I’ve decided to get the ball rolling on this writing thing again. It’s been awhile and I’m rusty but I need an outlet to bounce some ideas off the world and work out the feels I am feeling.
In order to get my blogging juices flowing again I’ve decided to share with you the birth of my son and all the drama that surrounded it.
In a time not so long ago, in a galaxy far, far away….no wait, scratch that. Sorry. I really shouldn’t write these things at work.
June. 2012. I’m freaking HUGE. I started off as a plus size mom but gosh golly gee I’ve upped the plus sized ante. I’ve taken off from work a tad early due to blood pressure issues – mine keeps rising when I do, like, anything. So I try my best to sit at home and not drive anyone else crazy with my “nesting” instincts. Which doesn’t happen but they all still love me anyways.
My ob-gyn (an awesome and smart dude who got me through the still birth of Joel) was worried. My blood pressure kept going up, I was showing extra fluid and he was worried about how much blood the baby was getting. So after much discussion we decided to induce. He booked an appointment for me June 13.
I had read up on birth and taken some classes with my husband. I was going to (despite the induction) have a vaginal delivery with little-to-no medication. Ahaha. Ahahahahaha.
I went in on the 13th. Which was, apparently, the same day half of the pregnant ladies in my city decided to go into labor. So I was sent home to try the induction the next day, when the hospital wasn’t taxed to their limits.
The next day was the same story. They did, however, get the gel inside and sent me on home to wait for labor to start.
A few hours later I took a warm bath which triggered my water breaking. Not so bad I thought until OMFG THE CONTRACTIONS. Seriously. Nada to OMG THE PAIN. I thought it was going to be some sort of build up.
When I entered the hospital they got me to a room quick. My blood pressure was shooting up and up and up and…well….they threw me on an epidural. Not literally, of course, that would be extra painful. Also probably hard to throw a plus sized pregnant woman. Unless you had a catapult. Anyways, sorry. Easily distracted.
Now I’m sitting pretty. I’m out of pain, my blood pressure is stabilizing, the baby’s doing fine and we are just waiting for things to move along.
Which is when the other half of my city’s pregnant ladies went into labor.
Turned out it was fortunate for me as I was able to bribe my panicked husband with a kiss to go downstairs and get me a diet pepsi while the nurse was attending another patient. Score!
5 hours pass. The contractions are starting to be strong again so the doctor and nurse get me to start pushing.
I push. And push. And push. He crowns. Yay! He’s coming! I still push. And push. They give me some pitocin as the contractions start to wane. I push. And push. And push.
He’s still crowning. In fact, according to the Dr, he’s stuck. Also mom and baby are not faring well. Blood pressure starting to skyrocket. The Dr looks me in the eyes and tells it to me straight. Emergency C-section. So STOP PUSHING.
Yeah, easier said than done.
Especially when now the epidural wears out and the pitocin kicks in. My pain level goes from 0 to 100 in less than a minute while I’m panicking that OMG MY BABY IS GOING TO DIE.
My terrified husband is tossed a covering and I’m wheeled into the operating room. Where I meet one of the nurses who was there when I still-birthed before. In my addled brain this means that I’m DOING IT AGAIN.
I am embarrassed of how I dealt with the pain. I was BEGGING for more drugs. To take the pain away. I was screaming about how much pain I was in. I hope the nurses realize that I wasn’t just screaming in pain. I was PANICKING hardcore. I was terrified and anxious and all those things compounded. What came out though was a mom begging them for drugs. And I’m embarrassed. I look back now and I am ashamed. So much so that when I am ready to give birth again I almost want to avoid that hospital.
Finally another epidural. I’m numb from the neck down. Fred is sitting in a chair beside me holding my hand, though I can’t feel it. The doctors are talking in hushed voices. I remember how QUIET it was because I was straining so hard to hear that little cry. That first breath. Anything to let me know everything is ok. The nurses are running around making rustling sounds and in my head I’m screaming shut up shut up shut up.
He’s out. They rush him to the scale. Fred trims the cord. Finally I can hear him squawking in the bright light. Must be so weird to go from dark and warm to cold and bright so fast for the little guy. He was born at 4:15 in the morning.
They brought him over to me and put him on my chest. And that was it. Things got really messed up from there.
When you read about birth, when you read about other’s experiences, you hear over and over about that rush of love, the stream of adoration, the tears of joy at seeing your baby for the first time. Cue the choir and the cherubs and rainbows and sparkles.
I felt none of that. The only thing I felt was panic that I was going to drop him because my arms were still numb and I couldn’t hold him properly. I had Fred take him away and go bond in a corner away from me. I didn’t want to touch him or see him. I didn’t want to hold my child. How fucked up is that?
The rest of it is a bit of a blur. I think they sewed me up and wheeled me into recovery where I slept for awhile. Then they put me in one of those rooms where there are 4 (or more) other moms. I remember waking up and Arthur is beside me with an exhausted husband at the foot of the bed. He hadn’t slept in over 24 hours so I sent him home to get some sleep (and also contact grandparents/friends who were anxiously awaiting news). The baby was snoozing in one of those hospital beds next to me.
I was tired but couldn’t sleep. I remember a nurse coming in and asking if I wanted to hold him and I declined. My arms and legs were still pretty numb and he seemed content in his swaddle and bed, I thought.
I could hear all the action around me. I was surrounded by moms who had birthed the day before and the room was swamped with visitors. It was divided into four by curtains hanging down. The people on the other side of my curtain thought it was ok to take my only chair (and possibly any other chairs they could find) and build some sort of living room in there. Where they continuously kept banging the chair into my baby’s crib. I tried to call out but no one heard me. Finally after the third “bang” I called the nurse and had her go chastise them. Which she did spectacularly telling them to have some respect for the other mothers and pointing out that the thing their chair kept hitting was a baby’s crib. One of the men sheepishly brought me back my chair and apologized.
Sometime in the midst of all this excitement a big bouquet of flowers arrived for me from my parents. They were dealing with a very sick pup and couldn’t come see me but sent their love via purple lilies and pink carnations. It was pretty and a nice addition to my small room. However it also made me sad because all I really wanted was my mom there beside me to tell me it’d be ok. That it was normal to feel so disconnected from my kid and that it would get better. I understood why she couldn’t be there but it doesn’t mean it hurt any less.
When the hospital discovered I was under the care of a psychiatrist and a high risk for PPD they moved me to my own private room. At no extra cost. There was even a “crashing couch” for my hubby to make use of. Only thing is that I had to stay for 5 days for “observation”.
Looking back now those first few days, even the first few months, are all kind of a blur. Mostly I remember moments and feelings.
Like the only thing that got me out of that bed the day after my c-section was the thought of a shower. I was bound and determined to take a shower. A shower will make me feel better, I kept thinking.
I remember staring at Arthur. He was quiet (due to the drugs) and wasn’t latching on properly when I tried to breastfeed. My milk was taking it’s sweet time coming in as well. He had jaundice so the hospital had him on a strict schedule of formula to “flush” it out. He was cute. He was a baby. But I didn’t feel, anywhere in those five days, that he was mine.
People kept telling me he was. I would smile and look after him and cuddle and feed and then easily hand him off to Fred so I could roll over in bed and go to sleep. I pretended to myself and others that everything was fine. But a part of me kept feeling like someone would come and take him away to his real mom. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he was not mine.
Even despite the fact he looks so much like my brother.
I felt guilt. Shame. Like a failure. Disconnection. Numb.
I didn’t show any signs of PPD and the c-section was healing nicely so when I had my staples out they sent me home.
It took a more than a few days until the feelings I had in the hospital to fade away. Even longer for a bond to form. Breastfeeding was a challenge – let’s just say he was on almost all formula and I managed to fight my way through mastitis and bad latches to get him breastfeeding without formula. (okay, the occasional bottle at night so mom doesn’t lose her mind).
After bonding I had a sudden realization like “Ah, now I SEE what all those other moms meant.” Now I can’t imagine a life without him and I look forward to our time together. The days and weeks are flying by and despite our rough start I look forward to doing it all again.
After all I have a good idea how to work on making things go differently next time – but also I have a pretty good idea how to accept them if they don’t.