How I Met my Molly
It was fifteen years ago today.
My second pregnancy was picture-perfect, aside from that killer heartburn that fooled me into thinking I was dying. My first kid, Charlie, had been 2 weeks overdue and the size of a breadbox, so he was born via c-section. My doctor had encouraged me, right from the first prenatal visit, to try for a VBAC.
VBAC= vaginal birth after ceasarean. I'll be honest with you, I had been dreading the whole birthing process during my first pregnancy. Absolutely positively dreading it. I could not imagine pushing a person out of my vagina. I worried about the pain, about the aftermath, about pooping in front of strangers (goodbye, my one or two male readers. I'll be back later with a funny/non-vaginal post). I feared having a big flappy crotch, to tell the truth. And after seeing the size of Charlie's head, I realized that my fears were all very legit.
The c-section was a breeze. Seriously. I had very little pain afterward, if I remember correctly the only medication I took was an Advil or two. I was up walking within a couple of hours and recovered in record time. The one and only thing I hate about c-sections...actually there are two. The first is that damn catheter they make you wear. As if the whole poking/prodding/spread-eagled in front of the world thing isn't humiliating enough, you then get a couple of nurses shoving a hard plastic tube up your urethra (the last hole on a woman's body that she wants ANYTHING shoved into. And if you read my stuff, you know I have issues with holes and having things shoved into them).
The second thing I hate about them is the scar. And not even the scar so much, but the flap of skin that develops over the scar. I've had three c-sections now, so I am blessed with what I lovingly call my "front butt". It looks for all the world like a flabby ass perched just over my girly parts. No amount of exercise or dieting can get rid of it. Shortly before Big Daddy left, I had talked my OB into recommending a therapeutic tummy tuck (for reals. They exist.). I met with the plastic surgeon, and was just about to schedule the surgery when Big Daddy pulled the insurance out from under me. Fucker. But now, having lived the life I've lived, I realize that having a front butt isn't the worst that can happen to a girl. I have learned to co-exist with it.
So obviously I was just fine and dandy with the c-section process. I did get annoyed by the Mother Earth bitches who claimed that I wasn't a real mom, that I hadn't really experienced childbirth because of the way my child was birthed, but I figured that breastfeeding for what felt like all of eternity evened things up in that arena.
Anyhoo, back to Molly and how she arrived: My doc was very rah-rah about VBAC and didn't let a single appointment go by without mentioning it. She measured me every month, and even let me have a few extra ultrasounds to make sure that I wasn't brewing another Paul Bunyan in my womb. It was during these ultrasounds that we first found out Molly was a she. I remember the technician pointing out the gender-bits on the little fuzzy screen: "See, this looks like a hamburger? Like two buns pressed around a patty? That's her vagina. If it looked like a turtle we'd be saying penis right now." And so my pink party was started.
I was over-the-moon THRILLED to be having a girl. I debated girl names endlessly. For a while she was Sydney. For a long time she was Grace. I also loved Phoebe, Meredith and Lucy. But my love for all things 80's won out, and I (umm I mean "we") chose the name Molly. Yes, I named my daughter after Molly Ringwald. Go ahead and judge...I love the name. I've never met a Molly I didn't like.
So Molly gestated and kicked and hiccuped for 9 months, and finally it was time to see what we'd made. My doctor won the VBAC battle, and I was scheduled to be induced at 8:00 a.m. on December 1st, 1995. Leaving 1 1/2 year old Charlie in the capable hands of my former mother-in-law, Big Daddy and I set out for the hospital.
At first it was great. Like a party where I got to stay in bed and eat ice chips. The stuff they gave me to start labor started kicking in around lunch time, however, and by dinner time (you like how I relate everything to eating?) I was in a fair amount of pain. By second-dinner time? I was in pure hell. That's when I got the epidural. And I loved it.
The rest of the night is fuzzy, but I remember distinctly when my doc came into the room at about 2 a.m. and told me to start pushing. And it hurt. It hurt like hell. I pushed and pushed. I remember Big Daddy standing next to me, and then I remember a nurse commanding him to "get down here and hold her leg". Because that's where you want your lovah to be, down where all of the wide open orifices are. Childbirth is a miracle, but it's a messy one. And if you're married to someone who goes through life judging everything on looks, that's the last place you want their gaze to settle. It's too late for me, but I put that out there for posterity.
She wasn't coming out. At first my doctor was playing it cool, had me change positions, had me push different ways.
And then the cool started melting.
There was a problem. By this time they had attached a monitor to Molly's head, and her heart rate was becoming erratic. She was stuck. After the next push, the activity in the room intensified and I heard the doctor say something about "meconium" and "we need to get this out NOW". I remember looking up at Big Daddy for assurance and feeling, for the first time, scared.
I love my doctor. She's still my doc, to this day. I trusted her then, and I trust her now. But I remember looking at her and saying, "VBAC, huh?".
She tried forceps. I saw the cold glint of the contraption between my legs and winced as they jammed it in, trying to get my baby's head. No luck.
Next up was the vacuum extractor. I remember they had to push a pedal on the floor to get it revved up, like an old-school sewing machine. Seriously.
By this time I was exhausted. I hurt, I was hungry, I was pissed. I wanted my daughter out of the birth canal and in my arms.
The vacuum seemed to work. After just a few minutes of intense pulling and twisting and yanking, my darling baby girl was finally freed.
And that's when the terror set in.
I didn't hear her cry. In fact, they didn't even let me see her. They had a team of nurses swoop her out. They assured me that she was going to be ok, but they wanted to check her over.
The pain was gone. I was ready to exhale, ready for all of this to be over. That's when my doctor said, "Call in any available docs immediately. I need help." There was one of those code things called, I remember that. People were running into the room, running out, getting carts and talking in very hushed tones.
My doctor looked at me from between my legs and said, "Jenny, there's a problem. We have a lot of bleeding and we can't stop it. I need to get you into an operating room right now." She asked Big Daddy to leave. I remember hearing a splish-splash sound as people moved about the room. Big Daddy told me later, much later, that what I was hearing was the sound of footfalls on a floor covered in blood. Splashable amounts of blood.
I remember very little after that. I was crying. I wanted to see my baby. I wanted to get up off of that bed and get into some of those big mesh undies and hold my baby girl. I wanted to see Charlie, wanted my husband. I wanted this to be over.
They whisked me to an operating room. The bright lights, I remember those. The last thing I can recall was them giving me something and then passing out as a team, an actual TEAM of doctors gathered at what used to be my crotch.
When all was said and done, Molly was fine. And so was I. Turns out I had suffered some sort of gigantic tear, from inside out, which required 2 hours of surgery and hundreds upon hundreds of stitches. According to my doctor, I was about 1 minute away from needing a transfusion.
Molly Elizabeth was 8 lbs., 2 oz. and 21 inches long. She had a light dusting of dark brown hair, big beautiful blue eyes and the prettiest little lips I've ever seen.
My former mother-in-law was an OB/GYN nurse and demanded to see the records of the delivery. She was convinced that somehow, the vacuum extractor was responsible for slicing and dicing my nether-regions.
At that point, I didn't care. I had a very healthy baby whose only side effect was a big mushy bruised spot on her head, and believe me, I had plenty of cute hats for her. As for me, I was fine too. My doctor did tell me that I probably wouldn't be able to have any more babies, but I told her "we'll see about that".
Molly became a big sister not once, but twice. Two more pregnancies, two more births.
And you better believe, I had two more c-sections. VBAC, my ass. Or rather, VBAC, my reconstructed bionic vagina.
So, Happy Happy Birthday to my lovely daughter. Her arrival was less than harmonious but I'd do it all again just to have this same perfect girl.
I love you, Molly.
Posted by the_happy_hausfrau at 9:41 AM