Tuesday, August 28, 2012

C-sections: 1997 vs. 2012

I had my first c-section in 1997.  It was an emergency surgery after 4 days of labor.  Between the laboring, the medications, and the c-section (not to mention how young I was... a whopping 22 at the time), it was an extremely traumatic experience.  The recovery took months and the emotional scars lasted for years.

In early August, 2012, I had my third c-section.  At 37 years old, I was much more quick to be up front about my needs before, during, and after delivery.  Here's my revised advice for anyone dealing with s planned c-section:

1.  Anxiety.  Own it.  Going into this delivery, my anxiety was heightened by the fact that I was still dealing with the loss of Andrew and I was terrified.  So I said so - to anyone who would listen.  Finally, they were willing to give me something for the anxiety and everyone was much happier.

2.  Fear.  Address it.  After the epidural, I couldn't feel myself breathe.  This happens to some people.  It's rare, but it happens.  Again, I spoke up.  The doctor put his fingers on my chest and told me to watch them for a minute.  His hand rose and fell with a normal breathing rhythm.  Then he turned the monitor and showed me the oxygen level in my blood.  Apparently I took a deep breath (and that made him chuckle) and stopped worrying.

3.  Pain.  Embrace it.  Here's the amazing thing about c-sections in 2012.  Or third c-sections.  Or (most likely) my doctor.  The pain goes away much faster than it used to.  I have no idea what to attribute this to, but it's been my experience that something magical has happened in the last 15 years and this process - while NOT fun - isn't nearly as bad as my previous experiences.  By 6 days post partum, we took the family to the diner around the corner for breakfast.  Then I took a 2 hour nap, but still!  I felt good enough to want to feel the sunshine on my face.

4.  Move.  I know I said to plan to stay in bed for a good bit immediately after coming home.  That was entirely old school.  Be gentle and careful, but moving is good.

5.  Don't overdo it.  I'm guilty of that.  At 2.5 weeks, I thought I'd do a little yard work.  Not the brightest idea I've ever had.  Even if you feel great, try to remember you're still recovering from major surgery.

6.  And most importantly remember that infancy is fleeting.  Sleepy smiles and newborn sighs grow up all too quickly.  Revel in them, enjoy them, and document everything.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

+17 Days. And Life is Good.

Connell James, several hours old.  

Connell James joined us on Monday, August 6.  8 lbs, 2 ozs.  Fuzzy ducky fluff atop his noggin, hazy undefined eye color peeked out from the cradle of his father's arms.  I remember hearing him cry for the first time and I, in my drugged haze, couldn't stop saying, "He's alive.  He's alive!  Make him cry more!"  And as I lay there, tethered to the operating table, strangely aware of the surgery happening on the other side of the curtain, I found myself revisiting the last time I was there and the stark contract between those moments.

In the days since Connell's birth, I've healed in a lot of ways.  I've started to let go of the pain of losing Andrew just a little.  And I've forgotten what it's like to live in a house without the ever present sounds and chaos of a newborn.  The delivery and recovery were much easier than I could have ever dreamed of.  The adjustments have been easy so far, but I'm well aware that the novelty will wear off the the "Bigs" (as I've started calling them) will stop being so wonderful and helpful.

I have a list of things I plan to write about once the Bigs go back to school next week:  I plan to revise my c-section recovery plan (because holy moly, it was so much better this time!), chronicle the joys of finding ways for a family with a 15.5 year age span to operate as a family, the fun we had our with our 5-day-old photo session, the journey to choosing Connell's name... and lots of other things.  But right now we're going to enjoy the dwindling days of Summer 2012 and the early days of what is bound to be Connell's amazing life.