4 months old :)

stellaIt started at around 2:30 am the night before, three days past my due date, when I started feeling moderate lower back pain every 40 minutes. I didn’t feel like it was time for the baby to come, so I decided to sleep it off and see what happened by the time I saw my OB at 9:30 am that day. She examined me, aka shoved multiple fingers up my vujay-jay, and discovered that I was one centimetre dilated. We had a conversation about what to do next, since further dilation could take hours, a few days, or even a week at that point. We decided that if the baby didn’t come by Friday (it was a Monday), I would have a C-section, or I could wait until over the weekend and they would try other methods (not exactly induction, which wasn’t possible since I’d had a C-section with my first daughter).

A little background information – as previously mentioned, I had an emergency C-section with my first daughter, Danica. I wanted another Caesarean with my second pregnancy, but Doc convinced me that I was a good candidate to have a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and that the recovery time would be much faster, so that’s what I went with.  However, I couldn’t wait too long for the baby to arrive on its own because of this, so that is why we were on a timeline.

At 1:20 pm while having lunch at Montana’s, I was more frequently feeling sharp back pains and it was becoming too uncomfortable to sit upright. At that point I started to record every contraction (which I had determined they were, since I remembered this feeling from my first pregnancy), and they were 17 minutes apart. I had read multiple times that if they were five minutes apart or closer, I should go to the hospital. I decided to take a nap and see how I felt when I woke up. When I arose, the contractions ranged from four to seven minutes apart, and it was around 3:30 pm when we agreed to pack up and head to the hospital before possibly getting stuck in traffic. At about 5:00 pm we arrived. I was taken into triage for the doctor to again roughly invade my insides and find that I was now three centimetres dilated.  I was admitted. Blood tests were done and my IV was inserted at that point. They couldn’t find the vein in both my arms so they put it into my hand, which was a little more painful, and I was advised to not bend it in case it broke or pinched a nerve or something. Great.

I was advised to ask for the epidural right away, because there was a chance the anaesthesiologist wouldn’t be able to come on time. At roughly 8:40 pm, three hours later, he arrived and gave me the epidural. Luckily my nurse was great and was able to snag him in between two lengthy operations. For a good 40 minutes I felt bliss from the painful and now frequent contractions. They inserted my catheter (“pee tube”) while I was already numb down there, a process I’m sure would be quite uncomfortable under normal circumstances. And then the nurse broke my water and started my pitocin drip, which would help speed along the process. At first this made me nervous because I wasn’t allowed to be induced, but they said it wasn’t the same process and wanted to have the baby out as quickly as possible in case any complications arose (the general risk of having a VBAC is that the former Caesarean scar could rupture, and the baby would lose oxygen and potentially die – SCARY!)

However, when the pitocin started to kick in, I started feeling the painful contractions again. One, two, three, four times I pressed that button for an extra hit of “epidural juice” as I like to call it, but I was still feeling the pain! Such constant, heavy, clawing back pain that I could barely lay still. I’d shake my legs after every contraction just to distract myself. At 11:35 pm, I was eight centimetres dilated. Two more hits of juice after that, and at 12:10 am they increased the dosage (which still wasn’t helping me at all). Two more hits after that, and in more excruciating pain than ever, and I was finally fully dilated at 12:45 am.

The doctor came in and told me to push after the next contraction. I asked her how, and she said to push as if I was taking the largest crap ever. After the first one, I yelled out, and they told me not to yell because it took away from the power of the push. It was then discovered that my baby was “sunny side up,” or her back was to my back instead of the opposite way, which is optimal for delivery. This was why my contractions were painful – she was positioned in a way that put more pressure on my spine. Doc said she would put her hand in and turn the baby downwards while I pushed. The next contraction came, and all I saw was a hand go in and disappear up to her elbow, and a lightning flash of pain as I screamed the loudest I ever have in my entire life. I quickly shut my mouth and gritted my teeth, and concentrated on pushing while the doctor’s arm was still inside of me. My mind got fuzzy and I felt light-headed. At one point, a flood of nurses started rushing into the room. Apparently they were having trouble finding the baby’s heart rate, which had suddenly just dropped. I heard the doctor tell the nurses to prepare the operating room for a C-section and I thought, frightfully, no, not again! Then I heard mention of forceps as, my husband told me later, they sliced me open to the anus and used the forceps to pull the baby out. It lasted 20 minutes. They put my darling baby on my chest, all bloody and slimy, and had to cut the cord instead of my husband in case there were other complications.

I was so relieved and hugged my cute little baby, and then they took her away to clean her up. They told me I had done a very good job pushing and, had it lasted any longer than that, I would’ve had another Caesarean. I thank God to this day that I didn’t have Caesarean AND vaginal trauma to recover from.  They started to stitch me up. Half an hour, an hour later, I asked, what is taking so long? Doc then told me there was bleeding from my uterus, which had ripped somehow before I started pushing. I was in agony again. When I dared to look, I would see various hands and metal instruments going in and out of me. Needles slashing back and forth, sewing like mad. They couldn’t stop the bleeding. They told me that if I lost more blood and couldn’t fix it, I would need a blood transfusion and possibly an operation to sew up my uterus. At that point I broke down. I just want it to be over, I cried. I just wanted to rest and hold my baby and be at peace. They ended up inserting a latex balloon up to my uterus, inflated with 300 mg of water. Then they stuffed three cloths into my vagina up next to it. It was a little over an hour and a half when they finished sewing. They put me back on the pitocin drip (to this day I don’t remember why- something to do with stopping the uterine bleeding) and again I started to feel the painful contractions. I asked how long would I need the stuffing in there and for how long would I feel the pain, and they told me at least 12 more hours! I broke down again. I kept trying to shake my leg. I wouldn’t let go of John’s hand. I couldn’t even drink anything in case I still needed surgery, so I would sneak little sips of water to cool my super dry throat. They gave me morphine which still did nothing for me. 45 minutes later they told me to breastfeed Stella, and I tried but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even sit still, the pain was so intense, so I tearfully told them I couldn’t do it and to please take her away. It broke my heart. I probably had two more breakdowns in between then and 12 hours later. I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t allowed to eat. I was just writhing in pain the entire time.

After 2:00 pm the next afternoon, they finally deflated the balloon and removed the stuffing. The contractions ceased, and I was in heaven. The bleeding had stopped, and I didn’t need an operation.  There were just the post-delivery complications to deal with, and I’ll leave those for next time.

I am blessed and thankful that my Stella Joan, 7 pounds and 9 ounces, came out happy and healthy, and I’m well enough mentally and physically to put it all behind me now.  Happy 4 months my sweet baby girl!

boo-bages

BeFunky_Instant_4

I know I lack focus at times and have much of an agenda I’ve promised but not yet fulfilled, i.e. cupcake reviews and silly childhood stories part 2 (both of which I fully intend to deliver once I a – conduct more thorough research and b – am in a better mood), but I’m currently experiencing a (literally and figuratively) painful juncture in this journey called motherhood that I found important to share.

For a new mother, perhaps one of the most vital parts of post-conception is trying to nurse her child both for the baby’s health and bonding purposes. I think back to the initial days in the hospital, when I was sternly “encouraged” to breastfeed my fresh new baby girl; post-surgery pains, lack of sleep, and feelings of anxiety notwithstanding. It was so difficult. I didn’t know how to properly hold this fragile person, let alone nourish her from this rock called my breast. On my 3rd morning in-hospital I was forced into a mandatory breastfeeding seminar. I had a Cesarean section and could barely even walk, and the thought of going anywhere in that eerie hospital without my husband in stride terrified me. It didn’t help that I was the last to arrive with Dani screaming her head off; two of three other babies sleeping and the third gurgling contentedly in his mother’s arms. The nurse asked me if she needed a changing and I was foggy and perplexed; how the fk was I supposed to know? She picked up my daughter and told me I needed to change her diaper, according to the bold blue stripe at the bottom. Feeling ashamed and inadequate, I told her I didn’t know how to (wasn’t I just laying in bed for three days with a catheter stuck up my hoo-ha, slurping up Jell-o and apple juice through a straw?).

Let’s just say, the first days of motherhood, especially when you’re stuck in the hospital 8 days longer than you had planned, are neither easy nor pretty.

This brings me to back to my present situation, one I wasn’t so blatantly prepared for. Sure, there is plenty of literature on how to properly massage your breasts for milk flow, that bleeding nipples and engorgement are commonplace, how and when to pump, yada yada, but I don’t recall reading much about weaning and the painful process it’s proven to be. One of many baby- and family-related plans of mine was to not nurse Dani for more than 12 months. She is now 18 months old. She was a great drinker from the start (once I got my stone chest broken in and flowing), and I must confess I quashed many a breakdown, crying fit and cranky mood with a simple feeding session. At first I used a special nursing pillow, then decided I wanted to be comfortable too and started nursing in bed. It was so easy to pick her up, lay down, and snooze together after she was full and content. But it was just five days ago, when her big baby teeth started to grind down and yank more frequently, and her squirming 22+ pound body kept kicking and rolling all over me making it hard to breathe, that I decided it was time.

One of the greatest pleasures of motherhood thus far was nursing Dani. She loved her milk and pretty much got it when she wanted it, if I was home. I thought that my 14-hour work days would dry up the supply, but around midnight every night she would wake up and feed. Of course I complied; I missed holding her after such a long day and she was so happy to do it. It was the one thing as a mother I could offer her that no daddy, grandparent, or godmother could. You can imagine what an emotional mess I’ve been for the past few days.

After several major crying spells in between now and getting home from Easter dinner Sunday, I think I’m starting to feel better. Dani broke my heart the second night, when she pointed to “our” spot on the bed and cried, pleading for me to lay with her. But it’s proven easy to distract her (with lots of iPhone games and a handy supply of little chocolate Easter eggs), and knowing she is happy and still running around all “loca” is very reassuring.

So here I sit, breasts throbbing and leaking through layers of cabbage and sports bra, drinking Sudafed (which quite a few mothers via Internet forums have insisted provides relief and dries out the breasts) to share my story with you.

I hope you’ve found it even a tiny bit informative, if not a semi-lengthy distraction from your boring office duties 🙂

Perhaps an upcoming post will be about the painstaking journey of navigating the web-hosting and blogging world. I have purchased the domain www.preferredfate.com which I plan to have up and running very shortly, once I get my hubby to take a look. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’d rather poke myself in both eyes than read instructions on how to manage online services. Guess I’ve got to get with the times sooner or later (preferably, much, MUCH later).

And I also have to do some cupcake research and dig into my childhood archives, I know, I know.

(stay tuned)