Posts Tagged 'love child'

The Post Post Post

[Warning: This blog post contains personal body related information; not for the squeamish or uninterested.)

I realized yesterday, when I got what seems to be my period, that I used to blog about it every time I got it for over a year. Many, many cycles of trying to conceive were ended with me writing about the onset of my menses. Without looking back, I am sure that each of those posts were full of woe. I remember trying to convince myself that the cramping or spotting was really a result of implantation; despite its recurrence, I’d stay up late pleading with Dr. Google so I could retain the possibility of being pregnant—even one more day—until the real blood flowed.

Now, I feel truly ambivalent. It’s been 2 years since my last period, and I don’t know how to associate with it anymore. Am I technically post postpartum? I know the period will most likely change over the coming months and when I eventually stop nursing, but the onset has left me befuddled—kind of how I feel about a lot of things these days. The result of continued interrupted sleep? Probably.

I'm baack!

I’m baack!

Speaking of nursing. I always thought I’d want to nurse as long as my child would want to and let her wean as she lost interest. But lately, the constant whiny demand for “nuh-thEEEng!” has me wanting out. Getting grabbed by the shirt collar and yelled at in the face for something that is actually starting to hurt again (sore nipples) is nothing like the soulful connection Josie and I used to share. Especially now that I have to go back to cramps and bleeding, it seems like we should make a trade. I shed my uterine lining every month and she finds comfort from me in other ways.

One feeling that is mightily clear and present is that of shame. I have not figured out what to do for an income and when and how to do it. I try telling myself that being with Josie every minute of the day and getting household things done is a job, though unpaid. But my older more persistent voice says that I am lazy and entitled and “not enough.” The shame of not being a working mom is surprising to me. I have often thought the hetero-normative working mom gets a raw deal having to work and be main caretaker, cook, maid, etc. So why be so self-punishing for being a stay-at-home mom for now? Added to this shame is guilt for actually yearning to work outside the home if only to get away from Josie sometimes. I fought hard to get her into our lives; how can I now want to be away from her? Many moms have told me to just get some small job, that it’ll be worth it for the separation, yet I’m having a hard time believing that bagging groceries would make sense in the context of my new life with a pre-preschool toddler. On the other hand, the universe has been slow to deliver unto me a new and highly satisfying career idea. The thoughtful present “me” definitely feels like I have my hands full most every second of the day, but the nagging inside my head “me” is apparently a masochist.

Instead of the usual Moment of FoG (Funny or Gross), I thought I’d share some of my GaS (Gross and Sad): If you go back about 9 or 10 months of posts, you’ll see that I had some work done on my anus to relieve the incredible postpartum hemorrhoids no one tells you about. It helped a lot. But something I’m starting to come to grips with (no pun intended) is that certain functions “down there” will never come back online—not the way they were before the birth. In spite of the many months of physical therapy, I have only regained a portion of the feeling in my muscles around the episiotomy and internal (forceps and other) tearing. What this means, combined with a healthy dose of Eastern European IBS, is a constant struggle with shit. Most of the time, I can’t completely eliminate and can’t feel what has come out. The wiping is never ending, and when I try to get it all, I end up with hemorrhoids again! I know people have it a lot worse. People with broken backs who lose all feeling spend much more effort on this every day. But because I am mostly functional and only uncomfortable and inconvenienced, the time it takes from my life, as well as the pain and frustration, do not afford me any kind of disability pay; I just need to suck it up (no pun intended) and get on with life as usual. Bending over to walk Josie pushes on my gut which pushes other things, and I do this all day long. I can’t imagine getting work done in the short time Josie naps when I need that time to clean up around the house and in my caboose! The most frustrating thing for me is that, again, no one talks about this stuff. I know one other person who has similar issues, but I’ve heard of so many more from my health care providers. I wish I knew why women don’t talk about the nasty parts of pregnancy and postpartum life. Is it shame? Do we truly think our bodies are that original that no other woman has experienced something similar? I hope, at least, that sharing my GaS (don’t get me started on gas) will reach some blog reader out there and that she will feel less freaky and alone.

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ch ch ch…

Josie is four months old. What?! I have a four-month-old daughter? Since when? Who is it? Is she related to the newborn I had?

There is a really tall baby that lives with K and I, and more often than not I find her sleeping in bed with us at night. She doesn’t sleep in the swing, and she doesn’t need all 500 Fleetwood Mac songs sung to her to get her there. Once in a while, I see a smile that I used to get my baby to make at the smallest provocation; this kid needs a lot more entertainment.

Unlike newborn sleepyhead, this Josie will not go quietly into a good nap. There is much crying, and often for little result. We can easily dance or swing her for over an hour just to get 10 minutes of unconsciousness out of her. The two ways we can get her to nap any longer than that is if K wears her in the Moby wrap and never stops moving, or if I lie down and nurse her to sleep.

She grows and changes, as does our hair. Mostly the result of many months away from a barber shop and lots of mother's milk.

She still cries at this, but once she’s asleep, I can keep her that way for almost two hours — as long as her arms are wrapped very possessively around the breast and I do not move one muscle the entire time. The whole operation’s awash if I adjust to relieve hip pain. I have spent 16 hours lying on my side some days. I would let her stay up all day and night if she’d be happy, but she kvetches all day when she’s tired.

I do not like to complain about her because it is clearly a parenting fault. Some of it is teething, too. Her breastfeeding issues largely cleared up after her frenotomy, but I don’t think there’s any minor surgery that makes a baby nap! We’ve bought the No Cry Sleep Solution, but of course we haven’t had time to read it. We’ve been told over and over that we have to make the call, and soon: either we let her cry it out a few nights in a row or we have a kid in our bed till 2020. We talk about it a lot, but neither of us are up for letting her cry for hours on end. I don’t know if it’s because of post-traumatic-birth syndrome or because we’re just wusses.

In spite of the fussy sleepiness, Josie is quite an amazing, silly, fun, and delicious kid. We love playing call-and-response cooing with her. She loves making us jump in surprise by suddenly wiggling her entire body on the changing table. She cuddles us really sweetly right before bed — if I put my head over her torso, she’ll wrap her arms around it (and then proceed to pull my hair). There’s so much more to say about our patootie, but there may be only seconds left of this miracle nap K snuck her into.

From Where I Lie

I am lying on my right side, propped up on my elbow and reaching over a sleeping/nursing baby with my left hand to type on my laptop which sits precariously on the pillow buttressing said baby’s back. If K hadn’t brought me my laptop, I’d be doing what I now do 75% of my day: wish the baby was either sleeping or nursing, wonder when I’ll lose all feeling and function of my supporting arm, stare at the invariably messy room, daydream about the food I can’t access in spite of insane hunger, try to wiggle into a less uncomfortable position knowing full well I will not sleep, wonder how I’ll ever go back to working — even part time, and will myself to not pick at the baby’s cradle cap. I also take several long gazes upon the most magnificent thing I’ve ever made. So know that I am not complaining.

Who could give this baby shots??

Tomorrow is the dreaded day. J’s first round of immunization shots. I wish I was one of those conscientious parents who research the heck out of things regarding their kids, but at best I’m shaping up to be the kind of mom that puts her faith in the research of others and who looks at the health care provider over serious under-eye bags of sleep deprivation and says, “Please just tell us what to do when.” So we waited till 3 months and are doing 3 immunizations in 3 installments. I wasn’t able to be in the room when she had her frenotomy; poor K had to do that one solo. But there’s no getting out of this… there are just too damn many shots! I know J is going to do well; it’s me I’m worried for. I’m still so hormonal that I can’t even listen to K describe a dream she had about another kid hurting J. Driving by a billboard advertising child abuse awareness brings me to tears.

I suppose before I sign off, I should mention that after two sessions of intense internal hemorrhoid zapping, I am feeling a lot better. The process is crazy and one I wouldn’t recommend for a good time but totally suggest if you need it.

The Birth Story

The birth has been something I’ve tried not to think about because, though the greatest thing in the world resulted from it, the birth story includes some really difficult and scary scenes. People say it’s important to get it all integrated for the psyche’s sake. So I’ll do my best.

On Monday afternoon, Dec. 19, I had some stimulating acupuncture. Since I was already in my 38th week, we went ahead with some labor promoting (I won’t say “inducing”) stuff. At 6:20 a.m. on Dec. 20, I got up to pee (which I’d been doing several times a night for weeks), and what I assumed to be my mucal plug came out. I went back to bed and told K. From then on I began having contractions. Since we knew I would be in early labor for a while, we stayed in bed and I breathed through them. Then K got the Droid with the contraction app and started recording. She noticed that the contractions were presenting more like actual labor contractions than early labor. She called our doula, who said she’d get up, shower and come over. But during that time the contractions got much stronger, so K called a nearby friend and mom of 3 to come over while we waited. By the time the doula arrived, we were ready to head to the hospital. Quite uncomfortably, I began transitioning on the ride over and my water broke as we arrived. I couldn’t walk and it took forever to get a wheelchair.

By the time we were in the delivery room, I was fully dilated and ready to push. This was what I’ve since heard called a freight-train labor. For weeks I had been making iTunes mixes and gathering special comforting items to have at the birth, and K and I practiced the various positions we learned in our birthing class to be prepared for the hours before pushing would begin. None of it was used. Nothing came out of the bag. I pushed and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. No pain meds, no tub. I pushed for a couple of hours, and the baby’s heart rate was monitored the whole time. Her heart rate dipped, and the nurse midwife called in the OB/GYN on call. He suggested we try a different position, and the heart rate returned to normal. We could see the head, and I’d keep pushing, but then the head would retreat. When the baby’s heart rate dropped again, the doctor came back and said it was time for intervention. I had been so worried about a C-section that I never considered what other interventions might be suggested. But even in my state (screaming like a lioness), I knew that the baby was almost out and a C-section would be going about things kinda backward. I was told that I would be getting an episiotomy and forceps would be used. I was a little dumbfounded because I thought I heard/read somewhere that my hospital didn’t do episiotomies anymore. There wasn’t really time to discuss it. The next thing I knew, I was in the O.R., and with only a few shots of local anesthesia, I was cut (3rd degree), the forceps were inserted, and the baby pulled out. I heard the doctor say the cord was wrapped once around the baby’s neck, and I could see a white baby being taken away. Then I had to deliver my placenta, which I was stunned by as it came out. It was huge and beautiful. K was staying with me while the doctor stitched me up. But then the doula came over and strongly suggested (without panic) that K go over to the baby. The doula stayed with me and told me to say hi to the baby who was on the other side of the O.R. I found out much later that the baby was unresponsive for 5 minutes, and the nurses were sucking major meconium our of her lungs. When K got over to her, the baby was blue. Once she started talking to her though, the baby began breathing and pinked right up. They brought her over to me and she nursed while my stitching was being completed. The most painful part of this was when the doctor pushed the packing inside of me. Had I had pain meds during the labor, I wouldn’t have felt it, but…

The baby was fine. I, on the other hand, continued to bleed. And bleed and bleed. In the recovery room, I turned paler shades of white while the nurses came in and out to change the bloody pads and sheets. One nurse suggested I get up and go to the bathroom, since a full bladder could be pressing on the uterus and causing the bleeding. Well, it was a good idea gone awry. The elderly nurse helped me roll over and stand up without a second to just sit and adjust. After 2 seconds upright, I fainted and apparently stayed unconscious for a while. Poor K was freaking and calling my name over and over. When I came to, I was all, “What?” But I realized I had started to dream in that short amount of time and was glad to be woken. All hell broke loose at this point. The nurses were freaking as if they’d never seen a person pass out before. They put a catheter in, but a full bladder was not the problem. They didn’t know why I was bleeding so much. They ordered 2 bags of blood, and I was told that after I got those transfused, the OB/GYN would be going back inside me to try and find the source of the blood loss. I was also told I would have to have pain meds this time — preferably a spinal. Having made it through to the other side with a healthy baby, I was damned if I was going to have a spinal. But after the options were discussed with the frat boy anesthesiologist, I agreed to the spinal. I was told that the doctor would have to go into the uterus to see if the bleeding was coming from inside there, and that I would not want to feel any of it.

After hours of waiting for the blood and then more hours of waiting for an open O.R., I was wheeled back in. The anesthesiologist overrode the OB/GYN to say K could not come with me. But my nurse midwife was there, and she was very comforting. The doctor added a few stitches to my vaginal wall where a lot of tears had resulted from the forceps; luckily he did not see any abnormal bleeding from the uterus. He did have to pack me with much more gusto this time to try and stop the bleeding, but thanks to the spinal I felt nothing but some pressure. Some hours later (into the next day), I was given another transfusion since I had lost so much blood. The OB/GYN came in and told me I had lost 40% of my blood volume. Yikes! That news put a lot into perspective for me. I realized just how scared K had gotten, and that brought back some memories of how scared I had gotten when she was so ill in ’08.

I was feeling and looking a lot better with the blood in me. Unfortunately, my blood count had not improved by the next morning, and the hospital likes to see good numbers. The new crew (doctor, nurses, midwife) thought I must be bleeding internally somewhere to explain the lack of improvement (again, just according to the numbers); they had no point of reference (except to listen to and believe me) that I was really doing better. They wanted to get the IV port reinserted, give me more blood, and do CT scans. This would involve getting the dye injection, which would mean no more nursing. K and I were at a total loss because we thought we’d be headed home that day. Luckily, the original OB/GYN happened to come by (on his day off — what a mensch!) to check in; we tattled on the new crew and he saved the day by setting them all straight. He said they must have forgotten that with blood loss like that, it would take 2 weeks to see the numbers improve and that we should go home.

I was still taking pain meds every chance I could, but we left the hospital two exhausted moms and a newborn with a paper prescription instead of pills. Once we got home K fell apart and could not for the life of her get to Walgreens to fill my Rx. We called a couple people over to run some errands and help us cope. Then it was my turn to fall apart. All the postpartum hormone stuff hit me at once and I was bawling about how much I loved the baby and couldn’t stand it. That kind of crazy got worse — a lot worse, with dreams you wouldn’t wish on a death row inmate — before it got better.

Jump to now. We’re at 4 weeks postpartum to the day. Josie is eating well, mostly sleeping, and getting bigger. She is unbelievably gorgeous and sweet. I’m still healing from the blood loss and episiotomy. I’ve gained a lot of ground on the blood count front, while the discomfort in my southerly tissues seems like it’s gonna take a while to resolve (much like the stitches to dissolve). We’re being battered by the lack of sleep — about an hour at a time here and there throughout the night, but we are doing much better, getting used to nursing, changing diapers, listening to screaming when there’s nothing we can do. And it’s all wonderful because we have, after all these years of trying, the best little baby in the universe.

You’re Soaking In It

There are a few myths and a few facts about my world entry:

  1. I was a love child (aka a mistake; anyone born 13 years after the first child).
  2. My mother had an x-ray done before she knew she was pregnant with me.
  3. My mom induced me so I could share my grandpa’s birthday.
  4. I emerged from the womb with one hand moving like a ballerina’s.

I want to begin blogging the process (begun a couple years ago) of my child’s birth, so he or she (or they?) will have a good handle on their own origin myth.

When am I due? I couldn’t tell you because I’m not pregnant.

For now, I’m just basted.


(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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