My mother was a Super Birther. She was so gifted in this arena that she had me, her third child, in a doctor’s office without pain medication, despite my large head, and took me home buck naked in a medical supply box. (I didn’t say that she was a super planner.) She could have just as easily popped me out in the grocery store somewhere between aisle seven and produce, picked me up and continued right on to check out. The only thing she was missing was a cape.
I always assumed, being like my mother in so many other ways, that when the time came for me to deliver my own child, I would automatically tap into the Collective Female Experience and channel my inherited birthing ability. As it turned out, when the golden hour arrived, the Collective Female Experience’s server was down and the birthing ability possessed by my mother skipped a generation. My body, when faced with the task of presenting a child to the world, handled it with the aplomb of an unsupervised crack baby at a Walmart super sale.
The first sign that my body wasn’t up to the task at hand occurred when my water broke for no apparent reason other than boredom and general chicanery. I wasn’t in labor yet. It just had nothing better to do. The rest of my reproductive system took momentary notice and promptly returned to its regularly scheduled programming, refusing to jump on board the birthing bandwagon.
My husband and I obediently went to the hospital anyway, because that’s what you do when you spring a leak. There I spent the next day watching my husband sleep, impending fatherhood having apparently thrown him into a fit of stress-induced narcolepsy. I also talked to various interns who came in periodically to check my non-progress and hold a mirror under my husband’s nose. And occasionally I listened to other women scream–with joy, I assume. What I did not do was dilate.
The hospital staff grew impatient with me. I was taking up valuable real estate and my body was showing no sign of ever producing anything but enough amniotic fluid to open my own water park. They began to think that maybe I was planning on gestating for another year, like an elephant. So to give my body a little nudge they gave me a Pitocin cocktail.
Now anyone who has had the pleasure of Pitocin’s acquaintance knows that a “nudge” from Pitocin feels like a sledge-hammer wheeled by a 300 pound bodybuilder in a roid rage. My uterus began contracting with a manic enthusiasm usually reserved for stalkers and young Disney Channel actors. I’m usually fairly stoic about pain but at this point I tried to rip off my husband’s hand and beat him with it.
The new-found fervor of my uterus made my cervix nervous. Still confused about its role as a portal to the world, my cervix felt the need to do something and so in the pressure of the moment went with door number two despite the coaching of the audience. It began to swell shut. The hospital staff shook their heads at my bodily ineptitude. The word “c-section” was mentioned immediately after the words, “whoa” and “what the heck?” My husband, fresh from his marathon nap and not burdened with any useful medical knowledge, remained optimistic, giving an inspired, if not misguided, delivery room pep talk, to which my cervix, in the middle of performing its own medical miracle, responded by giving us all the one-fingered salute and rupturing.
Goodbye natural childbirth.
So apparently I am not a Super Birther. There will be no cape for me. I did, however, earn my own special title, Medical Oddity, which possesses its own merits.
Medical Oddity: Super Birther’s nemesis and arch-villain of the birthing world. Bwa ha ha ha. I wonder if I can get a black latex arch-villain nursing bra.
Hilarious! I’m due to give birth in a few weeks and like your mom, my mom was also a Super Birther but I have my doubts as to my own uterine capabilities. We’ll soon see!
Congratulations! How exciting! I’ve met so few women who have had the “perfect” birthing experience, but in the end you get to take home the world’s best door prize so it’s all worth it. I hope your birth is smooth sailing.