Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fries vs. Baked Potato

If Opal the Nurse were not working for my obstetrican in the suburbs of Dallas, she could easily be cast as a waitress in some tiny, deep-fried diner in Alabama.
“Oh, Honey!” she chortels, shaking a pencil from her blonde cotton candy hairdo, “You want a C-section or a VBAC, hmm?”
The tone is that of an expert who has served up a thousands of really tasty sliders with an array of potato sides that are always considered worthy. Whichever meal you choose will be just fine, don’t you know, but you go ahead and look over the menu just to make yourself feel like you’ve sat atop things for awhile.
I shuffled my paper gown and Opal pats my hand comfortingly without looking up from my chart.
The thing is, I really don’t know what to do about this whole birthing deal.
Last time around, I just wanted the babies out by any means necessary before I exploded. And in the end, my twins were still upside down and backwards at 34 weeks when, low and behold, my body decided it could take no more and went toxic. The resident OB took one look at my elephant-sized ankles, booked an surgery suite then scooped out William and Elizabeth in no time flat.
(My only actual birthing memory is limited to my telling “Sharon”--I couldn’t remember the doctor’s last name who was in the process of unzipping me--that I needed another hit of anesthesia. She must have complied, as I do recall the cold swoosh of a certain numbing medicine as it flowed into my veins.)
Anyhow, the birth sufficed. The babies were out and I was, thankfully, no longer pregnant.
But according to many of my gal pals, it really is a whole lot better to do it the way nature intended. Sure, there is some pain involved, they tell me, but in the end it is pretty quick to dissipate, the mother’s body heals in no time and you’re off to the breastfeeding races.
My girlfriend Anna makes it seem nearly romantic.
“And there I was,” she told me as I listened enraptured, “Emma just slide out as the elevator doors opened!”
Michelle talks about giving birth standing up then cleaning her closets two days later.
Dana reports feeling like a “lioness.”
Most importantly, they all add that their babies were born alert, peaceful.
So, I’ve gone ahead and found a “natural birthing center” that assures pregnant women that they’ll be taught to manage their own pain while in the company of caring professionals--and 22 relatives (or pets,) if they so please.
I don’t tell Opal any of this. My thought is that she’d probably endorse any of the pies in her store, but she’d think I was downright funny if I asked her about the sugar-free, vegan Jell-o.
Opal rounds out our time together with a dozen more questions then shoos me down to the lab for a blood draw.
I confidently sit down, roll up my sleeves and let the technician do her thing.
Only she can’t seem to quite close the deal.
There is much moaning on her part about my teensy veins and their tendancy to “roll.”
She pokes my right arm once.
Then twice.
Then three times.
She sighs and starts over on my left hand.
Suddenly, my vision goes blurry and I start sweating so profusely that I feel rivulets of salt racing down from my neck, my back, my knees. I am nauseated beyond belief.
I realize that I am not about to pass out--I am about to die!
Moreover, none of the five medial professionals in the room are getting out their paddles or oxygen masks.
Why, these uncaring droids! I think. I am having a medical emergency and noone is even paying attention to my plight!
“Huh,” says the nurse who is working my hand. “You’re looking a little pale…”
No, I think, I am walking towards the white light… This is it: The End.
I promptly begin the Lord’s Prayer.
Someone props and orange juice up in my free hand.
“Now, now, Dear, you’re going to be fine,” Nurse Can’t Finda Vein says.
I use every last ounce of strength to crack open one eyeball.
“Call,” I puff, “Opal. Decided on C-section.”
I’m sure she’d even bring me a side of coleslaw if I asked nicely.

3 comments:

Amy said...

I made the mistake of letting a student nurse draw my blood after Bear's birth. It was more painful than L&D!

Julie said...

hey julie--meant to tell you that i have an AWESOME lacatation consultant if you need one. just having her number in my speedial was enough to make me not feel anxious re: breastfeeding during pregnancy because i knew i had The Expert at the ready. she does home visits even! lmk if you need her number!

Eudea-Mamia said...

Wise choice. I think the moms that say it's totally awesome are just trying to sucker you into it ;-).

I promise, your second c-section is so much easier. And planning the actual birth date works well with your "organized" personality.

Hope you're feeling well!! I'll give you a buzz soon.