Let’s hear it for the moms, because labor is the real deal. I always imagined pushing a child out your lady parts was an ordeal, after all it is called labor, but seeing that process in person was legitimately scary and I have a newfound respect for the female species. Don't get me wrong, I loved you all with a hearty zest before this, but to watch my baby grow from scratch inside my wife's body and then suddenly appear (well not so suddenly, actually, but more on that in a bit), wow.
To my guys, the labor videos will not prepare you. I know this because Scarlett tricked me into watching one pre birth. She told me it was censored for TV and, no, of course they don’t show that stuff on TV. I don’t know who’s lying, but I know what I saw, and it wasn’t censored. Either way, it certainly didn’t prepare me. I suspect there probably isn’t a way to prepare oneself for the orderly chaos of the delivery room, but the following is my attempt to help. Mostly though, I hope to celebrate the Moms because hey, congrats! You made it to the end of your 40 weeks of discomfort (perhaps misery is a more apt descriptor?), and your beautiful child is on the way, but first, how about another several hours of what will likely be the worst pain you’ve ever felt? That seems fair.
I can’t think of a way to describe the beginning contractions of labor other than to say when you see a woman in the midst of this process you will know that woman is in labor. Or, she’s dying a terrible, painful death. Either way, it’s important you call for help now.
Scarlett began to feel the first pangs of the birthing process minutes before I was set to head to work at 2 in the morning. As first time parents to be, we had no idea what to expect. Our heads were filled with stories of almost moms heading to the hospital ready to birth only to be sent back home because, well actually no, this isn’t labor. The doctors gave us specific directions; once the contractions are 5 minutes apart for an hour, then and only then you call us and go to the hospital. We wanted to be sure, and her contractions were 15 minutes apart. So Scarlett sent me out the door for work as she was doubled over on the floor in pain and said, "look buddy keep your phone close and get back quick when its time or you’re a dead man." Fair enough. I arrived at the FOX2 compound and was only there long enough to eat my morning pizza and drink my coffee (a guy's gotta stick to his routine!) when she called and I was out the door on my way to become a dad. Ok so maybe I’m leaving out the part of the phone conversation where I said “uhhhh, hey Scarlett are you sure this is real labor? I mean we’d hate to get all the way to the hospital only to turn back around because, ya know, those gas prices...” But who wants to live in the past? Surprisingly I haven’t received the divorce papers yet. Moving along.
Most importantly we made it to the hospital in time and didn’t have a highway baby, which I know is every parent’s worst nightmare. Of course it’s easy for me to say this was of most importance, as I was the one driving contraction free. I can guarantee what was of most importance to Scarlett was putting an end to the pain. Contractions are no joke. Ever see Gremlins? Imagine one of those in your belly trying to get out. Pretty sure that’s what was happening to my poor wife.
We’re in the delivery room now and it’s quickly decided an Epideral it is. I had definitely heard of this elixir that offers sweet relief from the pangs of labor before, and while I wasn’t positive what the administration method of the concoction would be, I was certain it would not be a medium sized spear delicately shoved into or around the spine. Well you learn something new every day, as this is basically how that procedure works.
But as we’ve learned by now, ladies are a tough bunch, so this was no problem for Scarlett. But they did wisely usher me to the other side of the room, away from the procedure. Which is smart of them, because I likely would have shrieked in horror at the carnage I was witnessing and I’m pretty sure that’s not the support one needs in a situation such as this.
Luckily it didn’t take long before the potion began to course through her veins and she was in a much better place. Labor takes forever; this is a fact. Sixteen hours in Scarlett's case, and if the rumors are to be believed, it can take even longer. Despite this, the epideral lasts the entire duration. #Science
Ok, babies almost here, and hasn’t it been a fun ride? So far ladies, all you’ve had to do is house a tiny critter in your uterus and let her feast on your insides for 40 weeks. Now that she’s ready for the world, the sweet little alien will slowly writhe her way from your uterus, into the birth canal and fall into Earth. Except that maybe 8 pounds and 21.5” isn’t so little when you compare it to the escape hatch she’s sliding out of, because then it’s like trying to fit me through a cup holder. The human body is pretty incredible because I’ll never fit through a cup holder, no matter how much you all cheer me on. Oh yeah, there’s definitely cheering that goes on during labor. The nurses and doc at the hospital were excellent. They were cheering my ladies on like it was a track meet. And it was a genuinely beautiful moment. These cheers came from the heart. I know this to be true because I was there. These people do this how many times every day and still manage to bring the noise to every birth?!? Shout out to my health professionals at the hospital! Or maybe they just wanted to hurry it along so they could go home, who knows. If that were true, I wouldn’t blame them. Remember, labor can be lengthy.Well It certainly wasn’t a breeze, but there were no terrible awful no good complications (except for that spinal headache, uh oh) and by the end we had a healthy baby. This is all great news. A less wise version of myself once assumed now that labor is done and you’re no longer pregnant, obviously your body is back to normal pretty much immediately, so let’s carry on with our lives. Should we go for a jog now? Ha, dummy. That was some serious trauma! Let the slow healing process begin. Oh and while that’s happening, have fun learning how to be a mom! Oh wow, what a time for conflicting emotions.
So mom’s around the world, you are all the greatest. That much, I know to be true. Especially those with several small children and/or twins or triplets, etc… I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the difficulties these situations bring. Although these difficulties can’t be ignored, I know this is a fight worth fighting, as baby love has already consumed me. And despite the trauma and the tears, I’ve never seen my wife filled with more love than when she holds Holiday.