Friday, June 06, 2008

Kristie, the drug-addict

Back about a million years ago, when Blaine and I had our very first interview with the counselor, after I initially applied to be a surrogate, one of the questions she asked was, “What type of couple would you NOT want to work with?” She went on to explain that the agency works with all types of Intended Parents ….. same sex couples, couples of different ethnic backgrounds, even single parents. Couples who want a LOT of contact with their surrogate; couples who don’t really want much contact at all. Couples who want to be very involved with the pregnancy; couples who don’t. Couples who want to stay close after the baby is born; couples who don’t. Couples from all over the country; couples from all over the world. Was there any thing at all that was a definite NO for me and Blaine??

I thought about it for a moment, and then replied, “No tree huggers.”

The counselor had never heard that term, so I explained to her what I meant: no “crunchy” people. No couple who wanted me to take pre-natal yoga classes, and get pre-natal massages or acupuncture. No giving birth in a bathtub, or pool of water in my living room, or in my own bed. No chanting or incense or monk music playing in the background during delivery. No bouncing on a delivery ball, no hypno-birthing, no bean-bag birthing chairs, no birthing stools. Basically, I wanted a couple that was medically main-stream. I wanted to give birth in a traditional hospital setting, and most importantly, with drugs on board. Lots and lots of drugs, in fact, if I decided I needed or wanted them. At all. Even for a hangnail.

Now, that’s not to say I think all of those less-conventional birthing methods are inherently bad. But even the first time I was pregnant, and planning to deliver Kellen, the idea of a home birth or water birth was a little out of the realm of “comfortable” for me. Do I think those things work for other people? Of course. Did I think, prior to giving birth to Kellen, that *I* wanted any of them? Not really. And especially not after giving birth twice, and discovering both times, that although I do the pregnancy thing really, really well ---- well, I pretty much suck at the delivering part.

My body doesn’t seem to know how to go into labor spontaneously, and I was ten days past due with both kids. I had to be induced both times (did you know that at so many days past due, your placenta starts to fall apart like a moldy sponge, and you really have no choice but to induce labor for the health of the baby? No? Neither did I. But me and my moldy-sponge placenta learned it both times.) And once induced, I am the tortoise-woman of labor. Entire shift changes can happen in a hospital, while I struggle to dilate even one more centimeter. I hear about women who show up at the hospital already dilated to a ten, and push for ten minutes and out pops a baby. That, no doubt, would be fabulous. But, it’s not me. My body is basically crap at the delivering part.

With Kellen and Kendrie both, I labored for hours, and then pushed for literally HOURS, and then still, no baby. Kellen wound up being a c-section because I had already been at the hospital 28 hours and quite frankly, didn’t have it in me to keep going. I pushed with Kendrie for over two hours before crying Uncle and letting the doctor pull her out with forceps, something that has apparently traumatized her for life.

Whatever. My point, in talking to this counselor, is that while I loved being pregnant, and was very excited about the possibility of being a surrogate …. Not so much with the deliveries. So I needed a couple who understood, and supported, my decision to give birth in a traditional hospital setting, in case another c-section became necessary. And a couple who wouldn’t be disappointed if I used pain relief during my marathon labor session. Because while I say more power to the women who *want*, and are successful, giving birth without drugs, that’s simply not me.

The counselor assured me that the final decision about whether or not to get pain relief during labor was up to me and my doctor; that under no circumstance could a couple dictate drugs or no drugs for a surrogate. Well, ok, I suspected as much, but I wanted to be sure any couple she matched me with not only knew I most likely would want drugs, but that they would be perfectly fine with that decision ahead of time. Other than that, I didn’t really have any deal-breakers. Match me with pretty much anyone, and I’d be happy, so long as they agreed with me that “epidural” was synonymous with “heaven.”


Trish in VA said...

had to giggle when I read tree-hugger. hehehe! But I am with you- I was planning to try hypno-birthing, but had to be induced at 2 weeks past due. I was in labor for about 6 hours when I finally relented and got the epidural. And man did I love that dr!

Deb said...

Oh I am the first commenter!! Go me! I live in rural nowhere and when I had all 4 of my babies there was no such thing as an it was all natural, luckily I was the woman that walked in dialated to 10 and pushed them out. Boy do I thank god for that everyday of my life. Anyway, I love hearing this story. Out of curiousity will you be sharing all of your surogate stories with us or just this one. I am all nosy like that. You don't have to answer if you don't want. Have a super Friday!

Deb said...

Drats I wasn't the first..took to long to type...but I forgot to tell you, I am so with you with the "traditional" bath tubs or other stuff, I am sure it works for some but for me...don't touch me or talk to me let me be in pain by myself.

Grandma J said...

Oh yeah, it's been 42 years and I still thank God for the invention of epiderals.
I had to go back and read the funny parenting the salad tong story!! Classic Kendrie!

Tricia said...

Your first two births sound pretty brutal. Good for you for now letting those experiences deter you from pregnancy and surrogacy. It takes a huge amount of courage!

Anonymous said...

Girl I'm with you on the miracle of drugs during labor and delivery. 15 years ago I had my twins and we won't even go into the fact that all doctors back then that hot hot August summer of 93 were freakin liars.That or like you I am good at getting pregnant I just really suck at the giving birth part.I can't seem to go into labor even with twins when everyone expects that you 'll be lucky to make it to 36 weeks. Yeah I made it to 36 then 37,38,39,40. Induced me 1 day prior to their due date labored for 22 hrs with a numb right leg!yeah, numb leg..that is all the epi. did for me. They tried 4 and couldn't or just wouldn't for another. So I push 2 big 7 1/2lbs a piece boys, one with a rather large head I might add out the hoo haa basically drug free, you know except for the right pain there! 6 yrs later I made sure everyone in the hospital knew that I was a speacial case and would need speacial drugs and please don't forget. Told anyone and everyone that would listen of my past expierience and that of course I needed the really good stuff. Ended with having a C- after 12 hrs. but they were a way more bearable 12 hrs than before.

Dana in SC

Cate said...

I expected when I moved to Oregon that everyone would be a granola loving, hippie, tree lover. Oh, many might want their granola. A bunch of people love trees (it's so beautiful that part is understandable), and there are a bunch of hippies who love the idea of water births and accupuncture. But every single one of my friends threw that out the moment she when into labor. "DRUGS! I WANT DRUGS!"

I will be no different. Give me the best stuff you got. It takes forever to numb me up for anything. I just hope it works.

Stacie from MN said...

Your pregnancies sound like mine, I had to kick both of my boys out, too. Thank goodness for Petosin! I agree with you on the drugs, & I tried to have drugs with both of mine, but they didn't do it soon enough for the second one, so I still felt everything. I recommend drugs!

lizinsumner said...

We had the same birth experience! Jake - 10 days to 2 weeks late...induced on the 16th but born on the 17th (of March, no less!) after 23 hours and 40 minutes of labor. Somewhere around 10-12 hours, my doctor broke my water and sent me into EXTREME pain - and, as I was on my 2nd or 3rd shift of nurses but still only 3-4 centimeters dialated, I had to wait for the epidural. Finally got it, finally got to nap for a while. At around 16 hours, they ALMOST did a caesarian; but, my doctor had to go do another one first for some other poor woman who had been in labor even longer than I. When he finished and came to check me, I was finally "moving along at a reasonable pace", according to him. Jake was born early in the morning with the first shift of nurses that I'd had the day before. We must have the same bodies/genes/hormones/whatever...which, I have to say, does not bode well for you in the next 10 years, kiddo - so sorry! Chances are, your body and menopause will NOT like each other - but, maybe you'll be more fortunate than I!

CAT said...

Hey Kristie,

I can totally relate to the very long and difficult task of delivering babies. My 10lb 7oz, 23 3/4 inch daughter was not having ANY part of coming out on her own. After 28 hours of hard labour and 6 hours of pushing with...I can't even count how many doctors, nursed etc... sat at the end of my bed waiting for her to emerge, they FINALLY suggest c-section. I was like you at that point, just get it out of me now! Anyways she has grown into a 5'8" beautiful 18 year old woman, the pain was well worth the results. Needless to say my second one was a prebooked c-section, there was no way I was attempting that again, ever.

I give you credit for going threw this unselfishly in order to help others...I am far too wimpy to do that! You rock girl!

Have a great day,


Neurotically Yours: said...

I love it - "no tree huggers"! I call those types "granola crunchy" :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT!! I wanted an epidural in my 8th. month :-) No, just kidding. Although I knew that I wanted an epidural ahead of time, like as soon as I arrived at the hospital (I had nothing to prove and I wasn't going to) my doctor wouldn't give me one until after they started pitocin. I am a nurse and KNEW that they were not about to start pitocin without it. I told them NO WAY!!! You go girl!!

Ryley said...

okay.. i have questions for you if you even want to do a question and answer day..

after having the babies.. when you went home from the hospital and laid on the couch or in your bed.. we're you ever sad for a second?
I know we've talked about the shrivled raisin heart thing.. :)
but did you ever miss having them in your tummy?

are any or all of your families open with their children? Like do they still send you pictures and letters and stuff?

do you talk to kids before you start another pregnancy? are they aware when you are doing it? and do they ever ask you to have another baby for your family? :)

okay.. i know weird questions.. but the internet is nosey! :)

Eloise said...

I'm really enjoying your story! Keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

Goodness Kristie,
You are brave. I also went through endless labor only to endure a C-Section. God bless you for taking on this "adventure" for another couple. This was truly an act of unselfishness. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story. Thanks again for sharing.