What do drugs have to do with my huge belly? Let me tell you: a lot!
First of all, let's address the obvious: yes, this is my belly at 27 weeks. That's right folks...I'm as ripe as a summer squash and I'm not even in my third trimester yet.
As you can see, there's not a whole lot of real estate left. Where is this baby going to go? Is it going to start growing out of my head? I get stopped by well-meaning people all the time who smile and ask, "When are you due?" Its pretty clear they are expecting me to say "next week!" or "tomorrow!" or even "yesterday!" When I say, "Oh...in a few months," I watch the predictable succession of emotions cross their faces. Surprise, horror, then fear. Inevitably they recover and say, "Oh, well, you look great...just great!" Then they scurry off like scared little mice.
How in the hell am I going to squeeze this baby out? Maybe I should name her "Epidural" instead of "Holland."
I mean, Marley was no lightweight. Weighing in at 8 pounds 10 ounces, her birth felt (and probably looked) like something out of a horror movie. I didn't get my epidural until I was about 8 centimeters dilated (freaken slow anesthesiologist!) and until then I was feeling no relief or break from the contractions. After the drugs, I was allowed just over one hour sweet, pain-free bliss, before the nurse midwife came in and said, "Time to push!" and ordered the anesthesiologist back to cut my epidural in HALF. (The midwife said I was a "poor pusher" and needed to feel the contractions more. If I saw her on the street today I'd be tempted to run her over.)
Well, it felt like I had no drugs at all. I quickly grew delirious with pain, practically foaming at the mouth, head almost spinning like the Exorcist. At one point I grabbed Ian by the shirt and told him to go downstairs and get the car...we were getting out of here!
When the serious pushing began, my mom holding up one leg and my poor husband dutifully holding the other, I thought I was going to die. "I'm never having another baby again! EVER!!!" I screamed. But...I am.
Poor Ian was so beside himself he grabbed the oxygen mask off my face and started breathing it in himself.
I pushed and pushed. I screamed and screamed. Then, I heard the nurse midwife distinctly say, "It's not going to fit." Not exactly the words I wanted to hear.
"Christine, we are giving you an episitomy," she said, grabbing a pair of shiny silver scissors. "I will try to numb you up first, but I'll cut you during a contraction so you don't feel it."
I felt it. I let out a blood-curdling scream I am sure is still echoing through the 4th floor of Kaiser. And then, miraculously, Marley popped out. I was flooded with relief! My baby was here! The pain was over! AMEN!!!
So yes, I used the drugs, there just wasn't enough. Next time, I'm going to make the doctor or nurse midwife or WHOEVER is delivering me swear on their life to NOT TURN DOWN MY EPIDURAL. And if I have to get an episitomy, for the love of God, make sure I'm NUMB down there first!
Oh, I know, I'm sure there are lots of girls out there who did it naturally. If you did it "naturally" then good for you. That's just freaking great. Maybe you gave birth in a bathtub. Maybe you popped the baby out balancing on a birthing ball. Hell, you could have given birth upside down riding an elephant in a circus with your doula singing ancient birthing chants.
But unless you wear a size 25 jeans and your baby was pushing 9 pounds, I'M NOT IMPRESSED.
As for me, I choose the drugs. BRING ON THE DRUGS!!!