How lucky can one girl be?
For over a month now, I’ve been writing blog posts in my head (and doing, you know, other things). Then I’ve been getting overwhelmed by how much I want to say, and my brain has slowly turned into a congealed mass of sleep-deprived soup, and I’ve put off the whole thing until the day when I can sort out a few sentient thoughts to throw onto this sadly ignored blog. I guess that day is today. As long as you can handle bullet points, I’ll try to write in complete sentences.
- I have a daughter now.
- Whoa, that’s still weird to say.
- As Pru noted, we were (typically) chatting on the morning of August 24th when things seemed especially moist down below. I hadn’t had problems with incontinence while pregnant (luckily — despite the uterine/cervical weirdness I was lucky lucky lucky to almost totally avoid other common pregnancy maladies like morning sickness, hemorrhoids, sciatica, stretch marks (at least before she arrived), etc.), so I had a feeling that my water had broken.
- It is so handy that Brad and I both work at the same place and I was able to call him right away – he was at my office within 5 minutes. But before that happened, I couldn’t remember his cell phone or work phone numbers to save my life. I sat there for what felt like an eternity trying to remember what number to call. I actually had to go online to our staff directory to look up his phone number. Other things on my mind, perhaps.
- We stopped at home briefly, fed the cats, grabbed my hospital bag (which I had just packed the day before, since I had gone to the doctor with weird cramps that day — they didn’t think it was labor, but had no way to check my cervix since — oh yeah, it faces the wrong damn direction), and headed to the assessment department at the hospital. The pH swab indicated right away that it was indeed amniotic fluid. Suddenly we knew that we were having a baby that day. Brad, Hot Baby, and I would all have our birthdays in the same week.
- Prepped for c-section. Two bags of fluids, ass-revealing hospital gown, total stranger shaved my pubes (but just the front of them, leaving me with a lovely pubic mullet for a week afterward), a million medical history questions. I told them I had to pee, so all of the monitors were unhooked and my still-squashed-by-baby bladder emptied a sizable amount. Then we headed to the OR.
- I sat on the edge of the table waiting for the epidural while Brad waited out in the hall. Started crying inexplicably — overwhelmed, relieved, nervous, scared. Suddenly I had to pee again (two bags of IV fluids will do that to you). “Oh, we’ll get the catheter in as soon as the epi kicks in. It will only take a minute!” “OK, but I really need to pee.” Sobbing and dripping snot all over. Nurses hug me and hand me kleenexes.
- Epidural administered. The nurses turn me to start laying me on my back, and I promptly pee all over myself. I start laughing in embarrassment, which of course makes more pee come out. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s probably just amniotic fluid!” Nope. Definitely, definitely pee.
- Brad comes in. Tears, snot, and urine everywhere. “I just peed all over myself!” I announce, mid-sob. Charming.
- Things happen very fast then. Dr. Thick-Neck, his assisting physician, and a couple of neonatologists show up. I am slightly excited to find that I can see bits of the surgery reflected in the light above the table, similar to one at a dentist’s office (what can I say, I’m a Discovery Health fan). Vertical incisions made, baby is transverse. Hot Baby enters the world sideways and back-first.
- She’s great. Despite being only 34 weeks, 4 days gestation, she breathes room air with no problems at all from the beginning. She’s a lightweight for her gestational age, but we knew that — 4 lbs even, 17 1/4 inches long. She is also, despite being covered with goo, very, very pretty.
- Brad stayed with her while they weighed her, put drops in her eyes, assessed her, etc. Apgars of 7 and 8. I get 18 staples. One of the nurses was kind enough to grab the camera and get a picture of my uterus for me, though. Oh, and guess what? She was in the LEFT horn of my uterus all along, not the right. Apparently things had gotten twisted up in there and things were not as they appeared. Silly girl. I’ve got that picture — my uterus basically looks like a big stitched-up heart. It’s pretty awesome.
- Apparently I was in the recovery room a lot longer than most people. I kept shivering and throwing up and they had to cover me with one of those hot air blankets and give me antiemetics, etc. I think I was in there about 4 hours, though it didn’t seem that long.
That’s pretty much her birth story. She was whisked off to the NICU, I was checked into my room.
She has a name, of course. Her birth certificate does not say “Hot Baby.” Because her name is not too common and pretty Google-able, I’d like to refer to her on this blog as simply her first initial, E (also one of her most commonly used nicknames). However, especially for my dear blog friends, here is her name — as gilded on this beautiful book given to her by a friend:
Her name is very traditional to Southern Louisiana, and all of the Cajuns swoon when they hear it. By the way, to pronounce it the traditional Cajun way (the way that we pronounce it), the last syllable rhymes with the word “bin.”
Now, more bullet points.
- Was in the hospital for 4 nights. The second day after surgery was the worst — I decided to let myself sleep and went 7 hours between doses of pain meds and was in agony until the next dose kicked in. Thank god those beds sit themselves up, or I would have just had to lie there for days.
- E stayed in the hospital for 11 days. She stayed in the Level 3 NICU for just one night, and then was moved to the Level 2 (the Special Care nursery). She had 2 days under the bilirubin lights for jaundice. She had to master 3 things before she could leave: “nippling” all of her feeds well (taking them from a bottle rather than a feeding tube), gaining weight, and keeping up her body temperature. She did a great job with the first two, but didn’t quite have enough body fat to keep herself warm.
- I started pumping the day after she was born. I had no idea how big a part of my life that goddamn breast pump would become. Now, over a month later, I’m pretty much exclusively pumping for her, adding a bit of Neosure formula to each bottle of breastmilk as prescribed by the neonatologists to help E put on weight. She can and does nurse now and then with a nipple shield, but she gets frustrated by the slower flow, falls asleep frequently, and takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete a feed. Even then, she doesn’t fully empty me so I end up having to pump anyway. It’s almost easier to just pump, as big of a pain in the ass that is.
- I am incredibly grateful that I don’t have any issues with milk supply. At this point I’m making about 2 1/2 to 3 times what she eats at each pumping session, so I’ve been able to space out the sessions more and fill up the freezer. As much as it sucks to live your life in the 4-hour increments between pumping sessions, it is nice to be able to leave the house when I want and let Brad give her bottles while I nap. Pumping fucking sucks, but the flexibility is a plus.
- My nipples hurt like hell, however. I think I might have thrush. I’ll have Dr. Thick-Neck look at them at my 5-week postpartum appt on Thursday.
- Feel free to call me a ho when I mention that I was back in my prepregnancy jeans 2 weeks after birth. I guess having a 4 pound baby helped. I do have a lovely 5-inch scar, however. I also got loads of blisters on my belly from the tape they used to cover my incision, if that makes you feel any better.
- My boobs went from perfectly symmetrical, creamy-white C-cups to vein-covered, stretchmarked, lopsided DDs in the space of two weeks. Right boob now hangs lower and produces about an ounce more at each pumping session. I feel like something out of National Geographic.
- E is lovely. She is so pretty, and basically happy (especially since I discovered Mylicon). At her one month appointment, she had already gained 2 pounds (!) and an inch in length. She’s still figuring out that it is very nice to sleep between midnight and 4 AM, but then her due date isn’t even until this Friday. I’d say she’s pretty advanced for someone who’s still supposed to be a fetus.
- I already qualify for World Worst Mom, however. Yesterday I propped E up on a pillow the couch to go get her a bottle, and soon after I heard her screaming bloody murder. In the 30 seconds it took for me to add 1/4 tsp of Neosure to her breastmilk, she had ROLLED OFF OF THE COUCH ON TO THE FLOOR. OH MY GOD. Luckily she quit crying within 30 seconds (I can’t say the same for myself), ate her whole bottle, and fell promptly asleep while I Googled “signs of concussion infant” and “worst mom ever allows 6 lb baby to FALL ON FLOOR.” Then I remembered and re-read this post and felt much better. She’s fine. I nearly had an aneurysm, however.
- Every day, I get to kiss a sweet-smelling baby head and tell it, “You make your mommy so, so happy.”
- Did I mention that she’s pretty?