Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Birth Story - Part 3

So when we last met I was on the operating table feeling my surgery and losing my mind. The nurse said "Oh God" and scared me and I have no idea what she was saying that about.

That's when Husband said "She's here!! She's out!" and I became very delirious. My memory is spotty here, though I remember hearing the baby screaming her head off and being very, very relieved. She screamed and screamed and the nurses started talking (I kid you not) about a deal on a cruise that they were thinking about going on.

Then I got nauseous, like the scary nausea when you know puking is non-negotiable, so I panic because I am strapped to a table and can't sit up to be sick. I start yelling that I don't feel good and they hand me a weird blue wand thing and tell me to use it to puke, but I can't figure out what to do with it, so I breathe deeply and blurt out "ZOFRAN!!" to the amusement of the staff. But guess what? The anesthesiologist had it right there and pushed it into my IV and I wasn't nauseated anymore, which was a small miracle.

And speaking of small miracles, my Husband was off doing some kind of gross, ceremonial cord cutting that I couldn't see and FINALLY the anesthesia had kicked in so I could hear the doctor closing me up with a staple gun, but thank God couldn't feel it anymore. It seemed like a long time passed but they finally brought me the baby all wrapped up and with a hat on and I don't remember the moment as well as I wished I did, but I remember being shocked at how nice she looked and that her eyes were open and she was blinking calmly. She didn't look all swollen and smushed like most newborns and I later learned that C-section babies look better in general because they have less trauma. The doctor said she looked like a little ballerina and all the nurses said she was so cute. They probably say this to everyone, but I like to think it's true. I also remember that I talked to her and said I was so happy that she was here and glad she was ok before they took her away and then bizarrely I asked if she had teeth. This I can only attribute to the drugs.

They wheeled me into the recovery room and the nurse Sue pointed at me and said "NO TALKING for one hour" so I lie there and shook violently for an hour while my family came and talked to me and I couldn't respond. They had seen the baby in the nursery and were telling me about how she was very alert and healthy looking.

In an hour I stopped shaking (it's from the anesthesia) and I was wheeled to my room and rolled over onto my bed in a most humiliating fashion, where I was rinsed off, put into horrible, gigantic mesh underwear and given more drugs in an IV. Two nurses, who I'm convinced wanted to kill me by then, pushed forcefully on my abdomen and it was awful. I know this is necessary, but jeez it didn't feel good.

It took about two hours before they finally brought me Baby Lawns and let me hold her. She was all swaddled up and wearing this adorable yellow hat with a pom pom on top that hospital volunteers knit for the new babies and she was just so damned cute! I was sad that it took me two hours to see her. I had read all sorts of things about how those first moments are essential to bonding and how the baby needs to nurse immediately and all that, but she seemed to know me because she started rooting around instantly. It amazed me that she knew to do that and she latched right on and nursed for about ten seconds before falling asleep. The nurse told me then the reason for the emergency C-section.  Baby Lawns was tangled up in her cord and could not descend. She was stuck up high in a sideways position and couldn't put pressure on my cervix to progress the labor. There is no way that the C-section could have been avoided in this case and I am thankful for it, even though it caused me suffering. It really is major surgery and not something to be taken lightly. It's incredibly scary and painful and the recovery is rough. Don't let anyone tell you it's easy.

My hospital stay is a blur, probably because I was so drugged up. I really hated that I was taking oxycontin and it made me sick. I was also on Benadryl for the itching and that messed me up more than anything else. I had to have the baby in the nursery because I was so incoherent from it that it wasn't safe. That made me sad too.

More things made me happy than sad though. Baby Lawns was beautiful and sweet and liked to sleep on my bare skin. She got a little jaundiced but it went away without treatment. I threw up and went nutty from the oxycontin but that went away in about a week. I also had severe anxiety after we took her home about something happening to her. I was terrified that she would stop breathing and to be honest, I still am and I dread the nights because I'm so scared of the times when I'm asleep and can't watch over her, but I'm getting better as time goes on and she gets stronger.

We had a rough couple of weeks because my milk took forever to come and she had sucking issues. She lost too much weight so she had to be supplemented with formula and I was so upset about that, but it's been ten weeks today and things are straightening out. We're into a nice routine and she's become so vibrant and full of life. She loves people and just smiles and smiles now. She started that a couple weeks ago and her smiles get stronger every day. It's as if she smiles with her entire body and I love it. I love waking up with her every morning and seeing her smiling and kicking.

This child is so her father's daughter though. I have a feeling she is going to require a lot of energy from me because she doesn't stop moving and I can just tell she is itching to get big enough to get into things and move around on her own. She loves looking at things and interacting with people (and stupid ceiling fans for some reason). She even smiles at the cat. The child never stops moving, even in her sleep. It was kind of worrying me actually, but she is very happy and rarely cries, so I guess she's ok. I'm trying so hard not to be neurotic about her. I've been told that I'm lucky because she stays up all day and sleeps in intervals at night. When she's up at night she nurses and goes back to sleep without making a fuss.

So much has surprised me about having a baby. Mainly, I'm surprised at how much I love it and how calming and pleasant it is to care for her. Except for obsessing about her breathing, I'm not stressed out. I love being with her and holding her. I even love breastfeeding, which was a huge shock to me. I thought I'd hate it and that it would be terrible, but it really isn't at all. You read so much stuff on the Internet about babies and screaming and poop and stress, but my experience has been so positive. Birth itself is awful, but taking care of a baby is actually pretty nice.

Right after she was born I swore I'd never do it again, but ten weeks in I'm thinking maybe I could give her a sibling one day.


Heather said...

Aww! See, told you you could do it. :) Glad everything is rocking and rolling now and you're in a happy place. Mwah!

Melanie said...

What a sweet story! I had 2 C-sections, so I can relate to much of your experience. I'm so glad that you have settled into a happy routine and that you love being a mom. I knew you would! I always thought you'd make an excellent mother. Congratulations once more!

Green said...

I think I'd be most worried about SIDS too, but two things made me worry about it a lot less:

1. A great study was done showing babies with fans (on, obviously) in their rooms don't die of SIDS because the air moving inspires babies to breathe

2. A friend of mine had an Angel Care monitor - it's an alarm you put underneath wherever the baby is sleeping and it goes off if it detects the baby's stopped breathing so you can go in and ... do whatever one's supposed to do in that situation (infant CPR?).

I'm really glad you're grooving on the mothering and that you got a happy baby.

One Mean MFA said...

Having siblings is awesome, I hope there is a Baby Lawns 2.0. I'm sure you could come up with a better name. Also, missed your posts.

Robin in Ohio said...

Hang in there, dear! It only gets better from here. It sounds to me like you're doing just fine at being a mother.
Congrats to all the members of the Lawn family!

Anonymous said...

This is so lovely, I'm glad now we got it in such long intervals! Didn't you say in the first one how you wanted to tell the whole story and that if people knew they would never have babies? Guess not any more :)

Anonymous said...

Dear W.L.,
Squeee! How sweet and lovely! I hate to be a badger, but, WHAT IS HER NAME?
All the Best,
Lil Skraps

Anonymous said...

That's so wonderful! I still stand by my earlier "I love my IUD" comment, but I'm glad you're enjoying your baby!

Green, if the baby stops breathing, you pick it up - that should startle them it into breathing again - and get them medical attention.

Kate said...

Not everyone has a terrible experience and recovery from a c-section. I would never presume to tell anyone that they shouldn't share their own personal experience, but I think it's really irresponsible to make blanket statements that imply that it's the same for everyone. Not everyone reacts poorly to anesthesia, not everyone feels their incision, and some people bounce back really quickly. The differences in experiences are just so personal.

When people insist on making generalized statements insisting that a birth experience has to be one way or another, it perpetuates the idea that there's some way to "fail" giving birth.

janet from chicago said...

Great birth story!

I also had a major case of the baby breathing anxiety when my son was an infant -- I used to go into his room at night to watch him breathe, just to reassure myself that he was breathing. You WILL eventually stop worrying about SIDS; it will just take awhile (for me it was about when he hit two).

I am so happy for you that the breastfeeding is going so much better! I have deep affection for forensic files now, as that was one of the only watchable programs on a 3am. TV is the optimal activity for the mother during breastfeeding - just ask any mother who breastfeed her child.

Go Wide Lawns! You rock & we love you!

Joyce said...

I'm so happy to see you back blogging again! Believe me, I've been checking daily.

I'm so thankful I was NOT an NICU nurse when my kids were born. I would have worried about everything.

I go to c sections almost every night that I work. At our hospital, the baby goes into the recovery room with mommy, on a warmer. Mom gets to stay with her the entire time. It's very comforting for mom. And I help them breast feed just as soon as they feel able. Usually in the recovery room!

Every birth is different. Some have it easier than others. Mom's usually report a second birth as wildly different from the first. Don't be afraid to have a second child. You'll be amazed!

Kirby said...

I always felt that it's not that you forget the pain of childbirth, just that at it becomes worth it.

JoeinVegas said...

Glad your daughter is doing well - sounds like it all ended up OK with her. Sorry your experience wasn't so good.

Delainie said...

The baby I nanny for LOVES the ceiling fan also! He's got his near inconsolable times, and the ceiling fan is about all that will stop his crying sometimes. I knew you'd be a great mama!!

Jan in Illinois said...

Oh Wide Lawns, Congratulations on your happy, healthy and beautiful baby girl!

I hope you realize that everything you experienced emotionally is a normal part of the baby blues. I had a vaginal birth with my first and it was as traumatic for me as your c-section sounds like it was for you. I also had the baby breathing anxiety and about 1,454 other anxieties as well. As she gets older and you realize she is happy and healthy, you will be able to breathe easier. I found myself being sad because we had to supplement formula, because the baby had digesting issues and had to go to the nursery, because I had to shower and not be with her every. single. second of her life. Baby blues. It gets better!

But don't get me started on junior high girls and the ages of 11-13 and how these other girls are giving my girl a hard time and turning me into a homicidial maniac. ;)

Graham said...

After such a harrowing introduction to the birth of your baby (honestly, after reading your first two posts, I finally started to understand why women say we men have it easy because we don't have to experience childbirth), I'm delighted to hear that you're so happy with Baby Lawns. Congrats, and thanks for writing such an awesome blog.

SunSpotBaby said...

Wow - this sounds like my daughter's first C-section, except that her incision got an infection and it was laid wide open (I mean WIDE - about 2 inches and you could see down to through the fat) and it had to be cleansed 3 times a day and no one (including her husband) had the courage to do it, so it fell to ME who wasn't all that enthused to do it at all, but somehow soldiered thru and after about three weeks the darn thing finally closed and she was able to go home. Thank God her next 2 C-sections were normal.

Anonymous said...

You had a horrendous experience, sounds as if the drs nurses hospital are all quacks, yes giving birth is no walk in the park, I know that, my baby was prem, had complications, I had complications, I was in full force labour for 4 days when she suddenly got stuck in the birth canal with the cord around her neck, she was tiny tiny didn;t even fit into prem clothes and it was not even a bit as bad as yours sound. my epi and spinal block was completely pain free. You would think living in SA I was suppose to get the quacks. Glad u both ok though

Anonymous said...

so happy to have read your story.
and so glad you have a beautiful time with your daughter.

Suffer Kate said...

Wait, is there not more? I find myself checking every day. Please tell us more!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy her.
My daughter is 25 and getting married. It happens so fast.
nice story.

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

Yay! Maybe another Baby Lawns! It's funny, reading your description, a lot of the same problems that I had came flooding back to me in memory. I had all but forgotten the problems with breast feeding, the jaundice, throwing up during labor, the fears when you first bring them home . . . I guess you really do only remember the good stuff. Congratulations.

cathryn said...

Wow - thank you so much for posting this! I read all three parts and just cried. My son was born by emergency c-section after 47 hours of labor on November 23rd and my experience was so incredibly similar to yours, although you expressed it far better than I ever could!

I really wish more women would be as honest and raw about traumatic birth experiences because it really helps to know that I'm not alone. It's comforting to know someone else understands so intimately what I've been through - and what probably many women have gone through.

I'm so happy to hear you were able to breastfeed! :) I think that's another topic that needs some honesty. I read and was told over and over again that breastfeeding would be natural and that every woman can do it and that only lazy selfish women choose to formula feed their babies. So. of course I was absolutely devastated when I found out I couldn't breast feed. It just added to my deep sense of failure. Fortunately, at 10 weeks, life is better. :)

Anyway, congratulations on your wonderful little baby girl!! :) And thanks again for posting.

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