Photo by Dairy Darilag
How do I even begin to write about childbirth, motherhood, and how much of a crazy life-changing experience it all is?
It's been 16 days, and this baby is making me think things and do things that I never thought I would do. He gets me out of bed at three in the morning without complaint. He's kept me at home for daaays at a time (unheard of in my past life), and the rare times that I do step out for things like doctor's visits, he's pretty much attached to me. He's made me seriously consider being a stay-at-home mom--I get weepy just thinking about going back to work and leaving him. Even now, just leaving him downstairs with the nanny as he naps, I keep wondering if he's doing OK.
My water broke at 2:30 a.m. on the 30th of December. For those unfamiliar with the process of childbirth: Less than 15% of women experience their water breaking--it's not as common as all those Hollywood films make it out to be. So imagine my surprise when I woke up to the feeling of having sat on a water balloon! This wasn't supposed to happen. I was still a long way off. In fact, I was scheduled to be induced five days later!
"Panic" doesn't even come close to describing what I was feeling at that time. H and I threw some last-minute things into our bags and headed to the hospital. After I was admitted, I spent a few hours going from 1 cm to 2 to 3. And that's when I realized that I have an incredibly low tolerance for pain. At 3 cm, I was in tears! It was mostly because of the oxytocin used to hurry things along--when they stopped using it, the pain was quite manageable. The prob was, if they didn't use it, we wouldn't get anywhere.
And then alarm bells: Whenever I would have a contraction, little monster's heart rate would go down.:( My (absolutely wonderful) OB was concerned that it was cord coil, and eventually made the decision to open me up. I know a lot of women dream of a normal delivery, and I was aiming for that, but I had no qualms about having a C-section. You can have the most amazing birth plan, but nothing is ever set in stone.
I also know a lot of women welcome the epidural, but not me. I have a fear of paralysis, of feeling trapped (being wrapped in seaweed at a spa is enough to make me anxious), and I didn't like being strapped down and losing all feeling from the chest down. I kept trying to take deep breaths, but it felt like I couldn't. It felt like I was drowning. Thankfully, my OB was incredibly reassuring. I probably would have had a full-on anxiety attack if it weren't for her.
I kept asking them to put me to sleep. I kept asking for my husband (he wasn't allowed inside since it was a C-section). I kept asking how much longer it would take, and they would humor me by answering, "Fifteen minutes," like those trainers who trick you into thinking that you just have to do 10 more crunches. I must have heard "fifteen minutes" three different times. But I held on to that. My OB told me, "The minute you hear him cry, you'll forget everything."
And I did.
I'm getting teary eyed just remembering that moment.
The first thing I heard my doctor say was, "He has black hair!" And then that glorious bellow from those powerful lungs of his. And then I could breathe. I could even smile.
He didn't cry like a newborn. He didn't even look like a newborn. (Look at those hands!) Doc said it was a good thing we decided to go for a C-section because that kid probably wasn't going to fit through my pelvis anyway. (Thank goodness we didn't wait til 10 cm to find that out.) My husband was finally allowed inside, and seeing our baby in his arms...and then feeling the little one on my chest...I have a hard time finding the words to describe it. It was peace and relief and warmth, and later on (when the morphine wore off!), love that was just shockingly intense. And an even deeper love for my husband, something I didn't think possible.
Part of me wants to fast forward to the day when he won't be as fragile, when we won't have to worry about his neck or SIDS or all those other paranoia-inducing newborn issues. But part of me also wants to freeze time, because I know it's going by so fast.
I think I'll go watch my son sleep.