Shortly after I lost my first child, I sunk into a pretty bad depression and made some really horrible choices. After about a year, I moved from Georgia to Oklahoma to clean my act up and pretty much dropped the partying. I was still in desperate need of personal growth but didn’t realize it. Anyone that knew me then can tell you that I was a walking disaster. I mean this was when I really lost sight of who I was. I guess you could call this my own personal dark ages. At that point in my life I still thought and told people I liked South Park. When in reality, once I found myself, I realized that I can’t stand overly silly and obnoxious shows like that. Sorry South Park fans! I’ve heard people say that you tend to date people who are at your same level of growth and maturity. Well that’s all fine and well but I was at the bottom and was trying to figure out where the real me had run off to. Dating should have taken a back seat because I knew I wanted to grow and change from the person I had become. However, I did not wait and I chose someone who was content at their level of growth and did not want to grow and change (this caused problems as you can imagine). I met this guy while working out with a friend. We started dating and he had a lot in common with the old me. You know, we had all the important things in common like anger and music (I still thought I liked angry music). The only reason I can come up with for not being more careful in the sex arena (using protection) was that I thought that after losing my first baby God certainly wouldn’t give me another chance to screw up. Again, I was young and I think I mentioned I was not using most of my brain at this point in my life. I found out I was pregnant right after a trip to Mexico. I was sick the entire trip and my friends said I was pregnant but I didn’t believe them. I took ten pregnancy tests before I believed it. This point in my mommyhood holds some of my first transitions. My mother and I weren’t on the best of terms due to my aforementioned anger, partying and general stupidity. We hadn’t talked in months. Who do you think was the first person I called? My mom….I needed my mommy. How could this have happened twice in a year? It was during this pregnancy and after that our relationship improved. I started changing and growing a little bit each day of the pregnancy-a very slow process that still continues to this day. Several times in the first few months I ended up in the hospital due to bleeding and threatened miscarriages. Each time my heart just sank because even though things in my life weren’t necessarily the way I would have liked them, I loved my baby with everything I had. The father and I had a falling out when I was around three months pregnant and didn’t speak again until after my daughter was born. My real self loves to read and research but I hadn’t found her yet so I pretty much just winged the pregnancy thing. I saw a glimmer of that my true self and bought What To Expect When You Are Expecting but that glimmer went away and I never read much of it. Now don’t get me wrong, I was very excited about my baby but I was only 19 and relatively clueless at this point about being pregnant and what one should do. So I did what I thought one should do when pregnant: I cut down to two or three cigarettes a day, got adequate hydration through my many daily Diet Cokes a day, I got exercise walking to the kitchen for more food and shopping, I bought one bottle of ninety prenatal vitamins that lasted the entire pregnancy and I got way more than adequate calories from many trips to Olive Garden and El Chico for fried apple pie. From this strict regimen I gained 85 pounds and had horribly swollen ankles the whole last trimester! My doctor never got on to me or told me to watch it. He never told me what I should be doing either. About four weeks before my daughter’s due date I started to itch. The bumps started in my many stretch marks (you don’t gain 85 pounds without stretch marks). It was like my skin was splitting open. The itching was so bad that I hadn’t slept well in days. I was covered in calamine, short on patience and still working full-time. I had heard of a couple of things to do that could possibly induce labor. I spent the next few nights riding over bumps and railroad tracks to no avail. I had heard that castor oil could induce labor so Wal-Mart was my next stop.
Disclaimer-before I finish this part of the story please remember that I was young.
I marched into Wal-Mart and went straight to the MOTOR OIL section of Wal-Mart. Why, you might ask? Because I thought Castor oil was Castrol motor oil. Well, I stood there for like 10 minutes trying to figure out which “flavor” I was supposed to get. I mean they had heavy-duty, high mileage, 10W30, 10W40 etc. I was so lost. Did I need heavy-duty to do the trick? So I did what anyone in my situation would do. I marched up to the Wal-Mart lady passing by and asked her, “What flavor of Castrol do I need to get the baby to come out?” Please imagine how big I am at 36 weeks pregnant and an 86 pound weight gain. The lady looked at me like I had lost my marbles and gasped a couple of times trying to figure out what to say. I’m sure at that moment she thought I was trying to kill the baby and possibly myself. I don’t think Wal-Mart training prepares you for that question. While she was trying to gather herself I tried to explain, “Someone told me to drink Castor oil to get the baby to come out and I wasn’t sure which flavor to get.” She looked very relieved and in between chuckles told me it was a laxative and would be in the pharmacy. I don’t think I ever got the Castor oil I was so embarrassed and she I’m sure couldn’t wait to share the story with coworkers and to get home to tell her family. About one week after that, I cornered my doctor and told him something had to be done because the itching was making me crazy. That was when I found out I had PUPPS. I didn’t know at the time neither what it was nor what caused it but the doctor said that it would go away after delivery and scheduled a day to induce. I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know the risks associated with inducing early, all I knew was that he was going to get me my baby and make the itching stop! *cue angels singing* The day before my daughter was born, a little past 37 weeks, I went in for an amniocentesis. For those of you that don’t know, this is one scary procedure. They take a long needle and using an ultrasound stick the needle into your stomach and uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid so they can test the maturity of the baby’s lungs. They do this with ultrasound so they don’t stab the baby. It took them a few tries to get in a good spot and my unborn daughter kicked the needle one time and it poked her in the leg and made her jump. I’m sure it hurt her. After it was done they came back and told me that her lungs were fully mature and they were going to start giving me medicine to induce. Now I wasn’t worried or nervous at this point. As they say ignorance is bliss. I knew how babies came out and all but I didn’t know much else. All I really “knew” I heard from friends and that was to get an epidural early before it hurts bad and one of my friends told me to ask for Stadol when it was too early to get the epidural. Those things I could handle! The morning after the amniocentesis when they started upping my drugs to move me along in labor, I started asking for Stadol. That stuff made me loopy! In fact, at one point I was watching the newborn channel in Spanish and thought I understood it even though I don’t know a lick of Spanish. When you are induced, you are hooked to all kinds of things. I had an IV in and monitors on my stomach to watch my contractions and monitor the baby. With all that on you can’t move around very much at all. You are pretty much chained to the bed. I was so out of it on Stadol that when I tried to go to the bathroom I couldn’t make it back to the bed and almost ripped my IV out. That is when they really chained me to the bed by inserting a catheter. I think all of this might have been really unpleasant had I not had all that Stadol in my system. Well I wasn’t progressing fast enough for them so they decided that I needed to have my water broken to move things along. Once that was done, I was suddenly very aware of the pain and started demanding my epidural. They wanted to have me finish a bag of fluid before I could have my epidural. The pain was horrible at that point, especially considering that I had no idea what to expect. I now know that pitocin causes very hard contractions compared with normal labor contractions. By the time I finished my bag of fluid, I was like some of those mothers you see on TV screaming and hollering at the nurses to get the **** anesthesiologist in her to give me my ******* epidural. Once I had my epidural I didn’t have any more pain and was numb from the waist down. It didn’t seem like long after that I was pushing my daughter out. Since I couldn’t feel my contractions they had me push when they told me to and would count to ten while I pushed. I ended up with 2nd degree tears and had to have lots of stitches put in. My daughter, J, was 6 lb 13 oz and 22 in long. I couldn’t hold her for a while after she was born because all the drugs in my system made me nauseous and dizzy. I missed out on prime bonding time because of that. They say that the first hour after birth is the best time to bond and that was taken from me because I felt sick because of the drugs. I also couldn’t move because the epidural made my legs completely numb. That made me feel helpless, which isn’t a good feeling to a new mother. I was completely clueless to the world of breastfeeding, so I decided to bottle feed and the nurses were more than happy to provide formula to me the whole time I was there. My daughter was very lethargic and didn’t want to eat the first day or two. The nurses were all on my case about her not eating and were having me wake her up to force feed her every two hours before they would let us go home. Once we did make it home, I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t do very much. I peed every time I laughed and ruined my favorite slippers! I also ended up with an infection and had to go back to the hospital to get pumped full of fluids and antibiotics. All in all being induced wasn’t a great experience. The three best things about it were my daughter, the PUPPS going away, and my mom made it there in time to cut the cord. Based on that experience, I said that childbirth was a painful experience that I didn’t want to experience again! Knowing what I know now, boy am I glad that I didn’t hold on to that thought!