter and I and I wonder alot if things would have been different for us if it had.

X-Country2 said...

Oh, sniff, what a story. I hope I rock star pregnancy and birth as well as you some day. Congrats again!

Lindsey said...

YAY! Finally the FINALE! So happy she is here safe and sound. I had 3 VBACS all with Epidurals (I can't believe you were even considering foregoing that one!) and they were all great. HOWEVER, miss Amy, not every woman in the world can attempt a VBAC. Just lucky ones like me and you b/c our first babies were breech. Those who have labor complications and have an emergency c-section should REALLY NOT try it again. . . I am just sayin'. :)

Grandma said...

yup I knew it was the wrong spelling..Wilhelmina is the right one...and at the time she was Katy's favorite little person on Sesame St.

Hildie said...

What a great story! Baby girls are the best!

I had baby #5 naturally. It was the worst experience of my life. It hurt so badly I couldn't care less that I'd just had a baby. And I was in so much pain afterwards that I couldn't have walked anywhere for hours.

Needless to say I had an epidural with #6. I looked great for the pictures and was the life of my party.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job, Amy! I tried to go without pain meds with helen (my third) and I gave in at about the same point and for much the same reason. But you are awesome! What a wonderful experience. I am so happy for you and your blessings!!!!!

Morgan Hagey said...

Sounds like the world's most perfect epidural. :) Congrats on it all. I'm happy for you guys and your new Miss Maggie Moo. It's pretty awesome.

Morgan Hagey said...

Oh and I will add I've had three babies without epidurals and at some point during everyone, I seriously wonder why the freaking heck I thought it was a good idea. ;)

The Roberts Rollercoaster RIde said...

Love it AMY!! And thanks for the compliment. I polish my crown daily. And the only reason why I made it through child birth naturally...30 mins of transition and delivery!

Anonymous said...

Awesome birth story!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for finishing the story. It was BEAUTIFUL !!! And hilarious all at the same time... how DO you do that?!

Lynda said...

Well worth the wait Amy. Thanks for a great story. You rock in book!

Chief said...

I totally agree with you about the epidural. No numbness, crazy stuff with the binding. Worked great for me...two times!

quail said...

Cry, cry, cry, cry and cry some more - thank you for letting us share your story of wonderful Maggie Moo :-) Can't wait to hear more!!! Congrats to you all :-)

Wyrtzens said...

Amy, oh Amy. I love you. You totally crack me up, you are the funnest and best story teller..i tell my friends of your funny stories and we all laugh/cry together. Thanks! Can't wait to hear more.

Marc and Megan said...

I would get way too emotional if I tried to comment on those precious moments you had with your little girl, immediately after birth... but, I did want to tell you how relieved I am that your miracle has come. Little Maggie is a blessed child to come to your family.

And just a side note, with autumn here I haven't been able to stop thinking about our trip back East this time last year... it was so great to hang out with you guys! love ya lots!!

RunnerGirl said...

I had an amazing experience with my epidural as well. I was just numb enough to not be miserable, but could still move my legs and feel in control.

Congrats - she's a cutie!

Unknown said...

So cool that you got treated just the way a potential VBAC should be treated -- like a smart family who knew what they wanted and were willing to listen to sound advice as things progressed. Blessings to you all.

V and Co. said...

what the hell. part 4? i have to go back 3 more stories to get it? blarg. okay amy here i am ignoring children needing to bathe and get ready for bed just so i can read your novel.
(but felicia told me it was worth it so here i go)

Jenn S. said...

Amy, I loved that birth story - every bit of it and in so many ways it was much like my experience with Will. Except my epidural (first one ever) *did* completely numb me for 6 hours from my chest down. it sucked. It sounds like yours was perfect - which is just another reason why Maine is better than Dallas right? Apparently the doctor's at Baylor numb you for having a baby *and* if you need to have an emergency leg amputation. Grrr.

So glad she's here - so glad you had a wonderful experience. xoxox

Team O'Connor said...

Congratulations on your new little girl! That is so exciting. Your family is so cute and James looks like the perfect big brother. I can't wait for all the funny stories to come :)

Diana said...

Just wanted to say I loved your birth story! Congratulations!

I've had two kiddos via natural childbirth, and I've got to tell you, the ONLY reason they happened without drugs is because I had homebirths and the drugs weren't there. Otherwise I would have had about fifteen epidurals. I'm very happy with my births, but staying home is the only way for me because it HURTS! If there is any woman who can actually have a natural birth in-hospital... well, I think she must be more than a mere mortal!

Congratulations!! Love your writing!

Enjoy Birth said...

That is an awesome birth story! I actually created a medal for moms.
All moms, not just NCB ones. But I like the crown idea! :)

Congrats on your wonderful birth!

Next time you may want to try Hypnobabies. I had no drugs and was comfortable. Pretty cool stuff.