This is a birth story, so for those of you who aren’t comfortable with the hairy details you may wanna just close the page now.
I was 17 when I found out I was pregnant with Pea, one month into my relationship with B. I wasn’t living at home, had no license, no car, and was working part time at a grocery store. You can imagine the thoughts that went through my head. I had never been one to advocate for abortion, but when I was in that position I thought very long and hard about the possibility of having one. I laid out the pros and cons of adoption, wondered if I would be strong enough to carry a baby for nine months and then hand it over to someone else. When I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I knew I wouldn’t ever be that strong. The midwife wiggled the Doppler around on my belly, and as soon as she found the heartbeat I immediately burst into a fit of giggles. I couldn’t control it, and I was laughing so hard that she kept losing her spot. I don’t really know why I was laughing, maybe it was just nerves or maybe it was relief that I didn’t have a decision to make anymore. I knew that I was going to have that baby.
Fast forward a few months through an extremely uneventful pregnancy, I had my 20 week ultrasound. I had been dreaming that it was a boy. I had such vivid dreams about seeing a little guy running around on the screen that I went in fully expecting for them to say “there’s his penis!” I waited through my sister-in-law’s ultrasound, as she was pregnant at the exact same time I was, and we found out she was having a boy. I laid on the (chair? table?) and waited. They measured everything, made the baby was growing and developing all on track. I waited so anxiously, and the tech said “look right there, it’s a girl.” I was so excited, I wrote Brandon a letter as soon as I got home. I colored it pink, I couldn’t wait to meet our daughter.
As I approached my due date, fate would have it that my little Pea was breech. For those of you who are a little fuzzy on what exactly “breech” is, it means the baby is totally upside down. Instead of the head facing the cervix, the teeny tiny baby butt is. My doctor told me that as she got bigger, the chances of her flipping would greatly reduce. Now, this is where my age and lack of research really did me a disadvantage. You see, my doctor was a surgeon. When I say he was a surgeon, I mean that in the sense that he preferred cesarean sections as opposed to vaginal birth. It was faster for him, easier to plan, and more convenient. (I didn’t find this out until months later when I started seeing a chiropractor who knew my doctor personally.) Anyway, he never once told me that I had options. Never mentioned that I could have him attempt to turn her, never referred me to someone (like a chiropractor) who could successfully flip Pea. He said, “we’ll do another ultrasound to check her position, and if she’s still breech you’ll sign for your c-section.” Remember, I was 17 and terrified, so I just agreed to it. At my next ultrasound we found out that she was indeed still hangin’ comfy butt down, and I signed my consent forms.
The day of my surgery I went in around 5am. I had to shower in this disgusting hospital soap that smelled like cleaning spray, and I had been fasting since 9pm the night before. I couldn’t even have water, it was terrible. When I got there, they admitted to pre-op and started my IV. After awhile, they wheeled me into the operating room. I sat on the table, and the anesthesiologist came in to do my spinal. They had my hold a pillow, and there was a nurse holding me steady with her hands on my shoulders. I was not at all prepared for how badly it was going to hurt. When they inserted the needle, I leaned into the nurses chest and tears streamed down my face. I was actually whimpering, saying “it hurts so bad..” Luckily, after that I went numb pretty fast. I couldn’t stop crying, and I was shaking uncontrollably. I was freezing.
I didn’t really have any idea of what was going on behind that blue curtain. I felt tugging, pushing and pulling. The doctor was explaining to me what was happening but I was in such an emotional daze that I wasn’t hearing anything. I felt as if I was underwater. Suddenly, I heard a nurse say “oh there she is!” But I didn’t hear anything else. I didn’t hear the crying like I was supposed to. Immediately, my stomach turned to ice and my heart tightened so much I couldn’t breathe. “Why isn’t she crying? Is she okay? Someone please tell me if she’s okay. WHY ISN’T SHE CRYING?!” My mother was there with me, she could see everything that was happening and she told me that she just had mucous in her chest, that they hadn’t suctioned her enough yet. I had never been so scared in my life. (Later, my mother told me that Pea had turned blue very fast and that the quick actions of her pediatrician probably saved her life.) Finally, after what had seemed like forever, I heard it. That cry was what I was waiting for, a wave of relief washed over me. They brought her over to me and I saw my baby Pea for the first time. Her brows were furrowed, her mouth was pouty, her nose was wrinkled.
She was the most beautiful, perfect, pissed off little child I had ever seen in my life, and I was head over heels in love with her.