Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not what I wanted, but what I needed...

On Thursday at 3 AM, my little one decided it was time to start making his entrance into this world. I woke up in labor, waited just long enough to make sure I wasn't crazy, and called my people. I went straight to big, long contractions, but they were in a weird pattern, so the nurses had me up and walking the halls and bouncing on the ball. I labored that way for 14 hours total before I made enough progress to get an epidural. 14 hours that I am extremely proud of.

I had the best anesthesiologist give me the world's easiest epidural, and waited. My progress was there, but was still just as slow. Add in my blood pressure tanking, and hours more of no progress, and things started to slide backward. After 22 hours, my very kind OB looked one more time, shook her head, and said, "You don't have to have the c-section, but I really don't think your body is going to let you go any further."

And she was right. She and I had both done everything in our power to get the labor as far as it could go. Turns out she was the perfect person to surrender to. She looked square at me and said, "I understand the anger and the disappointment. I'm an OB and I had c-sections, too. My job is to help women give birth and I couldn't do it the way my body was 'supposed' to. And you have to come to terms with it in your own time." I nodded and signed the forms and tuned out the world while I waited to be taken back.

In fact, I tuned out most of the time I was in surgery as well. My sister-in-law Michele gave me lots of space while it was going on, just close enough to let me know she was there but that she understood what I needed. 2.0 came into the world, we said hello, and he went off to the nursery. And instead of tagging along, Michele stayed with me. She had taken a few pictures and helped me email them to my husband while I was still on the operating table, which was just the distraction I needed at that point.

It went well. In fact, the whole thing went so well that I have had trouble feeling bad about it. The surgery was easy. I got tons of time afterward to pull myself together. The nurses settled me in, Michele went home to sleep, and three hours after his birth, the nurses brought me my son. All 8 pounds, 8 ounces of him.

See, once the doctor got in to take him out, she very bluntly said, "Your body could not have given birth to this baby. He is HUGE!" Apparently I grew a perfectly proportioned giant. Not at all chunky. My husband's family's genetics growing inside my teeny tiny frame.

I wish I could say it's been easy, but it hasn't. I still hurt. I'm still moving at a slow pace. We're still having feeding issues. But I'm ok. I actually got to try this time around, and I couldn't have asked for a better team to have around me. And my brand new son, who is laying here as I type, is the proof that God blessed me with what I needed.

Today's lesson: God doesn't always give you what you want. Then again, I think I got even better than I asked for: a wonderful family to support me, a truly kind set of doctors and nurses to get me through, and my beautiful little boy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I love being pregnant in Virginia

Here I am. Past my due date with very few signs that I will be giving birth to this baby anytime soon. The possibility of a c-section is looking like more of a promise. One of my doctors and I sat last week and talked about it, as things weren't looking particularly good. I told her some of the things I'd heard from people and read in scathing articles. She looked me in the eye and said, "I've heard it all. And I've heard worse. People are so mean to women when it comes to every aspect of birth and parenting, whether they had an option or not." And it's true. Very few people praise the woman who had a c-section instead of a "natural" birth. I feel like I will never dig my way out of the insults or guilt, even though I'm the idiot for letting it get to me.
But this is Virginia, and I am truly enjoying being pregnant here. No one rubs or pats my belly. Unthinkable! No questions about whether I will have an epidural or if I will breastfeed. I get lots of well-meaning advice, none of it with attitude. The sentiment I hear the most is, "You poor thing! That pregnant in August! And it's so HOT!" And when occasionally asked about being induced, I explain about my past c-section and that I have another one scheduled if the baby doesn't come on his own. The answer is the same every single time: "Bless your heart!" No rude comments about how evil or lazy I am for having a c-section. Because, trust me, I've had random strangers in other places say some really nasty things.

I've written about my "c-section guilt" before here. And I wrote it before someone made the worst comment I've ever heard in reference to my son's birth. "Well, if you had trouble getting pregnant and had to take fertility meds, and then couldn't give birth to your son without surgery, don't you think God might have been trying to tell you that you shouldn't have kids?"

At this point in my second and final pregnancy, I should be looking forward to the prospect of holding my son in my arms. But that comment eats at me still. It's the one thing that sticks in my head the most as I'm pregnant for what will be the last week ever. It shouldn't be that way. I should be happily washing baby clothes and spending the last moments I will have with it being just Winston and I. Instead, I spend a good deal of time sobbing and praying that things will go better.

But being here amongst some of the sweetest people I've ever known takes a little of the hurt away each time I hear them say, "Bless your heart!"

Today's lesson: You never know what unkind words will hurt someone the most. Then again, you never know when a few kind ones will lift someone up and make things a little bit more right.