Let’s just quickly discuss the bloodbath that was my child’s birth. Holy. Shit. I knew I was going to have to have a C-section because of my spinal fusion and had convinced myself that this was really the way to go. In retrospect, I may have been mistaken.
It all started off mundane AF. Since the baby retrieval was planned, there was no breaking of water or emergency rides to the hospital. I packed a bag the night before, drove to Cedars Sinai at five in the morning, and ultimately it was a lot like checking into a hotel. However, after the initial paperwork, things got weird. The first thing I found to be peculiar is that they put me in a hospital gown (expected), gave me some weirdo hospital wet wipes and asked me to rub them all over my body (confusing, but ok) and then a stranger shaved my vagina (I’M SORRY . . . WHAT?!). I thought the beauty of the C-section is that your vagina is not involved. I would have gotten myself waxed if I knew we were going to be so focused on pubic hair. More upsettingly, this was just another day in the life for the nursing staff, so Joy the nurse was pretty blasé when she nonchalantly said, “ok, I’ll be back in a minute to shave your pubes.” I MEAN, BUY ME DINNER FIRST, JOY! Husband was front and center for each additional demoralizing procedure. The shaving of the vag was just the entry point (nailed it) for a day of horrific firsts. It’s shocking that anyone in the world has more than one child after witnessing the birthing process.
Since these sickos deliver babies on the reg, no one hesitated to wander into my room as Joy was coiffing my private regions. It was the closest I’ve ever come to being in a barbershop quartet. It seemed like all the doctors and nurses on staff that day had decided that this was prime time to stop by and ask questions.
Dr.: Hey Alison, how are you feeling today?
Alison: Um . . . a stranger is shaving my crotch literally right now and you are trying to make small talk. I wish I was dead.
That was probably the most jarring fact of the day. All the nurses and doctors were un-phased by things that I found to be truly appalling. I think I would have felt better if just one person stopped by and said something like, “hey Alison, removing a child from a woman is truly a barbaric process. Feel free to experience shame and horror as the rest of us casually move through what is essentially our day job. We may seem uninterested and unaffected, but you’re right to feel that this entire event is a God damn shit show.” Instead, I kept enduring frightening procedures while everyone else caught up on their weekend plans. After the shaving session, I was moved into what was essentially a meat locker, and while I received a spinal tap, the rest of the staff took the opportunity to catch up.
Random Nurse #1: Hey Claire, did you ever get that lasagna recipe I sent you?
Random Nurse #2: I did actually! We made it for John’s birthday.
Anesthesiologist: Ok Alison, you’re going to feel a little pinch. Are you ready?
Me (while shaking uncontrollably): Are those women talking about lasagna?
Anesthesiologist: I’m sure they’re not. Everyone here is very concerned about your well-being.
RN #1: Did I tell you that Janie and Bobby are getting married?
RN #2: Wow! So he finally popped the question?! And right before her graduation! What did Barb have to say about that? I’m sure she wasn’t thrilled.
Anesthesiologist: Mmmkk Alison, you’re going to start feeling a little numb.
Me: WHO IS BARB?! WHY IS SHE SO MAD?
Anesthesiologist: Alison, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the anesthesia. Are you having trouble breathing? It’s important that you stay relaxed.
Me: I MEAN I LITERALLY WANT TO BUT I’VE GOT THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS HAPPENING OVER THERE AND IT IS DISTRACTING ME!
Anesthesiologist: Alison, calm down. Do you want me to go get your husband?
Me: Of course I do! I didn’t even know he wasn’t in here. HE IS MY CARETAKER! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET HIM IN HERE AND WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK BARB’S PROBLEM IS!
My memories of the rest of the actual surgery (NO BIG DEAL, I HAD SURGERY) are pretty foggy. Husband says my arms were strapped down, probably so I couldn’t reach for a cig while I was getting my morphine drip. He says I just stared at the ceiling the entire time and looked catatonic. All I remember is this:
Dr.: Ok Alison, you’re going to feel a lot of pushing . . . lot of pushing. Ok. Almost there. We got it. OH MY GOD, IT’S A GINGER!
Literally. I had a Ginger Baby. I’m not even sure how it’s possible. I remember hearing this proclamation and thinking, “wait . . . how did they pull the wrong baby out of me?” But there she was. Next thing ya know, they bring me the Ginger Baby and don’t ya know, she looks exactly like Husband. I mean this kid looks NOTHING like me. I’m terrified every time we leave the house as I’m certain someone is going to assume that I stole her and I’m bound to have DCFS called on my ass.
Next, there was a gap of what felt like 100 years wherein everyone ooohed and aaahed over this supposed Ginger Baby that I had yet to see. I would have gotten up and checked out the situation myself BUT I COULDN’T BECAUSE I WAS STRAPPED TO A GURNEY AND HAD NO FEELING IN MY LEGS!!! Finally, a nurse came over and said, “ok Alison, is it ok if I put your baby on you?” I remember thinking, “holy shit. This bitch already thinks I have post-partum and am going to kill my baby.” Even in a drugged state, I was offended and replied as such: “bitch I carried that Ginger for nine God damn months, I had shingles in the process and have tried my best to be patient while you people ripped her out of me so no pressure or anything BUT LET ME SEE THE GINGER BABY, YOU WENCH!”
For the next hour, I was in recovery with the Ginger Baby and we tried to get to know each other. It seems fitting that she was introduced to me while I was high on drugs. She got a good long look at what I’ll be like if she acts up and forces me to relapse—inattentive, distracted, and negligent.
Finally, they took me back to the hospital room I would be sharing with Husband for the next three days. I was in and out of consciousness for the rest of the day and only remember a few horrific details. For starters, a stranger (I pray to God she was a nurse) came by eventually and told me it was time to use my legs and go to the bathroom. It was at this point that I realized I was wearing a diaper and bleeding profusely. Apparently that’s part of the C-section. They pump you full of drugs and then put a diaper on you without your consent. They also inserted a catheter while I wasn’t looking but then removed it while I was high as a kite because I don’t remember any of that. What I do remember is the stranger leading me to the bathroom, removing my diaper, literally spraying a water bottle at my vag and then telling me to clean myself up and get back in bed. It felt a lot like the time I had visited a Korean Spa. In the meantime, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything. Everyone said I wouldn’t be hungry since I was on so many pain meds BUT CLEARLY THEY DON’T KNOW ME CAUSE I WAS STARVING TO DEATH! Eventually I was allowed ice chips, but every time I tried to stomach them, I threw up everywhere.
My parents and Husband were with me the entire time, but they were distracted by the Ginger Baby so when I had to throw up they intervened by saying, “not on the Perfect Ginger Baby!” at which point they would grab her from my arms and throw a garbage can my way. When I said I needed my diaper changed and attempted to get up they’d help by kindly suggesting, “don’t get up while you’re holding Perfect Baby! What’s the matter with you?!” I tried to point out that I was bleeding to death, battling a copious amount of pain killers and projectile vomiting. They seemed wholly unimpressed and instead turned their attention to Perfect Baby, who had apparently made a sound, resulting in a bevy of picture taking, applauding, and calling other family members who weren’t present to report the news of Perfect Baby’s activities.
The point is, my family doesn’t care about me anymore. The Ginger Baby has taken over and I had to weather the storm of surgery quietly while simultaneously attempting to keep the offspring alive. The nurses were just as uninterested with my ailments as my family was. They would wake me up every two hours and yell at me.
Angry Nurse: Why haven’t you fed your baby?!
Me: OMG, what time is it?
Angry Nurse: It’s 3 a.m.
Me: Why are you yelling at me?
Angry Nurse: You need to feed your baby.
Me: I literally just did.
Angry Nurse: Why didn’t you write it down?
Me: OH I’M SORRY, I’M A LITTLE BUSY CHANGING MY OWN DIAPER AND VOMITING ICE CHIPS ALL OVER MYSELF. GET OFF MY BACK, DEVIL WOMAN!
This pattern has continued. Perfect Baby continues to live an incredible life while I focus on the Frankenstein scar above my vagina and wonder if Husband will ever have sex with me again. Ultimately, child birth is disgusting. My body is in shambles, every part of me hurts, and I’ve been reduced to a walking milk jug. I can’t wait for the Ginger Baby to be able to understand words so I can tell her how good she’s got it. I'll probably start by framing the picture attached and putting it in her room so that she can see how I suffered. Holy shit, I have a kid.