Tuesday, July 24, 2012

10:44pm

So, I've told you our birth story, but what I can't explain to you is what comes immediately after - the thing every other mother in the world already knows - that split second, the instant your baby is born, the rush of feeling and sudden understanding of rightness in  your soul; that yes, this is the person you were destined to love for as long as you have breath.  I don't know if fathers feel the same thing, but even if they do, I'm sure it's not something they could explain either.

I didn't know I could have two soulmates.


 Today, right now, I can't believe how quickly the past eight weeks have gone by.  Even more, I can't believe how much our baby has grown.  It's baffling to me that she doesn't spend weeks and weeks as the tiny little helpless thing she was on that delightful day she was born...our adorable little girl is fast becoming her own person, and it is fantastic.  I can't wait for the days and months and years to keep coming so I can watch her become more of herself, but, oh Lord, it's going to be hard to let her grow up and not be able to cuddle her close and meet every single one of her needs forever.
 
But for today, I am going to savor every second of cuddle time with my Reagan and her squeaky little post-bath laughs and remind her that she is so loved.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Annnd...we're back!

Ok.  It has been a long time since I posted last...actually, I'll be surprised if anyone actually reads this since I've basically abandoned the blogging principle of "if you don't blog at least 4 times per month, nobody really cares about your life anymore."  I'm ok with that - the act of blogging today is a signal to myself that the I'm emerging from the warm, fuzzy, sleep-deprived, cocoon-like state I've been in for the past 8 weeks.  I'm reaching out to the world again, and it feels good.

So...it has come to my attention that people are in the practice of writing their "birth story" and posting it for people to read...I've read a few, and they are alternately hilarious, heart wrenching or happily sweet.  I read most of these birth stories before I actually had Sweet Baby Rea (for those of you who are unaware of this reference, it started in the town I was born.) and I'm pretty sure they are meant to bring women who have had babies closer together (as in, "Oh, that same thing happened to me!") and bring tears of terror and feelings of paralyzing dismay to women who have not had babies (as in, "Holy shit!  That's going to happen to me??!?!).

I think now that I've experienced this "birthing" thing, one can expect to experience some degree of both camaraderie and terror over the course of the event.  For me, the "course of the event" occurred over two days - ARay can tell you exactly how many hours I was in labor - I've heard the figure and I have chosen to have no recollection of it.

Not that it was horrible.  I still find it crazy that people are designed to enter the world this beautiful and miraculous way.  However, I still would like to give Adam and Eve a verbal lashing (while I was in labor, I felt more like throwing feces at them) for eating that dadblasted apple and making me experience the backlash of it (for those of you who are unaware of this reference, it started just after God created man).

At any rate, here's the abbreviated story.  Little Miss Reagan was growing like a champ en utero.  At 38 weeks, when I was measuring 41 weeks and my ultrasound showed that homegirl was likely to weigh 9+ pounds at term, my OB exclaimed to me, "You know, you really don't have to give it the 'old college try'.  I can schedule a c-section today if you want!"

Um, thanks for the vote of confidence, Dr. V.  You didn't freak me out at all.

Of course, having performed countless c-sections on dogs, cats, pigs, cows, sheep and goats, I had no desire whatsoever to have the same thing performed on myself.  So we scheduled an induction, which, I knew about too, having given the experience of supplemental hormones to dogs in labor (perhaps unsurprisingly, none of mama dogs ever gave me any indication of what to expect).  On Memorial Day, when my friends were eating hot dogs and corn on the cob, I was on an all liquid diet, hooked up to an IV with copious amounts of pitocin ("pit" as it's lovingly called by the L&D nurses) and alternately reading The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe while reminding myself to breathe through the contractions.

As that day and the next dragged on, ARay would happily watch the monitors and exclaim, "Oh!  That was a big contraction on the graph!  Did you feel it?"

No honey, I didn't.  Thanks for letting me know.

I would watch the clock and wait for the designated times where the nurse or doctor would check my cervix to see how I was progressing (no one tells you how much that's going to hurt, either...except for me - see, I just let the cat out of the bag!  oops!) only to have a sinking feeling when they would smile while shaking their heads, saying "Still only 3 centimeters, honey.  Don't worry, I've seen women go from 3 cm to 8 in an hour!  This could still happen today!".

To that, I say: bullshit.

For everyone, labor is different.  I happened to be a pansy when it came to the pain and one-on-top-of-the-other pace of my measly contractions.  I demanded an epidural at 3 cm even though the nurse said it's usually done when women are between 4 and 5, and subsequently fell deeply in love with my anesthesiologist.  At this point, I was pretty much positive I was going to end up having a c-section and could have cared less about making it to 4 centimeters.  As it turned out, I was right, and I still thank Jesus for showing us that we can put drugs in the epidural space and make people feel like a million bucks.

The one pervading theme of my labor and delivery was unexpected.  See, the History channel was having a 3 day mini-series called Hatfields & McCoys. Of course, my husband would watch it at night while I was trying to get comfortable in that ridiculous labor and delivery bed (no one tells you how horrible that thing is either, so there you go, another cat let out of the bag).  I kept thinking that maybe bringing a baby into the world amidst the sounds of West Virginian hillbillies feuding and killing each other was less than optimal, but, as it turned out, everyone in the hospital was watching it.  The nurses would come to check on me during commercials, and sit on my bed and watch the next segment with us.  My doctor had intended to come check me at 7 pm on the 29th and get the c-section train rolling, but instead, we all watched the last installment of Hatfields and McCoys together, and for that reason, our little munchkin entered the world at 10:44 pm on May 29 - almost exactly 45 minutes after the show ended.

The scrub nurse recommended that we change her name to Hattie Mac in honor of the miniseries.

I seriously considered it.