Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the big cut

I've heard of  many women scheduling  c-sections, that they prefer it over natural child birth. 
Some have said  because they know exactly when to expect their baby. "It's an in and out" one mother told me.  Unless absolutely necessary, why opt for an operation in a cold sterile room, where you can't hold your baby, are completely lifeless from the waist down, and later  drugged, and pass out  for  hours?  ( hmmm. that last part sounds kind of appealing.)

Unfortunately i have no idea what natural child birth is but,  i do now know a thing about the c-section. 

The word Cesarean comes from the same root as the Latin verb caedo, which means to cut "  

Oh and cut they do! I was definitely not prepared for it. Any of it.... 
Labor for me never really started on it's own, so the nights i spent wondering or worrying if and when my water would break were useless.   All the questions possible run through your head long it would take us to rush to the hospital? where would i be when it happened?   should i pack my bags? should we keep them in the car? (and at a certain point we did
Did i  pack right ? Did we forget anything? I went over the scene in my mind- till the day we drove ourselves in to the hospital to be induced.... Lewis was 10 days late already and no more waiting- this was it.

So on Sunday June 6th we checked if into a hotel,  except we had a car seat with us!!!!! YAYE!!! I was excited I was gonna do this! I was convinced on trying as much as possible to do this as natural as possible. U huh, little did i know.  They placed what they called "tampons" to help my cervix dilate.   I had contractions all night Sunday overnight Monday and still when morning came no changes, we weren't advancing. So another attempt, and more contractions.  I went for walks, tried to eat, took baths (the hot baths were great)  by the afternoon they decided on petosin, (a drug i think should be given to horses really, it's the devil) they upped my dose every 1/2 hour, and still nothing , they broke my water ( the only feeling of some sort of relief really)   and still nothing and the contractions continued, I knew what I was going through with all that petosin in my system, i didn't even want to think of the effects it was having on my baby.  It was cruel, I stuck through it , really I don't think I would have made it then, without my husband and my Douala, Francine. ( thanks guys)
The two of them were amazing and we all worked together as a team and still nothing.

Labor, is one of the most painful things you'll ever feel, but really (and i don't tolerate pain really well)  it's do-able, because it comes in waves, so when it hits you it's rough.   Sway side to side, rock and breathe, deep breaths, and  right when you think oh my god this is crazy I can't - it passes.   Its over for a while, and you relax and gather your strength, never thinking for a moment,  at the next one. (that's the trick)
It's  like I've said before tackle things one at a time.   And let go,  Labor is all about letting go
Well eventually I had to let go.... let go of the idea of doing this without medication, after 2o hours of intense labor i asked for medical help. The epidural.   I really did  everything in my power not to but my body was shutting down,  it worked too hard- for too long .  So finally i gave in, before my body would give out. Still hours later nothing. Finally the next day the doctor decided that the only way was a c-section.  I was prepped for surgery, physically, 
mentally,  I would have never been prepared.  After 28hours in labor, I was wheeled into an operating room.   I was tied sort of like on a crucifix, arms spread out on either end, and a sheet right where your collar bone is  so you see nothing (and if your claustrophobic like me, you can't breathe) but i looked  over to one side where my husband sat.  Within minutes Lewis was born, what an overwhelming feeling! The baby is checked and bundled and shipped off to the nursery with dad, while you get put back together, and then knocked out.  For what seems like FOREVER.  
I awoke from the best sleep i had in months ( what drug is that anyways?)  it was  painful -  moving around  is difficult.   With the incision being in the lower abdomen ,  even getting to sit up in bed was excruciating! But they give you pain killers,  they cut pain but also constipate. No one tells you.  Oh and the epidural also constipates, not to mention the anesthesia they give you for the surgery constipates, (nope no one said a word)
Put them together and no prune juice in the world can get you outta this jam.

Sitting up is a big deal!
Sitting down is a big deal!
Getting out of bed is a big deal!
Walking to the bathroom is a big deal!
Taking a shower is a big deal!
Taking a shit is a big deal!
Not seeing my baby for 2 hours after he was born WAS A BIG DEAL! 

Why would any woman willingly ask for a c-section is beyond me.


Friday, November 19, 2010

discovering on my own

So much for me was self discovery.
From my hospital stay to the first few weeks at home....

Everyone had a different theory, and theirs being the best one!
At the hospital,  every nurse had a very different approach to breastfeeding.
Nurse one I'll  call  "General"  (not to use any other nice words that come to mind)
Her technique was placing the baby on his side, something about aligning the ear, elbow and i don't know what else.  This was THE " proper" way to get the baby to latch on.   All i kept thinking of was my great grandmother and how she fed, don't think there were any rules then... pop out a booby and go! Probably while milking a cow or cleaning string beans...Well silly me i thought,  she's a nurse she knows best!  I was eager to learn, new mom and all, i was gonna try anything !  She had me breastfeed for almost 2  hours non stop.... her theory was the baby, in order to sleep has to be full and have that drunken look. Yes i agreed, but little did i know that the day after delivery most women's milk has yet to come in .  
Brain-less and placenta-less me, i listened and did the 2 hour marathon to  try to satisfy my baby.   He did  finally fall asleep, not  from satisfaction  but by pure exhaustion!   He wasn't the only one exhausted my poor nipples were red and super sore. So much so that the following day they were two giant scabs, and then who felt like feeding the baby..... nice job!!! so a little formula, and lots of agony and the baby slept for a while... not for long though, soon it was feeding time again so more formula, i cringed and cried, i wanted so much to feed him, nutritionally and because Lewis was a c-section  baby i felt i let him down,  he missed the whole bonding,  the instant feeling that mommy is there . I wanted him to feel secure, instead i  heard him cry, wail,  as they yanked him out ( OK we'll save the c-section talk for another post cuz i have lots to say on that topic as well)  so i had to decide, do i try it and have my baby taste blood, or do i give him formula???
I got up ( which wasn't so easy ) and i walked to see the night nurses,  introducing nurse number two, "Ice queen"! They were so cold.  I realize they become immune to us, patients, and that what for us seems like the end of the world for them is a splinter, but really just a little help , i didn't need compassion, i had my son to drive this force,  just patience pls. and yet they looked at me as though i had lost it, like i was crazy, really... i  guess me going there to ask them how do i feed my baby was a strange question for them.
I finally convinced one to come back to my room and help me with the latch...  get this she puts the baby down on his back tilts his head to face me and boom he was latched on. Oh what pain!!!! tears streamed down my face that would not stop, and lewis looked right up into my eyes the whole time with a stare as if he knew he was the cause of this pain, and at that very moment the ice sculpture next to me began to melt, the nurse was crying too. 
Well  out went the theories -  do anything  she said , as long as he eats.
Ah finally words of wisdom. where had she been the day before crust city!?
I saw the light, there was hope! 
THERE ARE NO RIGHT OR WRONGS!!!! It's really what works for you .
Try it all upside down , football, baseball, cradle, bed , she-wolf  anything

 The day after the pediatrician came to visit the baby, he then turned to me and ask how I was, so I opened my robe to show him the chapped nipples ( btw your shyness, and dignity go out the window after having a baby,  nude-ness  becomes  a normal thing, you really don't care.  At least i didn't. I  had so many people viewing my privates i felt like the mona lisa)  back to the pediatrician, he asked me if i was using shields to feed. 
"Shields whats that????" Shield as in Spartans??? whats he talking about ?
"yes there are shields to protect your nipples as you feed,  ask the nurse she'll bring you some."
As he says this in comes nurse three,  Dumbo , that will be  her name. 
First off she was 19,  OK I'm  exaggerating 21 , anyhow doesn't matter, she comes in as the doctor finishes explaining the shields and i ask her do you have these "tetrelles" (he called them tetrelles in french)
These were her exact words, 
"well yes but those are for people who's nipples are really cracked and the baby is having a hard time latching on....." 
LIKE MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I  say as i flash yet another person my crusty boobs!!!  
"uh uh uh yeah, but they are 5$ each ."
IS THIS ONE FOR REAL ???? bring me a dozen if it'll help !!!!!  

10$ later i had in my hands the 2 things that saved breastfeeding for me...
Two thin, transparent shields that fit oh so softly over my crusted nipples ... my plastic saviors!
My nipples had time to heal and slowly but gradually at a month old i finally fed Lewis
 au naturel!!! 

Here are a few tips that really helped me stick to it.... 

-lots of rest, they all say to sleep when the baby sleeps well i did! ( dust balls everywhere )

-eat well, i have more of an appetite now then pregnant, i figure it took 9 months to put    weight on i'll give myself 10-12 to take it off  ; )
btw for those of you whose partners don't cook prepare meals ahead of time and freeze,( i got these cool containers sort of take out kind, at the $ store , perfect size for a meal for two) and i froze everything lasagnas, rizotto's ,  pasta, couscous, involtinis, stuffed peppers, stuffed eggplant,  you name it i cook and froze it! and if you don't cook ask whoever comes to visit to bring food!

-limit visitors the first month if you can. less pressure on you . 

-designate a place for feeding and have everything you need there, especially water to rehydrate you!

-I set a schedule, well somewhat , Lewis woke up almost every three hours to nurse so i would set a light alarm to wake me every three hours so i would be ready and less stressed when he woke up , i never waited for him to cry, the minute he started squirming and tossing his head side to side i would pick him up and put him to my breast to feed him. He wasn't frantically wailing, and  i wasn't as nervous as i would be if he was, and it worked. 

-write down the times and sides you feed, helps you know what's going on and when more or less your next feed is.

- get the "milkmaid" tissane found at almost any health food store, helps with milk production, as does beer , you can opt for non-alchoholised, although got to admit 5% does take the edge off a little!

- but most of all relax , sit back and watch how amazing nature really is!!!!!!!

Happy feedings!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

first one

He is the first one.
The first to keep me up nights,
the first to wake up because he wants to talk,
the first to show me what unconditional love truly is....
he is my amazing son Lewis!

Being a new mom is such and altering experience.
It really does change you. I heard it a dozen times but really couldn't grasp it, why would it change you?-it shouldn't.  You pick up and go where you left off, you're in charge- right? no- there is a change, the good kind, the kind that puts life into perspective. Yet the amount of  attention that is required on a daily basis is enough to drive you insane!! At the same time, the very thing that drives you bananas also invigorates, and gives energy. Where we get the energy is beyond me. I think there is a survival button that goes on automatically. Really i do.  Oh and no one tells you how crazy your gonna  feel.... it's like the silent oath we mothers take, silent because really WHO talks about it!!!! YES it's all worth it , but for crying out loud  could some one have said something! anything! just a hint, like listen you might be out of it, no, no really your gonna LOSE IT!  Yeah you may feel a little crazy , a little out of  control, a little coo coo in the head.
It's  NORMAL we have our  hormones on spring break , private parts that have deformed and reformed and not to mention the enormous belly that  besides becomes jelly,  never really leaves you.... all worth it,  again YES, but i would have liked to know!!!! YES!!!!!
NO i wouldn't have changed my mind, but boy i would have been mentally prepared,!!!!!  Everyone says that  labor is the hard part, well it's a breeze compared to what comes next!
All I  wonder is why not prepare new moms.... just in case.

 In case you do wake up and feel your life is out of whack,
 just in case you realize wow i may not have the strength to do this,
 just in case you just can't stop crying!
postpartum they call it... bull - it's called new motherhood!!!!
 i don't know of a single new mom who didn't have it rough at the beginning.
 Does the baby wake up at all hours of the night,
 is the baby confusing day and night,  colic's, gas, eye infections, constipation, teething, fever, first cold, is the room too hot,  is it  too cold?????????? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

There are different stages, all with their own challenges, but BABY steps will get you there .
Really  all you  need is to tackle one obstacle at a time. It's the only way.
I've learnt this now after 5 months, and my biggest accomplishment, to let go.  Not worry ahead of time, planning ahead is OK. but worrying is not productive at all.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure this one out , maybe it was the cloud i felt over my head that kept me from thinking clearly, or maybe it's really the beer I've been drinking for milk production ( more on this in my next post on breastfeeding) it probably has me so relaxed i only deal with whats necessary, and worry much less!
 Lately walking around in my baby filled neighborhood I've noticed that there is a silent understanding with mothers, the simple smile we give each other while passing each other by has an underlying meaning;
we love, give, and do unconditionally, as only a mother can!
I've decided to share all I've learned, researched, collected, asked,  and cried about.
things that maybe, may be useful to a new mom searching for answers, or maybe just wondering if she's normal or will ever be again.