Majandra Delfino’s Blog: When Did Giving Birth Become a Competition?
Thanks for welcoming one of our new celebrity bloggers, the hilarious Majandra Delfino!
Best known for playing Maria DeLuca in the hit series Roswell, the actress now stars in CBS’s new show Friends with Better Lives, airing Monday nights on CBS.
Delfino can be found on Twitter @MajandraD.
Zoe, Brooklyn and me out to dinner just before Louis was born. My girls brought me food from this restaurant (my favorite) at the hospital when I was recovering. They are the best friends ever. – Courtesy Majandra Delfino
Hello everybody! Welcome back. I am having a lot of fun writing these baby blogs I must admit. My goal is to have a point of view girls can read when they too are dealing with their pregnancy or baby issues/realizations/holy s— moments.
I think we all work so hard to plan a family and be well rounded for our family (both before, during and after) — all the while knowing that we are so lucky to have the privilege of being a mother — that you just move forward with it all expecting the world to be on board. I certainly did.
So you can imagine most of our shock when you encounter some very strange reactions as you go along, while trying with all your might to tune out the noise and accomplish what you set out to do.
From the weird things people say when you’re pregnant, to the s— they say now, it never ceases to amaze or make you question your choices — and that’s the last thing you need at a time that requires your brain power and undivided attention. Seems like someone always has an opinion and it’s shocked me how more often than not, it’s one that seems to be a not very supportive one. So hopefully you can find support here.
Last blog we learned that you should feel super beautiful and super excited when you’re pregnant with either a boy or a girl (duh). Now this blog will take you on another little journey with me that bowled me over as it happened.
The how-you-give-birth journey.
Oh yes, we all have our visions, fears, hopes and denials when it comes to planning how you’re going to give birth. And then we all have the light-bulb moment as you’re having a contraction that it’s actually all a very animal, uncontrollable, she’s-coming-whether-you’re-ready-or-not reality.
But here’s the oh-so awesome but … There. Are. People. Who. Will. Poopoo. How. You. Did. It.
Not kidding you.
There are people out there so high on themselves, so incredibly insecure about what virtues they have of their own, that they will cling to their birth story as if it was a medal with the inscription “I am better than you.”
Louis taking it easy. Like he should. – Courtesy Majandra Delfino
With my first kid, I went into labor on my due date which apparently never happens. And, strangely, I went from zero Centimeters dilated to seven in a mere 45 minutes — another occurrence that, with your first, barely ever happens.
Needless to say, the ride from my apartment to the hospital was not what I’d imagined. I had hired a doula and was planning on laboring at home with candles and s—. I even thought I’d cuddle with my dog and let her comfort me as I slowly worked through minor contractions.
But images of my husband and I wading in the tub while my Pekingese watched were soon dashed as it became very clear that our baby was coming A.S.A.P.
As my contractions started to narrow down to one minute apart, we bum rushed the hospital doors and tried our best to calmly ask for a nurse. What we got was a couple nurses who assumed I was being dramatic, it being my first pregnancy and all. What they soon discovered was that it was close to pushing time, which was followed by a look of mad respect.
I was crushing it in the whole “Hear Me Roar” fantasy even if I wasn’t on a sheepskin rug rubbing my belly with chakra-awakening oils. But the pain on my left side was telling me another story.
As the nurses and my doctor were cheering me on, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was really F—– up so I screamed for an epidural (which took foreeeever) and suddenly, thanks to that magical whale-sized needle in my back, I felt the pain go away.
Within minutes though, it was back. My entire lower body was asleep but my left side was killing me still. It was very strange. Still, clinging to the need to be super L.A. and not listen to my body for fear of being robbed of my humble-brag delivery, I ignored my instinct and pushed.
For five hours.
My doctor, who’s been seeing me since I was 18 and is known for his low cesarean delivery percentage, kept looking at me strangely and I could just tell that something was wrong.
Cecilia contemplating the television set. – Courtesy Majandra Delfino
Finally, after trying in vain, it seemed the only way we could deliver my daughter safely was to do a c-section. After all the pain and intensely fast labor, I finally started to actually shed tears when I learned this would be the outcome. I felt like I was letting everyone down, like a total a-hole for not being able to “do what my body is supposed to do” and every other emotion tied into feelings of failure.
Upon seeing my disappointment, my husband, God bless him, asked the doctor “but what would happen to her if we didn’t have that option, like if this was the medieval times?” (a Game of Thrones induced thought I’m sure of it) to which my doctor replied: “Mother and baby would die.”
Ding ding ding! Thank you!!! He was absolutely right. My daughter was so stuck in my left pelvis that I was only making it worse by insisting on pushing and had I continued, the consequences would have only been bad ones. Even still she came out with a severely misshapen right side of the head followed by a clock-work high pitched shriek every time we’d try to put a hat on her. Till this day, 22 months later, my left hip hurts when it rains and our daughter refuses to wear hats.
And when I see that, when I learn of the history of complications in childbirth, when I hear horror stories of mothers who insist on pushing even though their instincts told them not to, I realize that I was right in letting myself be cut open. That I’m not some statistic of Too-Posh-To-Push — and I even realized that if you are a person who opted for a C-section from the beginning, good for you too. It’s your body, it’s your vagina, it’s your kid.
There are no right and wrong ways to do this. My kid was 9 pounds and 3 ounces with a massive head. My doctor literally recoiled when he saw how big her head was. So what do you want from me? My mom pushed out two massive kids and almost bled out. My childhood friend insisted on pushing out her second kid, despite her doctors warnings, and had to get an emergency hysterectomy at 27. S— happens! And it’s our right to decide how we want to roll with it.
No breathing technique, candle-lighting, kale eating or eagle woman chanting would have built my daughter and I differently. I couldn’t shrink my child’s head down from a 99 percentile no more than I could meditate/eat/stroke my ego into thinking I could control the color of her eyes. But I watch women insinuate that so many f—ing times to those who met an unfavorable birthing story.
I even witnessed one of their husbands piously tell a story about a child suffering a major injury due to being born with its cord around its neck, as if that fate could never befall his incredibly know-it-all wife. Isn’t the whole point to just have a healthy baby? Aren’t there enough problems?
Me sending Zoe and Brooklyn some iPhone love a few months after Louis was born. – Courtesy Majandra Delfino
Listen, if you can stay home and push out your baby with no problem and do some crocheting directly after, then good for you. You were one of those people that would have survived childbirth back in the “medieval times” and that’s awesome.
But please don’t treat me like I should apologize for living because I may not have been … thank God for modern medicine and thank God for these bodies that someway and somehow get the job done and recuperate at lightening speed to just deal and nurse and care for our child. Isn’t that so wonderful? Can’t we talk about that??
– Majandra Delfino