So according to the medical terminology used by my hospital, I had a “scheduled” c-section in the middle of the month of May.
Hmph. Scheduled in that they tortured me for 24 hours first and had time to reserve an operating time and room to suit my doctor’s plan for his day. Essentially UN-scheduled in that my baby wasn’t due for another three weeks and I certainly wasn’t planning on having him that day.
Such are the indignities of pre-eclampsia. My vision of a natural childbirth fled before me once my blood pressure started spiking and my kidneys started to do Very Bad Things.
Magnesium is Not Fun, and I had to be on it for four hours before my delivery and then twenty-four hours afterwards. And since I was on mag, I was also confined to bedrest, stuck with a catheter and little pressurized air boots, and continuously monitored for blood pressure and oxygen levels. Did I mention that I’m allergic to medical devices? My catheter, my IV, the little boots, all the tape and every place a plastic/silicone device rubbed my skin, all of them were swollen messes. I can assure you, being allergic to a catheter is no joking matter. Benadryl and Vistaril only helped somewhat.
And my precious boy, my ultimate son, my skinny little under-cooked 37 week baby, ended up in the NICU within 12 hours of birth, struggling to get enough oxygen into his blood thanks to pulmonary hypertension. He spent the next six days in there, and I didn’t get to hold him until day 3 after his birth. I didn’t even get to touch him, actually, because my spinal anesthesia knocked my arms out entirely for about 6 hours during/after my surgery. Not being able to touch your baby is pure hell. I feel extreme sympathy for all NICU moms– it’s awful.
But we’re both alive.
This is good. We had a close call, both of us. And he continues to struggle, having already battled off a horrible cold that threatened to turn into pneumonia, sleep apnea, and epic diaper rash from the antibiotics we used to fight the infection. Plus he’s been on steroids for swelling in his throat. And he’s apparently allergic to something in the house and has chronic congestion problems.
I am helpless in the face of all this. This is not how I envisioned the first two months of my youngest and (presumably) last child’s life. I had cozy images of a nice breastfeeding relationship and quiet peacefulness and an uncomplicated delivery. But I didn’t get those things, due to circumstances mostly beyond my control. The baby turned out to be a slow feeder who much preferred the bottles he’d begun getting in the NICU to the squishy realities of momma’s appendages. And my middle-aged post-surgical body decided that milk production was superfluous when I was still so sick myself and shut off production. Life’s been crazy around the house with lots of chaos and un-planned-for events. And my doctor freaked out when confronted with my history of 2 shoulder dystocia events, three sonograms showing a kid large for dates, and pre-eclampsia. So there went the entire vision of simple and natural.
But I’m alive and he’s alive, so it’s okay.
But it shot my plans all to hell. And woke me up to reality. Memento mori, valar morghulis, whatever you like to call it– we’re all going to die. And I’m not exempt.
So, yes, I’m going to die, and I don’t get to dictate the terms of THAT, either.
I’d better get serious about this business of living, then, huh?
Let’s get to it.