Tuesday, February 18, 2014

birth story (2)

Birth Story!  Part 2!

So!  Heading to the surgical suite, I am kinda out of it and feeling every contraction and finally actually feeling the urge to push (which is incredibly unpleasant).  Of course, this means that my epidural isn't cutting it, which means that when they give me the drugs for the c-section through that catheter, those drugs also do not cut it.  When asked whether I can feel the sharp instrument being pushed against my lower abdomen, hell yes, I can feel that.  So, they had to put me under.  Which meant that Partner was not allowed in the operating room, and neither of us got to actually see the birth of our daughter.

This is the only part of my birth experience that annoys me; I don't know if I'm really angry about it.  Maybe I will be eventually.  The epidural was not exactly centered, and the anesthesiologist knew that because I told her.  The epidural wasn't enough at the end, or wasn't delivering, or who knows what, and my nurses knew that because I told them.  I am therefore annoyed that there were no other steps taken to get me numbed for the c-section - maybe there weren't any available.  But part of me still blames the anesthesiologist just a little for messing that up for me, even though I'm sure it's impossible for her to get that tube in the perfectly correct spot and meds will only do so much for so long.  Another part of me says, if only I hadn't bothered with the ECV and had gone right for the c-section, I would have at least been conscious for the birth.  Hindsight, and all that.  My rational mind says that I had to try to have the safest birth experience I could, and at the time that meant turning the baby and attempting a vaginal birth.  Hopefully my rational mind will win when I have these little regrets in the future.

Partner, after waiting around not knowing what was going on (poor guy), was allowed to hang out with the baby in the nursery.  I remember waking up (in that very bed, staring at the operating suite door, where I had had my ECV) and seeing Partner, and then my midwife brought in the baby.  I remember touching her feet.  Then I was treated to that wonderful "let's push on the uterus" experience, which is somehow excruciating even after everything else that has happened.  After that, I assume I was out again, as I woke up in a recovery room, which I don't remember very well.  I have a vague memory of being asked if I wanted to breastfeed, of holding kiddo for the first time.  But these are still pretty vague, and again I regret it only because I feel like I'm missing out on these parts of my life just because I can't recall them as well as I want to. 

Breastfeeding was hard at first - my milk didn't come in until 6 days after the birth, and I was pumping between feeds and feeding her the extra but she was still hungry and crying most of the time.  After two days I gave in to supplementing using a supplemental nursing system (SNS), which doesn't require artificial nipples.  Baby lost a full pound and we stayed an extra night in the hospital to get that working, and then I went home and used it until she was a week old, at which point my pediatrician had managed to convince me that I had enough milk to keep the kid alive. 

This was not the birth experience I wanted, but it was also not the worst birth experience to have.  Epidurals are still pretty awesome in my book.  C-sections aren't as terrible to recover from as I feared.  The scar is pretty minimal, and if I can get my abs back at some point in the future I will probably not care about it at all (seriously, how do they get a baby out of there?  It's tiny).  Baby is fine and her head wasn't squished, so she was super cute from the beginning.  We did get thrush, probably due to all the IV antibiotics (the crappy medical support for breastfeeding mother issues is an entirely different rant), but things are going pretty well.  And we get to learn all about our dysfunctional medical system by being billed for almost every procedure that can happen in labor & delivery, so there's that as a bonus.

Now that we're six weeks in things are getting better in terms of sleep and knowing what baby wants, plus she's starting to interact with us and smile, which makes it all much more worth while.  I'm told the hardest part is over; I'm sure that's relative.  Having made it through all of this so far, I'm not too worried about what comes next. 

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