Thursday, January 15, 2009

Settle in for some mama rambling

As badly as I would like this to be poignant, if I insist upon that point I will paralyze myself with the certainty of failure. So it is what it is.

I felt like a failure as a mother heading into this delivery. As much as I had managed to dwell upon the experience of being pregnant, I had never managed to give much meaningful thought to the person coming at the end of it. I knew he was coming of course, but I couldn't quite wrap my brain around a non-Sir O-entity coming from me, and besides Sir O himself had barely allowed me any meditative time in the past 6 months. Combine that with the whooshing sound that is the holiday season and my third trimester whizzing past and you arrive at the hospital at 7am terrified that you haven't bonded one iota with the being about to exit your innards.

And he didn't have a name yet. Of course every doctor and nurse and CNA and resident that passed through our room had to ask about that. We started to feel really sheepish about this no-name baby of ours.

8am: So, while I got all hospital-gowned and IV-ed, (and man, does getting an IV ALWAYS hurt like that? I am a weakling with a very low tolerance for pain, I know.) I had Mr Renn pull out the 6 generation family history chart I'd made, as well as his list of names.... (after making about 30 of them during Sir O's pregnancy I never even made one this time around...) plus a baby name book I'd panicked and bought at Target at the last second. We got to work discussing names in earnest (and playing card games) while they set my pitocin drip at the lowest level and mostly left me alone.

10am: Still no name. We seemed to have narrowed the field a bit though. My Doctor arrived to check on me, and disagreed with the Resident about the station of the baby's head. The Resident seems to think the baby had a long way to drop yet, and I'd been unhappy to hear that. But the pitocin was doing it's thing, there was no turning back. My doctor and the anesthesiologist had a c-section coming up, so the nurse told me to be more dramatic about my pain level so I could get my epidural before they headed into surgery. I laughed at being told to be more dramatic about pain (nobody is more dramatic about pain than I am)... and the nurse got very stern with me.

Sometime before noon I got the most perfect epidural known to man. I could feel pressure but not pain, I could still move all parts of my body. I could tell when I was contracting, but only just. I was happy.

Sometime after noon the Doctor stopped by to break my water. The nurse immediately frowned and said "the baby didn't like that." I assumed it had something to do with the baby's heart rate and I panicked a little bit inside. They turned the pitocin off for a while and I put on my bravest face, wishing somebody would tell me there was nothing to worry about (because there probably wasn't). I was put on oxygen, which is deafeningly loud and made it difficult to follow what was going on around me.

1pm Still no name, although we'd narrowed it to only 3 or 4 options. The nurse asked if I was feeling any pressure and I said no. About 5 minutes later I realized I feel an urge to push and we got nervous when nobody came to check on us for a while. Nervous nervous nervous.

For some reason I've been much more nervous about this pregnancy than the last. With Sir O I felt perfectly secure that everything would go well from beginning to end, and for whatever reason this time I've taken nothing for granted. I assume it has to do with being so far away from my family support system, but who knows?

Whenever my nurse did return to check on me, I was a fully crowned 10 cm. She commented that it was a good thing I had the epidural, or the baby would come "flying out of there". Everyone told me not to push until the Doctor could get there.

I FINALLY got the butterflies about meeting my baby.

Sometime between 1:15 and 1:30 my Doctor arrived and the pushing began in earnest. My nurse who'd been mostly sweetness became stern with me again and kept saying to "give me a good push this time." But she also told me not to puff out my cheeks or I'd break blood vessels in my face. I was thinking "Who cares about my face? Let's get the baby out safely!" To the best of my knowledge, no new blood vessels were broken...

I could tell there was a problem at some point. It didn't take nearly this long to push Sir O out. My Dr didn't want to cut, he says it's bad for business. (Can't blame him, PA is a sue-happy state) But I heard snippets through the oxygen about the cord being pinched, and I heard the Dr. say, "we've got to get this baby out". Holy panicked mama. I started feeling waves of guilt for not pushing hard enough (like I could have pushed harder somehow? don't ask a woman in labor to be rational) and channeled my whole soul into somehow pushing hard enough to get it done quickly. My doctor performed some special maneuver that I WISH Mr Renn had seen fit to NOT share with me afterwards; I all but HEARD myself tearing, and then, despite the oxygen, hyperventilated a bit. My Doctor was trying to get my attention to tell me to stop pushing and to look down. And there was a new human being (luckily entirely intact) looking all gray and pink in his newness and entirely flesh of my flesh. My soul claimed him immediately. I shook for a thousand reasons.

2pm I held this nameless baby for the first time and all I could say was "oh" over and over again. That seems to be my word for moments like this. So much for eloquence. He was squinting at the world and being gentle but firm about how cold he found it to be here. He was whisked away by the nurses, who immediately notice his skin tag (right ear) and commented about how when you see those you have to double check the baby to make sure he has all his "holes". I panicked again. Mr Renn confessed to me that he has skin tags in his armpits, and I wondered why I'd never known or noticed that.

We worried collectively for at least another hour while we waited for our baby to unchill under the warming light. As worried as I felt, I was relieved to feel so worried. It meant I was attached! I'm a good mother! I haven't thought about Sir O all day! That reminded me.... I had Mr Renn call and check on Sir O and all was well. Mr Renn had sent out texts and cameraphone pictures, but now it was time to call our parents.

Only we didn't want to call them until the baby had a name.

So once we were finally holding him again (sweetest relief, all was well). We drilled and we wrote names out and stared at them, and in the end I was the one that consented, because Mr Renn should feel he has some say in naming his children, and with Sir O he was the one who consented. Luckily, as we christened the Captain by calling my mom and announcing his name, I was completely at peace with it.

And the best part is that Sir O can already say his name with no trouble. How is that for a bonus?

I have consigned myself to the reality that I will likely never deliver a baby without an episiotomy. Thus recovery will always be ugly and longish. BUT WORTH IT.

And the Captain is an easy peasy baby. He barely fusses, sleeps for long stretches, and figured out how to latch on in about 10 minutes. All of his "holes" are intact and fully operative. He can sleep through Sir O throwing a royal tantrum, and tolerates being batted around the face and having his hats consistently stolen by the same Sir O. Pretty much perfect.

I did have one baby bluesy panic attack when I realized I would not have the luxury of holding this baby and leisurely thinking exclusively of him for more than 12 seconds at a time. Sir O is a handful, and that just has to be ok. Somehow I've got to configure some kind of balance between the two little boys who both want all of me.

But I love them both, and that's the sweetest thing.


The Libutti Family said...

Em... beautiful post! I love hearing birth stories and all of their rollercoaster-emotion drama. Just to reassure you, when I had daughter #2, a very natural and subtle shift occurred in my relationship with daughter #1. It was nothing I thought about consciously and certainly she couldn't verbalize it (she was three) but the whole shift made caring for and bonding with #2 very natural and easy. #2 is now 3 and a half and stoic my dad recently confessed to me that he was very worried when #2 arrived that #1 was going to freak out. But it was okay. Hope you experience the same peace in your house... I loved seeing my daughters interacting... #2 is #1's BIGGEST fan!
You're in my prayers... so glad it's going well!!!

The Libutti Family said...

Urrgh... typos! It should say "my stoic dad"... my daughter is not stoic... AT ALL.

The Hodges Family said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for blogging and sharing it with all. Love you!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I loved your post. You are such a wonderful mommy. He is such a lucky little guy to come into a family with such amazing parents and a sweet older brother. Thanks for reminding me how amazing having a baby is. I forget sometimes, when my kids are screaming in my ear.:) Oh, and IV's KILL!!!!

aLi said...

Em, I was glued to every single word. I think birth stories are the most interesting and amazing and miraculous and wonderful things. It was like reading Twilight all over again (except minus all the obvious parts! :D ).
I'm glad he is such an easy peasy baby. That makes the transition a heck of a lot better.

Deena said...

This post made me smile. I hope things continue to be good for you.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't so rambly. Just lots of loveliness. I'm so happy you have it all written down now so you can read it again any time you want and remember. Beautiful story.

amyorr said...

Thanks for sharing. I totally aggree. The worst part about having a baby is that darn I.V. I cry every time. Good luck. I'm glad he is a good baby.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you'll be so glad you wrote it down- thanks for sharing it with us.

Welcome to The Dance. The seoond (and more) baby just doen't get born into the same world as the first one- and it took me a while to realize- that's OK. You're his mama for a reason, and it's enough.

I'm glad he's here, safely, and that he is such a mellow, happy boy. That helps so, so much.

Congrats again!

--jeff * said...

hooray for holey babies!

i love how you can look back at your experiences with bemused commentary with the peace that everything turned out wonderfully in the end.

congratulations for having two beloved boys, and thank you for the commentary of the day's events.

Krystal said...

Amen... What a sweet post! I think having them is always so amazing, and truly beautiful. If only getting to that point was easy! OH well your done with the prego part of it, and now you have a perfect little boy! I am so happy for you both. By the way did you have Dr. Smith as your doctor?

Miss Crys said...

Beautiful...thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you had your moments of panic, and I don't know how you mustered up the strength to push that baby out so quick. The baby heart goes out to you, only a new mother could understand! I am anxious to see that little one!

em said...

I still don't understand the docs who insist on talking about you/your situation as though a) you're not in the room, or b) that you have a clue what they're talking makes everything sound like bad news!

The whole not feeling bonded before he was born thing--I'm totally with you. On top of worrying about what might go "wrong" with this one, I just wasn't as excited or anxious as with Li'l Mil. There were definitely days I wondered if that meant I wouldn't love Nano as much or whether I was a sub-par mama. Luckily that first instant you see your new baby cures you of all that!

Thanks for sharing such intimate feelings--

Kori said...

That was lovely. Seriously, I enjoyed every word. It really is miraculous how we love them instantly, isn't it?! Don't feel bad about the naming issues...all 3of my kids were nameless for several hours...2 days for Grant. Jake thinks naming them is the hardest part about having a new baby...quite obviously he is not the one who has the baby CUT from their loins!
Really, thanks for sharing. You are truly inspirational!

pepper said...

Beautiful, I don't think I will every forget your line "I shook for a thousand reasons." So perfect.

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