My Pop Culture Birth Plan

I missed the memo about my pop culture birth plan.

So, I had a baby a few days ago.  And before I launch into some of the crazy details of how he came into the world, I want to first say that he is perfect and I am fine, and what follows is told through a hormonal haze.  I further disclaim that I am on drugs.  A lot of drugs.

To begin at the beginning…my due date came and went and so the time came to contemplate a chemical eviction of this little guy.  My first labor had been induced and it worked out reasonably well for all concerned.  I didn’t relish having all the medicines and interventions, but I had been assured by some very earnest people in lab coats that a second induction would almost certainly be faster and easier than the first.  However, as my labor progressed, this is the image that repeatedly came to mind…


Actually, the early part of labor was relatively smooth. And I have Tom Hanks to thank for it.  As the contractions got stronger and closer together, I summoned the images of “Castaway”…you know, the amazing scenes close to the end when he’s made that raft and is paddling for dear life, then holding on to crest those enormous breakers…As the contractions swept over me, I said to myself, “Paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle, paddle!!!”  Inexplicably, this helped a lot.

Hold On!

After a while though,  the paddling image wasn’t cutting it. I got an epidural placed and it was amazing.  So amazing that when I later heard the sound of water cascading onto the floor, I had no awareness that this prodigious gush had come from my body.  When the nurse came in to check things out and get me cleaned up, I also had no awareness that my abdominal muscles were no longer functional, and thus I tried to pick up my entire upper body using only my neck muscles.  This turned out to be a very bad idea.

Seriously, don’t go chasing waterfalls. Especially while you’re in labor.

I wrenched the muscles in my neck an upper back really badly. Turns out, when those muscles are spasming, it makes it really hard to get into an effective position to push out a baby who is nearly 9 pounds.  And sunny side up.  And jammed in your pelvis at a pretty obstinate angle.  The kid would not come down.  He would not come down, but my blood pressure kept going up, and my liver enzymes were getting all wonky.  So that’s when we made the call.  I wish I could say I was all cool and stoic, like this…


But at this point, I was truly hysterical and begging for whatever help or relief I could get.  The epidural had been turned off, so I was feeling all the pain and pressure of the contractions.  And this may be hard to believe, the muscle spasms in my upper back were on par if not worse than the contractions, so I was in this horrible no mans’ land of agony in which the one thing I could do to end the pain of the contractions was the thing my body couldn’t do because of the pain in my back.  It was really starting to suck.

Everything that happened next, happened really fast.  Thank God.  With the high blood pressure and  liver enzyme wonkiness, people started to get a lot more serious, and I had some dim awareness that folks were scared that I was about to go all Lady Sybil on them.  Mercifully, I was in the hands of doctors and nurses who worked quickly and cautiously, and it was all over before I really knew what was going on.

Unfortunately, the one salient memory I have from surgery was the fact that I was barfing right at the moment that my son emerged from my body.  I wish I had been more able to focus on him, but instead, I was having a little moment with a very compassionate person in scrubs who was basically doing a Garth for me…

If you’re going to spew, spew in this.

So, there you go.  There’s the part about the magnesium drip and the spinal headache, but really, that’s where this birth story starts to sound like an Abbott and Costello routine.  I was grateful to have all these pop culture resources to draw upon throughout the experience…friends come and go, but movie and TV characters stick with you through the hard times.  And in the end, I was was justly rewarded…

And now I have a few weeks to kick back and take care of a newborn and catch up on my TV and movie watching.  Just in time for the return of SMASH.  Good timing and memo received.