Archive for May, 2008

parenting after infertility

May 29, 2008

I can’t quite let go of the ticker at the top of this page. I can’t quite believe that we haven’t even hit her due date yet.

So the breastfeeding is going really well. I can’t quite get over that either. Between the unexpected difficulties at either end of the pregnancy, it was hard to believe that my body would do what it was “supposed” to for once. When the nurse/lactation consultant told me “your milk will come in tonight,” I didn’t really believe her. But then it did!!!

I find it easy to start sentences with “when she’s 15…” or “when she’s 30…” but much harder to talk about next week or next month. Once again it feels like a jinx.

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"Holy Shit, It’s a BABY!"

May 25, 2008

I’m trying to write out her whole birthstory, but it’s coming one paragraph at a time. I hope I don’t forget everything by the time I get it all down. Here’s the distilled version:

Wednesday night
I don’t know when I’ve ever been so scared in my entire life.

Thursday 6 a.m.
Terry comes to the hospital, we have a few minutes to talk and pray together before the nurse comes in with razor and IV line to prepare my body. (Terry’s prayer: “Dear Jesus… HELP! Amen.”)

7 a.m.
Our doula arrives, rubs lavender-scented lotion on my neck and shoulders, anoints my forehead with essential oils (“your third eye,” she says, but all I can think of is the Episcopal church I used to attend). We talk about what will happen to/with the baby after the birth, reviewing all the details once again.

There is a delay. Evidently maternity filled to bursting overnight, and an emergency c-section had to be done in “my” time slot. So we wait. Our doula, L., sings us a song about opening and surrender and life.

7:45 a.m.
I am wheeled into a holding area, where the fear hits in an overwhelming wave and I cry. L. rubs my feet while T. rubs my back and when the nurse comes in I calm down and focus on breathing.
The anesthesiologist comes in and out and then signs my back with his initials before I am put in a bed and wheeled down the hall to the OR.
I see a smiling Doc (my favorite of the three) waiting by the door; he’s wearing a do-rag on his head with a tropical hawaiian print pattern – a welcome bit of whimsy.

A bit of a shuffle as everyone gets into position and T. finds a place near my head.

Time for the spinal – the worst part by far – mostly because of the fear.

The numbness sets in and I can breathe again. T. talks to me, strokes my shoulder, sings a little ditty about how we’re going to meet the Critter. Just as the Doc said, I can feel pulling and tugging and pressure but no pain. I focus on T’s face. He tells me I look pale. We just lock eyes and stay that way. I tell him how much I love him, over and over again. As my yoga instructor said, “love put this baby in, love can get this baby out.” As I reminded myself last night, “perfect love casts out fear.”

8:42 a.m.
Then I feel a push and a pull and suddenly a lightness – I feel them lift her from my body, and I say “Oh!” We hear her cry and the Doc says “you have a little girl!” We look over and there she is – crying and wiggling in the Doc’s hands. T. says “Holy shit, it’s a baby!” I cry out “my baby, my baby,” crying (as I am now) and so happy. I stretch my fingers towards her, reaching.

They bring her to us and I rub her vernix-covered forehead with my fingertips, talking to her like L. told us to, until they take her to the nursery. T. goes with her and I lie back with a big smile on my face as the sew me shut.

They say she had a very short cord, that didn’t allow her to turn.

I notice that there is music playing – Simon and Garfunkel’s version of the classic Peruvian melody, El Condor Pasa.

Finally I’m wheeled back to the recovery room where I wait for T. to come with Valerie. I have to stay there until I can wiggle my toes. It’s the strangest sensation, the immobility. The nurse is warm and friendly.

They bring her to me and she is so beautiful I am overcome. It looks like she’s been washed, but she hasn’t – T. has been massaging the vernix into her skin, like I’d asked him to. She is pink and sweet and has the beautiful black hair I’d hoped for, and a tiny “mongolian spot” on her bum. The pink hat she’s wearing, though, isn’t the one I made, and I make them change it as soon as possible. I am able to hold her and talk to her briefly until it’s time for us all to go to our new room.

I spend the day holding her, naked, against my skin. We begin the journey of learning how to nurse, and her first pee ever soaks her dad’s shirt.

One week + one day

May 24, 2008
exhausted, exhilerated, in love

She’s a Girl!

May 17, 2008

Little V.
5 lbs 10 oz.
18 inches
Born by cesarean, safe and sound May 15, 2008 approx. 9 a.m.

counting down

May 15, 2008

Sixteen hours to go…

Am feeling excited and restless. Signing paperwork, still discussing names.

T. put in the carseat and took pictures on his cell phone to show me – I am thrilled!

May 14, 2008

1 day, 13 hours, and 37 minutes to the OR.

How did this happen???

I still feel like I have failed my baby; not so much by going along with the cesarean, as by getting sick in the first place.

It never goes according to plan, does it?

Part of my acceptance of the cesarean definitely comes from the fact that we needed help to conceive in the first place. I guess we’re lucky that things went so smoothly for 8 months anyway.

More details on my other blog if anyone is curious.

Metaphors

May 11, 2008

T. says it’s like being poised on the balls of your feet, ready to dart in any direction depending on the next move of the ball (it’s evidently a sports metaphor, which I study like a foreign language).

Is mentally preparing for a cesarean birth defeatist? My sister told me about her SIL, whose baby was breech until the day before she was born. The family was sitting around the living room and they all watched the undulations of her belly as the baby turned. Prior to this, the SIL’s parents were vehemently trying to talk her into having a c-section, but SIL just balked, refused.

Is acquiescence to the Doc’s recommendations wimping out? Do you fight the current or go with the flow?

Last night I dreamed the baby had turned, but this morning found that it’s still hanging out in its favorite spot, elbow in my navel, head under my rib cage.

Waves

May 10, 2008

Between moments of calm, the sadness and fear still rise and fall. T. says “the worst case scenario is we get to meet the Critter next Thursday.” But the how still matters to me.

Another day of high BPs yesterday.

Prop your hips up, one more time

May 8, 2008

Rachel (thanks for the link!) asked about the inverted poses – nope, no headstands 🙂 What I do is make full use of the mechanical adjustments you can do with the hospital bed. I put my feet at the head of the bed, with two pillows under my butt, and then set the incline to what I hope is about 30 degrees, and hang out there for 20 minutes while playing happy music in the iPod in my pants. Repeat 3x/day.

Ridiculous Packaging

May 7, 2008

I’ve been wanting to write this post for the past several days, but the thoughts felt too big to get down in short bursts of time and I was trying to finish grading papers.

Words

I think it was on Thursday, or so, when the Doc (there are 3 different doctors that rotate, but I just refer to them collectively as the Doc) came by and said, among other things, “you’re really handling all of this very well.” I was somewhat astounded because it sure didn’t feel like that from the inside. But for the whole rest of the day, I felt this tremendous sense of peace and confidence. And it lasted. And I thought about how powerful her words were, that she could just say “you’re doing a good job” and I believed it.

So that got me thinking about all the other things she’s said, and the potential power of her words to become reality. Specifically, her daily repetition that “you will develop pre-eclampsia, you will get sicker,” etc. And I felt defiant. I felt a new kind of energy.

You Have To Want the One You’re Going to Get

In my favorite novel (The Brothers K by David James Duncan), a baseball player reflects on the “no-think” zone that batters must find in order to make contact with the pitch. He is asked what kind of pitch he likes to hit, and his answer is: you have to want the pitch you’re going to get.

As I may have mentioned before, it’s the uncertainty of everything that gets to me as much as anything else. I feel like I was putting a lot of energy into preparing mentally and emotionally for labor, and having that rug yanked out from under me was really upsetting. Now, in this gray area (on the one hand I have a date with the scalpel, on the other hand there still exists the possibility of induction and labor) I find myself thinking, “I have to want the birth experience that I’m going to get.”

Opportunity

And suddenly, this whole experience felt like (not to sound too cliche)… an opportunity. An space opening up within which to find my way into the most positive birth experience possible, cesarean notwithstanding.

And an opportunity to move into the experience, rather than letting things happen to me. I felt ready to move towards a place where I could try some of the recommended methods for getting the baby to turn head-down, without that paralyzing fear of failure gripping me.

It wasn’t until we actually met with our doula yesterday and she helped me sort out a schedule of sorts for doing inverted poses that I actually started doing them. But I have started doing them now. And I turned upside-down a picture of a baby that’s on my wall. And started wearing the Willendorf Venus again.

Balance

I know it sounds cheesy and whatnot, but I am looking for that balance: allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling without become overwhelmed by my emotions; between the will to move with mindfulness and intention into the future and the surrender into what I cannot change.

As the doula said (quoting Dar), “sometimes life gives us lessons sent in ridiculous packaging.”

So as I hit another high in the BP today (162/111), I had to take deep breaths and close my eyes and just be still. My mantra is just one word: Love.