I had a baby, just like many, many women. Said baby narrowly avoided landing in the toilet in the bathroom of my apartment. Had he have been any slipperier, his first few minutes of life would have been a Swirly.
I never really liked kids or babies. I was horrified the first time I watched "The Business of Being Born." Then I started dating a guy who not only made those feelings seem like no big deal, but made me start thinking, for the first time in my life, that having a baby would be really cool.
Then I became pregnant and wondered what the hell I got myself into. Nine boring months of being constantly annoyed. I did, however, revisit "The Business of Being Born" and started reading all the hippie, earth mama birth jargon and got really into it. That made sense. Hospitals did not.
Enter midwife, doula, home birth. We were preparing, reading, reading more. All those things pregnant people do and plan for, like normal. In the meantime, my 100-pound body was closing in on 145 pounds with exceeding levels of discomfort.
My original due date of September 29th came and went. It turns out that we were so ridiculously excited about our genius concept of having a baby, that I couldn't have possibly made a point to check dates, take notes, remember certain details like, oh, when my last period was or how long it had been since I stopped taking birth control.
I cannot possibly imagine a better way to drive a 9-month pregnant woman so far into anger and depression than telling her that her due date was miscalculated 7 months ago, and she actually probably has a couple more weeks to go. My newly issued due came and went.
On the afternoon of October 12th my midwife finally said, “OK. You're in labor. Go home, have dinner, relax. Take a shot of castor oil and try to get some sleep. If I don't hear from you sooner, I'll see you in the morning.”
We made chicken soup and had a friend over. Things were nice and relaxed. Labor was kind of snowballing all day, but not like what I thought it should have been. I was not strapped to a bed, screaming like a banshee, begging for drugs and in insurmountable pain, so obviously I was not in labor.
After our friend left, I manged to get a little sleep, but about three in the morning, I was rudely awakened by a gnarly contraction. I woke up my baby daddy. We sat there chatting for a few minutes and I said, “No way. I'm going back to bed.”
I realized with the next contraction it wasn't going to happen. I was awake, baby daddy was back to sleep.
Now I was in real labor, right? I thought I would be doing this for the next 24 hours, or for however long people brag about being in labor. I decided to hunker down in the bathroom and walk it off.
Home birth, totally planned. Unassisted birth, totally forced.
It seemed like I was in the bathroom for 10 minutes. Turns out it was more like 2 hours. Next to drinking 4 Loko, that's probably the closest I'll ever get to a T.A.R.D.I.S.
Although my contractions were getting tough, I never thought to call the midwife because my they weren't lasting any longer, or any closer together in time, just more intense.
Somewhere around 5:30, something insane happened: I felt my bones open. My hips literally went, “Crick!” I was thrusted into panic mode. I flung open the bathroom door and started screaming in a way I didn't know I had in me.
Baby daddy got the midwife and the doula on the horn. He comes back to the bathroom door and I'm screaming, “I'm crowning!” He's like, “What's crowning?!” I ordered him to get the midwife back on the phone.
With that, a contraction came and out popped a baby head. Rapidfire insane thoughts: “I'm alone, no doctor, no midwife, in this shitty apartment. I'm going to drop it in the toilet. This goon doesn't know what crowning even is, yet he's pale as a ghost and shaking like a leaf. What kind of baby is this? Oh god, this is really happening.”
The next contraction comes almost immediately and out slid an entire baby body. Somehow, in that instant, I managed to shift some of my weight onto the sink, hoist up and swiftly reach down to catch the biggest, slimiest thing that my body has ever produced. It was the scariest moment of my life.
The biggest smokey gray eyes were staring right at me. My body made another set of eyeballs that were now looking at me.
Over the phone, the midwife instructed us to make the baby cry, and as soon as it let out a little pathetic new born wail, my two chihuahuas came running into the bathroom barking their asses off. As soon as they saw the baby, they both sat there next to us, on guard.
We never found out what kind of baby we were having during pregnancy, and it didn't occur to me to look until after I was on the bathroom floor to check. It was, and still is, a boy.
The midwife-doula-assistant parade came in a few minutes later and we proceeded with all of the post-birth things per usual. Total easy clean-up for my doula since it all landed in the toilet.
I enjoyed a glass of Fernet Branca to bring down the old blood pressure. It was the best glass of booze I've ever had, and it's never going to get better than that.
I caught my own baby. It really happened like that.