Today's post is guest written by Joyce from Muum's Musings. She's a talented gardener, writer and amazing woman. She also happens to be my mother.
When my first child was born, I had some trouble recovering from the C-section. She was healthy, but I ended up with a bladder infection and was traumatized by the surgery. I hadn’t spent a lot of time in hospitals and remember feeling like they had ‘broken’ my body by cutting it open. It was upsetting, and I hurt, and I was tired. It took me probably 6 months to feel good again after that. *** and I were also upset because we had wanted to have a large family, and a Cesarean would limit that desire, too. But those feelings (which were a big deal to me at the time!) were minimized by the immense protective feeling of love I had for my firstborn. It was overwhelming to think that I was responsible for her care and well being. I loved her and wanted to do my very best for her, even though I didn’t really know what to do, often! I remember a moment in the hospital, in pain, having trouble walking, having to drag myself to the bathroom to pump my breasts because the nurses wouldn’t let me nurse her because I was on an antibiotic (!dumb reason) and thinking, it was all worth it to have her.
So, my initial experiences in motherhood were .. intense.
Our first child was two weeks late! This added to the personal discomfort of that last month (six weeks!), compounded by the heat and humidity of central Florida, where we were living in a horrible apartment with no a/c. For the rest of my pregnancies, I negotiated the due date with my doctor, based on the fact that I think my body runs at a slower rate than normal.
I remember lying in bed and moaning, ‘I’ll be pregnant forever!’ this child will never be born’, and truly believing it.
My water broke one fine day, and off we went to the Navy hospital (a WW 2 relic, with covered walkways between the buildings. A new hospital was being built while we were there.)
I remember thinking, “well, now they can’t send me home, we will HAVE this baby!”
As they put me in a bed, and all the paperwork was completed, a funny thing happened- my labor did NOT start. So we sat. And played cards. No, I couldn’t get up and walk around, and, by the way, I was ‘too small’ to have what looked like a large baby, they informed me. And if I hadn’t started labor by noon, they would do a C-sec because they can’t wait any longer because of the risks of infection (my water had broken about 6 am that morning) . My lack of knowledge cost me here. Although I had attended birth classes and prenatal classes with my husband, nobody told me that it is ok to wait – 48 hours? – I think, after the water breaks and things would be ok.
We did end up with a Cesarean. We were upset. I was upset, because my husband couldn’t come into surgery because he had not gone to a C-sec preparation class. I felt very alone, and very vulnerable. A spinal anesthesia was administered, and I remember lying there, and hearing the baby’s mew-like cry, (Did they tell me it was a girl?) and then I was unconscious.
I woke up in recovery with violent cold shakes, something else I was not prepared for. The nurses brought warm blankets, and I was so grateful. Soon my husband came in to be with me, and to say that the baby was a girl, and she was fine.
Although she was fine, we spent 8 days in the hospital (the maternity wing was one side of a barracks-like building, with the other side full of hysterectomy patients! That was fun, though), while I recovered from a bladder infection/ UTI.
It is a good thing babies are tougher than they look. We didn’t know how to get her to stop crying (she didn’t like the hot humid weather, either), we didn’t know how to put on a diaper – the cloth ones we were using looked like an askew boat on her little body. My mother came to help out the day after I got home from the hospital (or so, a day or two), and helped out with that first bath (a disaster!) and fixed the diaper/boat problem, too. I remember basically sleeping and feeding the baby the two weeks my mother was there, and not much else. It was wonderful to have her there, caring for us.
*** = my dad
I know, I'm pretty lucky, huh? That was my birth, and it was 32 years ago. Mom went on to VBAC 3 times and then have her last via Cesarean for breech. She continually teaches me how to be brave and kind and how to love fiercely, like mothers do.