It's been two and a half weeks since I became a mom... It's been busy. There's been nights when an hour of continuous sleep is a blessing; minutes when silence is cherished; and moments I don't want to ever forget. My goal over the next week and a half is to capture in writing all the moments leading up to and including my journey into motherhood. And so, we begin with labor...
I had a scheduled induction nearly two and a half weeks ago. We arrived at the hospital, got checked in, and quickly were given the first round of medication. I wasn't allowed to eat for the first two hours after beginning the medication. After the two hours had past, as long as I wasn't in active labor, I was encouraged to eat and drink until midnight. David went out and got me empanadas and pretzels. We also snacked on homemade chocolate chip cookies. Around midnight, with David soundly asleep on the pull-out couch beside me, I started to have my first contractions. They were uncomfortable and not the type of pain I expected. Basically they kept me up ALL NIGHT long. Around 7am, my nurse came in and encouraged me to shower. The shower felt great, but the contractions were so uncomfortable I had to take a sitting down shower. About half an hour later, the chief resident came in to examine me and found me to be 4 cm. Way to go me!
Around 8:30am we started pitocin and I got what would end up being my first of two epidurals. I watched on the monitor as the contractions came and went and I was pleasantly surprised to feel no pain. Unfortunately, the tides were about to turn. Around 11am, I was examined again - 7 cm. I was entering the labor phase known as "transition". And all of a sudden the epidural wore off. No pain relief and I was having contractions ever two minutes. This sucked. I screamed at David for accidentally bumping my bed, and when a friend walked in the room to be with me I greeted her with a stern, "don't talk or touch me." Lovely...
I went for about 3 hours like this - gripping the bed, crying, breathing deeply. It sucked. In addition to the contraction pains, I also was experiencing extreme pain on my left side, from my catheter to my left hip. My nurse reinserted my catheter. That didn't help. I begged her to just take it out; she wouldn't. I thought I was dying. The chief anesthesiologist came back to see me. He, the wonderful man that he is, sat with me through another epidural and the administration of a ton of pain medication. His patience was tested by me - I was somewhat grouchy and incoherent - but he said with me to help me through the pain. Around 3pm, my OB stopped by to see how I was doing. Obviously I was not doing well. The first time I saw her she was in her street clothes. She returned ten minutes later in scrubs. She asked if she could examine me and through the tears I said no. Although I was 10 cm, the baby had not dropped. I kept yelling that I was pushing during a contraction, but nothing was happening because the baby was so high inside of me.
After what seemed like FOREVER, I was finally prepped to go to the operating room. The spinal tap I received there was the BEST THING EVER. David joined me about ten minutes later. He was able to see my parents and say a quick prayer with them. As the surgery began, David and I agreed one last time on our boy and girl name. When it was announced we had a girl, we both cried.
As David went to be with her, my blood pressure dropped and I began to throw up. Lovely... lying on your back unable to move and puking. I was a sight to behold. Moments later, David left to share our good news with my parents. I was made presentable again and was able to hold my daughter for the first time. Unfortunately, because of all the drugs and the puking, I don't remember holding her or the fact that I carried her back to my hospital room to meet her dad and grandparents. I was also too sick to care for her the first night. She spent it in the nursery without David or me. We, however, did get a good night of sleep.
Recovery from a c-section is no laughing matter. Everything that requires stomach muscles - coughing, laughing, standing up, shifting in bed - is difficult. But the pain is temporary. And I don't remember much of it now. Everything changed when they wheeled our little baby into my room the morning after her birth. She was so small and so cute - looks just like her daddy. I was in love and love is a great healer.
I spent the next three days in the hospital recovering. The care I received was incredible. Everyone - from the doctors to medical students, nurses to techs - were fantastic. I was cared for so well. When it was time to leave the hospital, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I was wheeled out to our car through the main hospital entrance carrying a "beautiful baby girl" balloon. I felt like everyone was looking at me and celebrating this moment with me. I teared up... grateful to be going home and delighted to have a healthy, beautiful baby girl with me.