I'm straddled up in the stirrups, my feet high in the air. My OB-GYN motions me to scoot down toward him. He's like a vaginal air traffic controller as he says, "Closer. Closer. That's good." I can barely feel my lower extremities, but what I can feel feels like it's resting on a cliff and about to fall down. My doctor tells me to push on his finger, which I can't actually feel because the epidural is working its magic. But I hunker down, close my eyes and push as hard as I can. "Good," he says calmly. "Now relax until I tell you to push again."
I open my eyes and notice the room is no longer filled with just my husband, my OB and the one or two L&D nurses I'd met before. There are strangers in the room in what can best be described as a vaginal viewing party. I swear there are five new people in the room, whom I've never seen before, all cheering me on like they're watching a sporting event. Clearly, my totally exposed vag is the event.
Usually, someone has to buy you dinner before viewing your vagina.
My doctor tells me I'm going to push again and I get ready. The newbies peer at me over my doctor's shoulder, offering encouraging words like, "You can do it, girl!" and "Come on, push that baby out." I push until I can't anymore. My doctor tells me to take a break. I exhale, take a breath, look at the room filled with people and say, "Excuse me, but who the eff are you?" They laugh, but I'm not kidding. Who are these people and why are they looking at my lady bits?
Usually, someone has to buy you dinner before viewing your vagina. But in pregnancy, all bets are off and introductions are not needed. You won't always know their names or why they're in the room, but there's a whole host of people that will get a front row view of your lady garden when you have a baby. Don't say I didn't warn you. Here are some of the people that might get a peep show when you have a baby.
1. Medical students
While you're waiting to deliver your baby, your doctor might politely ask if some medical students can observe while he monitors you. Wanting to help the future doctors of America, you'll agree, not realizing that you've just agreed to give twenty 25-year-olds an up-close look at your privates.
2. The labor and delivery nurses whom you've never met before
Chalk it up to a shift change or your doctor bringing in backup. But depending on how long your labor goes, the L&D nurses you start with may not be the ones you finish with. And yes, they're all going to spend a lot of time with a visual of your vagina.
3. Your husband's family
When I had my kids, I wasn't the kind of soon-to-be mom that wanted to share the experience with others. That doesn't mean others didn't want to share the experience. So if you've got pushy in-laws, beware, they may want to be there to watch you push. And yes, they may see your flesh in the flesh. Eeek!
4. Well-meaning friends
There are two kinds of friends who will visit you in the hospital: the ones who bring you food and know well enough to immediately leave and the ones who stay too long. The second will wear out their welcome and probably see you in the buff. Let's just hope they forget their glasses since they clearly forgot their manners.
5. Your dad
If you are one of those birthers who wants to share the experience with everyone you've ever met, just know that means your dad could catch a glimpse of your vagina. I repeat: Your dad could see your vagina! Don't do it!
6. The nervous dad who walks into the wrong delivery room
Seeing your child be born can be stressful and can cause a new dad to walk back into the wrong L&D room on the way back from the bathroom. Chances are that stranger is in such a state of delirium, he totally forgot that he just got a full frontal of your full front. The horror!
7. Everyone your husband shows that video to
Just know that you are never going to watch that video your husband insists on shooting of you giving birth, but he may show it to someone who will watch it. And that person, or those people, might get a snapshot of your snatch. So just don't take the video and lower the risk of his 422 Facebook friends seeing your outstretched special spot.
8. The orderlies
While designated hospital staff, orderlies are not medical professionals who may not have been trained on how to avoid breaking out into hysterics when they walk in to the room at the exact moment your vagina stretches to the size of a foot-long sub. But just remember, they see tons of vaginas every day. Yours probably isn't that memorable.
So who were those surprise cheerleaders turning my son's birth into a spectator sport? I still have no idea. They may have been total strangers who saw my vagina, but they were really good cheerleaders. And if you know anything about giving birth, you know you need really good cheerleaders, even if you have no idea who they are.