In my last post, I wrote about deliveries not going as planned, and I ended up having just such a delivery which culminated in a cesarean section. I had imagined being on cloud nine my last week of pregnancy, super excited over my impending arrival, however, I ended up spending those last few days completely stressed out and in such a funk. While my doctor ultimately said the decision was up to me and that she would support me if I wanted to attempt a vaginal delivery, the evidence she presented for her concerns was overwhelming. I wanted to cling to the hope that I could attempt a vaginal delivery and maybe nothing they feared would come to fruition and everything would turn out just fine, but I just couldn’t shake the fear of what if this is just the situation where it doesn’t turn out fine? I could never forgive myself if I insisted on a natural delivery and then it culminated in a real emergency and put my baby in grave danger. So, as unhappy as I was about it, I agreed to the surgery. Actually, unhappy is not even the word. I was miserable those last few days, so completely not excited, even as I walked into the hospital, with all the cheery nurses preparing me with sentiments of “Aren’t you so excited?!” and I just really wasn’t. And then it made me even more unhappy and sad that this was the emotional state in which I was bringing forth a baby.
I was also, plain and simple, terrified. All the while that I was wheeled into the room and prepped for surgery, I could not control my tears from falling and my body was actually trembling in fear. And then it was over. I didn’t even realize the surgery had started and then out of nowhere the room was filled with my baby’s cries. And let me tell you, that sound was incredible. I really couldn’t stop crying then. I had been so sad that I wouldn’t be able to reach down and pull him out as I had done Matthew, or even just watch him come out and hold him immediately as I did Lila. Perhaps it’s because I couldn’t see or touch him that made his cries feel even that much more magnified, but my worry had been unfounded as it was still most definitely a deep and immediate bond. And as I lay there on the table being sewn up, I thought to myself, “I have to admit, maybe this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
But unfortunately, it was. It’s just that all this time, I had been scared of the wrong thing. The surgery itself wasn’t the problem, it was everything that came after. Before my firstborn, I actually looked forward to my hospital stay, thinking it would be somewhat of a mini-vacation what with being told to stay in bed and having meals and requests brought to me at the push of a button. But I quickly learned it was anything but a vacation, and in fact, was darn near impossible to rest what with the large number of doctors, nurses, and attendants entering the room for this and that. As if hospital stays aren’t stressful enough as it is, this time around I had to contend with an overwhelming, unbearable all-consuming deep inner-body itch due to the anesthesia wearing off, which lasted almost a day and a half. And as soon as that subsided, I had the most unbearable pain which the strongest medications weren’t helping with. Turns out what I needed was simply a support belt to take the weight off of my incision area, but overall it was an excruciatingly painful hospital stay and I don’t have nice memories of any of it, other than staring at my sweet baby boy.
During the pregnancy, Lila was bummed that it was going to be a boy and stated as such that she wasn’t very excited about him. But once he was here, my goodness, she had a complete turn about. She reminds me of Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures as she just wants to hug and squeeze and kiss him all the time. She says he is “just like” her Baby Alive doll. I have to rescue the poor baby from her just so that he can breathe. She is definitely a little Mama and wants to take over everything. She hovers and tells you what to do with the baby and is always there to remind you to “support his head” when you pick him up.
Matthew, conversely, was the one super excited during the last stage of pregnancy, constantly kissing my belly and saying “Hurry up and come out, Baby!” But once he was here, he seemed less than thrilled from the very beginning. It didn’t take long at all for him to tell us the problem: “I thought he would be my size”. Poor Matthew! I mean, first of all, the horror of the thought of delivering a child the size of a four-year old! But it made me feel so bad for him. Poor thing thought he was going to have a ready-made playmate and his disappointment was palpable and also pitiable. He did not take to the baby immediately at all, even saying to me “I want the baby to go back in your tummy”. He also asked “Do we have to keep him forever?” and suggested that we leave him at the store. If you said to him, “Would you like to see/kiss your brother?” he would say in the sweetest, most polite preschool voice ever “No, thank you. I don’t want to” and continue playing or whatever he was doing. I didn’t push him at all and told him it was perfectly ok that he didn’t want to. I felt for him terribly and did my best to make sure I put the baby down for a few minutes every day so that I could hug, kiss, and love on Matthew for a while, and tell him how he will always be Mommy’s baby. Things seemed promising, however, as though he mostly wouldn’t even look in his direction, on the occasions that baby was crying, Matthew would go up to him and say, “It’s ok baby Joshua, don’t cry”. And with each passing day, his interest and attachment has naturally grown. Now he comes in every day from preschool and the first thing he does is run to and say hello and kiss the baby.
As for me, it’s just been a row of hazy days as I move around in the fog of having a newborn baby while recovering from major surgery. The recovery process has not been pleasant whatsoever. It’s been downright painful with lots of icky things happening that I don’t even want to begin to detail. I can’t imagine having to go back to work in a few short weeks if I’m still feeling this way. With my first two deliveries, my maternity leave still didn’t feel like enough time even when physically I was already feeling much better. But now that I’m experiencing a c-section recovery, it just makes me so incredulous how our country allows so little time for new mothers to recover and bond with baby, but that’s a blog topic for another day. Right now I’m just making the best of the time that we have. Thankfully, Baby Joshua is not a huge crier, but he is a voracious eater and that’s been quite a trial due to the numerous breastfeeding issues I’ve experienced this time around (I plan to detail those issues in an upcoming post just as soon as I can get enough sleep in which to write). He also keeps me up all night long, regardless of how many times I wake him during the day. That’s definitely been hard, as I’ve always been a person that never quite felt like I got enough sleep. But I guess that’s why babies are just so darn cute. It’s very hard to be mad and upset when staring at such a sweet, cute, little squishy face. I talk about Lila, but honestly, I’m a borderline Elmyra myself, constantly smothering him in kisses. I can’t help it, though. While I’ve always imagined myself with four kids, I’m almost 96.7% sure this time may have been my last go-round. So I’m doing my best to take all this in and enjoy every single (exhausted) moment of his baby-ness. One day soon I’ll get enough sleep again. But one day soon his entire tiny body won’t fit on my chest while he snoozes anymore. And that’s the sweet part I’d rather focus on now.