11.26.2007

Born To Me

Well, she’s here. Thankfully, blissfully, finally here. And if her entrance into this world is any indication, she’s gonna be trouble.

If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that best-laid plans are simply that, and that there are no guarantees.

Like a baby remaining head-down at 41 weeks and 2 days gestation. Apparently, in my grand naivety, I thought we had this one in the bag.

I woke up Wednesday morning early, sad to have to say goodbye to my sister and niece who, after a nearly 3-week stay had to travel back to BC to fulfill a previously-made commitment. Seems naivety runs in my family, as my sister was sure that this child would have made her entrance by then. Ensconced in panic that our labour/childcare support plans A, B and C was walking out the door, we hastily implemented plan D, and Chris’ mom was on a train to Toronto within the hour. My sister joked that more than sex, spicy food or acupuncture, her stepping on a plane would surely be our successful method of labour induction. She wasn’t far off.

That afternoon, as Chris and Bee headed to the train station to pick up my mother-in-law, I went to my scheduled midwife appointment. We joked about some of the non-traditional induction methods we might think of implementing as Tracy, my midwife, felt my belly. Abruptly, the joking stopped and Tracy looked at me more seriously than she had throughout this or my previous pregnancy with her.

‘She’s transverse again.’

Oh, good Christ on the cross, I thought, this child is so grounded when she’s born.

After much palpating, consultation and discussion with all of the midwives in the clinic, Tracy sent me home for a vigorous walk with Chris. She would be back at my place in a couple of hours, and we would map out next steps then.

So off we go, in the pouring, cold rain, to try to walk this baby back into head-down position. We had already discussed the possible courses of action and outcomes, so really, the time we were given was pretty much just to come to peace with what lay ahead. At that point, only one thing was pretty certain – this was not going to be the birth we had expected.

Sure enough, Tracy’s visit revealed no new information, and we headed to the hospital for a consultation with an OB. The only time I had ever been in this particular hospital was to register for each of my births, and though I can see the place from my bedroom window, I certainly never expected that one day I would be looking out the window of the hospital back at my house.

In triage we met the on-call OB, a warm, straightforward doctor originally from Africa, who went over the options that Tracy had alluded to. Really, this whole part was a ruse, designed to make me and Chris feel as though we actually had options. We didn’t. Well, we did. We could choose to wait for or implement a couple of risky things that would most likely end in an emergency c-section, or we could plan for a c-section now, and at least enjoy the benefits of controlling as many of the circumstances as possible. It didn’t take long for us to let them know our ‘choice.’

The next 4 hours were completely surreal. Even though I was now well on my way to delivering via c-section, I had a really hard time realizing that it was me that would have to actually go through it. As the IV was set up and inserted, as we walked the hallways with the drip, waiting to be summoned to the OR, as Chris was taken away to be gloved, gowned and masked and as I was prepped for and administered a spinal block, I had this weird sensation that this was just all part of some third-person narrative, and that this was not actually happening to me.

The morphine helped. Stupidly, I thought it was the oxygen going up my nose that was making me kind of giddy, and I remember remarking that it was obvious why people liked going to oxygen bars. I believe it was the anesthesiologist that said, ‘Oh, they don’t get what you’re getting at the oxygen bar!’

So Chris came in, the surgery began, and so did the puking. I’m a puker. It actually had a pretty good distraction factor, and I don’t really recall much sensation of the surgery because of it. Or maybe that was the morphine.

At any rate, our baby was born healthy and purple at 1:37 am, the news of which I believe I reacted to by barfing. She had a good rubbing by my midwives, and then was able to enjoy skin-to-skin contact with Chris, which I think was really wonderful for him, and helped him recover from looking over the sheet just a little too early and peering into a pool of my blood with a purple leg sticking out.

The next couple of hours, also blurry, due to the rush of hormones, and well, morphine, but I do remember a few things about being in recovery. I remember ice chips, and I remember the baby practically crawling up my chest to latch herself onto my boob, and I remember Chris holding the little blue trough over the baby’s head so that I could puke without disturbing her first meal.

The hospital stay was not as bad as I had anticipated a hospital stay being, and improved greatly once a private room became available after the first night. The nurses were attentive, and for the most part very warm and considerate of both the fact that I was a midwife’s client and the fact that I intended to make informed decisions, but I still managed to piss a few of them off. Like after the decision not to allow them to bathe the baby after 8 hours on the outside, and the decision to not allow them to repeat the jaundice blood test after the first, administered with the PKU, did not yield enough blood to get results. You poke my baby 3 times already and leave a bruise on her heel and you are not my friend. You’re not coming back for more.

I also pissed off a night nurse who didn’t like my latch. She woke us up in the middle of the night to check temp/blood pressure for the millionth time, and at that point the baby was pretty much asleep on the boob, after having nursed for a good half hour previously. She was slipping off already, and the nurse was concerned that she was too high up on the nipple. I insisted that she was ok, that I was in no pain, and that this was just fine for a baby that had just been nursing lying down for a while. The nurse clucked at me and left, and Chris made a joke that she was going to sic a lactation consultant on us. I balked, but sure enough, at 8 am the next morning, there was a knock on the door and in walked Lori, the lactation consultant. I happened to be nursing at that point, and her visit was a very short one, especially when I told her that I had just weaned my firstborn 5 months prior.

Rest assured that although I viewed this as a minor, humourous annoyance, I am impressed and happy that so much effort is made to ensure breastfeeding success. I’m just not used to someone second-guessing my mad breastfeeding skillz.

Anyway, I was released on Saturday, early by hospital standards, and again I was thankful that I had my midwives as both advocates for my release and as dedicated caregivers responsible for overseeing my recovery at home.

Home, ahh. It’s better to be here for sure (hospital food really is as bad as everyone says it is, although Bee loved the copious amounts of jello I always saved for her), but the realities of recovering from abdominal surgery are slightly more vivid than they were in the hospital. Apparently I’m healing very well, and Tracy took my staples out today, but I’m a bit overwhelmed by the long road to full recovery. No steps until next week if I can help it, and no picking up Bee for 6 weeks. The pain is manageable, peaking at night or when I sneeze (holy fuck, sneezing hurts), and I’ll milk this for as long as I (or Chris) can manage.

And the baby? Holy mother of sweetness, she is worth any discomfort, any discarded birth plan, any sneeze trauma and any perma-paunch that comes my way. I forgot how tiny, how alien, how fascinating, how miraculous new babies are. As for the bond that I always thought could only come from the anticipation and hormonal rush of early labour; from feeling my body extract my child in an intense choreography of pleasure and pain; from that new baby being placed immediately on my chest; from introducing Bee to her baby sister in the warm, welcoming comfort of the bed that she had also been born in – well, I was wrong about that. I didn’t have any of those things this time, but the result is there. The result is the same, and it is powerful. She is my baby. She was born to me. And she is love.




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34 comments:

  1. It's amazing, this... How much we love them, regardless of how they make their way into the world, changing any well-laid plans along the way.

    I'm sorry you didn't get the birth you planned or wanted, but the end result? Just gorgeous!

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  2. She is absolutely beautiful.

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  3. *happy tears*!!! She's beautiful! SO beautiful!! My little rascal was purple when he was born, too...! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. oh sister..she's so beautiful. YOU are so beautiful.

    you are the love, girl. it's you.

    happy, happy family.

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  5. Adorable and so sweet.

    I know how crappy things can go when your birthing plans go out the window. I too, had a c-section and spent many a month feeling betrayed by it. My advice? Feel that baby's warmth on your skin and wrap yourself in her milky breath. Some day she'll be 4.5 years old and the memories of her birth will be washed away by the new memories you have of her singing "I'm A Barbie Girl, in a Barbie World.." Oh wait - is that just me?

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  6. I am sorry you had to give up the birth plan. The Boy was breach and I had to have a c-section too, so I am intimately familiar with the "choice" that is not really a choice at all. The recovery was hard for me and took the full 6 weeks. No fun. I hope it goes better for you than it did for me. If you need any help at all you just let me know.

    Other than that, yes, the result is the same. And what a beautiful baby girl you have! I am so, so happy for you! You are truly blessed.

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  7. Oh, she is SO gorgeous! And I'm sorry her birth didn't go as planned but so glad she's here safe and sound. Gorgeous!! Take care during recovery... it's not fun, but it goes...

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  8. Oh Kgirl - I just can't take my eyes off her. She's so perfectly lovely! (I laughed out loud at the "she is so grounded" line.)

    This was truly a gorgeous post... thanks for your story! (Less than 10 weeks and counting for me...)

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  9. congratulations. she is lovely. hoping for lots of sleep and healing for you in the next few weeks.

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  10. I'm in tears here! I'm so happy for you. What a sweet little thing... (and my Boy, the most horrid of my birth experiences, has by FAR the sweetest temperment of my children.)

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  11. She's absolutely beautiful. Worth all the vomiting for sure.

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  12. And this is why I want to sit and learn at your knee. You have class, sister. In the truest sense of the word.

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  13. This is my favourite birth story ever.

    She is beautiful. Congratulations to all of you.

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  14. You sound very accepting of what had to happen and in the end that will go a long way. Your newbee is gorgeous! Congrats and welcome to the mommy of 2 club - it really is all worth it in the end.

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  15. She is beautiful. Truly beautiful. And now, may that tummy of hers heals.

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  16. congratulations, she's so perfect!

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  17. Your post made me cry, right here, eating lunch at my computer at work. Congratulations on a beautiful baby. She is beautiful!

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  18. Aw, all teary over here! I'm sorry to hear you didn't get to do things the way you hoped, but as you say, and as I discovered with my own c, sometimes you have to do what is safe and will end in the result you want, no matter if it's your choice or not. I'm glad you have such a lovely ending to share.

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  19. oh what a story! take care of yourself--recovery from a c-section can take longer than you think. try putting a pillow over your tummy and hold it there when you sneeze or cough--saved me a lot of pain!.

    she is a little, sweet angel.

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  20. what a great post.
    GAH. she's beautiful!

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  21. Congratulations on the beautiful addition to your family. So gorgeous, so worth the wait, huh? And as a fellow sister in c-sectionhood, I wish you a speedy recovery.

    Congrats again!!

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  22. oh she's gorgeous!
    Congrats. You are amazing!

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  23. Trouble indeed.

    Gorgeous, lovely, adorable trouble.

    I'm so happy for all of you.

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  24. she's beautiful!

    thank you for sharing your story...sorry things didn't go according to plan, but very glad to hear everyone is home, happy & healthy.

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  25. Oh my, the heartless, cold, emotionless motherbumper is all teared up over that picture and tale of her birth - oh oh oh oh oh my ovaries.

    She is perfection - just like her big sis and Mom.

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  26. Yes... she is the love.

    When my cold is finished I am going to come over and pay LOTS of attention to #1 and pretend to ignore #2.

    I am so happy for you.

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  27. blah, blah, blogNovember 28, 2007

    '...she is love' and lovely!

    Congratulations and good work. You two really do make beautiful babies.

    I hope the healing is going well and that you've fallen blissfully under the thrall of baby pheromones, as have I.

    How could I have forgotten about the warmth of their little bodies as they lay curled and sleeping on your chest, the smell of their soft whisps of hair as you kiss their heads, the satisfied little grunts and coos on the breast, the way their hands move like exotic birds... is this a run-on sentence?!

    Funny to compare notes about Dr. B. Maybe he wasn't as bad as I recall? Maybe he was just having a bad day? It made me realize the extent to which I went into OB/hospital care with a closed mind.

    Then again, he did list my options as 'being induced this morning or waiting until you go into convulsions and cutting the baby out of you then'.

    And I was being entirely attitude free and complient.

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  28. Congratulations K, she is so precious, sweet and beautiful! I'm glad things went well despite not the way you wanted, I hope your recovery from the C sec is quick.
    I can't believe the nurses wanted to give her a bath so soon...what is up with that???

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  29. only you could write a birth story so perfectly - so smoothly, so humorously, with a few good swears inserted at all the right places.

    and, oh, my good lord, she's *beautiful*. so happy for you. all teary, in fact.

    sigh.

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  30. Unbelievable!

    Happy to hear than mother and baby are ok. Wishing you all lots of nauchas (sp?).

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  31. Holy hell, I didn't know she was here already! My Bloglines didn't update your blog for some reason.

    She's gorgeous! I'm sorry you had to go through the c-section. I did with my first because she wouldn't turn from breech, so I understand dealing with a stubborn baby. I'm impressed they let you breastfeed in the recovery room - sounds like a great hospital.

    Get lots of rest, and hold a pillow against your stomach if you feel a sneeze coming on (or laugh, for that matter). Hope you heal quickly.

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  32. What an absolute beauty. Congratulations. You did great.

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  33. I'm so sorry I missed this! I was thinking of you and thought, holy heck, she can't still be preggers! She'd be huge!

    Congrats on surviving the pregnancy, the delivery and mostly on making such a beautiful baby girl. She's gorgeous.

    Well done, momma.

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