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For some ridiculous reason during every pregnancy…I watch TLC’s baby story shows.  Or really, all of the shows that have to do with birthing.

I understand why I did with my first, cause like, I just didn’t know right?  HOW does that thing really come out?  But the following three?  I don’t know, it was like crack for me…I just had to watch during each pregnancy.  Then after every birth the switch just turned off.

I cried during the shows.  I panicked during the shows (yes, even with my fourth I still did) and I fretted over my upcoming birth.  Each time.

My first birth was…well…horrible.

I was young.  Very young.  I figured, like a lot of first time mothers, that I would go drug free.  All natural.  DUMB.

Sorry to all of you mothers who believe in natural, drug free births.  Or home births, with water, without water, with a doula, with a focus point, soothing music, meditative breathing, a teddy bear…whatever.  THIS IS ME, MY birth and for ME…I will take a big ass needle in my back, grab a deck of cards and play poker till I have to push thank you very much.  Which I did, with the following three.

So… first child, no drugs, induced (all four of my births were induced unfortunately, for one reason or another) and in a hospital that ended up being overloaded.

After 14 horrific hours of head turning, blood curdling screaming, the doctor finally grabbed a vacuum and sucked my writhing sunny side up son from my body.  I was done.  Six stitches later I was wheeled into the hallway with a rolled up towel between my legs because, 1– there weren’t any available rooms it was so overloaded-so I had to wait in a hallway for about four hours, and 2– they ran out of pads.  Yes, they ran out.  Don’t you think someone could have run to the market and bought some?  How about a Pamper?  Something other than a big bulky towel?  The problem was I was so young and worn out, I just didn’t care.  I could have had a mattress between my legs and it wouldn’t have mattered.

I survived.

My second was much, much smoother.  First, I got the big needle in my back. Ahhhh…NO pain. Second,  after a few games of poker it was time to push.  Yes, six hours later I was ready to go, smiling.  SMILING.  I had a very young doctor that didn’t believe in episiotomies (???) so I tore, but hey, the tear followed my first episiotomy line so five pushes, three stitches later, I had a beautiful baby girl.

I survived, again.

My third was the easiest.  Absolute bliss.  Big needle, mingled with family and friends and less than three hours later it was time to push.  Two small pushes, a few stitches later and I had another beautiful baby girl.  Hand me that glass of champagne for a toast…right before I breast feed please, cause that was a cinch!

I survived, again.

My fourth was a mixture of difficult and…well….easy.  Got my big needle.  It didn’t work all the way at first, but we got it figured out- thank you very much.  However my blood pressure was very, very cranky (which was why I delivered my fourth three weeks early) so they put me on a terrible drug that made the room spin slowly.  Like being drunk without the fun stuff.  DO NOT LIKE MAGNESIUM.  I dilated so fast that within an hour and a half I told the nurse that I, A: felt very, very sick and B: felt that lovely pressure in my lower vicinity that said the baby was right there.

“Impossible” she says, “I just checked you less than a minute ago” (which she had), “and you were only a three” (which I was).

“Yes, well, check again”.

She did.  She panicked.

“DON’T MOVE” she tries to calmly but forcefully tell me as she runs out the door yelling for someone to page my doctor ASAP.

If I hadn’t felt so sick I would have worried.  Truth is, I could have cared less.  My husband, however, didn’t look very calm at this point.  Neither did my mother in law, whom was in the room too.

All I wanted, was to feel better.  My head was spinning and my stomach felt like it was going to empty all over myself.

The nurse comes back.  “Don’t open your legs or move, ok?”

Uhmm, right.  At that point, I could feel the pressure to the point that the nurse could’ve told me I would get a million dollars to keep the baby in…and I would have just smiled while my body went to work without my help.

The doctor rushed in (could not have been longer than 5 minutes from being paged), put her gown on, opened my legs and said push.

“I don’t think I can” I said.  Why?  Cause I was that sick.  Just awful sick.

I didn’t need to worry.  Her next words were,

“Ok well, if I was you I wouldn’t share this experience with others”.  She said this…as she was suctioning out my new baby girls nose.  That was already in her arms.  THAT FELL OUT OF MY BODY.

My fourth fell out.

Should I share that?  Probably not.  My doctor didn’t think it was a good idea.  Her reasoning was probably because thousands of women struggle for hours to push…my reasoning?  Well..let’s just say no woman wants to think that her female body parts are that accommodating.  I tell myself that it was a tiny baby (less than six pounds), that my body knew what to do, that my muscles are that strong, yada yada yada…but the truth is..my baby fell out, period.  I still had to get stitches though..so not fair.

I survived.  Again.

I am done surviving.  Births at least.

Now, I am trying to survive motherhood.  Which is much, much harder than birth.

For anyone that hasn’t given birth yet..that is the easy part (though I am not down playing the difficulty that can occur in childbirth).

The real work starts the moment they take their first breath.  And never stops.  Ever.

The worry starts from the moment the plus sign shows on the little white stick and that never stops.  Ever.

So, watch the TLC shows.  Talk about birthing experiences with other moms, decide whether you want to suffer or not, pick a meditative CD, drown the pain in water (right), take a picture with you to use as your focus point, get your back massaged with 2×4’s for all that its worth, but the truth is, everyone is different, and the real work, the real stuff, starts just after that baby falls…err..is pushed out.

A “moment” right before she became a screaming tornado of destruction.

From then on you do your best to survive.  And find the moments, the precious, beautiful moments, that you will cherish and reminiscence about when you are in your empty nest, because God is funny sometimes, how he helps you to forget the rest, the hard and sometimes… some days…. the ugly part of parenting.

And on those days, where the precious moments are very few, or even, possibly, you didn’t have any of those wistful smiling moments on a particular day, you just drink.