G is 5 weeks today. I need to write down my birth story with her before I forget the details of the day.
The picture above is of the three of us, an hour before leaving for the hospital. G was 5 days past her due date and my placenta was showing signs of aging. We decided, Dave our doctor and I, that it was best to go ahead with a c-section. I was exhausted and really uncomfortable. My contractions had stopped. My gut was telling me this was the best course of action. We struggled for over two years to have a second child. At this point I wanted to be safe and not so much sorry.
Carmen, our friend's mom, came over to stay with P while we went to the hospital that morning. There were four families ready to take care of P during this time. It sort of came down to what was easiest and who P felt comfortable with that day. Where P would stay and how all that was going to play out was worrying me more than the actually delivery. I didn't want her to feel abandoned. Carmen is like a pseudo grandmother to P and she was perfect not just for P but for me as well when I saw her in the hospital later that day.
For some reason, the hospital thought I was coming in at 9am. I was told to go in at 10. When we arrived they whisked me in through the surgery prep rather quickly. The nurses wanted to make sure they were ready for Dr. Perlow's arrival. There's a lot of paper work to do and so much double and triple checking of the details: allergies, meds, blood type, etc. All the while Dave was sitting at the foot of my bed feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. There's nothing the dads can do at this point. I knew from his face he was worried. At that moment we both felt alone. Not a single family member was here for us. But in my heart of hearts I think this is what makes our marriage stronger. It's just the two of us who are really there for one another and it's just the two of us getting through life together.
Dave and I did what comes easiest for us: we took lots of pictures and made jokes about the whole process. A poor nurse had to shave parts of me I hadn't seen in months...the same parts I'm too prude to let a stranger wax and now the poor nurse had to make her way through the thicket. When she asked if I needed a shave it took all of me not to start laughing or be sarcastic. I'm sure the nurses thought we were a little nutty and at times disrespectful but this is the humor that gets us through the hard stuff.
After about 45 minutes to an hour I was taken into the operating room. Dave was left behind to get his booties and surgical gear on. I saw Dr. Perlow for the first time in the operating room. She saw Dave before coming in. He was nervous and tearing up. I felt so sad I couldn't be there with him. I wanted him to know it was ok, and I was ok. Dr. Perlow held my hand for what felt like the entire time, from before the epidural went in to when she needed her own hands to operate. I've never had that kind of attention from a doctor. It was soothing and needed.
Even though this was my second c-section it was different. I was much more conscience this time around and therefore more nervous. I felt the epidural. I remember all the other doctors introducing themselves. I was told I'd feel a tingly sensation in my legs. Before the anesthesiologist finished the sentence I couldn't feel my legs and then I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. I felt heavy and then really, really tired. I always attributed the fatigue I felt during the first c-section to the 28 hours of labor I had before hand. Now I know it was the morphine.
The fatigue and heaviness coupled with the curtain that went up between my face and my lower body made me feel completely disconnected to the major operation I was having. I'm not sure I wanted to see what was happening. I did see a little bit of it in the reflection of the lights above me. But I had to look away. Normally, I'm enthralled with operations and medical shows but when it's my body it makes me nauseous. However, not seeing what happens makes the recovery harder for me.
It wasn't long before I heard "she looks great", "she's ok". Both Dave and Dr. Perlow knew that for 9 months I worried about the health and well-being of this child. We lost three and had to terminate one. It was suspected chromosomal abnormalities were to blame for all of our losses. After learning a bit about genetics I knew some abnormalities can not be detected in utero. I think everyone in that room knew I needed confirmation that she was ok. G was officially born on March 18 at 11:24am, weighing 7lbs 7oz and 19.5 inches long. Her apgar score was 8/9....the things that have never mattered before all of a sudden did.
I finally met our second daughter. I had dreamed of her for years and yet I was afraid to really visualize her in the previous months for fear of losing her through out any part of the process. Here she was on me but I was so out of it. I was covered up from head to toe because apparently I was sweating quite a bit and then I got cold really quickly so I was covered up. I felt none of this, I only felt my body full of lead weight and miserable.The biggest difference between this birth and the one with P was that with this doctor and at this hospital I didn't worry about taking care of myself and letting the nurses and doctors take care of my baby. With P my doctor was so awful and the nurses had to follow her instructions so I trusted no one. Even though I felt awful back then I forced myself with everything I had to wake up and take full care of P. This time because I could let go I think the fatigue hit me harder.
I now realize there is a lot I forgot about the entire birthing process. I forgot how hard it is and how difficult the recovery is for me. I forgot how you go through this major operation only to come out of it needing to be "all hands on deck". I forgot that I'm an awful patient. I hate being sick or handicapped in anyway. And I forgot how crazy it is to love a little being so much and yet feel so taxed by them to no fault of their own. I'm beyond overjoyed to have this child in our lives. I'm so in love with her but once again our world has changed forever and I'm feeling the full weight of the responsibility. It also did not help that I was hurting physically and the next ten days would be some of the worst I had ever experienced.