Monday, January 08, 2007

In the beginning

In 1995, my boyfriend & now husband Mr. Cotta and I discovered I was pregnant. I've never been so grateful for birth control failure in my life! I had endometriosis so I really did believe I couldn't get pregnant outside of a lab. I had gone through one laparoscopy back in university, and was told I had endometriosis that was not extensive, but enough that I should not wait to try to have children. I'd always wanted a big family, and it was an issue that had settled in the back of my mind.

Mr. Cotta and I hustled to get our lives set up for a kid. In no time at all, we had moved in together, started making financial plans, and figured out we needed a house and a car. And hey maybe some baby stuff?

And the biggest panic, finding a Doctor I liked. Midwives weren't licensed at the time, and I had heard enough stories about the over medicalization of birth to know I didn't want an OB/Gyn. I was so lucky to find the lovely Dr. J. Still my family doctor to this day, I really believe I would not have made it through all this without her. I had a standard boring pregnancy from a medical viewpoint, except for the end, when I began to swell up and my blood pressure started to rise.

His birth however, was an absolute nightmare of pain and agony. After it was over I seriously considered getting my tubes tied, or alternatively NEVER having sex again. Why? Well, just a few weeks before my due date, another car crashed into us, and I was driving. Not my fault, not that it matters to a guilt-ridden mother like me. Luckily, the baby was fine, unfortunately my back was a disaster, every tendon and muscle ripped to shreds. About a week later, Dr.J. decided I should be induced, which would allow her to be there and for us to get control of my back pain with an epidural. Natural labour was out after that accident.

We started with a gel to ripen my cervix, and I went home until morning to *sleep.* This did not work....I was up half the night with early contractions. The next morning we went in and I took some prostaglandin pills, and Dr.J. made an attempt to break my water. I think they finally gave up after 12 hours of ineffective contracting, and convinced me to get an epidural and some pitocin.

I don't know when the back labour started, but I blacked out at the pain. It broke right through the epidural, and I had nine top-ups over the next 18 hours. I once tried to explain to someone the exquisite pain of going through labour with wrecked back muscles, and the only thing I can come up with is that your body is meant to curl up and in on itself every time a contraction happens but my back would force my body to arch, and the result was the equivalent of being stabbed with a knife. I could no more push through that pain than fly to the moon.

After hours of alternating between blessed pain relief after a top up and pain breaking through from back labour my son was born full-term, healthy and alive. Little bugger was face-up and the doctor had to use forceps to get him out, plus he had menconium everywhere. It was traumatic all around, with a horrendous episiotomy and plenty of tearing and stitches. So much tearing in fact, that I really believe I will never be the same. Different and maybe even better, but definitely not the same. It took weeks for me to recover physically and emotionally, well a lot longer.

Still we made it through, breastfeeding in spite of mastitis, yeast, bad latching, lumps, and colic from hell. He was a very sweet baby, when he wasn't screaming and yelling. Life got better after I clued in that babies sleep much better beside their mothers instead of in lonely cold cribs.

And yes, he is a great kid now, quiet, well-behaved and smart to boot. He's had a few issues over the years but overall, worth every minute of agony, really. I'm just going to guilt him about it for the rest of his life, to make up for the fact that I feel guilty over the forceps probably causing his ADD, his stuttering, his tantrums, his (insert issue here).

There is no medical evidence to prove this, mind you, just my own personal paranoia that of course, all his problems for the rest of his life forever and ever have been caused by me.

Welcome to the Mommy Wars!


  1. I hung on every word of this story. I ache.

    Oh, and just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not watching you. ;)

  2. I am so pleased this had a happy ending. I can't imagine what it was like to go through that hell. Is your back ok now? and the mummy guilt thing? Yeah, I only know about that all too well LOL.