The Vine: January 23, 2013
I married a great guy, T, in 2008. In 2010 we found out I was expecting. I had a completely normal, if barfy pregnancy. I had a terrible doctor (that problem is taken care of; I have a new ob/gyn), but soldiered through until the end. In December I went into labor, and everything was all normal and hunky dory, if painful, until my kid was born via C-section after 42 hours of labor (don't judge, I pretty much had thrown in the towel at that point, 42 hours of being awake is a really long and exhausting amount of time).
Upon his entrance into the world, he collapsed both his lungs, didn't breathe for seven minutes, went septic, got revived and transferred to a nearby big city, where for five days he was put on a hypothermic treatment. He's totally okay now, he's a charming, silly boy who loves to give hugs and kisses and make animal sounds and has a fixation with Elmo. We can't imagine life without him.
My husband and I have been talking about how we'd like to have another kid. We're both on board for the whole pregnancy, and sleep deprivation, etc., but where we have a difference of opinion is the delivery room. My husband left me in there, which was a little traumatic for me. I understand why. Our kid was in the corner while people are shouting things like "No breath sounds" and "Charge to 500" and he was floppy and purple. My husband was also told, "If you're gonna vomit or pass out, you need to let us know so we can get you out of here" prior to the C-section. I'm not mad, or frustrated or disappointed by his past behavior. If I could have left the room, I would have.
However, when the new-baby topic comes up, he says very vehemently that he doesn't want to be in the room. I would like him to at least try. I've suggested therapy, I've even offered to go (I'm a social worker and I think we both have a little PTSD from this), and maybe an Rx for him for while he's in there to calm his nerves, and if after he's in there, if he really can't handle it, he can leave. He's completely against it, the therapy and the being in the room.
We live far away from our parents, and while I love both my parents and my in-laws, I really don't want either set in there with me. They would seriously just stress me out. Sure, I could ask a friend, but I'm in that cohort where most of my friends have young children and can't really leave them in the middle of the night to go to the hospital. So it's really just me and my husband…
Can you and the TN peeps help me come up with 1) a strategy to convince him to go see someone about this? 2) a workable compromise about the delivery room? (No suggestions of a birth class…we won't be doing that again…unhelpful, expensive, and we aren't people who are into the whole "birth is a beautiful natural process" idea.)
Expecting To Expect Soon
What happens if he won't go to therapy, by himself or with you, and he won't consider going into the delivery room? Do you decide to go forward and just gut it out (excuse the pun) on your own in there? Or do you tell him that this vote needs to be unanimous and you won't go through the delivery-room experience without a wingman?
I think you need to get clear on that for yourself, then make sure he's clear on where you're at, because I think it's possible that he's actually not so hot on the second-kid idea, and he thinks that creating this roadblock will…create a roadblock, I guess. You mention that it's really just this one issue, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, or that you believe otherwise…but at the same time, if it is just this one issue, why won't he just go talk to somebody about it for an hour or two? I mean, the C-section is not your elegant arthroscopic two-stitches-and-a-shot-of-whisky procedure. You got sawed nearly in half, following which your son skated close to death. He has every right not to want to watch a rerun (and so do you). But given how well it turned out, you have to wonder if that's in fact the real issue, especially if he won't deal with it head-on. And if it is, you should obviously try to ascertain that now, versus, you know, in the car on the way to the delivery suite.
So, as I said, I would do some thinking for yourself about how you want to handle it and proceed (or not proceed) in the event that he continues to refuse to cope proactively with the issue. See a therapist your own self and make sure you've got everything untangled. Urge your husband to get honest with himself and you about what's really got him hung up here.
And if it really is just straight-up anxiety, I'd say extract a promise from him that he'll at least try his best, and not rule out keeping you company entirely — and then find a good midwife or doula, one who has relationships at your local hospitals, knows the drill from long experience, and can ease everything from labor to running interference with hospital staff to knowing when it's time to send your pale-green husband down the hall for some ice chips and quiet time.
All of that said, I have no children of my own, and if I did, I'd be taking the "I've hauled Junior around for nine months, so you're gonna to stand where I fuckin' tell you, hoss" stance, which makes decent copy but isn't super-productive maybe? So: readers! Is this a surmountable problem? How hard should Expecting push this? Is Mr. Expecting scared of the labor/delivery, or is something else going on?
Tags: health and beauty kids the fam