Paper Pants and Pull Cords: Tales from the Secret Birth Club

We love telling our kids about the day they were born. They love hearing the story and we love reminiscing. Recently, my husband added a few parts I forgot about.

Thinking back, maybe forgetting was intentional. 

Now, some people might find these things TMI or whatever. Personally, I don’t think enough of the real parts of birth and the days that follow are talked about enough. Once you go through it, it’s like….Oh hey! Welcome and surprise! Now you’ve seen the secrets of The Birth Club, don’t talk about it. Ever. With anyone. 

Well, sorry. I don’t do secrets. So…

And don’t worry, I’m not going all gross details here. Just a few (of the many) embarrassing birth stories I have.

It was several hours after he was born. My husband was trying to get some sleep in a funky pull-out chair-bed contraption. My whole body was still inflated with 8,000 lbs of water. No joke, my skin was literally stretched beyond max capacity with fluid. Looking back at pictures, I’m glad nobody came near me with any sharp objects. 

So, here I am, coming down from the just-gave-birth high and going straight into why-does-everything-hurt and what-even-is-that-hurting phase. Visitors were gone. The room was quiet and dark…and I needed to go to the bathroom. 

The thought of such a simple task, now turned into something terrifying.

Anyway, I eventually made it to the bathroom, each step like a sumo wrestler’s pre-match stomping ritual. It wasn’t pretty. Not even a little. While using the bathroom, I accidentally knocked down the little emergency pull cord. I had no idea this happened. It was hidden behind a gown hamper which was right next to the metal grab bar I used like a flotation device, clinging onto it for dear life. 

Just as I’d painfully hoisted myself up and was attempting to maneuver my fabulous postpartum prize…meshy/paper/shorts/ underwear, 5 nurses burst into the bathroom. There I stood wondering why I suddenly had an audience…yet, too stunned and too fragile to do anything but freeze and stare back. 

Let’s take a minute to back up and throw in an important detail. See, I should also add that, thinking I had privacy, I removed my gown upon entering the bathroom. You know, to have one less thing hanging around the construction zone to deal with. 


Let’s recap. 

Just hours prior I had passed a human through my body. My body, which is now a water balloon with water balloon arms and  water balloon legs. I’m precariously standing in a hospital bathroom, hunched over with nothing on but bunched up mesh underwear at my knees…and now, the whole disaster on full display like the featured exhibit at the zoo.

So, yeah. 

I know they’re nurses and see it all, but honestly, I’m not sure which of us was more horrified. I had already lost every shred of dignity by that point, but even more went out the window in that very moment. 

I briefly considered falling to the floor. Just so the whole thing wasn’t for nothing. 

Skip forward a few years. I decided to do the whole birth thing again. 

This time, the kid decided to take up gymnastics and do a somersault during labor, so I got rushed down the hall for unexpected surgery. That’s cool. It all went ok, that’s all that mattered. 

Except, after surgery you can’t get up for hours and they give you medication that messes with your already spinning brain. Medicine that causes you to think your new child’s fingers are bent backwards and the incision in your stomach is covered in lava. 

Also, I don’t do well with meds. 

It was the morning after. I was finally able to stand and my first stop was the shower. It felt great to finally wash my hair and be upright. The bathroom was just a tad small and not well ventilated. 

Also, I have a tendency to overheat easily. 

I slowly got dried off and once again acquainted myself with the lovely paper-mesh undies. (Confession, I did kinda like them at the time.) The last thing I remember was sitting on the side of the bed telling my husband I felt funny.

I’ll pick up his account of the scene from here.

Apparently after saying I felt funny, I immediately fell back on the bed, completely passed out. Also, according to him, before I went down my arms flew straight up in the air, as if I were riding front row on the Beast roller coaster. I’m sure that made sense to witness. 

Fortunately, I was already sitting first. Unfortunately, I was only wearing my paper panty pals and not a stitch more. 

My husband, who was holding our brand new, tiny kid in his arms, quickly buzzed the nurse’s station and said he needed help. After a minute of nobody coming to help, he walked into the hall and screamed that I had passed out.  People came running. 

Like, all the people. 

His first thought – she’s going to be so upset about this. They tried calling my name, they tried shaking me, they finally tried smelling salts. After what he said felt like forever, I opened my eyes. 

Cue my take on the next set of events. 

I opened my eyes and saw 10 people standing all around me. One nurse was on her knees hovering right over my face. It immediately registered in my brain that I’m not wearing clothes and there are 20 eyes on me. Me, sprawled out on the bed. Me, that girl with no clothes on. Again. I wanted to just close my eyes and go back to live in the black void I’d just been to.

I sat up, looked right at Nurse Hover and said, “Whatever medicine you’ve been giving me. I don’t want anymore.”

With that, everyone left the room and I was left sitting there trying to devise an elaborate escape plan to avoid ever seeing any of those people ever again. 

Ultimately, I stayed. What did it even matter at this point? 

It really didn’t. Each time I took home a healthy, little bundle and I’d do it all again. 

Ever since, in public bathrooms, I still do a quick search for hidden emergency pull cords.

Just in case.  

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