Due to a previous surgery, I was due to have a scheduled C section on June 28th, 2007. My due date was July 4th :)
Having no previous pregnancy or birthing experience, I was quite at ease with the thought of having a scheduled birth, with no labor, and what I had thought was going to be an "easy" birth and recovery.
I started Spiderman's pregnancy at a lean 125 pounds. During his pregnancy, I gained 65 pounds. Yes, you read that right... 65 pounds! I suffered from gestational diabetes, hypertension, and several torn ligaments thanks to my large baby, and extra large weight gain on such a small frame! Needless to say, as the date for my section drew nearer, I had appointments with my ever changing midwives every 2 - 3 days so they could check me, and perform a non stress test (NST) on the baby.
I had my regular appointment on June 26th. I had been experiencing what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions for several days, and the NST showed no "real" contractions, so I was sent home. Throughout the night, my "fake" contractions seemed to be getting more intense, and by the following morning, I was so uncomfortable that I called the office and paged the doctor to request the first available appointment. Despite the discomfort, I drove myself to my appointment at 8am. The midwife performed an excruciatingly painful vaginal exam- so painful I might add, that I was crying- and told me I was not dilated, so I should go home. They would see me the following afternoon for my C section.
My naivete got the better of me, and after I composed myself from the tears streaming my face, I hobbled to my car. The distance from the office door to my car was maybe 20 feet. By the time I reached my car, I could not move. The pain in my abdomen was so severe, that I could barely breathe. I literally could NOT move from the position I had now assumed in my driver's seat. There was no way I could drive home.
My then-boyfriend picked me up, after what seemed like an eternity! We headed for home, and having been told I would just have to stick it out until tomorrow, I tried to force down some food- I couldn't even catch my breath enough to sip water.
I had been examined at 8:30am. I got home somewhere around 10/10:30am, and called the doctor again around 11am. She tried convincing me to wait until the following day, saying I should just "rest" and "try to relax"; but after not being able to speak for several minutes on the phone, she relented that "if I really wanted to be checked again, I could go to the hospital". We were at the hospital by 12pm, and I had to be brought in on a wheelchair.
My little Spiderman was born at 12:37pm via C section. As we entered the OR, just 4 hours after my initial exam, I was almost 8 centimeters dilated.
My little Spiderman, who was not so little, weighed in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long.
The pediatrician who examined him came over and told me he looked great, congratulations! We got the oohs and aaahs from the OR nurses, and the emotional "pat on the back" from the doctor who performed our section.
Things start getting fuzzy for me after this. Time blurs together, and events just float in my mind like pages of a book clipped and strewn about in a thick fog. I remember looking at my baby for just a minute. Trying to decompress from the hormonal volcano that just erupted in my body, and also the stress and anxiety that had ensued that morning. As the nurse tinkered around the room, I could feel myself trying to pull my mind into the present moment. This is supposed to be some big epiphany, right? Some shining light of instant bonding is supposed to shoot from the sky and it will be the happiest moment of my life, right? As I tried desperately to shake off the cobwebs and really SEE my baby, the nurse interrupted my subconscious thoughts;
" he looks like he's breathing a little funny, I'm just going to take him to the nursery- I'll be right back"
I didn't see my little Spiderman again for almost 48 hours.
|being transported to the NICU|
|my little Spiderman at the NICU|
Murmurs from nurses, doctors, family, friends, all were like eavesdropping through a door even though I was in the same room. Now, they are choppy, faded memories;
"your son has suffered a spontaneous bilateral pneumothorax"
"he needs to be transported to another hospital"
"I'm sorry, you can't go with him"
"Is he still alive?"
my boyfriends family calls in a preacher
really? last rites? what is going on?! why am I so tired?
"he will go and you will stay here"
"do you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed?"
"do you want them to feed him?"
The NICU to which he was transferred called almost every hour, wondering when I was coming- he was hungry...
"I don't know!" I would scream, "I can't get there! I'm in a hospital bed!" Finally, after what seemed like several HUNDRED phone calls, the two hospitals coordinated to get me up there in an ambulance. I was to leave at 10am.
They finally came to get me at 6pm. Yes, 6pm!
I continued to receive calls from the NICU describing my baby's desperate feeding situation, "I'm so sorry, we had to give him a syringe of formula, he was just so hungry!"
What does that even mean? Am I killing my baby because this hospital can't get me there?! Are they waiting for me to tell them to just feed him a formula bottle? But what about breastfeeding?! The questions did not stop circling.
I finally arrived, almost 2 days post op, still in tremendous pain and still suffering a huge hospital-drug-hangover. My swelling was unbearable. The NICU would allow me to stay, but obviously I was not their patient. I had to walk everywhere, despite my post op status and tremendous amount of swelling, and bleeding. I had to figure out how to pump myself, get up to shower, TRY to get some rest, AND answer the NICU call every hour on the hour to go feed my baby.
And I use the term "feed" loosely, breastfeeding became a HUGE undertaking due to the gag reflex my little Spiderman suffered from having been intubated.
My little Spiderman did great! He continued to gain weight, although breastfeeding remained a constant chore and struggle for both of us. We lasted until he was 6 months!
Since his traumatic start, my little Spiderman has become that light that I had been waiting for. It may not have had the time to appear as the "epiphany" at childbirth so many describe, but he continues to remind me everyday how wonderful being his mom is.
He is by no means a perfect child, and I am by no means a perfect mom- which is why, we are a perfect match! I do my best to nurture him, and he does his best to guide me as to what comes naturally to him. We pick our "battles" :), and I do my best to let things fall into place "naturally". He certainly has rules, and he seems to know and understand his boundaries.
He has adjusted to his dual-life, with two separate homes and two separate sets of rules. He knows he is Lucky. He has all the more people who love him! He has a mommy and a daddy, and a step daddy, a step mommy, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents up the wazoo!
He has a countless family and friends who love him. His mama, of course, is his biggest fan of all :)
He is my baby. My boy. My superhero. My love. My son. My little Spiderman...
Happy 4th Birthday Baby! Mama loves you! <3