Thursday, August 25, 2011

My birth story - Part 2: Postpartum

It turned out that Anton had taken such a big breath when he came out that he had a tiny tear in his lung, and a pocket of air had formed. This is apparently not terribly uncommon, and they may not have even known it happened except that they took a chest x-ray because he was breathing rapidly after he was born.

He was kept in the NICU to be monitored, to make sure his lung didn’t collapse. They put him under an oxygen hood. David and my mom and my sister were able to visit him. I’d have to wait until I was able to get out of bed.

Mom had brought some food for everyone, and we visited and ate. After a couple of hours, they moved me to the postpartum ward. David went home for a few hours to feed our cats and take a shower and get some rest.

I woke up at one point, and I heard another baby down the hall cry. The endorphin rush of knowing my baby was alive had worn off a bit, and I began to feel sad. It was unlike any feeling I’d had before – like someone had chipped off a chunk of my soul and put it somewhere far away from me. It just felt wrong. I wanted my baby. The next few hours dragged endlessly as I waited for my 12 hour strict bedrest to end.

Finally, the nurse came in to help me get up, clean up a bit, and then go see Anton. David came back, and went to the NICU to wait while I got ready. I didn’t need the wheelchair they offered. I walked to the NICU – although I felt about 80 years old, slightly hunched over and shuffling along. But I was so, so excited!

When I got there, the nurse told me Anton was doing well, and could be removed from the oxygen for a while if I wanted to hold him. Of course I did!

At this point I would like to say that many of the natural birth – centered material that I’d watched and read while pregnant said that c-sections interfere with the natural bonding between mother and baby. I’ve decided this is complete bullshit. I didn’t see my baby for twelve hours, yet when they handed him to me to hold, it was the happiest moment of my life, and I don’t believe I could have possibly loved that kid more even if I’d had my dream natural birth. If anything, my love for him was increased due to the gratitude that he had made it, after I’d spent so many hours in fear.

He was awake and alert, and looked at me with beautiful, intelligent blue eyes. The feeling was indescribable.

The next day, David and I visited him again in the NICU, and I held him again. They were taking chest x-rays every few hours to determine when he could be released from NICU. This finally happened around 2pm, and then he was put in the room with me until we were discharged from the hospital on Friday.

I got a bad headache from the spinal and was on bedrest for the first 48 hours that we were home. Mom and Becca came and stayed with us and helped to cook and take care of the baby.

Now we are both doing great. I am so thankful for my baby every second of every day.

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