Love Came Later – The Story of A’s Birth

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.

arthur

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Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day

Today is October 15.  Babybean is 4 months old.  It was also pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.

If you don’t know I’ve suffered a stillbirth recently and have also miscarried when I was younger.  When I say that Babybean was hard won, I mean it.

The loss of Joel and the way it happened caused me severe anxiety and fear when I was pregnant with Babybean.  Every single day I waited for something to go wrong.  I was acutely aware of every pain or weird feeling in my body.  I stayed awake nights terrified that I was going to roll over on my stomach and pop my water.  I couldn’t give myself permission to enjoy the pregnancy and I hid it from others for as long as I could so I wouldn’t have to “inform” them again if I lost this one too.  I think the worst though was the guilt.  Because underneath it all I was convinced it had been my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.  The Dr that was there isn’t even sure what it was.  They think an undiagnosed UTI but aren’t sure.  It’s that way with most miscarriages or stillbirths.  Despite the mother’s best try sometimes it just happens.

Which is why “personhood” bills that go through congress or parliamentary motions like M-312 here in Canada are terrifying to me.  Some see just the abortion debate and though important I want to put that aside for another day.  What scares me is this:  if a fetus is given “personhood” status and has all the rights that would award, sometimes over and above the mother, what happens when there is a stillbirth or even a miscarriage?

Does this involve a criminal investigation into neglect or even…murder?

The last thing I would have wanted after losing Joel was answering questions about my conduct during my pregnancy.  I felt guilty enough for something beyond my control.

It would also open up the floor to banishing mothers from working during their last trimester – or possibly the full term of their pregnancy.

Scary.

I didn’t light a candle today or say any prayers.  I didn’t look at photos or talk with my husband about my feelings.  I did, however, hold Babybean a little closer and paid a bit more attention to him than usual.  The anxiety I feel now is tied to being a mother and it was a hard road to get here.  I’m going to appreciate what I’ve got and fight for my rights in the future.

BabyBean

Whew!  It’s been awhile eh?  Well I’ve been a bit…distracted.  You see on June 14 I took this picture:

On June 15 FatherBean took this picture:

June 15 @ 4:15 this little Bean was extracted from my stomach by emergency c-section.  8 pounds, 7 ounces, 50 cm long.  Now he resembles this:

Everyone together now…d’awwwww

Life is insane and complicated and adorable and full of surprises now.  Hopefully things will calm down soon and I can share the birth story and some of the struggles we’ve had (breastfeeding, anxiety, grandparents) with you.

Until then…enjoy the adorable.

That’s an “i’ve just been fed” face

 

Pregnant Ponderings

So I’m pregnant. 28 weeks pregnant.  That’s more pregnant than I’ve ever been and gods willing I’ll be bringing this bean into the world in 2 1/2 months time. Probably earlier, I feel this will be an early birth. I’m not sure why I feel this way – perhaps it’s the way Arthurbean kicks me constantly as if he’s anxious to leave my belly and see the world. I think he knows the wonders that await him in this apartment (awesome dad, adorable dog, more animated movies, comics and video games than he could ever want). It’s fatherbean’s fault. He’s been reading a book on the Tardis from Doctor Who to Arthur before bed. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about the Doctor?

I’ve got sciatica, my hips constantly hurt, my back aches from simultaneously holding up a giant belly and ginormous boobs (did you know there is bigger than an H cup? I do now.), carpal tunnel is my constant friend at work, I forget things all the time but…but…but…look at my hair! It’s so thick and shiny and wavy – I touch it all the time. Fatherbean loves it as I have left it long and flowing instead of cutting it short for the oncoming summer.  So when the physical pain and inconvenience gets too much some days I just run my hands through my lustrous hair (I can use that word again hee hee hee).

Arthurbean you’ll have to stay inside a bit longer.  I have a nursery to set up, furniture to buy, a husband to prepare, classes to attend, and a baby blanket to finish knitting for you.  There’s currently a foster dog occupying your nursery (see picture) and he’ll be leaving for his new foster home in May.  Your nursery theme is puppies anyways, so he’s just been keeping it puppied for you.  We have so many useful things we need to buy you (a stroller, car seat, clothes, bottles, nibs, soothers etc etc etc) but your easily distracted mamabean keeps getting sidetracked by adorable baby plush that are in the shape of puppies.  I really hope you like puppies.

I love you already and above anything else that happens during my day I ponder the day I get to meet you, finally.

Then I remember that day comes with crazy pain and screaming (thanks prenatal classes!) and ponder something else.  Like puppies.