I’m not even done writing out G’s birth story. I’m really not ready to read through old posts during that time period to make sure, but I believe I left off just before he was whisked away to the NICU for testing only to be admitted (he had jaundice and was septic, most likely from the fever I developed during labor). He was taken away just as I decided I was ready to snuggle him, just after my in-laws handed him back to Hubby during their second visit of the day.
I knew as soon as I gave into the epidural for G’s birth that I want some things done differently the second time around. It’s taken me over a year since his birth to process what I’ve been through and figure out what the rest of those things are:
Last time: Bed rest was suggested to me about two months before G was born. I fought it. And I won until six days before G was born. After a non-stress test and blood and pee work at the hospital, I was told I needed to be on bed rest until I had the baby. The day before he was born I was having my blood pressure and G’s heart rate monitored at the OB’s office and was told I’d have a baby the next day. The day before that I finally realized just how important bed rest was; I couldn’t sit up for more than 10 minutes before feeling ill.
This time: If I’m told to go on bed rest, I don’t want to fight it. I just don’t know how I will manage with a toddler. My in-laws’ schedule seems to busy to be able to rely on their help more than 1-2 days a week. I can’t expect my parents to drive down every day. I’ll go nuts if anyone has to temporarily move in. What family we do have down here works during the week and we don’t have friends here. We don’t have money for a nanny. My midwives don’t seem concerned about what happened in the past; they keep telling me nothing is an issue until it becomes an issue. But MFM doctors I’ve seen and nurses I’ve spoken to on the phone want to be more proactive about things and are very “if it happened last time it could happen again; watch out for A, B, and C!” I’m taking one MFM doctor’s advice and will do the 24-hour pee test around 28 weeks, although last time the only symptom I had was high BP.
Last time: I wanted a natural childbirth so badly with G. But I feel blew it by going to the hospital too early. When we got there, I think I was having back labor and Hubby was more concerned with updating friends and family of my progress than actually helping me manage my pain. When he did try, we weren’t in synch and I was getting beyond frustrated. At 3cm I couldn’t take any of it any longer and asked for an epidural. Luckily our nurse wasn’t keen on pushing the epi until I was at least 5cm, and I knew she was making a good call. When I finally reached 5cm I asked for it again. I wish I could say it was awesome, laying in bed feeling nothing. But long story short: it wasn’t. I was so happy when the nurses started letting it wear off in time to push. I remember riding in the truck the morning after I was discharged to spend the day with G in the NICU, and I told Hubby we would be taking the Bradley Method class next time because I still wanted to try a drug free birth. I wanted to take this class when I was pregnant with G, but Hubby wanted nothing to do with it and I signed us up for a 5 hour mini Bradley-based natural childbirth class instead. It was worth it (Hubby learned A LOT) but we took it in December. G was born in March.
This time: As promised, I signed Hubby and I up for a Bradley Method class and have advised him more than once he cannot miss a class. It’s 12 weeks long, partner-based, and we’ll finished up end of January/early February. I’m hoping Hubby will remember what we go over. If not, I’ve asked my midwife if she will be available for guidance (she said yes) and the back-up midwife assured me she has no problem taking Hubby’s phone away until after I’ve had the baby. Even if I end up with an epidural again, I mostly want Hubby to be focused on me. I need to be the center of attention this time. I didn’t feel that way at all last time. And since letting he epi wear off proved to be an awesome compromise, I’ll be asking for that again should I decide to go down that route.
Last time: I did not want visitors when G was born. I knew this months before he was born. But I felt like it was something I was “supposed to do” and Hubby thought I was too harsh for not wanting people to visit. The day after he was born, when G was brought back into my room for the day, around 7am: nurses came in to give me medicine, my parents came, I went to a useless breastfeeding class, Hubby’s parents came but only got a short visit, I got a chance to take a shower and work with a lactation consultant to nurse G, two hospital admins came in wanting to collect payment for my stay and survey my feelings on the food service so far (they got shooed away by the lactation consultant), I caved and let my sister come during “non-visiting” hours, Hubby’s parents came again (where MiL pestered Hubby for the picture she insisted he take of her with G; Hubby hadn’t had the chance to email it to her), a doctor came to speak with Hubby about G, a nurse came in to take G away, and I wasn’t allowed to see him again for about four hours while he was being hooked up to monitors and antibiotics. Once G was admitted, Hubby’s sister, brother and sister-in-law, and my brother all wanted to come visit. And they did. I missed dinner.
I was not one to be all, “OMG give me back my baby! I don’t want to share!” I was tired. Back in April, when I was driving back from the NICU after dropping off donations, I realized the feeling I was feeling wasn’t really exhaustion, or at least it wasn’t just exhaustion. I was numb. Too numb to tell people NO, I don’t have the energy for visitors. Too numb to bother with my baby, if I am totally honest.
G was born at 7:31pm on a Tuesday. I wasn’t ready to even try bonding with him until around 1:00pm on Wednesday. Right when my in-laws showed up the second time and my MiL needed more cuddles with G (I really do have major issues with this one aspect of the day). Then he was whisked away and I could only hold him to feed him for the next five days.
We I did say no to visitors once G was admitted to the NICU. MiL made Hubby feel guilty about it, but he was good about standing his ground. I think he saw how hard it was for me. When Hubby wasn’t changing a diaper or I wasn’t a crying mess while nursing G, we were in the cafeteria eating so G had more time under the Bili lights. There as no point to having people visit in my opinion. I needed to try to bond with him somehow and I felt visitors had gotten in the way.
This time: I don’t give two shits what people think, I am NOT allowing visitors. I bit a bullet and shared my NICU post on my private, family blog. I think it made my mom realize I need space this time; she’s already told me she and my dad won’t come down to visit until I’m settled at home. This is what I want. This time I not only have myself to think about, but G too, so I don’t want visitors until my new family of four has some quiet time as a new family before a revolving door appears on our house. I’m waiting for the subject to be brought up with my in-laws; I don’t see my MiL being happy about it. Hubby seems to get it, and he’s told me it’s okay to do things this way. His approval is all I’m looking for. I’m even considering not having my info listed in the hospital directory so that we don’t get phone calls in the room. My mom was big on that last time and while I ended up preferring phone calls to the visits, overall I just wanted to focus on what I needed to focus on at that time: G.
First Family Picture
Last time: No one offered to take one when G was born. This is mostly why I have issues with the picture my MiL asked for at her first visit and demanded be emailed to her ASAP during her second visit. She displays it proudly (and rightly so), but I hate looking at it. It’s only a reminder that I don’t have one of my little family on that first day. Again, the numb feeling played a role in not asking for one. A nurse at the NICU actually offered to take one as we were leaving on G’s discharge day, but it’s a hard one for me to look at. G was 5 days old by then and I still look 9 months pregnant because the Pitocin I was given during labor made me retain water (there’s a side effect something no one ever told me about! I only lost 3lbs by the time I was discharged; I didn’t start losing more until G was nearly a week and a half old).
This time: I’m putting this in my birth wish list. And I’m letting Hubby know he needs to ask for one if I don’t.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
I really think PPD started after my miscarriage (which is possible, though it’s tough to figure out since grief can play a big role in emotions after loss). It definitely manifested after I had G. And now that I’ve realized the feeling I was feeling right after his birth, I’d say it manifested before he was a full day old. I don’t want to go through that again. I didn’t feel like I fully bonded with G until he was 9 months old. It made me think twice about having more kids. Hubby didn’t want to touch me for fear of getting me pregnant again before I was emotionally stable. Overall, a shitty situation to be in.
This time: my insurance has a pregnancy program I signed up for. A nurse calls me every month. This month’s phone call happened last week and the nurse was super nice — especially since I completely lost it when she asked me to tell her more about my PPD experience. Her advice is pretty much what I’m planning on doing anyway: have a plan in place before this baby comes. If my favorite therapist taught me anything last year, it’s be proactive. So I’ll be asking my midwives if they recommend any therapists in this area and I’ll be seeing if my insurance can direct me to one who specializes with perinatal issues. My best guess is that neither will be very helpful, but I’m hoping one of them can give me a place to start. I just know I can’t go back to the therapist I was seeing before I got pregnant. I’ve also told Hubby if I’m still crying on day 15 after the baby’s birth and I don’t seem to want the house or people coming over, he needs to make me see a doctor, even if that means dragging me there kicking and screaming. I’m really hoping he knows what to look for this time (he was a non-believer in PPD before we went through it); he’s really going to be my first line of defense in getting help sooner if needed.
There you have it. My biggest issues surrounding G’s birth and how I want to proceed this time around. There may or may not have been sobs and tears in the writing of this post. Hopefully it makes sense; I tend to word vomit when I start writing about something I care about. And I really care about these points.
I’d like to thank PAIL for posting this writing prompt when they did. A post like this has been formulating in my head for a few months, but the prompt made me think a little harder about what I’ve wanted this time and tweak the plan I’ve had in my head for so long. And make me write it 😉