Posted by: birdsandsquirrels | January 25, 2010

fears part 2

Before I forget the whole birth experience completely, I thought I would revisit the fears that I had before the birth.

1. Pooping on the table.

Did not happen. To be fair, I never got to the pushing stage.

2. Vomiting uncontrollably.

Also did not happen. Not during the contractions, not with the epidural. Not during the c-section. Not after. Yay!

3. Losing control and being a “bad” patient.

Right before asking for the epidural, I felt out of control in pain. It was frightening. I  don’t think I made a fool out of myself or anything, but I was close to begging for pain relief. I was afraid they wouldn’t let me get one because I was only at 4cm, but the contractions were wickedly strong, I was having back labor, and they were one on top of the other, not even a minute in between. I was breathing through them, mostly on the exercise ball, with S or the doula pressing on my back.

I have no concept of how long this lasted. I’m told that it was a number of hours, but it felt like both many hours and just half an hour. Mercifully, the epidural was allowed and administered quickly. I did cry right when he was putting the needle in my back and I couldn’t articulate what was wrong. I think I finally squeaked out “It hurts”. The contractions were so close together it was hard to have a break where I could be still enough to do the epidural. But wow, once that medicine kicked in, it was fantastic. It was lovely. I could sleep. I didn’t feel any pain.

4. That something bad will happen to the baby. That she will get stuck, have shoulder dystocia, be deprived of oxygen or otherwise harmed while going through my fucked up tailbone/pelvis.

Thankfully the c-section was decided on before the baby went into serious distress. I was disappointed to have to have surgery, but I was also thankful that it meant that she would be coming out quickly and bypassing these concerns.

5. That I will be damaged during the birth process. If I break my fucking tailbone again, I’m going to be pissed. I’m terrified of getting a very bad tear from this potentially big baby with a very large head.

Again, this was a benefit to having to have the c-section. No damage to the tailbone, no tears. Of course having major abdominal surgery was kind of a bummer, and had its own pains, but at least I can pee and poo without problems.

6. That I will labor for a very long, painful time, and will then end up with a c section and a doubly painful recovery.

This fear was realized, sort of. It could have been a lot worse, but I do think that recovery would have been much easier had I not gone through 18 hours of induction. If we get lucky enough to have another pregnancy, it will be a c-section for sure. My OB said that I could theoretically try for a vbac if the next baby is much smaller, but Birdie wasn’t all THAT big, and my pelvis just didn’t have room. She would strongly recommend a planned c-section, and that’s fine by me. At least now I know what to expect.

7. That I’ll get a horrible spinal headache if I get an epidural.

Nope. Yay! I did get the shakes really badly, but no headache, thank god.

8. Just of being exposed and of everyone seeing every part of me .

This was very scary to me. I hate feeling exposed and naked and this just filled me with fear. Of course, I never got to the pushing with legs spread phase, but there was plenty of nakedness and exposure, with the flimsy hospital gowns, the dilation checks, the monitors, the urinary catheter they put in after the epidural, being moved around in bed by the nurse once I was numb, and the c-section prep. Thankfully a lot of that I was numb for and just stopped caring. Really, I just stopped caring.

Then after the c- section, they check your incision, help you to the bathroom, changing underwear and pads and checking for bleeding. It helped that I had a lovely nurse the day after the surgery who was super nice and made me feel comfortable while helping me. The worst part was that they leave the catheter in for 24 hours after surgery, and once the epidural wears off, it doesn’t feel so great. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but it’s just weird to have a tube in your urethra and trying to move and walk around. I was so happy to get it out.

Then there was the breastfeeding thing. I’ve never been one to even change in front of people in the gym locker room. I either go to the gym in exercise clothes or change in the bathroom. I don’t change in front of even my best girlfriends. I was dreading whipping out the breasts in front of people, but at the same time, I wanted to feed baby bird, and I clearly needed help. It felt awkward at first, but by the end of the first day, I didn’t worry anymore. Showing my nipples to the nurse didn’t bother me. I didn’t care if the hospital staff came in to bring the food tray while I was nursing. It stopped feeling awkward. Of course, I didn’t (and still don’t) feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of the in laws. Somehow there is a huge difference between hospital people and my in laws.

9. Having to stay in the hospital for several days.

I had to do it and it was fine. We even spent Christmas day in the hospital. The food was quite good, surprisingly. It was basically like ordering from room service at a hotel. You called up and ordered what you wanted. I had a yummy grilled cheese, good pasta, a vegetarian sandwich, cinnamon french toast, muffins, fruit, and lemon and chocolate cake while I was there. I cannot complain at all about the food.

I did bring a lot of things with me that helped me to feel comfortable. That might be a whole post in itself. It helped that I had an awesome, large, private postpartum room with its own shower and a great view, and pillows and a blanket from home. I brought plenty of snacks as well which was great for after food service hours.

10. Having a c section and S not being able to handle being in the room for the operation.

S did an amazing job. He did not pass out, or even appear like he might pass out. He held my hand and was very supportive throughout the surgery, and only made a few inappropriate jokes. He even saw some blood and the placenta and was fine. I wish I could have seen the placenta. They wiped Birdie down pretty well right away so I think that helped. It all happened so quickly that I don’t think he had time to freak out. Plus, it was exciting. We were finally going to get the baby out and meet her. He remembered to bring the camera and the baby book and everything.

11. How my cats will react to us bringing the baby home.

This has gone better than expected as well. The one cat that has health issues has been fine with her. He mostly ignores her. Within days he would sit on the couch in his usual spot and just pretend not to see me holding her or feeding her. The younger cat is a lot more freaked out than I expected. He avoids her and has been a bit stressed. Overall though, it has been fine. They are getting slightly less attention now, but I do try to spend individual time with them and play with them. As I type this, the younger one is curled up next to me, kneading on his favorite woolly blanket.

If I could go back to visit myself back on December 22, I would give that girl a big hug and reassure her that it would all be okay. None of the fears would end up being that bad. The things that seemed like a big deal wouldn’t actually be big deals. I would tell her to have faith in herself, her husband, doula and doctor.

The worst thing that happened was having a c-section after a long labor and failure to dilate, and we got through it just fine. The c-section recovery has been far easier than I expected. The first two weeks were hard with the swelling and incision pain, but once the swelling went away (which happened at exactly two weeks for me), I felt pretty good. A month out, I cannot conjure up in my head how those contractions felt. I feel that my whole hospital experience was generally very positive.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this — you’re making people about to go through it feel reassured! My fears are pretty much in line with yours so it’s helpful to know that even if some of them do come true, I will get through it just fine! Hope you’re doing well with baby bird.

  2. I want to thank you for this post, too. I have a whole lot of fears, and you’ve done a great job articulating them (back in December and now) and making many of them more manageable. Plus I’m so glad it ultimately worked out so well for you and S and baby. 🙂

  3. The reason you can’t remember how the contractions felt is because if any woman EVER remembered, they would never have a nother baby as long as they lived! It’s good amnesia! I am so happy for you and S. I have followed your blog for the last few months and am very excited for you and S. Good luck – send some of that super sticky dust this way!

    Jennifer AKA “Still trying after 4+ years of secondary infertility”

  4. i totally get you about the breastfeeding thing. i remember being surprised that i was breastfeeding in front of med students, janitors, my sister’s friends, etc…

    i have to remember sometime to blog about our cat’s response to the kids. it hasn’t been good. at the beginning, b was trying to find people to take her (and he LOOOOOVES that cat!). it’s a little better now….but i’m still concerned and always make sure that the cat is nowhere around when i leave the kids for even a minute!!

    xoxo


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