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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Birth versus Dirth: Chode Stitches

Greetings, KuKd/TTC'ers and Inquisitive Guests!

This post is about chodes.

But first of all, a quick prelude: huge and huggy thanks for the outpouring of support and loving words. Baby Sean Murphy felt the love. I briefly held him up to the laptop screen and read some comments out loud to him, stopping only upon hearing a telltale train-rumbling sound from his butt-region. A poop spurred by joy, no doubt (quickly followed by an abrupt, 5-foot arc of pee that spritzed the ceiling, my & Sean's forhead, and the opposite wall...he really must have been in a spirited mood).

Coming from my fellow KuKd folk, and eSPECially those fighting the TTC/IF battle, those loving words carry extra weight, strength, and complexity, like bars of quartz dug up from the earth. Dude, I've been there. Perhaps it's that personal history that leads to my current urge to start every post from now on with the mantra: "I am thankful for this child." I'm not really going to do that, because that would be borderline annoying, but the thought is there. I am thankful for this child.

Moving on...

Where to go from here? Don't worry. This blog is not about to become a minute-by-minute account of my surreal new parenthood or Sean's spitting-up patterns, of what it's like to subsist on four broken-up hours of sleep per night for eight days in a row. In a later post, I'll add a few more Sean-pics and and a brief blurb about Sean's birth for people who are interested. The most important detail to me is that it was a birth, and not a dirth.

Speaking of dirth (which, correct me if I'm wrong, we decided is the verb to describe what happens to a stillborn baby: death + birth), that's a nice segue into what's on my mind this afternoon:


Specifically: chode stitches in birth versus chode stitches in dirth.

Okay, hold your horses, you linguistic perfectionists. I have no idea if it's spelled "chode" or "choad," or if that's even a universal term for the ridge of flesh between one's anus and one's vaginal opening (or penis). It's just what Kevin and I call the damn thing. I've also heard it called a "taint" - but of course, these terms came from my old Peace Corps buddy J, who notoriously smoked way too much weed. So I wouldn't trust what he says.

ANYWAY. The point is this: with Sean's BIRTH, as with Zachary's DIRTH, I've got stitches down there in the "chodal/taintal" region -compounded by the elephantitis-like swelling of the crotch, and some lovely token hemorrhoids (I opted to spare you of photos). (insert: I am thankful for this baby). Looking only at these physical aftermaths of baby-delivery, one might think that BIRTH and DIRTH are exactly the same.

But they're not! Here's my experience.

With Zachary's DIRTH, the physical aftermath - the pain, the swelling, the chode stitches, the everything - was an oddly welcome, temporary centerpiece in my world. Everyone was fixated on it: Kevin, me, the doctors and nurses, our parents. We were coached endlessly in how to care of my battered post-delivery body, sent home with printed-out instructions. I could recite to anyone exACTly how many stitches I had, and where. Upon getting home, it was all about my physical recovery. Me, lying around in bed, airing out my bloody crotch (how's that for visual imagery?). Kevin running errands to and from the drugstore, picking up Tylenol and things to make me more comfortable. Me, taking drawn-out sitz baths and relaying the details to Kevin. Man, we thrived on that shit! And when the pain finally began to subside...that's when real bitch-ass sadness sank in.

Looking back in hindsight, now I get it. The pain was, I'm pretty sure in my detailed psychoanalysis, was something for everyone to focus on other than the real horror: the missing baby.

Now, fast-forward to Sean's BIRTH. Different story. Nobody at the hospital really talked about my chode, my stitches, my bruised post-delivery body. To this day, I'm still not totally sure what the hell went on down there - I've got stitches and it hurts, that much I know. The pain, eclipsed by the baby himself, has become more like this annoyance in the background, an afterthought. So, it's really taking me longer to heal than last time - just because I keep jumping out of bed and roaming around (hard not to do when there's a fussy kiddo clawing for my booby). I wish I could just bat it away like a gnat in my face.

* * *

So, chodes.

I just think it's weird: how physical pain can be welcome one moment, and not so welcome the next.


Abigail W. said...

Glad to see word from you already! Very pithy stuff you've hit on this time...something heavily on my mind lately--though I'm back at the tits-hurt-because-of-post-dirth-lactation vs. tits-hurt-because-of-third-attempt-at-living-offspring.

All stuff from the same book I think...

Lots of love to your new little family :)

lis said...

so happy you posted tonight, have been wondering how it's all going and if you would get into the dichotomy of the two like but different experiences. for all those mamas out here who have only had the dirth. im just wondering how the birth differs. i imagine it's lovely and magical but some parts are still shitty like your sewn up lady bits.
what a lucky little baby you have. and what a lucky mommy :)
you give me hope for the future...

Hope's Mama said...

Oh my god yes. And more yes. You're so right about the differences between dirth and birth. You have just reminded me of my time lazing around recovering from my dirth. After my birth (even though it was a c-section that time) there was less time to think about it, because I had the hungry-kiddo situation (who yesIamverythankfulfor).
Good to hear from you, you published author you!

Sharon said...

Dude! I'm so thrilled for you and Kevin and little Sean! What an awesome ending to a long and painful journey!
And yes, you hit the nail on the head with the differences between birth and dirth.
FYI we call it a gooch, so aplty named by the members of JackAss while doing some horrendous prank on each other!

myskytimes said...

Good to hear from you! I admit, I had to google "chode" before I started reading (result here: and your PC-stonerbuddy was right about the taint.

Hope the wounded lady parts heal fast. Thanks for the update... your stats probably showed a bunch of blog-stalkers, eager for an update. ;)

All the best to you and family! xx

Reba said...

so true!!! i remember how gingerly i stepped down our stairs after coming home from the hospital post twins-dirth. then there is the image of me, up and down and up and down and up and down and not sleeping the whole first night the ham spent in our house. people did ask how i was doing, but they didn't care and neither did i! it was all eclipsed by the little miracle one or the other of us was holding at the time.

i love the "i am thankful for this baby" mantra! i'm right there with you! excuse me while i go on a little bit about something or other that is messing up our lives right now--which we are so grateful for having because we almost didn't.

Tracey said...

HUGE HUGE HUGE congrats to the entire family on the arrival of your son Sean. Beautiful news!!!!

The comparison of birth & dirth is an interesting one....

I experienced a birth and then a dirth (and oh so hopeful, cross all your fingers and toes, will experience a birth next week)....and after birth, received all the crazy instructions/after care supplies (sitz etc) /pain management information - and because of all that information, even with a newborn, I was compelled to follow the instructions, to sit & sitz, to spray with pain relieving spray, etc etc.....after my dirth, the care and information I received was all about grief, funerals, support groups. I received little to no after care support materials, and no supplies. In those early days of grief fog, I could barely notice what was going on in my body, if I was recovering, if I was in physical pain or not. I just let myself physically heal, basically ignoring it all.

Both deliveries were similar in terms of stitches etc, so I'd always just attributed the difference in care to the fact that I'd delivered at a different hospital, or that it was my second delivery, so I was expected to know how to physically recover.

And I attributed my different reaction to being a first time mom, vs. being a grieving mom the second time...

Its a complicated journey.

Can't wait to see photos of little Sean - again, CONGRATULATIONS!

Tina said...

Interesting...I guess having that prize at the end (baby Sean:) helps to lessen the physical pain. See...he is already doing great things!! xx

Kara's Mom said...

A very interesting comparison, indeed. With Kara's dirth, I was so focused on her death and the funeral, the cemetary, the planning of the whole aftermath, that I remember walking through the cemetary the day after being released from the hospital in 106-degree weather, trying to find a suitable burial plot. C-section pain and all. I don't remember focusing on my recovery AT ALL. I only remember waking up several times a night in terror when my brain would somehow remember that my baby was dead...It was so awful. I remember wondering what to do with the rest of my life and if I could somehow take my own life to avoid living this one. But recovery? I remember nothing. I hope you recover quickly and I hear you on the mantra...I'm so thankful to be pregnant again and I'm hoping for a successful c-section in early July to bring my twins home. Much love to you, your hubby and dear baby Sean. xxoo Kara's Mom

Mama-Beans said...

Perineum ( although husband also goes with Taint when asked)

Sorry your crotch hurts, glad you're too busy to notice much.

Leslie said...

This was a really compelling and beautiful post. I can't believe I just called someone's description of hemorrhoids 'compelling and beautiful', but it really really was.

It makes me think of how even emotional pain can be a welcome diversion. I can't imagine the horror of a stillbirth, but I have lost 2 fetuses (early on), and I did feel horrible emotional pain resulting from those losses... but NOW that pain is more or less subsided and I am stuck with month after month of just not producing a child... and it seems like the lack of a child hurts a lot more now than it did back when I was crying every day. You know? Having NOTHING is worse than SOMETHING, even if that something is total shit.

I'm so incredibly happy that you now have something wonderful.

Emerging Butterfly said...

Yes....Perineum. The word is Perineum. Use it confidently, and all in the know will know. When not with those in the know...improvise.

In the meantime....take a nice bath with a few handfuls of unscented bath salts, 10 drops of each tea tree and lavender essential oil, a few drops of olive oil and a stew of comfrey will help speed the healing to your birthing body. Enjoy!

Oh....and by the way....thanks for the laughter. Enjoy that little bundle of peeing glory! I remember my first son's first diaper change. I was shot square between the eyes. Being a gal that prefers NOT being peed on, I learned to let the air hit him, and quickly replace the diaper to absorb the sudden salty fountain...and then, I was home free to let his chubby bum air out without risk of being drenched in a golden shower.

Cheers...and thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a kind comment. :o)

KuKd Chick said...

Emerging Butterfly: I'm trying to imagine improvising a chode. What a fun charades-noun to act out.

Kahla said...

I was trying to think of what we call it, but I have no clue. All I knew was it hurt and it was annoying and I sure as hell didn't want to look at it when they asked me.

So glad all is going well, Sean is a doll.

Emerging Butterfly said...


You will have to add that to your launch party! A little game of charades with all the words your mother never knew....grin

I can see you peering through a little hole that you make with your hands, expanding it to about the size of an ugly fruit and tickling the invisible underside...oh yeah...that's it....there it is! And what do you call that? You got it! It's that Perineuminal chode area! ((HUG))