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

Views From My Breast Part One – A bit of history

After the humorous nature of my last few posts I felt we should be a bit more serious this time and talk about something that’s been bugging me.  My boobs.

Oh.  Wait.  Reverse that.  Also, anyone not comfortable with the discussion of breasts and breastfeeding should probably go read something else.  I recommend this.  But for now I’m going to honour breast cancer awareness month and share with you the ups and downs of my bosom.

Over the years I have developed an extreme love/hate relationship with my breasts.  Here’s a little history.

When I was in grade seven I was pretty much on my own in school.  I was being bullied terribly by the girls in my class and taunted mercilessly by the boys.  My self confidence was shot.

One day while getting ready for gym class I noticed a group of grade eight girls changing a few benches away.  One of the girls had really big breasts.  I remember staring at them as they hung there swinging in the breeze and thinking “I wish I had breasts like that.”

They always tell you to be careful what you wish for.

By grade eight I had surpassed this girl.  I went from nothing to a C cup in less than a year.  Much to my chagrin this didn’t make me any more popular.  All it did was give them some larger targets to aim for.

By the time I started high school I was a fluctuating D/DD cup.  I was awkward and self-conscious about my weight so I took to wearing baggy shirts and jeans.    I didn’t mind my breasts so much then as I figured they helped even out my other curvy parts.  Also I’d been told/read in magazines/seen on tv that boys liked them big.

In my later school years I met a friend who was very stylish and liked to shop.  She taught me that a woman should always match right down to her bra and panties.  So I quickly abandoned the granny bras my mom had been stuffing me into from Sears and took a trip to La Senza where I quickly found out I was some kind of bra size freak.  At least by their standards.  I was a DD but a very small ribcage.  I didn’t fit in all those adorable little numbers with cherries and hearts and sparkles on them.  It was down to black or…white.  I was so jealous of my small-chested friend and her bag of cute underthings.

Over the years I considered breast reduction surgery.  As I got older and closer to having children though I knew I wanted to breastfeed so surgery was out of the question.

Ah, pregnancy.  I thought I was big before.

When I was pregnant with Joel I jumped from a DD to an H.  AN H.  Stands for HELLISHLY BIG.

Then I lost that pregnancy but my body did not return to “normal”.  I remained an H cup.

Pregnant with Bean my body decided I wasn’t top heavy enough.  So a K cup I became.  K.  Cause I could kill you with these things.

Being large chested always made things rather difficult.  Running.  Baseball.  Any kind of sport, really.  You know the scenes in anime where the guy and girl are playing some kind of sport or running or whatever and eventually they both trip at the guy ends up face first in her chest?  Or with his hand on her boob?  Yeah.  That can happen in real life.  Trust me.

T-shirts never fit right and trying to find a tank top that didn’t make me look like a porn star was a challenge.  Corsets were fun though.  Gave me a place to put my mead.

It wasn’t all bad though.  I filled out certain tops rather nicely and enjoyed having my own flotation devices while swimming.

Now that you know a bit of where I’m coming from with regards to my breasts next installment will outline the recent challenges of pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby wearing.

Until then, please enjoy this photo of Bean on the breast.

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.

But The Bone Is Too Far Away

But…But…It’s so HIGH UP THERE

See that picture there?  That’s been me the last few weeks.  The bone is a metaphor for a clean and organized house, a tidy and finished nursery, a filled with witty posts blog and an email inbox not full of un-responded to mail.  That dog is me.  Staring at something just out of my lazy-ass reach because I was too tired and sore to do anything about it.  Sitting at the computer was actually painful for awhile – my thumb and wrists are still healing.  So I’ll be coming back to this blog slowly.

The pressure is on.  The baby is almost here (one more month!) and my “nesting” instinct has yet to kick into high gear (I can usually still convince myself that playing Sims 3 on the PS3 is a much safer activity than laundry).  Tomorrow is the great clean up though.  The house is a mess so we need to get it clean and presentable.  Right now I wouldn’t have my own mother come by – and she knows what a slob I am!  The plan is that once the house is clean and I won’t be embarrassed to have company Fatherbean will invite some muscle to the house and rearrange things to my liking.  Of course we will also promise beer, pizza and possibly cupcakes.  Luckily he has many manly cousins to contact.

So starting this week I will grab that bone and devour it (not literally EWW I’ll leave it for Spitha) and my home will be clean and organized for a little while.  I hope.

I Dream of Baby

I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  When I’m stressed or the anxiety and depression are creeping back in the dreams turn to nightmares.  For example during the most anxious part of this pregnancy I kept having a recurring nightmare where I’d be coming home from work to find my precious dog dead.  In different gory ways.  It was horribly disturbing and on the days after having one I would often get off the bus and run home crying afraid that the nightmare would come true.

Thankfully things have gone from bad to weird and now instead of nightmares I have dreams that are, well, weird as shit.

Here are the top three dreams I’m having on a regular basis (with some variation each night I have them).

1)  That Babybean has somehow in the middle of the night just crawled out of me and I wake up to find him nuzzled at my breast drinking his fill of milk.  All alone.  In my bed.  Some may count this as a nightmare but in the dream I find it all perfectly normal and after cleaning him off…go back to sleep.

2)  That I give birth to my little boy except he’s not a little boy he’s a little girl.  So all the stuff I plastered with his name on it needs to be redone.  Not only does he come out a little girl he can apparently talk right out of the womb and informs me that despite his gender he wants to be a little boy.  Confused yet?  Then he/she tells me that he wants his nursery to be decorated in football theme.  See, the gender thing is fine with me (I will love and support my child no matter their “gender preference” and have often lamented the horrible gender stereotyping of baby things) but the real nightmare here is the football theme.  ICK, I say.  Football?  At least make it soccer.  Or hockey.  I am in Canada after all.

3)  That I give birth and everything goes well except that they take the baby from me at the hospital and hide him somewhere.  The nurses then inform me that in order to lose the baby weight I put on I have to walk around the hospital, read the clues they’ve left me on the walls, and find my baby.  That’s right, I’ve just given birth and I’m put through some torturous weight loss scheme at the hospital.  Oh, and when I find a clue sometimes there’s a cupcake attached just to keep my strength up.

Last night there was a super moon out and I always dream heaviest around the full moon.  I had the window shade open so I could bathe in Her lovely light as I drifted off to sleep.  I don’t remember any dreams from last night and actually feel very rested today so perhaps the moon blessed me with a night of darkness and good sleep.

Which means I’m in for it tonight.  Hoo-boy.

Joel’s Story – One Year Later

“To Remember Is Painful
To Forget Is Impossible.”
~Maureen Connelly

Last year on May 5th I gave birth at 19.5 weeks.  He didn’t make it.  This is the story of what I went through that day in hopes that it will help another somehow and that sharing it will help ease the pain I still feel.  Read at your own discretion, I’ve decided to hold nothing back.

Continue reading

She’s a Rambling

Apropos of nothing, here’s a video of adorable Japanese mascot commercials.  Just because.

I’m 33 weeks and counting.  My feet are still swollen so much that the only shoes I’m wearing are flip flops despite the colder spring weather.  Babybean has gone from movements only I can feel to protruding limbs that everyone can see.  It’s something else to sit and watch your belly ripple and bumpy bits of flesh poke out of it while you have no control over anything in that area.  I’m not sure I like the sensation but I am fascinated by it.  Even Fatherbean gets to see the show once in awhile if he can drag his ass away from TV Tropes on the internet long enough to take an interest.  I’m freaking tired ALL THE TIME now.  No energy to do even the simple tasks.  Which is pissing me off as the nursery isn’t even clean let alone finished painted and I don’t have time to do it with work draining every last inch of my sanity and…and…*cries*.  Oh, yeah, the crying.  Lots of it.  I have reason to be but also, GAGH.  Too much.

Agis is gone and I miss him.  Spitha is still here and being awesome but I do miss the youthful energy that Agis brought to the house.  Agis isn’t doing well in his new foster home and is having aggression issues.  They will have their work cut out for them and for awhile it looked as if he was going to be shipped off yet again – which set me off into a world of despair that had me anxiously thinking I’d let him go to his doggy death – but thankfully a dog behaviorist has stepped up to the plate and things are progressing slowly.  I feel horrible and guilty and like I failed him.  But I had to do what was best for him and for my family and need to take solace in the fact I did just that.

I’m also on some meds.  Cipralex to be exact.  Just a bit to start and it seems to be working.  I’m less anxious and other than normal pregnancy stuff seem to be taking small steps to enjoying this last couple months.  Also the Dr overseeing my therapy sessions with the Comorbidity Clinician reminds me of David Tenant’s Dr Who.  Seriously.  He’s young and talks JUST LIKE DR WHO.  Even Fatherbean agrees.

Now, I just need to get that room done.  Oh yeah, I’ve also been crafting – painting things and knitting things for baby – so I’m feeling a bit more accomplished.  Today was a “sick” day from work (thanks to a killer migraine this morning) and I managed to finish painting Babybean’s step stool tonight.  And eat ice cream.  That was the important part.

I want to try and get back into my blogging groove though it’s hard.  The energy being sapped from me often leaves me speechless or unable to communicate.  With the pills settling in and life taking a turn for the better though I think I can get back into the swing of it.