Friday, October 10, 2014

The Birth

It was over two weeks ago now that I gave birth to my daughter Cecilia. It has been a blur of wonderfulness and bumps of not so wonderfulness. On Sunday, Cecilia’s two week birthday, I thought she was only one week old. The days are rolling into each other.

In a nutshell, here’s what went down: I was 8 days overdue and going to be induced the evening of the 9th day. I was aiming to do a v-back, because of that they couldn’t use drugs to induce me so they were going to insert a balloon into my cervix to dilate me and then break my water. Thankfully I finally went into labour naturally on the 8th day. Cecilia, or Cece as we call her, was ready. Initially I wasn’t totally sure that it was time. I thought it was just bad Braxton Hicks. Eventually I realized, with their frequency and increased intensity, that I was having pre-labour contractions. John and I arrived at the hospital at about 4:30pm and I was 3 centimetres dilated. An hour and a bit later I was 5 centimetres dilated which meant I was in “active labour”. Let me tell you something about active labour. It hurts. Going into this I was planning on staying at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. I didn’t last very long. I also planned to endure active labour without drugs as long as I could… that happened to not be very long. I made it until 8:30pm.

I don’t know how women give birth without drugs. I. Don’t. Know. How. They. Do. It. I have all the respect and admiration in the world for them. Where do they go inside themselves to muster up that strength and courage?! How do they not feel like they’re dying?! Good on ‘em! I learned pretty quickly I am not one of those women.

As soon as I got the drugs they checked me again… I hadn’t dilated passed 5 centimetres in the two hours since they last checked me. Disappointing, but apparently common with first-timers. I was considered a first-timer because Evan was born via c-section. I was determined not to have another c-section because, 1) I wanted to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible, that was a big motivator. 2) I wanted to avoid that long recovery. I had fantasies of skipping out of the hospital to go home and play tag with my 4 year old. Sadly, that’s not how it turned out.

Cecilia was born at 7:58am. I pushed for 2 and a half hours and her head just wouldn’t come out. I used a mirror. I could see her. She was so close… I pushed as hard as I possibly could. I thought I would pop the blood vessels in my eyes, but it didn’t matter. She was stuck. The doctor said to me, “you have to get her out on the next push.” I didn’t. That’s when the scissors came out for the episiotomy. Next thing I knew she literally slid out of me. I immediately asked what we had because we didn’t find out the gender beforehand. It was a girl! It was a girl?! Totally not what I was expecting, but what my husband John said he knew all along. We had a girl. A girl. Then she was with me, on my chest and everything was wonderful. Then I pushed out the placenta, easy peasy. Then I was in stirrups and three doctors were… down below. Everything was still wonderful. I knew they were just stitching me up. I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think anything of it until they were still down there an hour later. When they were done, one of the two doctors who had been called in to do the repair work told me something like, “we did the best we could…” Everything she told me after that is a little foggy. Something about no sex for 6 weeks and sitz baths. What I kept replaying in my head was the first thing she said. ‘We did the best we could’… what the hell does that mean? Will I ever not hurt down there? Will I ever be able to go to the bathroom normally? Will I be able to have sex again? If I can, will it feel different? What is my vagina going to look like? Is it all Frankenstein down there? Do I have a Frankengina?!

Then there was the realization of the leg issue. Somewhere during the labour I lost feeling in the lower half of my right leg. After giving birth the damage became very obvious, although at the time I didn’t think it was damaged. I thought the drugs just needed to wear off. I couldn’t really feel or move my right foot. No biggie, I thought. It will come back.

My husband John, Cece and I spent that day and night in the hospital. We got out of there before noon the following day. At least that went according to plan. I could not wait to get home. Unfortunately the lower half of my leg and foot felt the same. No improvement.

To make a long story short, we are two and a half weeks post birth and I have only regained some feeling in my leg and foot. I’ve seen two specialists and have no answers. We know it’s nerve damage and we’re working to find the root cause of it. Doctors are confident that I will heal, but they can’t say if it will take weeks or months. For the most part I don’t think about it. Until I go to walk of course. I suppose I should more accurately say, I don’t let myself think about it. If I do it’s a little scary. It’s also frustrating because I was so hoping for that quick recovery and what I got was anything but.

Thankfully I delivered a healthy, very happy, beautiful baby. That is my main focus. I am eternally thankful for my little Cece and still in awe that I am now a mom of two, because most days, I still feel like I’m a twenty something playing house.

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