Sunday, November 30, 2008
I was just on someone's blog who posted a "30 before 30" list. Intrigued, I began reading it, and realized that it was 30 things she wanted to do before she turned 30. Ick! That made me face the fact that not only is it too late for me to do that, but it is also too late to do a "40 before 40" list. The next horrifying step was to realize that I would have to do a "50 before 50" list. It just keeps getting worse.
At least I would have six years to complete it. But 50 things. I see that to complete 50 things, I would have to make some of them really easy, like "Run a mile without stopping." No, how about "Walk a mile without stopping." or maybe "Walk a mile without stopping more than six times." And honestly, I might have to cheat a little... I could pretend the things had been on my list all along, and check them off, like, "Have gray hair," "Start a blog" or "Spend eight years of my life lactating." See where I'm going with the cheating thing?
I read through her 30. One of them was "natural childbirth." And she had it checked off. Hats off to her. I came out of childbirth classes in my first pregnancy determined I was going to have "natural childbirth." I even read "Thank You, Dr. Lamaze." It was very enlightening. I thereby learned that it is possible to have painless childbirth, and that all the pain that people talk about was really just muscular exercise being misinterpreted. It made it sound a lot like doing abdominal crunches. I'm pretty good at those, so I felt pretty good about my chances. On November 26th of that year, when my baby was two weeks late, I had labor induced. My doctor was an enormous Polish man, with fists like hams. The first thing he did was rupture membranes, before he even started pitocin. There was blood dripping off his elbows by the time he was done. After eighteen hours of pitocin, when I was still only dilated to one centimeter and I could hear people whispering about a C-section, I was done. Bring on the epidural. I don't care anymore. And I have to tell you, that epidural was like a miracle. I was actually able to fall asleep for a few hours. I woke up about six hours later. It was November 27th, and guess what! I was fully dilated and ready to push. (By the way, happy birthday, Josh).
So with the next baby, I figured things would go much smoother, and I could do the whole natural thing. No drugs. Well, I had pregnancy-induced hypertension and was rushed in to be induced again. I was being carefully watched because they were afraid I would have seizures, and the labor went faster. At two centimeters, I told the nurse I didn't need an epidural, and so the anesthesiologist went home for lunch. About midway through his PB&J, I hit five centimeters, and I wanted an epidural so bad that I tried to get up and drive to his house, despite the gown that opened down the back and would not cover my hugely pregnant body. By the time that guy got back to the hospital, I was already curled up like a cat, ready for the needle. What does an epidural feel like? I like to think of it as being curled up in front of the fire on a cold night. A little piece of heaven. If I remember correctly, I may have named Tyler after him.
Third baby, I had learned my lesson. I told the doctor I wanted an epidural at three centimeters. I made sure the doctor had lunch brought in. By the fourth baby, I didn't even wait to tell the doctor. I told everyone I saw in the hospital that I wanted an epidural. The financial clerk at check-in was informed. I chatted up José, who wheeled me up to the LDR, to make sure he knew that I would be wanting an epidural as soon as possible. As the nurse started my IV, I told her I'll take that epidural now. Mind you, I wasn't even in labor at that point, since I was induced all seven times. Oh, and I also learned that the anesthesiologist would always ask you how you felt. The answer is, "Oh, it hurts bad." See, his goal is to keep the drug light enough to make sure you can still push when the time comes. However, my personal goal was to have absolutely no sensation from ribcage to knees. For several hours. Sometimes our goals were at cross purposes, so the answer to his question was always, "Well, it still hurts pretty bad. Let's have a little more juice."
Obviously, natural childbirth will not be on my list of 50 before 50. I also don't want to go in a hot air balloon. Or learn to cut hair, or build my own house. Or pretty much any of the other things on her list. Which is as it should be, since it is her list. Honestly, I'm not sure I want a "50 before 50" list. I have 50 things to do just this week, that I don't really want to do at all. I am getting tired just thinking about it. If I do make that list, I am afraid it is going to have things on it like "Get a pedicure," "Find the floor of my laundry room" and "Figure out what is making that smell in the refrigerator." Sometime before I am 50 years old. And you know what? Life is just too short to bring such low expectations to it.