Monday, September 17, 2007

more tears

I shook and cried for most of the post-birth events. I never had another contraction after the head came out. That is, until the next day when the after pains started, and those were pretty darn uncomfortable.

I had a very minor tear on my episiotomy scar, 3 stitches. Yay! Except, I also had a fairly major and very high labial tear. The doc didn't mention how many stitches, but I'm still feeling some pain from it, so I know it wasn't just a scratch.

At some point during labor, but before transition, I'd had a HEPLOCK placed. Aside from mary paying no attention to the fact that my doc fully supported shorter time periods on the EFM at more frequent intervals, this was the worst part of the labor for me, because for one, the nurse did it wrong, and two, they insisted I get on the bed and lay down. I want them to get better at their jobs so that next time around, I can be where ever I'm at and get that silly thing put in. I told the nurse who placed it, as did Kim and probably Ashia, that it simply had to be in my arm rather than my hand, becuase last time, it hurt so much to hold my hand in any position but nutral that it drove me nuts, who needs added irritation during labor? I guess this nurse didn't get it (big surprise) and so it was in my wrist. Again, it was like a torture device meant to make labor just a tad more painful. I had to be careful the whole labor to rest on my forearm on the left side rather than brace myself with my hand, otherwise, I'd get a nice shooting pain in my arm. grrr.

Anyway, after the baby was out and I was in the hospital bed, I got hooked up to pitocin, seeing as there wouldn't be any natural nursing stimulation coming from my baby. And had that awful tummy punching--nurses can be so mean!

I pushed the placenta out and the glimpse I got of it looked pretty good. Although having seen none in real life before, I can't be entirely sure. The cord did look rather short, even accounting for the part that had already been cut off, but once again, I don't really know what normal looks like. I wish I could have gotten a closer look at everything, just because I'm curious that way.

It seemed like forever that I was getting stitched up. I kept apologizing that I couldn't stop shaking, but the doc and nurse both assured me that it wasn't causing him any difficulties. I wasn't so worried about making his job hard, I just wanted to be stitched up really well. :)

all the while, I was crying. Ashia and Kim were both so kind and encouraging through all of the scary times, and though Ashia had to leave fairly quickly, Kim assured me she would stay until I could see the baby. My wonderful big sister, Greta, came in. She was the only one of my family (aside from her own children) in the hospital when Israel was born. And of course, all of Tom's family was otherwise engaged in various emergencies and life. My sister was in awe of me, having heard my loud vocalizations during pushing. I did scream, but it wasn't so much a pained scream, as just what my body needed to do to facilitate and manage the powerful contractions. Saddly, rather than inspiring her to try natural birth for her own birth, coming in November, it confirmed her desire for another c-section. :( I was really happy she was there though. I longed for someone who would mother me, and my sister has always done so. She's the best person in the world to have around when you're ill or hurt, just full of kind compassion.

I really wanted Tom with me too, but I didn't want him to leave Israel, and he didn't.

I was really a mess--those of you who've done this yourself know what I'm talking about--so the nurse encouraged me to shower if I wanted to before I headed down to the nursery. A part of me wanted to get to the nursery as soon as possible, but I knew once I got there, I wouldn't want to leave, so Kim and Ashia helped me take a quick shower. They joked with me about how I probably never thought I'd have a couple women standing around holding the soap and the shower curtain while I showered in my birthday suit. Ha ha, I worked at a swimming pool when I was 15 doing life guard work and assisting swim instructors (it's where I met Tom), the women's staff locker room was a good introduction to becoming less inhibited about ones body around other women. This was something that really shocked my christian school sports team compatriots later on...he he.

Just as I finished dressing, the pediatrician came in. He told me Israel was doing well, and that his counts had stayed great the whole time and though he didn't say so, I knew he meant to reassure me that there was no concern about brain damage. He then said that the baby needed to be monitored because he still wasn't breathing as well as he should be. This was distressing, but the next thing he said was much worse. He told me that the baby had been really stressed, and that because under stress blood flow is diverted to vital organs (heart, lungs, brain, etc.) and away from less vital ones, like the digestive system, it was important not to feed the baby right away. I've never had my head buzz, except when extremely exerting myself physically (like running too hard for long periods of time) but it did so now. I felt dizzy and it was hard to hear. I sat down and willed myself not to cry.

Looking back with a clear head, I'm not sure following the pediatrician's advice was the best course of action. I have a lot of respect for this doctor, he has been great to work with, and he was Tom's pediatrician and Tom's parent's neighbor. He'd also really helped out with recent advice to Tom regarding his back injury and had assisted us when Tom had injured his hand a few years ago when Tom didn't have health insurance. In general, he's great. However, I know from reports from other moms that he's not fanaticly supportive of breastfeeding. He supports it, because, of course, the evidence of its benifits is overwhelming, but he is not a "breastfeeding at almost any cost" type.

He said that generally the concern with smaller babies is necratizing of the intestines, requiring surgery later and possibly causing life-long problems. I kind of asked what the concern for big babies was, and I think I didn't get a great answer, possibly because larger babies weren't as commonly stressed as the small ones. It was a very fuzzy conversation for me. I asked when I could breastfeed him, and the doctor said we needed to wait a bit and see how Israel did.

I just sat there when the doc left and cried. Ashia, who's a La Leche League leader, was so encouraging and supportive, as was Kim. And I know that they asked questions of the doc on my and Israel's behalf. well, this just meant I was going to have to stay in the nursery even more and hold him skin to skin and breastfeed him as soon as it was safe to do so.

It was about this time that I was getting ready to leave the room, drying my tears and heading for the nursery that my parent's arrived with Eve. Did I already mention that they had to take over Eve-sitting for the birth? Tom's parent's had to help with Hunter, Eve's 13 year old cousin and Tom's sister's son who had to be life-flight-ed to Seattle that morning. Anyway, as soon as I saw Eve, and knowing how much she was looking forward to meeting the baby, and how much I wanted to be cheerful for her, I started crying. My mom told me later that Eve told her that she doesn't like to see me sad. Such a sweet girl. But crying in front of her just added to my distress. It was worse that I couldn't hold and hug her like I really wanted to.


I did finally make it to the nursery. And he looked so good and was so wonderful to cuddle. I did feel a whole lot better with him in my arms.