Thursday, April 21, 2011

Being Jack Bauer

"I am student midwife Sarah Bauer, and this is the longest day of my life."

Let me tell you a little story about the last few days in the life of me. I am a pretty patient and awesome person. I can handle a lot. I know, I know, I love my mental breakdowns, and I am a H U G E fan of crying in the middle of Target because you can't find the right kitchen sponges, but believe it or not, I really can handle a lot. I mean, come on, I'm a single mom. That right there tells you I'm pretty much a badass. Plus, I run my own business and am studying to become a midwife. And neither of my wonderful children's jackhole fathers are anywhere near in the picture, so I do this shit all by myself. No child support, no shared custody, nothing. I fly solo, mutha fucka! I am rambling....
Anyway, the last few days kicked my awesome, stress handling single mom ass to the point that I cried last night on the way home because my bra was uncomfortable, and I couldn't find anywhere to pull over so I could take it off. Yes. I cried because of my fucking bra. I was THAT tired. I felt like the housewife/doula/student midwife version of Jack Bauer except with
out the sweet weaponry and access to all those nifty computers.
It all started Sunday. Sunday started like any other Sunday, kids, errands, failed naptime, meltdowns and temper tantrums. Until Sunday afternoon when my preceptor midwife called to let me know one of her client's was in early labor, and we would be going to a birth that day. No problem, I thought. I haven't been to a birth in a couple weeks, I'm pretty rested and have a sitter lined up. Let's do this. So, I picked out the kids clothes for the next day, lined up their pajamas and left a recipe for red beans and rice for the Roomie to make them dinner. I was ready. I left the house at 3:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Then it got crazy. My preceptor midwife has a six month old son, who is exclusively breastfed, and therefor does not go to the sitter or stay home with his dad. Ever. He comes to the office with us, and to births. We do home birth, which is usually a pretty cozy and comfortable atmosphere and a relaxed event. Being her apprentice and student means I get free education from her, and help out with her son when we're in the office. I don't mind helping with him at births too, except that I am there to learn, and observe and watch so there are times when holding her son doesn't fit in with that. If he cries, he needs to not be in the same room as the laboring mom, which means I have to leave the room too. Luckily, my wonderful preceptor understands this, and hires a Doula just for the baby. I help with him until the doula gets there, then she takes over and I am free to watch, listen, learn and help with the birth itself. The birth we went to Sunday was for a woman having her third baby. Third babies usually come pretty fast, so we were trying to stay close to Mom. After dinner, around 8 p.m. we both really thought that labor wouldn't last much longer. Mom was progressing well, and it being her third baby, well, we thought we had a short night ahead, and my preceptor didn't think that her son's doula could get there in time to be any help. So we didn't call her. I didn't say anything, even though I desperately wanted her to call the doula. I had already been holding the baby for the better part of 4 hours, and I love him, but I love my own kids too, and I can't bring them to work with me because I just can't focus on anything when I am taking care of a kid. I didn't want to be alone with this baby all night, I wanted to be a part of the birth. But I said nothing, wanting to be the Good Apprentice. Big mistake. The labor was long. It carried on into the night, until Mom needed to push, but couldn't and the situation required transfer by ambulance to the hospital. My preceptor and I hopped in our respective cars and sped to the hospital, where, as soon as I walked in, I was handed the baby, and left in the waiting room. Oh. My. God. I just realized I was going to be alone with this baby in the freezing cold waiting room of the labor and delivery unit, while my preceptor went to her client's side, and I was all alone. At three in the morning. With no way to feed the baby. Queue mental break
down. The baby and I did ok, and my preceptor came to check on us a couple times, but I was exhausted. By six a.m., the baby wouldn't let me sit down while holding him, and he wouldn't let me put him in his carrier, because all he wanted to do was be held as I paced the halls or he would scream his head off. I was so fucking tired. My legs ached, my back ached, my arms had long since gone numb from holding a 17 pound baby all night. I was so fucking done. This wasn't my kid, and even if it WAS I would've lost my schmidt. And I did. I texted my preceptor that the baby needed to eat, and that I couldn't be alone with him anymore. She came out and said we could go. Relieved, I bought a Pepsi and a Twix bar, hoping the sugar would sustain me during the drive home, and I left. I got home at a 7:15 a.m. A full 16 hours since I left. I dressed the kids, kissed their little heads, and loaded them in the car so Roomie could drive them to school. I was so blessed to have him that morning, really. I fell into bed at 8 a.m.
I was however promptly woken at exactly 12 p.m. by a phone call from a very angry client. I was supposed to meet her for lunch that day, and totally slept through it. She drove 20 minutes to meet me, and I didn't show. I would've been pissed too, but she was over the top. She cried. She yelled at me, she wept, she would not listen to reason, and my 2958473902 apologies just would not calm this woman down. I had been up for a full 24 hours the day before, away from home with a crying kid for 16 hours, I was exhausted and it was an accident. Finally, she rescheduled with me, and calmed down, but still. It was nuts. I couldn't go back to sleep after we got off the phone, so after being up for 24 hours, I slept for 4. Yes. 4. I spent the rest of the day in a sleepy haze, hating everyone and feeling stabby. Finally, at 10 p.m. after a long massage and hot shower, I fell asleep. My 3 year old son, The Jedi woke me up so many times in the night, I am amazed he survived. I honestly think, in the whole night, I got 4 solid hours of sleep. Neat. The next morning (Tuesday) I awoke to a text from my preceptor. Another client in labor. Awesome. She said nothing much was happening, so just come into the office for the day's meetings, and we would play it by ear. I got up, dressed the kids, dropped them off and headed to my preceptor's office for the 2nd longest day of my life.
Tuesday morning was rough. I was tired, I hadn't had any coffee, and I knew we had another birth to go to. My preceptor had to pick her other kids up from school and take them to the sitter. We agreed to meet at the laboring client's house at 1. I decided to salvage the 2 whole hours I had free, and do something that would make me happy. So I texted Batman to see if he was free for lunch and amazingly he was. Score! I was able to have a nice, hour long lunch with one of my favorite people in the world at Five and Diner, and that was quite possibly the only moment of sanity I got in the last 3 days.
So, it's 1 p.m. Tuesday, and I am pulling up to the client's home when my phone rings, and it's one of MY doula clients. With a sinking heart, I answer the phone. Her water broke. Fuck! But she wasn't having any contractions yet (Score!) So I had time. Thank God Client A's labor was fast. I mean lightening fast! Her baby girl was born gently at a quarter for 4 p.m., just as my client who called earlier, called again to let me know she was at the birth center, and she wanted me to come. I hopped in my car, and drove all the way across fucking town, in rush hour, to go to yet another birth.
And this one was hard. Mom was loud, she was struggling, the midwife was annoying and in your face the whole time, I was exhausted, physically and emotionally spent, and Dad was so emotional and smothering that he should have been the one in labor. I don't know how many times we told him "Give her some space to move, and to breath" or "When she wants to lean on you she will, don't pull on her" or "Don't say that, she's doing fine, let her do what she wants and stop correcting her" or "For the love of God you're smothering her!" The night dragged on. And On. And on. At 3:15 (WTF is it with a quarter before or after the hour the last few days?!) the baby was born. At 4 a.m., with my client's placenta in a bag, I headed home. But it wasn't over. I had meetings all day Wednesday, a postpartum visit Wednesday night, more time with my Preceptor's baby, and another placenta to do, meaning two in one day. By Wednesday night, when all was said and done, and I was leaving the postpartum visit with my second placenta to do, I was wrecked. I called the Roomie on the way home, and just started crying. I got home, sat on the couch, and just cried. The kids were at their uncle's house, and I missed them. I hadn't seen them Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. I hadn't done laundry, cooked a meal or slept in my bed for more than a few hours. I was trashed, wrecked, beat, done. Roomie could sense this as I sat on the couch crying my eyes out and feeling pathetic. Lovingly, he took me upstairs and tucked me in, as I cried "I don't want to sleep! There is more to do tomorrow and I sleep tomorrow will come faster, and I will be busy again!" Yeah. I was THAT logical.
He shushed me and patted my head and stayed with me until I fell asleep. And I slept hard.
I am more rested now, but still not totally normal. I need sponges, and forgot all day to get them, so now I get to take 2 kids to Fry's right before bed to get fucking sponges. Awesome. I still have 2 placenta's to do. Neat. The Jedi asked me if he could do something earlier, to which I said yes, then turned to him and said "What did I just say yes to?" He's two, so he can't answer me. I still don't know what I told him he could do....
This week isn't over, and tomorrow is another jam packed day. But doing 3 births in 60 hours, two placentas, taking care of a six month old baby, and missing my two babies to death, really wore me out. Thank God for the people that helped me do all this. My preceptor. My Roomie. My kid's Uncle Tony. And Starbucks. Oh and my best friend Dragon who came over Monday and Wednesday to watch me laugh and cry hysterically. And Batman. Fuck I suck at thank you's. Goodnight.


  1. Hugs...and prayers. But mostly hugs.

  2. Awww thanks Chris. I think I need both to get through the next 3 years of apprenticeship. Sorry I said fuck so much in this post. I know how curse words make you itchy ;)