Adjusting…

Adjusting...

Honestly… the first few days were easy. Eva slept a lot and nursed. She didn’t really fuss at all until we had to put her in the car seat to go to the pediatrician. They found a heart murmur and we got scheduled to go to the hospital for some tests.

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From then on, it’s been rocky. She doesn’t like to sleep. She wants to stay up way longer than any newborn should, which results in her getting overtired and fussy. She will fight sleep tooth and nail. There were several difficult and lonely nights coupled with recovery pain. My daft hospital thought it fit to prescribe me oxycodone! Like hell I’m going to take that while I’m breastfeeding.

Having the husband home was a help, but not terribly. I mean, it was nice to have him here and to get me water and to try and do things for me… but my husband is notorious for not doing a damn thing unless you explicitly ask him and “nagging” at him really doesn’t do anything but put him in a mood. I wish he had done more. It’s not like I even made him stay up! He slept every single night through in the bed while I’m out in the living room with Eva.

We had an incident when the husband was home. Unfortunately, it happened on a day where I had gotten zero sleep in quite a long span of time, so I was already at my wit’s end. I was annoyed with him just lying about while the house was a wreck and the dirty clothes were piling up, so I asked him to do the laundry. He sort of got an attitude, but he went to do it. I even made him a chart and hung it up in the laundry room.

Well, he goes to do it and then I hear this loud noise and him cursing. He let the cat in there unsupervised and he brought down the entire shelf above the washer and dryer, sending things flying. There was bleach everywhere. I set Eva down and ran to see what happened, worried he’d hurt himself. I was angry when I realized what happened. As I tend to do, when something doesn’t go right, I do it myself. So I hurriedly gathered the colors and threw them into the washer, not realizing he’d been dumb enough to open the washer and send bleach spilling into it after the incident. So I got bleach on a bunch of our clothes.

I had a mini-anger meltdown after that. It’s the first time he’s seen me like that. He spent the rest of the evening trying to wash clothes in very cold water in the bathtub in an attempt to prevent the bleach from setting in. It was a disastrous day. I haven’t asked him do laundry since. Instead of apologizing or anything, he moped around instead and just said, “why wasn’t the shelf secured?”

Sigh. I try not to get too angry or annoyed with him, as I know I’m battling with hormones, sleep deprivation, and just frustration… but it’s hard. I don’t feel like he’s completely “stepping up.” As with everything else, I feel like he’s doing the minimal amount to get by and hoping no one notices. I want to play video games and relax, too, but I don’t have that option.

I hate tearing into him, though. He does do things, it isn’t all bad. It’s just easier to focus on what he’s not doing it. And it’s not for lack of me asking or telling him, either. I feel like I’ve done everything to be accommodating but I’m not getting any of it in return… which is pretty normal for all of my relationships, sigh.

Adjusting to this is rough, like adjusting to pregnancy was. I don’t miss being pregnant, not at all. I can’t really enjoy not being pregnant, though. Newborns are rough and I got one that does not like to sleep. It makes it harder. She has reflux, too, which is not fun to deal with at all. Then there’s my constant anxiety that my entire body is ruined. I still haven’t looked at my stitches or how I’m healing down there. I’m terrified. I never want to look. I don’t even want to know. I seriously burst into tears any time I think about it. I can’t even talk about my boobs or stomach. I’ve lost 30 or more pounds and my stomach is almost back to being normal, except the skin. I’m so scared all of this is permanent and it’s awful.

I know a lot of it is hormones, but it’s still hard. I just keep trying to look at the positives. I don’t have Post Partum Depression–I don’t want to hurt my baby or myself. It’s just “growing pains”, trying to adjust to this whole different life while also being forced to deal with hormones. It’s tough. And it’s lonely. Nights are the worst–I hate nights. I cried a few times when the husband would go to bed. I feel completely separated from him. I miss going to bed. I miss being around him or being close to him. That’s one of the worst parts–we’ve always been incredibly close and this new “space” between us is just really hard for me to deal with right now.

It will get better. These are just the starting months. If it didn’t get better, people wouldn’t have children.

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When the husband is present and engaged with Eva, my heart swells. It’s beautiful to see. I know it’s hard sometimes to “attach” to newborns, but I’m hoping he does as she grows. He told me that he thinks she hates him, because he can’t soothe her or feed her. I have him bottle feeding her, but he complains that she doesn’t fall asleep on him like she does me. I’ve tried to tell him she honestly only likes me because I’m a source of food. Right now, that’s all I am. He has the chance to be more and is quite capable of soothing her (better than me) when he actually tries.

I’ll just be happy when I can sleep in my bed and sleep for longer stretches than thirty minutes to an hour. That will be glorious…

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Until then, I just have to keep looking at her sweet little face. Soon, she’ll be big. She’s already growing. Some day, I’ll want this time back.

First Days in the Hospital

First Days in the Hospital

Our first night in the hospital was really surreal. We went to the room without Evangeline and got situated. We were both completely beyond tired. We had a shower in the Labor & Delivery suite due to them not being sure when they could get us moved over to Mother & Baby. The husband was wearing down–he was gaunt, pale, and barely coherent. He was also ravenous. The in-laws brought him Arby’s. He ate nearly three sandwiches and fries! I coerced him into going to bed and he pretty much collapsed on the uncomfortable, fold out chair thing head first. He still had his shoes and jacket on. It was only 8:30. He’d gone to bed before they’d brought Evangeline back to us.

When they did, it was just so weird. I kept looking at her, just wondering what I was supposed to do now. I mean, I knew, but being faced with it after nine months of nothing feeling truly real was eye-opening. I changed her first diaper without assistance and then set about getting the husband comfortable. I was removing his shoes and covering him up when a nurse came in with my medications and scolded me for being out of bed. I’d just given birth! I hadn’t slept in over a day! It didn’t matter. I didn’t feel tired. I was sort of walking around in a haze.

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I eventually drifted off after trying to feed Eva for the first time since our skin-to-skin. Breastfeeding wasn’t an immediate fit–I have inverted nipples that are small and huge boobs as it is. She was having difficulty latching on. We struggled through the feeding and then they took her to the nursery and told me to rest, that I needed it. I think I drifted off for awhile. The pain eventually settled in around four am, twelve hours after I’d popped her out. I only took two rounds of pain medication in the hospital and boy am I glad! They were giving me oxycodone! That is not okay for breastfeeding. I was appalled when I got home and found out that’s what they’d written me a prescription for.

She didn’t cry at all the first night. She was quiet and sedate in her little mobile bassinet thing. The husband dubbed it ‘Baby Tupperware.’ I miss it, honestly. I liked being able to see her! It’s such a mystery now whether she’s awake or just fussing in her sleep. The husband slept for around fourteen straight hours while I had to wake up every four hours at night to try and feed her. It was two hours during the daytime. Feeding still wasn’t going great. It was working, but it was painful constantly. The one nurse was too forceful and not very helpful. She was trying, but forcing a baby’s head against the boob to “fix the latch” isn’t really an appropriate method.

Eva had a meltdown the first full day at the Mother & Baby suite around one. We were scheduled to have pictures, but it just wasn’t happening. We had to reschedule for the following day! That night was the worst. Trying to feed her just wasn’t going well at all and finally, finally we got the amazing lactation consultant that had done our breastfeeding class. She was an angel. She worked with me for hours and eventually, she showed me the nipple shields and explained to me the issues we were having–overactive letdown, inverted nipples, and huge boobs. All of them were combining into a bad mixture. Once we got the nipple shield, everything went amazingly.

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Husband slept through most of Eva’s crying both nights. I only ever made him change one diaper and that was an experience! I’m definitely glad I let the nurses take Eva at night after I’d fed her, because I needed the rest and I had no idea how little I’d get once I got home.

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The days in the hospital felt like an eternity. Honestly, we were only there a total of 72 hours total, including the induction… but it still felt like forever. We were originally set to leave at 7:30 on Friday (that was 48 hrs after we’d been received in Mother & Baby) but we were doing so well that they moved it to 4:30!

Of course, the entire wing was leaving along with us, so we didn’t get out of there until around 7pm anyway, sigh. They did kind of a crappy job discharging us. They didn’t tell us she had to be in the car seat beforehand (we thought they’d show us or make sure we were doing it right at least!) and they were terribly short-staffed. We didn’t even get a manual pump or a visit from a nurse for hours before we left! Everyone was having babies that week, it seemed. There were nine (with Eva, ten) born on the 12th alone!

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Staying in the hospital wasn’t horrible, but we were ready to go home. I foolishly had thoughts of sleeping in my bed and everything else. Ha! Yeah right. Going home did not turn out as planned at all. My mum surprised us with a visit, waiting until husband went to get my prescriptions to knock on the door. I was in the midst of breastfeeding. I was not happy. I literally opened the door and said: “Mum? What the fuck?”

Husband was livid. His mother was “in on it”. They got into a huge fight. It was all a mess. I had an anxiety attack and a crying fit. I was just so exhausted and in pain. After everything that we’d gone through that week, I just was not feeling a visit and especially not from my mother who hadn’t spoken to in months! We got through it, though. She only visited for a little while each day. Sigh. I’m still not thrilled about it and I let everyone know–no surprise visits. My grandma said: “I don’t see why you need to be like that.” I don’t fucking care. I have a child, I’m on her schedule, and I don’t need people dropping in when I’ve got five seconds to have a nap! It’s just rude. Have a thought for someone other than yourself. My entire family is ridiculous.

I did get to sleep in the bed, but I was too afraid to sleep on my stomach. I only got an hour or two, though… then it was out on the couch. We’re not doing co-sleeping. She sleeps, swaddled, in the travel bassinet we have set up in the living room.

Evangeline’s Birth

Evangeline's Birth

I ended up being induced. We arrived early at the hospital and had one hell of a time figuring out where to park. Once we tackled that obstacle, we took the long, last walk to Labor and Delivery as a childless couple. It’s so weird how you don’t really think about that stuff until it’s immediately before you. I really, truly had no idea what I was in for.

The L&D rooms were huge and nice, with a giant window that overlooked the nearby ghetto, haha. We made many jokes at its expense. We watched the sun set while we waited on someone to come in and begin the process. I sat in my awkward hospital gown, completely oblivious to what I was about to endure. I was nervous and a little scared. Hospitals make me nervous–I’ve never been hospitalized before, nor had I ever had an IV or anything of the sort before. The husband has a bit of PTSD involving hospitals because of his childhood leukemia… but he was a trooper. He hung out on the vinyl couch, equipped with his laptop and 3DS.

I remember watching bad TV when someone finally came in. It wasn’t my nurse, but someone who was assisting her. There would be a shift change around 7:30, so these weren’t the nurses I’d be dealing with primarily. For that, I was grateful. The one who did my IV exploded a vein in my forearm and then did a shoddy job of putting it in the top of my finger. I’m ghostly pale and I have amazing veins–every phlebotomist has told me this! So, there was no excuse for her error. She commented on me “being a bleeder.” Well, yeah. That tends to happen…

And so it began. The shift changed and a nice, friendly nurse and resident came in. They explained what Cervadil was and that since I was past due, it was very likely that it would break my water and get this show on the road. It was uncomfortable, but no unbearable. Contractions hadn’t started when my husband left, as my insistence, to go eat some food (his last meal!) and get the proper charger for his laptop. While he was gone, the contractions had started, but I was managing.

They’d really ramped up by 2am. I was still walking around and able to leave the bed. I’d coaxed the husband into having a nap. I was grunting a bit with every contraction, but they were still pretty far apart–ten minutes or so. I watched the monitors fastidiously. I’m impatient. I remember having a very strong sensation that I needed to pee, so I padded to the bathroom, IV in toe. What happened next… was not exactly pee. It was a tidal wave. I shook a little. I remember returning to my bed and getting hit with an even more intense contraction. I felt a lot of pressure down below. I remember calling to my husband, a plaintive little cry. He came to my side, groggy and disoriented. I told him what had happened and he insisted I call a nurse. She checked me and another huge gush hit. It was 3am and my water had broke. I was officially in labor. The nurse set about removing the Cervadil (I still had four hours to go of it.)

The next few hours were intense. Contractions ramped up, coming every five minutes and then every four minutes. I went from zero effacement and 1cm dilation to 50% effacement and 6cm dilated. I stalled around 7 or 8am. The pain became intense. Another shift change happened and I was introduced to the nurse that would not only help me deliver my baby, but also be an amazing helper to the whole process. She told me she wouldn’t push the epidural and for that, I was thankful. I finally gave in and had some Stadol so I could sleep. It was amazing. The husband remarked that I was out of it. I didn’t even care. I wanted more, but they wouldn’t do it. They kept pushing pitocin. The nurse was reticent, knowing my desire for a natural delivery. Everyone else was skeptical except the nurse and my husband–they were my biggest supporters. Natural delivery didn’t happen in this hospital, at least not a voluntary one.

The contractions got really intense. I finally broke down around 10am and got the Pitocin. That’s when things got hairy. I spent the next few hours practicing every pain technique I could, but none of them prepared me for this. The husband was at my side, feeding me ice chips, giving me a cold compress on my head (I was burning up with each contraction), and putting pressure on my lower back. I was having back labor. Great.

There were a few times I stumbled. Where I questioned my resolve. Where I looked at my poor, tired husband and felt horrible for putting him through this. I wanted sleep so bad, I wanted him to sleep. I didn’t want to labor forever and lose my awesome nurse. They kept checking me and progress was slow, slow, slow… they ramped up my pitocin twice. I thought I was going to die. I remember doing all manner of positions, gripping the bed like a woman gone wild, and grunting like some sort of base animal. I finally got the urge to push around 2:30. I warned them, my body wants to push, call my doctor. They told me I wasn’t in the right station yet, I had one more to go, and that my contractions weren’t perfect yet. I said toss that, I can’t NOT push, I have to. I already was. And so they called my doctor.

The prognosis wasn’t great. They said we’d try pushing and see if she’d descend. They put me into the epidural delivery position–flat on my back, legs raised and assisted by nurses, feet against stirrups. I tried pushing for an hour, no luck. My doctor came back and checked me. By this time, I’d acquired quite the following. Several med students, another doctor (from the hospital), and other nurses had gathered around to watch the natural delivery happen. My doctor mentioned “c-section” and we both tensed visibly. No. I was not doing one. My resolve steeled, I said, “can I try a different birthing position?”

They looked at me like I was crazy. Then they looked among one another. I got: “well, yeah… I mean, we’ve never had it happen, I mean there’s always the epidural and numbness. What do you want to do?”

My husband suggested bringing the bar. I remembered it being mentioned in my birthing class. Only two people knew what I meant. They were from the “old” beds. A nurse scrambled off to locate it while I shed any dignity I had left and got on my hands and knees. I labored like that until they brought the bar. Once it was attached, we did a few more sets and then finally got our positioning right. I ended up gripping the bar while my awesome nurse and husband helped me in an assisted crunch. The other doctor (female) assisted me with where to push and helped guide the baby out while someone ran to fetch my doctor again.

An hour later, Evangeline was born. I remember them ushering me on, telling me to keep going. She got caught on my pelvic bone. Her huge head didn’t want to navigate it. They guided her out. They said if I reached down, I could touch her hair. I said hell no! Someone asked me if I wanted the mirror, to which I hastily replied, “does anyone ever want the mirror?!” A med student laughed and said, “sometimes, I guess.” To which I said only: “well, then, they’re mad.”

There was one instant where I slightly barked at the husband to bring me ice chips in the middle of a contraction. I realized how it sounded and apologized for being demanding. Everyone stopped what they were doing and said, “did you just apologize to him while you’re in labor?!” My doctor peeked up at me, looking quite shocked, “how are you talking during this contraction?” I could talk during them and while pushing, too.

I had the room laughing during and after my delivery. I remember only when she crowned and nothing else. It was a pain unlike anything else and for a moment, I faltered. I cried out for the first time. Their voices ushered me on. I tuned them out and heard the frantic heartbeat on the monitor. She was in distress. I’d heard them discussing it between my last two contractions. I focused on that and I pushed. I thought I was only pushing out the head. I was wrong.

When they sat her down on me, I was shocked. I just stared and gasped and said ridiculous things like, “what? Where did this come from? You said we were only doing the head! That’s an entire baby!” I just stared and stared at her, completely awestruck at this awkward, very pale, very messy little human. They cleaned her and warmed her, putting her against my chest. She pooped on me. I didn’t even notice. I just stared while everyone congratulated me and told me how amazing I’d done and how impressed they were. For many of them, it was their first time witnessing a natural birth.

I glanced at my husband and he was crying. I didn’t cry, I was just so shocked, adrenaline running through me. Soon, Eva was whisked away to the other side of the room where she was surrounded by a pediatrician and his students. I was left with the two doctors sewing me up. I felt it all, despite their local anesthesia. I had also felt him cut me towards the end. I asked what the damage was. He told me a second degree natural tear and that he’d cut slightly past that. When it was all said and done, it amended it to more like a third degree tear and I heard them discussing how I’d ruptured an artery inside. Great. I’d pooped the entire time during labor, too. Sigh. Dignity was a foreign concept at this point.

I harangued my doctor all the while, telling him that with all that stitching, he’d best make it look good down there. I remember telling him that he was supposed to be a pro, how’d he let me tear so badly? My alertness and fast tongue were apparently uncommon. I deal best with stress and adverse situations with humor or sarcasm, so yeah.

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When I held Eva again, she was cleaned up, but still pale. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “look at her perfect little finger nails! She has my hands.” And I commented on her “sweet little face” looking exactly like it had in the ultrasound.

They took her away after an hour. The husband followed dutifully after them to the nursery and I was left to try and recover. I’d apparently left quite a bit of blood on the floor. My awesome nurse insisted I take something for the pain and then had to run off to an emergency down the hallway. I spent the time alone texting family and staring at the meal they’d brought me. I hadn’t slept in a day and I hadn’t eaten in almost that much time, either. I wasn’t hungry and while I wasn’t tired, my body was exhausted.

The nurse had insisted that if I felt up to it, I was welcome to take a shower… but only with her assistance or my husband’s. She warned me gravely against doing it on my own. When the husband came back, I got a shower. It was difficult–I was weak and he had to help me wash my hair–but in the end, I felt a hell of a lot better. There was a lot of blood. I don’t know how he managed, but I’m grateful that he did. His knees were on fire from kneeling on the chair next to me, so I insisted that he let me run the hot water over them.

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Holy puffiness, Batman! Look at that unflattering double chin.

We got moved to the mother and baby room. Unfortunately, we didn’t get one of the fancy new ones, as they’d had a lot of babies born and were full up after me. When they brought Eva in, it still hadn’t really sunk in. I was a mother. We were parents.

The poor husband was beat. I coerced him into going to sleep after he binge ate Arby’s. He went out around 8:30 with his shoes still on. I remember changing Eva’s first diaper and then removing his shoes and covering him up. He only had this uncomfortable, tiny chair that pulled out into an awkward, narrow bed. He slept for around thirteen hours while I couldn’t seem to get my body to rest at all!

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She came out 7lbs and 9oz, measuring at 21.5 inches! Such a sweet little face. It really does look so much like the ultrasound. She also got a lot of pigment, too, once she got warm. She isn’t cursed with my pasty complexion, but instead seems to favor her father or my Spanish grandma. She’s got a pretty, more olive-like tone. I love it. She also was born with a lot of hair, yay!