Category Archives: The Birthing Process

Tell me about your birthing experience with your children.

Enter Child #2- Part III

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My parents had six children.  We were noted as the chocolate version of The Brady Bunch.  I am so not kidding!  We had a mother, a father, three boys, three girls, a dog named Tiger, a maid named Alice, who had a boyfriend named Sam, and he worked at a grocery store as…you guessed it—a butcher!

I knew when I had a family of my own I would never in a zillion years have six kids.  I was not even going to have three!  We were pushin’ it at two!  However, a wave of gratitude washed over me as I took two very healthy, gorgeous boys home to begin my life as a single parent.   With one in training pants and the other one in a fresh pair of infant pampers, my head began to spin. For those of you with two or more kids, you know how it is. Prepare to self-destruct!

I entered the schizophrenic routine of changing diapers, potty training, pumping milk, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, rocking to sleep, reading bedtime stories, midnight feedings, early morning feedings, nightmare control, sitter drop-offs, sitter pick-ups, puke cleanup, washing dishes, CRASH! (Repeat).

My life became a rollercoaster of guessing why one baby was crying to soothing the tears of another who was able to voice his frustration just fine.  There was no running away, no time-outs for mommy, no live-in psychologist, no nanny—nothing. I was left with the good sense God gave me to figure this thing out.  In the middle of all the mayhem, my eldest would often walk up to me, lay his head on my lap and say, “Wuv you, mama.” It was the only thing at times that kept me sane.

I recall being so fatigued that while making breakfast one morning, I poured milk into a pot of grits.  I have never claimed to be a Martha Stewart type, but everybody knows that milk in grits is not a new recipe.  I found myself crying louder than they did, realizing if I didn’t get a break from the monotony of it all, I would snap.  A friend of mine came over to help one day, and by the time she left, had downed three glasses of wine.  I feared for her drive home but relished in the fact that someone identified with my pain.  Come to think of it, I didn’t see her again for at least a year.

In all things, we must find a place of gratitude.  Being from a family of dual births, I was excited that of the two pregnancies I had, neither produced a set of twins.  My doctor made the mistake of telling a lame joke one day while having my sonogram completed.

“Oh, they appear to be doing really well!” He said. Forgetting where my legs were strategically placed, he almost caught a kick to the head.

“Don’t play with me like that ever again, or you will be seeing double for the rest of your life.” He laughed hysterically.  I was just hysterical.

While at times it felt like I was raising twins, I found comfort in the words of my grandmother, who would assure me in her absence that “this too shall pass.” Until then, I would continue to take my blood pressure medication and hope for the best!

Laugh, people.  It’s good for the soul!

 

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Enter Child #2 – Part II

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With no epidural and a baby on the way, the staff had to move at lightning speed to accommodate me.   It might have had something to do with the ear-splitting wails coming from my room, the strongest reverberation of sound they had ever experienced. Let’s be real for a second, shall we?  For those women who claim that natural childbirth was the best experience of their lives, I would be the first to inform them that they are liars, and the truth does not reside within them.  What possible joy could there be experiencing pain that feels like a miniature football team all fighting for the ball and then running toward the touchdown line…together?  Come on, ladies! For real?

Someone asked me a few days later, “What does it feel like to have a baby naturally?”

My response was that it was naturally unnatural. To explain a contraction is to abandon all logical reasoning.  It requires an imagination that far surpasses the horror of a very skilled Stephen King.  Even he couldn’t come up with a story worthy enough to depict what we deal with in childbirth.  The spine-tingling music would work, yes, but the details would need an upgrade.  Have you ever seen one of those movies where the pregnant woman is giving birth to an alien and it rips through her stomach to freedom?  Well, the alien cheated.  It took the easy way out and busted through the stomach.  Since the graphic illustration of the other exit possibility would cause most teens to postpone pregnancy until the age of 40, I will refrain from being so explicit.  You get my point.

To think that after several hours of pushing and scraping the skin off another human’s arms due to immense pain, you would produce at least an eight-pound child. This little critter came in barely at five pounds and a pair of lungs to give any cheerleader a run for her money.  I wanted to tell them to put him back, because there was no way he could have been done all the way. But they placed his tiny body onto my chest and I found myself laughing.  The pain was over, but for those women who said you would forget about it the minute you saw your child, must once again join the Liars’ Hall of Fame.

Exhausted and bruised, I fell asleep.  Several hours later, I was awakened by a gorilla sounding noise, which I later discovered was the sound of a baby crying in my room.  It wasn’t my child, as he was neatly tucked into his crib next to my bed, not making a peep.  A poor woman had just given birth to a ten-pound baby boy.  I shuddered to think that it was a vaginal birth.  He was not crying for milk. No, this child needed a piece of fried chicken, some collard greens, mashed potatoes and a beer! I was living in a scene from Little Shop of Horrors, waiting for this child to say, “Feed me, Seymour!”

I found my place of gratefulness in the little bundle of joy next to me. Five pounds? I’ll take it!

Laugh, people. It’s good for the soul!

Enter Child #2 – Part I

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After having my first son, I decided I might have been too old to try this thing called parenting.  I mean, let’s face it, when you’ve matured past the age of thirty-five, your patience level diminishes considerably.  Loud noises such as screaming, slamming doors, the howling wind and rush hour traffic would make you clinically insane.  I adored my son, and would die for him.  He had a very bad habit, however, of not wanting to go to bed.  It was those times when my feet hurt so badly from running after him that I wished I had taken an extra gym class in college to keep up.  It was those evening times when every single thing bothered him, and the sound of Barney’s ‘I Love You’ theme song resulted in the poor purple, whatever-he-is, flying across the room.  I was glad he was my only child, because two of him would have been exhausting!

One morning, the worst stomach pain I had ever experienced awakened me. It sent me bounding toward the toilet where I sat for a long time, regurgitating each morsel of food I had eaten for what seemed like a week. The only comforting device was a wet towel placed on my head and the cold seat against which my body rested. This routine continued for hours until I was finally able to get some sleep.

“Oh, dear God!” I thought to myself. “This is by far, the worst illness I have ever had!”

I thought about what I might have eaten that didn’t agree with me, but nothing came to mind.  By the next morning, I found out what it was. I had swallowed another BABY!!!!! I was pregnant again, and couldn’t believe that I was going to have a do-over that I didn’t request.  My eldest, in his sweet two-year-old way, would rush into the restroom, kneel down next to me, rub my back and say, “Mommy, go potty!”

For months I cried.  No, for months I lamented. I was in the middle of a separation, and the thought of raising two small ones in diapers and formula was enough to make a call to the nearest institution and voluntarily check myself in for treatment. How did this happen? (Well, I know how it happened, but…uuugggghh!!!)  I thought for sure my new baby would have Zoloft prescribed as soon as he was born, because my mood never improved.

At 4:00 a.m. during my ninth month, the pain hit me like a loose cannonball. BOOM! I hustled to the restroom and could feel the child’s head about to drop into the toilet.  I was rushed to the hospital, which could have been a major disaster in prime time traffic. My doctor was at least forty-five minutes away in Beverly Hills.  The most clueless nurse greeted me and took me to triage.  From what I knew, triage was the room where they prepped you for what was to come. The signs were obvious; it was already there! I told her the baby’s head had dropped, and she simply replied, “OK, sweetie. Just breathe.”

Sweetie, I was getting ready to “Just Kick” but found composure.  I gritted my teeth as I explained to her that I could feel the baby coming.  She moved as slowly as she could until I screamed, “GET ME TO THE DELIVERY ROOM RIGHT NOW, OR I SWEAR TO GOD YOU’RE GONNA REGRET IT!”

Needless to say, I was rushed to deliver my second, somewhat depressed angel.  By the time the anesthesiologist made it to the room, I had practically ripped off my friend’s arm, who had been holding me through each contraction.

“M’am?” He started. “You are going to have to keep still for me to give you the epidural.” He stood there with the twenty-inch needle, waiting for me to calm down.

Was he kidding me?  Keep still? (And this is why men have absolutely no idea what childbearing is all about.)  Keep still, he said. If my insides were not being torn apart by its inhabitant, I might have found his comment amusing. I couldn’t keep still. The contractions came every few minutes and this child was waiting on nobody!

“Well, you are going to have to deliver him naturally. I’m sorry.” He packed up his little kit and walked away frustrated, but serious.

Did he say, ‘naturally?’  Shoot me. Now. Please.

Laugh, people.  It’s good for the soul!

Enter Child #1 – Part III

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He was so cute!  Starving, no less, but cute as a button!  I have no idea how women can endure so much pain and then be subjected to the constant pulling and yanking of an already sore chest area.  It seems that this whole parenting model is a little bit lopsided, don’t you think?  I mean, let’s take a roll call here:

Women:

Carrying the child  for 9 months – Check.

Vomiting on a regular – Check.

Weight gain in ungodly areas – Check, check, check!

Hormone Rages – Check.

Swollen Ankles – Check.

Irritating sleep patterns – Check.

Mysterious Cravings – Check.

Stretch Marks – Check.

Amniocentesis (35 and older) – Check.

Wardrobe blues – Check.

Sexy walk diminished – Check.

Braxton Hicks – Check.

Strenuous hours of delivery – CHECK!

Breastfeeding – (For some) Check.

C-Section Scars – (For some) Check.

Baby Weight That For Some Never Goes Away – Check.

Crying for absolutely NO REASON – Check.

Midnight Feedings/Changing – Check.

Men:

Weight Gain – Sympathy Check.

Show Up for Birth – YOU BETTER! – Check.

So you tell me if we need a ”Do-Over.”

I have apologized to my children for not breastfeeding them.  No, they do not walk slower than other kids, nor do they take five additional minutes to complete a thought. They are fine.  I have gotten over the fact that they did not receive nature’s nutrients, and have thanked Similac and Enfamil for their generous contributions to my cause.

So with my newborn in hand, I was determined to feed my child like the best of them. He guzzled each bottle like milk was a scarce commodity, and he seemed to grow instantly by the very next morning.  Before I knew it, he was making the sniffing sound, followed by “I stinky!”  I stopped guessing what  had fed him to make my nose burn while changing his diapers, but the grin that spread across his face due to a clean behind would be the smile that would make each day of my life a little bit easier.

Laugh, people! It’s good for the soul!

“Melrowes”

Enter Child #1 – Part II

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“Ok, young lady, you’re at 8 centimeters! Let’s go and have a baby!”

She was probably the most bubbly of all nurses this side of heaven.  I felt at that moment that I could have delivered Shaq without drugs. Her voice was soothing and reassuring. It was clear to me that the epidural had worn off as an unexpected scream permeated the room and I connected to the voice as being my own.

Let me tell you a little bit about dignity.  To be dignified, one must exude a certain disposition of respect and honor; to show composure and a manner of style.  WHATEVER!!!!

Dignity goes out the window the minute you have strangers staring at your twat like they are watching a 3-D feature.  Your mother might have prepared you for having clean underwear whenever you are in an accident, but absolutely nothing prepares you for such immediate humiliation. The sad part is, you don’t even care.  Your focus is on pushing for the next few hours until whatever has been taking up an enormous amount of space in your stomach is finally set free.

Husbands, take note.  Your wife does not hear the sweet nothings you are whispering into her ear as she fights each contraction.  Do you want to know what she is really thinking?  If you don’t get your hands off me, I am going to reach my hand down your throat and wrap your tongue around your ears!  We know you love us.  Your love is what got us there in the first place!

Several hours later, a beautiful, screaming, slimy new baby boy was placed on my chest. I didn’t know if to eat him or hold him.  I felt like a raving lunatic, but my motherly instincts had not kicked in due to a high number of legal drugs and twenty-three stitches.  Some heads are just not meant to make their entrance into the world that way.

My son was here.  The pain was gone (well, not quite gone), and all that was left was a bundled child who was as yellow as a lemon. Jaundice.  For now, I would have to love him through an incubator until the infrared lights scorched his skin to s brighter shade of pink.  Soon, it would be time to try my first attempt at breastfeeding.  Heavily drugged with Demerol, I could feel my chest about to detonate.

Breastfeed?  Something told me that this kid was gonna starve!

Enter Child #1- Part I

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The phone rang in the middle of my English class, and knowing that it was not proper etiquette to answer it mid-sentence, I excused myself to see who the ‘Unknown Caller’ was. (Don’t you just hate that?)

“May I speak to Ms. Rowe, please?” The voice on the other end sounded anxious.

“This is Ms. Rowe speaking.” I matched her anxiety, realizing she was not a bill collector, so it was safe to continue.

“Hi! My name is Rosalyn Garcia and I am calling from Dr. Tomikian’s office.  I have your lab results from the other day.” She was ready to spill the beans but was taking a while doing so.

“Okaaaayy…” I didn’t feel like playing the waiting game.

“Well, we ran several tests, and the majority of them came back within the normal range, blah, blah, blah…” It sounded like a dissertation from her end.

Dear mother of God and all the little children in the world! Spit it out, lady!

“…except one of the tests.  Let me be the first to say congratulations to you! You are going to be a mother!” After her preliminary remarks, she pressed on.

“Well, due to your age…high blood pressure…high risk range…frequent monthly visits…amniocentesis…abnormalities…safe and healthy birth.”  She paused for a moment as if to continue the roll call of medical precautions.

“What the?” I went from being extremely elated to trembling with trepidation, irritability and apprehension. It appeared that the best I could hope for was a child with at least one head, but it was a toss of the coin for the other body parts to appear on birthing day in tact.

For months, I nursed my new butterball, being sure to use Mother’s Helper for unwanted stretch marks, along with one-hundred percent cocoa butter and vitamin E, just in case Mother’s help was not sufficient. As my mysterious baby grew, I became more and more concerned.  Was I ready? Was I too old?  Would I be able to deal with the pain or pass out once the first contraction hit?  Only time would tell.

During my eighth month, I learned very quickly about this dude named Braxton.Whether related to Toni Braxton or not, he was a pain in the butt. Well, not actually in the butt, but you get the picture.  So there I had my precursor to what the real deal would be and I cried.  I cried hysterically and found myself practicing a more dramatic version of that cry once I got home.  I figured if I overdid it, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad when it finally happened.  I had a very low tolerance for pain and questioned at that moment what I had done.  I mean, for several minutes of what most would describe as pleasure, I would be responsible for a a life for at least the next eighteen years. It hardly felt like a fair exchange.

A few weeks later, I was being rolled into the Labor and Delivery room in Woodland Hills, California.  So, for those of you who have never had a baby, please hear me—do not take birthing classes.  Everything they have taught you becomes an immediate blur and you will sit like a child in Special Ed, not quite grasping what the hell people are saying to you because the teacher sucks. You are taught to breathe; you will no doubt scream.  You are taught to remain calm; you will automatically lose your mind with the first REAL contraction.  You are taught to think peaceful thoughts; the only thought you have at that moment would result in a warrant for your arrest, so keep it to yourself.  You are encouraged to “blow-hee-hee-hee, blow-hee-hee-hee” your way through the pain; all you want to do is punch-kick-scratch-cuss, punch-kick-scratch-cuss.” Understand that there is never a compromise until they talk about the epidural.

The lady Savior walked into my room, and by the next contraction that made me see my dead grandmother, offered me relief.  No matter what they tell you, they only get ONE try to stick that long needle into your spine. On that particular day, Helen Keller walked into my room and missed on her first go of it.  Her neck would have been snapped had I not been balled into a human pin cushion, hugging a pillow for dear life.

“Oops.” She said. “I think I missed the spot.”

I knew I would not have missed the spot in the middle of her forehead, but when you are in pain, your thoughts are amplified and your brain is a bit scrambled.  When I finally felt my body go numb, I knew it was time to relax until I was ready to deliver.

For hours, I waited for the centimeters to increase. Nothing. I have heard of water dripping, spilling, and splashing. But I had never heard of water ‘breaking’ until mine had not.  I didn’t care what they had to do, my water needed to explode so my child could come out of me. I was ready; clearly he was not. I mean there wasn’t much scenery in there other than a few dormant fibroids which he kicked to death.

Several hours later, I felt a pressure like nothing I had ever felt. It…was…time.  You are never prepared for what happens next…