When we last met, I was a frustrated pregnant woman who desperately wanted to get that baby out and get my body back to some sense of normalcy. Three weeks and one long labor later, I am realizing that ‘normal’ no longer means the same thing it used to, and obtaining normalcy is more appropriate as a long term goal than a short term one. Long term as in maybe next year, or five years.
I now fully realize that life, like my boobs, will never, ever be the same again.
On September 2nd at 4:34pm, J and I welcomed Carter Thomas into the world via non-emergency c-section.
My labor officially began on my due date of September 1st while running some errands in the afternoon. About 24 of the most painful hours of my life later, I had a son. I thought about detailing my labor experience, but decided that, while not only completely uninteresting to anyone who isn’t totally into delivery stories or my mom, I also didn’t feel like re-living the nightmare. Or scaring anyone away from having children.
I laugh now as I think about how I tried to compare delivering a child to being a distance swimmer. Over repeating that process, I’ll take a 400IM unrested mid-season, a mile at the end of a 3-day meet, and 5:30am morning practice after a night of JMU drinking…you get the point. Labor sucked, plain and simple. I dialated super slow, the contractions were the most painful things I’ve ever experienced in my life, your water breaking is awkward and uncomfortable, and you lose every single ounce of modesty that you ever possessed as doctors and nurses and your husband see a side of you you didn’t really know existed.
After watching (and hiding my eyes…) through the labor video in child prep class, I didn’t think I’d be loud in labor. I assumed I could be tough and suffer silently. A lot of ‘owwwwws,’ ‘fucks,’ and ‘oh shit’s later, I’m realizing that I was silly to assume anything about this process.
At least 4x I could hear my co-worker say, “I loved my labor and delivery!” and promptly felt like I was going to vomit. Pregnancy, like delivery, and like motherhood, is clearly different for everyone. God bless my friend who loved her labor…but there was nothing I loved about it aside from the outcome.
After all that laboring and three hours of pushing, Carter had decided to do some turning with his 22 inch long body. I was unable to deliver him the natural way, despite an attempt at using the vacuum extraction method, and proceeded to surgery around 4. Everything happened SUPER fast at that point, but everyone involved in the process was so nice. Even under a ton of drugs I was still attempting sarcasm with the anesthesiologists and they were playing right along. Those guys were great and made that experience a lot better.
The toughest part about the c-section process was not being able to hold Carter after they delivered him. I heard him crying, I heard the doctors comment on how long he was, I saw J disappear into the side room where they cleaned him up in, and I was still stuck on a table. I couldn’t stop crying, or shaking, at this point…after 9 months of pregnancy and hypothesizing of what it was going to be like to have a baby, I now had one. I could hear him, I caught a glimpse of him. After all those hours spent imagining what it was going to be like, the time was here. He was here.
J got to bring him over to me after a few minutes. I got to kiss his scrunched up face and touch his perfect baby soft skin. Our meeting was brief though, and after a few minutes they took Carter and Jason away to get him checked out and cleaned up. I would be reunited with my little family about 45 minutes later after they had finished stitching me up.
I was uber drugged up at this point and pretty out of it but I got to watch as the nurse bathed Carter next to me as they were checking me out. I felt sick to my stomach and totally overwhelmed, but all I wanted to do was hold him. Another 15 minutes later, I finally got that baby in my arms.
It was a moment I couldn’t possibly put into words. Holding that little guy and realizing how enormously monumental what J and I had just gone through to get him here…going all the way back to January when we first found out we were pregnant…and seeing in my arms my son, was a feeling I will never forget for the rest of my life.
It was disappointing to find out I couldn’t eat until the next day. At that point it had been an entire 24 hours since I had last eaten spaghetti and garlic toast sitting on my couch at home. Although once we finally got checked into our room, all I could think about was sleep. Our families had been bugging the poor nurses on my status for the last several hours were finally allowed up to see us, although I was still in a kind of stupor from the drugs and being completely exhausted. But I couldn’t take my eyes off Carter.
Eventually I slept. Briefly. Because a few hours later they came in to check my vitals and make me sit up for a few minutes. That would be the most painful part of the next few days…going from lying down to sitting/standing up and vise versa. Once I was up, it felt ok to move around. Three weeks later I’m still feeling a little pain from the incision, but not too much.
So much has changed in the last three weeks.
If I thought there were things about being pregnant that no one tells you, I have been inundated with the number of things no one tells you about having a newborn. I’m certain as the days and weeks continue to go by, that list will only get bigger.
As I continue to get a better grip on things, I should get back to more frequent postings in the next few days, and I hope you all will continue the journey with me from mom-to-be to mom that has no idea what she’s doing.
I’m certain it should make for an entertaining ride.