OIG-tastic (aka The Birth Story)

OIG= Only in Guatemala)

Almost a month later, since I’ve finally found the time (she’s totally going to wake up while I’m writing this, I know), here is R’s birth story… don’t worry, it’s not going to be gross!

So… the Thursday before she was born, I had a doctor’s appointment. Many of you have heard stories of my OB/GYN- he’s a hoot! He is in no way conventional and I’m fairly certain he would be in jail if he tried to practice in the States but he kept me laughing through my whole pregnancy. He also kept me from stressing out so for that, I applaud him profusely. Anyway, at my appointment that Thursday he says,

Dr.: Do you want to have a baby this weekend? I don’t want you to wait any later than Sunday. Want to go to the hospital now?

Me (with a shocked face): Um. No.

Dr.: Okay, how about tomorrow? Tomorrow would be good.

Me (looking at D with, what I’m sure, was a look of pure terror): Uh. Okay.

So it was settled. Induction, Friday. Check in at 3pm.

Friday at 3:30pm (traffic) saw us checked in and settled in our hospital room. We had chosen a hospital near my doctor’s office because we could find it and it was really, really quiet. When we went for our hospital tour, there was only one lady in the maternity ward. During our whole stay, I think there were maybe three of us and I can’t be sure of that. It was peaceful. Anyway, by 4:30 I was hooked up to an IV- it only took three different places (and two bruises) to find a vein, so that’s nice. The doctor checked and I was 1cm dilated. They started pumping me full of drugs and we waited…

Two hours later, I should’ve been at least 3cm dilated… but I was still 1cm. The upped the medicine and we waited… and the contractions started. They never got very bad- I was always able to breathe and talk through them- but I can see why women injure (or want to injure) their husbands during labor. Even through mild contractions, I kind of wanted to punch D in the throat when he kept asking if it hurt or ‘is that another one?’ No, dear, it’s fun to breathe like this so I’m just doing it to amuse myself and you.

Four hours later, the doctor checked on me again- still only 1cm. And then, in what can only be described as a ringmaster giving orders to start the show, the doctor yelled (it seemed), “C-SECTION!” It was like a clown car suddenly pulled up and nurses poured into my room, changing my gown, setting up the bed, messing with the IV and I heard that clown-car music in the background (you know what I’m talking about). Or they could be compared to an ant hill when you kick it…

Twenty short minutes later, I was down in the OR. I was moved onto a tiny table and apparently my arms were strapped down, though you’ll have to ask D about that one because I don’t remember. In fact, I can’t actually remember seeing D at all, though I know he was there. Unfortunately for him, he got stuck on the wrong side of the curtain and got to witness people sticking their hands in my body and moving my guts around. He’d rather forget that part… Anyway, as I’m being strapped in, I’m also being poked in the back and then, quite quickly, I lost all feeling in my lower half, which is a VERY strange sensation. The doctor said, “This might be cold,” but there was no cold… there was no nothing.

I laid there and there was commotion and movement but I couldn’t see or feel any of it. Suddenly, for no reason I knew of, I couldn’t breathe at all. I was gulping for air and trying to tell the anesthesiologist that I couldn’t breathe, but I couldn’t even say the words. Then, as suddenly as it started, it stopped and there was this ear-piercing scream!! R was here, and making her presence known to the whole hospital. Before the birth, I had told my doctor that I wanted to be able to touch the baby as soon as possible and, true to his promise, he brought her around the curtain immediately. They put her on my cheek and she stopped crying!! It was amazing and I would’ve liked to feel more emotional about it, but all I felt was nausea… I started dry heaving and told the anesthesiologist that I was going to throw up. He put something in my IV…

… and I woke up an hour later in recovery. The nurse kept coming to wiggle my legs every few minutes- that was bizarre too. To actually watch someone touch your legs and not be able to feel it. To think “wiggle your toes” and not be able to… no me gusta. I eventually got wheeled back upstairs to find D nervously pacing in the waiting room. Apparently, they had shooed him upstairs when I started feeling bad and he had no idea where I was or what was happening (I forgot to mention that none of the nurses spoke English and I’m pretty sure my doctor said something along the lines of, “everything’s good! Bye!” before skipping out the door). He was relieved to see me alive and breathing, needless to say.

We got back into our room and waited for about thirty minutes, until the feeling started to come back into my legs AND ABDOMIN- ouch!!- and then we asked for pain medicine and the baby… they brought both and left my little girl in her bassinet beside my bed. I was in so much pain I couldn’t even hold her but they let her sleep beside me until she woke up crying a few hours later.

The OIG-tasticness of the experience were many-fold. I now understand what my daughter goes through everytime I change her diaper as I had the distinct pleasure of wearing a giant diaper and being changed regularly through my hospital stay. On top of that, none of the nurses spoke English so we used a lot of hand signals and “um, okays” to communicate and we didn’t always understand what was happening. For example, it took a while to realize that we had to ask EVERY TIME we wanted to see the baby. They just came and whisked her away at random intervals and we were never sure if they were bringing her back or not (they didn’t, unless we asked).

On the whole, the experience was amazing. Despite the language barrier, the nurses were wonderful. I would definitely go back if we were still here for baby #2… should there be one.

And that my friends, is R’s birth story. Stayed tuned for the “getting her Guatemalan birth certificate” story. Even more OIG-tastic… I promise!

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