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

Realization At The Park

I realized something today while taking Arthur out to the park.

Seeing as it was the nicest weather we’ve had yet the park was full of happy kids and parents.  I disentangled Arthur from the Ergo and set him on the ground.  Immediately I had a mini conversation with a mother about how cute my son’s jacket is.  Another young mom came over to coo over Arthur and her little girl gave him a pat on the head.

I took Arthur over to the swings and tried to get him in – a kind mom came over and helped me fit his legs through the hole.  She made a joke about “wait till he’s older and his boots get stuck” and it hit me.

I’m one of THEM.  A mom.  An ADULT.

I think my inside teenager laughed and screamed at the same time.

I mean, I know I’m a mother.  I routinely touch the scar across my belly to remind myself of the  beginning to this tale.  My most stimulating conversation recently involved the different consistencies of baby poop and I know all the words to “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by heart.

But I didn’t realize until today that I’m a mom.

That instead of being an awkward teenager enjoying the cuteness of any given child, I understand the amount of time and effort the parents put into letting this young life shine.

Instead of being a know it all twenty something judging the mom with the screaming kids in the mall, I’m sending her looks of understanding and empathy.

Instead of sitting on the park bleachers a jaded thirty year old having a cigarette and watching the mothers in the park, I’m pushing my own kid in the swing and haven’t smoked since before he was born.

I’m the mother in the park with her child.  I’m the lady on the bus with a stroller.  I’m the woman taking up the special parking for mothers with young children.  I’ve got a family and life has changed.

Swings are AWESOME

Swings are AWESOME

I’m navigating some new social waters by chatting with other mothers.  I don’t know what topics are taboo, what compliments to their children will be taken the wrong way, how much of my nerdy inner self can I reveal before they run away in horror.  I’m in unfamiliar territory here.  Thank goodness there are some other mothers out there willing to throw me a  life jacket.

The List’s The Thing – 10 Things About Being A Mom

Lists.  They’re so hot right now.  Everyone’s doing it.

Anne at Belle Jar Blog did a list called “15 Assumptions That Might Be Useful To Make”

Make Me A Sammich posted (the very important) “10 Things Rape Is Not”

This one:  The Ten Commandments of Blog Comments I found super-useful (especially now with so many new readers and comments – HEY ALL WHAT UP?

And then there’s “10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sloths” (you’re welcome!)

So in the spirit of international post-a-list day (i’m just kidding, stop panicking and trying to find the bullet points on your computer) here’s my list.

THE TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MOM

1)   Having a baby means you can make a damn fool of yourself in public and it’s ok.  Such as singing “Some Nights” at the top of your lungs in the Wal-Mart parking lot or making weird babble-y noises while walking through the mall.

2)   Finally someone likes and applauds my singing.  And asks for more.

3)   I get to revisit all the awesome things I LOVED as a child and see them again through the eyes of my child.  I showed him the Real Ghostbusters cartoon from the 80’s today and he crapped his pants.  Though that might have been a coincidence.

4)   I don’t need alcohol to laugh hysterically while rolling around on the floor anymore.  Just a baby giving me raspberries on my tummy or wrestling-style slamming his tummy into mine.

5)   I can avoid conversations with pushy salespeople at mall kiosks (Dead sea lotion guys I’m looking at you) by pretending my baby is stinky/hungry/dangerous.

6)   There’s nothing like a mobile baby in the house to motivate dwellers to clean up after themselves.

7)   People don’t think I’m talking to myself anymore.

8)   Babies bring family and friends closer.  Also the elderly.  Whether you want them to or not.

9)   My breasts finally have a purpose above annoying me/attracting attention.  They are the perfect shelf for snacks baby hasn’t finished yet.

10)  The fact that finally someone in this house is adorably and fashionably dressed.

This post was sponsored by the wonderful day out with Arthur I had today where we traversed the wilds of Brampton, made new friends and avoided old enemies.

I constantly make lists and itineraries and then can’t stick to any of them – Freema Agyeman

My Little Big Boy

011Oh my god.  He was so tiny.  Look at that little red face.  8 pounds 7 ounces of beautiful baby boy.  I waited so long for this little man to enter my life and that life has changed in so many amazingly wonderful ways since he arrived.  I never knew I could love something so damn much.

I find myself commenting during the day how big he is.  Arthur’s 27 pounds of baby at 8.5 months and is standing as tall as most the 1 year olds we meet.  He’s crawling and can almost stand on his own without holding onto something.  He babbles constantly and I can just see those bright eyes taking in the world and figuring out his next big move.

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He’s growing and changing so damn fast.  I cried today as I put away the clothes he doesn’t fit anymore.  Soon he’ll be walking and causing no end of destruction in the house.  As I said he’s such a big boy.

But at night I get glimpses of the first three months of his life.  When he’s fast asleep and searching for me in the bed he looks just like he did days old.  Eyes closed, arms flailing, mouth puckered and making small suckling noises.  When he latches, puts his hands gently on my breast and dream feeds I just melt.

I love the little noises he makes.  The way he caresses my skin with his tiny little fingers.  Those tiny hands always remind me that despite his big personality and fast-growing body he’s still so very small.  And I will do everything to protect this little big life.

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My Love of the Ocean

When I was a little girl I was fascinated by the ocean.  My favourite animal was (and still is) the humpback whale and I dreamed of the day I could see one in real life.  I loved the sound of the ocean, waves crashing against the shore.  I loved the look of the moon rippling on the water late at night.  Colourful fishing boats floating just off of the shoreline.

Thing is…I had never seen the ocean.  Everything I knew about it I knew from pictures and National Geographic specials.

It was the one place I wanted to go.  The one natural thing in this world I desired to see with my own eyes.  I especially wanted to visit the East coast of Canada – Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland.  I was fascinated by the beauty in the pictures I saw and I thought where better to see the ocean and possibly…whales?

In my early 20’s two beautiful friends of mine took a trip to the East coast.  I couldn’t go due to financial restraints but they brought me back a little something that, to this day, is one of my precious things.

The risk is if we open this now it'll probably kill us all.

The risk is if we open this now it’ll probably kill us all.

They’d gone to the ocean and packed a small jar full of findings and seawater.  I opened it once or twice when I first got it just to smell the salty water.  I think this is still one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever gotten.

My first attempt at seeing the ocean was when I accompanied my boss on a trip to an anime convention in California.  I told him how I’d never seen the ocean so we took a trip to the shore as the sun set and dusk fell.  I could smell the sea and hear the waves but I didn’t get close to the water.  There was a palm tree and I excitedly hopped over to see it.  Which is when I was accosted by the buzzing of some sort of insect flying at me.  It was probably some kind of beetle but seriously – the sound of it’s wings made me picture something the size of my head.  I’m not good with bugs normally but when one is flying right at me and I’m in a skirt and I’m picturing the mutant june bug from hell – well let’s just say I didn’t stop moving till I was back in the car.  My boss got a good laugh over it.

It wasn’t until a few years later, after I’d met Fred and we took our first vacation together, that I got to get my feet wet.  We traveled down to Rhode Island to visit my best friend and her husband.  About an hour out from Rhode Island is…OCEAN!

oceanandme

The waves were fun and quite big!

It was windy and rainy that day so the waves were deliciously big.  I remember squealing and giggling like a little kid as the water pushed me this way and that.  I’m not a great swimmer so I didn’t go in too far but I still got wet from head to toe.  I tasted the seawater and got sand and rocks between my toes.  I reveled in the beautiful blue hues of the ocean ripples and danced in the frothy sea foam.  It was so much fun and I was in love even more with the ocean.

This bridge went OVER the ocean - it was nailbitingly HUGE.

This bridge went OVER the ocean – it was nailbitingly HUGE.

I still haven’t seen a whale in real life.  Or the east coast.  But now I have someone with whom to share my childlike wonder at the ocean and all of it’s contents.  I’m looking forward to when Arthur (and any future siblings) are old enough for a trip out East.  Because I believe it’s important for them to experience the country we live in from coast to coast – so they know why we must love and protect it.  I want him to have the joy of splashing in the waves and fond memories of days at the beach.  And I want to take him whale watching so he will understand how very, very important it is to protect the whales of the world.

But most of all I want to share with him all the things that I find wondrous and exciting because sharing those things – that’s one of the best things about being a mom.  And the ocean is the most wondrous and exciting thing of all.

Sick, sick GO AWAY!

I just don’t have the energy tonight, internet.  

It started innocent enough.  Arthur throwing up then continuing about his day like nothing had happened.  Then it hit me.  Then Fred.  For the last four days we have been fighting off this pukey plague.  Then today just as the adults of the house are feeling better my poor Bubbi wakes up all coughey and sneezey and grumpy and clingy.  He’s managed to get himself a nice case of baby bronchitis.  I am now working on little to no sleep having taken care of two babies for the last week.  

So, world.  If I’m tired and grumpy and down-in-the-dumps and just don’t have the energy to deal with anymore shit you’ll have to forgive me.

I have a baby to anxiously lie next to and stare at to make sure he keeps breathing.

Sleep is for the weak anyways.

Image

To cheer all of us up, here is this picture. Because YES.

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