Our birth experience was everything I wanted it to be, and so far the first few weeks of parenthood haven't been any more challenging for us than for anyone else (but it can be very challenging). I like to think, relatively speaking, it's been pretty easy. It's a huge adjustment and all of us- from baby to puppy- have had our moments, but this has not been difficult in the way that I understand difficult to be.
We scheduled the surgery for Monday, January 27th. I've been asked a few times why I elected to have a Cesarean, so here it is: Even in my 38th and 39th weeks, I did not show one stitch of labor. Not one Braxton Hicks, not one millimeter of dilation. I had seen several women (most first timers, as well) go into induction for vaginal delivery under the same circumstances, and my slightly-educated guess was that anyone doing that stood a 50/50 chance of ending up in surgery anyway and usually after a long, hard, difficult labor full of interventions, from Cervidil to hours of Petocin. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing natural about that nor did it seem like something I wanted to do. Yes, a vaginal delivery even with every intervention is more natural than surgery, but all those drugs aren't nice to anyone. Had I gone into labor, I would have welcomed it, but I did not. So anyway, each woman should be able to choose the birth she wants and have it supported. I think every birth is beautiful, and no birth is worth more than another. I do not debate methods of safely bringing a fragile infant into the world, and neither should anyone. So there is that. On with it!
And you know what? Everyone involved, including my doctor, are damn happy I agreed to surgery on my due date because she wasn't coming into the world any other way! Of course she'd need her own special tunnel out. After walking back to the OR and having the epidural administered, my doctor and his support staff quickly got to work. It was uncomfortable, but I was feeling good with the epidural and oxygen (oxygen is amazing, by the way, and I could become a junkie on it). I shook a little bit, but felt very present. Working, kneading, smiling at Aaron, hearing him telling me to just look at him, and then bam! A jolt. My doctor pushed on my chest to pull our little girl out. He said he cut my uterus, nicked the sac, and saw big, fat cheeks. He realized we had a bigger girl on our hands than we initially thought. And out she came, kicking and screaming with all the vigor and anger of someone ripped from their comfortable home! Red, swollen, unraveling her limbs our Alexandra Jayne was 7 pounds and 12 ounces. No one is quite sure how she fit inside of me, but it certainly explains why I never felt a hand or foot poke me, but only knees and elbows: kid was folded in me. She was checked over and given to Aaron. He introduced her to me, and when I said hello her eyes shot open. Whether it's true or not, I like to think she knew who I was right away. It was just the moment I needed. Overall, it was a very strange trip. You drive to the hospital and a few hours later you become a parent! Little AJ had some irregular breathing so she was wisked away. I really wanted to be present and participate in her firth bath, but I let them do it in the nursery since it was told to me that it could regulate her and I could have my baby sooner. Done deal. We'll live without a full day of vernix. Aaron came back with her about twenty minutes later, and I got to hold my daughter for the first time. There's a funny picture of me with my hand on hand, in a total "what now" moment.
I stayed in the hospital four nights, and am very thankful I did. C-sections aren't an easy way out by any means; in fact, it's major surgery. I had an organ cut open and my skin. My intestines were removed and put back. Things tugged and pulled on that had been in one place for 31 years. I watched a video on BabyCenter to see what I was getting into and I'm glad I did, as it helped me respect what had just been done to me. I was in some pretty serious pain for the first two days, but did begin attempts at breastfeeding while there. Once my pain was managed, I felt much better. I even showered once! Aaron stayed with me the whole time and took some nighttime feedings and did all the diaper changes. He is a champ with swaddling, as well. I'm a very lucky lady to have him!
Since being home, I have felt a little better every day. The first 10 days post-op were the roughest, but after that I was able to stop the pain meds and manage a few outings. I pump a lot, and AJ latches fine but we're still having some issues. I'm giving it 6 weeks before I re-evaluate what we're doing. Aaron washes all the pump supplies and bottles, and I do the laundry. She sleeps in a moses basket in bed with us when she isn't in the nursery or baby swing. She's quite a heavy sleeper, so much so she won't wake with early hunger. I have to wake her, and it's difficult to tell what's good when I'm breastfeeding during the day. If we bottle feed at night, it's pretty regular. I was super stressed for a few days about scheduling and normalcy and OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO. Then I realized I was being ridiculous and decided that we're not even going to try to schedule anything until at least 8 weeks, although I've been told the real magic number is about 15 pounds, as far as getting the kid to do stuff and all that jazz. So for now, we're enjoying every newborn moment available to us. We've gotten through the first weeks with his parents and other help, and my mom's on her way now. I think we just might make it.
It's been amazing so far. I couldn't be luckier.