Tuesday, January 17, 2012
So at 9pm, my OB left to go see some other patients and think about what to do. At 9:30 she came back and gave me a look of pity and frustration. It's weird to say that someone is frustrated with your cervix but that was exactly the case. She said to me, "why aren't you dilating young lady??" then said she's sorry but it has to be c-section. I knew it was a hard decision for her, but she said Lana's head seemed to be stuck and it was best to just get her out. I was pretty upset but tried to remember that the end goal is getting Lana out safe and sound. After my OB made the decision, things happened so quickly. Within a couple minutes the anesthesiologist came by to increase the drugs to c-section level (you still have feeling in your legs/torso with the regular epidural but obviously that shouldn't be so for the c-section) and explain the procedure. I was wheeled into the OR and SH was taken to put on scrubs. As I was wheeled away I said bye to my mom (bc only one person is allowed in the OR). I could see the worry in her face so I put on a brave/"I'm cool" face and told her she would be seeing Lana soon.
The OR was so cold. I was transferred to the operating table. I felt like I was in a movie. I'd seen the OR countless times in movies but, thankfully, never in real life. Before I could really develop that thought there was a whole flurry of activity. Lots of people started coming in and doing lots of things. Maybe 4 or so nurses, my OB, another OB, the anesthesiologist and SH. SH stayed to the left of my head and the anesthesiologist to the right. He was like the coach through the operation, telling me how I was going to feel (or, not feel), what to expect, etc. It helped to ease my worries. The curtain went up at my waist so we'd be spared the show of blood and guts. Then the side effects kicked in - uncontrollable shaking and clenched teeth. So not pleasant. The docs and nurses gathered around me and for a few minutes things were quiet so I asked the anesthesiologist when they'd be starting. He responded, "uh, they did." Ok well good to know you did your job doc because I don't feel a thing! I was wheeled into the OR at 9:40pm and 14 minutes later, at 9:54, Lana was born! The first time you hear that cry...it is absolutely surreal. no. Unreal. Surreal implies a mix of reality and fantasy. It was UNreal - nothing real about it. For months you carry around this...strange thing in your belly that you love but are also a little freaked out by, but no matter how much you try to imagine it, you can't. You can't see it becoming a real live baby. Then, all of a sudden, There she is. Once she was out, the nurse called SH over to see her. She wrapped Lana up and handed her to him. He brought her over to me so I could see her. I heard SH sniffling behind the mask. (I totally knew he'd cry.) And there she was. I can't really explain how I felt at that moment. I thought it'd be a rush of love and joy. And don't get me wrong. It was. But honestly, it was also a good dose of shock. I smiled so big (well, as big as you can with your teeth clenched shut) but I was also just staring in disbelief at the same time. She was really a person! Imagine that. A person that belongs to us. Holy crap.
So, I don't really remember clearly what happened after that. I guess they finished up whatever they had to do with Lana (weigh her? clean her up some more?) and I was in the OR a little longer while they finished up with me. I was then wheeled to the recovery room. I think Lana followed shortly thereafter, and then the nurse called my mom to see Lana. I was so excited for my mom to see her. I can't explain why other than it sort of felt like the greatest show and tell ever. :) After grandma and granddaughter had a chance to meet, the nurse brought Lana to me to breastfeed. She latched on right away, like a champ. It was craziness! She breastfed for a little while but newborns are so sleepy so they often doze in the middle of eating. Once we got her to eat for a little while, she just hung out in my arms sleeping, skin-to-skin. If you don't know about kangaroo care, here's a link describing it. The human body is so amazing.
Once I got feeling back in my legs they wheeled me up to the postpartum room. By this point I hadn't eaten or drank anything in 24 hours except ice chips. My kingdom for a glass of water! When the nurse came by and asked me what I wanted to drink I almost kissed her. If you've never been to a hospital, you are lucky. And also you wouldn't know that they give you these tiny little juice cups. I asked her for apple juice. She brought over 2 of them and let me tell you. It was the most delicious thing I had ever tasted in my life. The nurse said there was a fridge with more juice if I wanted so as soon as I finished the 2 cups I made my mom get 4 more and I drank all those too.
I honestly don't remember all the details about what happened at the hospital after this point - it's all a blur of recovering from the c-section + intense sleep deprivation. But here is the general summary:
1. Lana was a great baby at the hospital. She never really cried unless she was hungry. I kept her with me for two days straight (I stayed 4 days because I had a c-section) but after that I was so sleepy that I had her stay in the nursery for a couple of the night feedings, which helped immensely. I originally wanted to exclusively breastfeed, but seeing as how Lana was still hungry after breastfeeding, I decided that supplementing with a little formula would be ok. At 2 days old she downed the 2 oz. bottle like it was nothing! Now I have the opposite problem - she WON'T take anything but the boob. It's fine now since I'm not working, but I'm a little worried about when I do start working.
2. The nurses were AMAZING. Between the nurses and SH and my mom, I think I changed one diaper in 4 days at the hospital. They were so helpful, so nice, so accommodating.
3. I didn't have much of an appetite my entire pregnancy. I waited my entire pregnancy for that "eat like a pregnant woman" phase and it never came...until I had the baby. My appetite RAGED the second I had Lana. Well, lucky for me, Hackensack has great food. I ate. so. much.
4. By day 3, my nipples were in so much pain. Stick your finger in a baby's mouth and see how hard they suck. It's seriously insane. It made me realize how hard it is to be a mom. My mom told me so many times about how she cried and cried trying to breastfeed me because it hurt so much. I now understood what she meant.
5. The hospital is like this dream world where everything's taken care of for you. The reality of baby doesn't hit you while you're in the hospital because of the adjustable bed (so key when you've had a c-section), the nurses who do everything for you, the fact that you don't have to move or go anywhere or do anything other than breastfeed and go to the bathroom. Other than losing the adjustable bed, I am so lucky in that nothing much changed when I went home. I stayed in our bedroom with Lana, and all my food was cooked and brought up to me by my mom or aunt. I don't think I went downstairs for days! I really think that I don't know how hard having a baby really is, because I was so spoiled after I had Lana. Before my mom left for China (when Lana was 3 weeks old), she even took Lana and slept with her a couple nights here and there so I could get a full night's sleep.
6. Postpartum blues - oh man. Before I had Lana I didn't think I'd get the blues. I'm a pretty level-headed not overly emotional person so I thought, oh, that won't affect me. I also wondered how you could cry when you have a precious new little baby. I have never been more wrong. It hit around week 3. I was SO hormonal and emotional. It's not constant blues. There are highs (staring in awe at your baby) but then there are lows. Low lows. I was crying over such random little things. I bawled when my mom left for China. I thought I was going to fail as a mom and that Lana would be ruined forever. Dramatic, much? But this is real stuff. For any moms-to-be out there reading this, know that it's a hormonal thing and that it will pass. If your lows are really low talk to your husband and ask him for comfort. SH was so amazing, reassuring me that it wasn't me, it was the hormones, things would get better, I'm a good mom, I can do it without my mom helping, etc. You just need a lot of warm and loving words and it'll pass. After about two weeks I felt much better and almost back to my normal self.
Lana turns 5 months tomorrow. The time FLIES! It flies so fast that I kind of wish I wrote this story down earlier because I feel like I'm forgetting a lot of things. Moms-to-be, write it down earlier if you can! I mean, the first two months are just a mess of sleep deprivation and poop but if you can muster up some energy to do it, you will thank yourself later.
Being a mom has completely turned my life upside down. Sometimes you wistfully remember the olden days ("honey, want to go out to eat? sure! let's go! and let's invite our friends! and let's get drinks afterwards!") but you realize those kinds of things are small pittance of sacrifices compared to what you have (going out to dinner at 5pm to a restaurant 5 min. away and shoving the food down in 20 minutes so you can get home in time to put the baby to bed before The Meltdown). Hopefully I can write regularly here to chronicle mommy life - the highs, the lows, the funny, the not-so-funny (usually deals with poop) and everything else.