giving birth,

Childbirth is very much something that I’d like to go back and do again. Not literally, because it was terrible, but because I wish I’d done some things differently. I don’t Monday Morning Quarterback on much stuff, but on birth and those first few months of mommy-hood, I do wish for a mulligan.

I wish I’d known about the catheter.
I cannot believe I didn’t know about the catheter when I got my epidural. How did I not know? It seems quite logical. Of COURSE you can’t get up to go pee when your legs don’t work.  During my entire pregnancy, I was hell-bent on getting said epidural, so you think I would have surmised. But alas, it was a shock when my lovely nurse, Bonita, yanked up my gown and shoved a tube into my urethra. It gave me an unusual amount of anxiety, as I was very concerned with peeing myself. Not sure why that was a big deal to me seeing that I’d peed myself five hundred times during my monster pregnancy, but I’d never had a pee tube before, so I wasn’t sure if I had a job to do. Do I have to hold it until I’m ready to go all at once? Will it spill? Will I wet the bed? Will I feel myself peeing? Does anyone care? No. Nobody cared but me.

I wish I hadn’t scheduled an induction.
Look, it was the best decision at the time. I was HUGE, the baby was promising to be 700 pounds, and I had gestational diabetes. Plus, I was secretly thrilled to avoid the “Is that a contraction? Did my water just break on the cat? Should I bounce on one of those medicine balls and pretend contractions don’t hurt? Will we show up to the ER and be laughed home because it’s just gas?” scenario.  Ultimately, the induction ended with a c-section, which was the very thing I’d wanted to avoid, so the joke was on me.

I wish I’d had a more joyful experience. Like in the movies.
I had only three things on my so-called birthing plan: get an epidural, don’t have a cesarean, have a healthy baby. But that’s not what I got.  I got 15 hours of labor, then a caesarian, during which I cried, puked, had a panic attack, and didn’t even get to hold my baby. He was born non-responsive and spent his first few days in the NICU. He recovered, but then I had complications and spent the next 6 days in the mommy ICU. I was terrified, and I’ll admit now that I was scared to take my kid home with me. Nay, I didn’t WANT to take him home. I wanted to rest and heal, and I was so petrified of the dark unknown of an infant suddenly in my home. It wasn’t joyful.

I wish I could go back and do that birth.
I feel incredibly guilty that I look back on it and cringe.  The whole experience gives me a shudder, even almost two years later. I see a diaper commercial of newborns and their mothers crying, and I feel like a fraud. I just didn’t have that moment. I wish I’d pushed that little sucker out and immediately held his wet alien body against my naked chest crying tears of joy and amazement. The tears would drop onto his soft fresh wrinkled forehead, and his dad would join in, both our hands shaking.

I hate that I care how he came into the world. I know why I do though. For some reason, I feel that a c-section isn’t giving birth. I didn’t do any “work.” I gave up and didn’t think I could handle having some balloon inflated in my cervix and another 15 hours of labor. I gave in. I gave in to the “easy” way to have a baby.

He’s an 18 month old ball of AMAZEMENT now. I simply cannot cuddle, smooch him, and hug him enough. He shrugs up his little shoulders when he teeters across the room like a drunk uncle, and my heart melts. He makes “fake grumpy face” because he knows it makes us laugh. He’s starting to talk, and I hang on to every babbling word.

I just wanted everything to be perfect by him. I wanted ALL his moments, including his birth, to be the best moments for him. But I have a feeling that when he’s grabbing my head with both hands, laughing, and then head-butting me (why!?), or wailing on the changing table and shoving his fingers in his own poop, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about “perfect.” He just knows that his life is awesome, and it doesn’t need a re-do.

I also really wish I’d screamed, “YOU DID THIS TO ME! WHERE ARE MY DIAMONDS!?” to my husband, just because I feel like childbirth would be the only appropriate time.

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