under the knife: my c-section story

>> Wednesday, June 16, 2010

my daughter is ten months old, and that evening is still fresh in my mind. a few things come to mind now; first, how much i wished i had never met that obstetrician in the first place, and second, how much i wish i had given my body a chance.

while i admit that delivering a breeched baby vaginally may have hurt like hell - i wonder if i could have done it, despite the fact that Grace was a whopping 8 lbs, 6 oz. every time i think about it, i wonder if my body could've figured it out: if my cervix would've dialated, if she would've dropped.

on august 15th, chris and i were supposed to go to mass but i was feeling too worn out, so we went home. chicken divan was in the oven, kronk's new groove in the DVD player, and chris was starting to cook the rice. i stood up to help him with it when i felt that huge, tremendous gush. i looked at him and said "my water just broke." the fluid just continued to pour out. i couldn't believe how much there was. i waddled to the bathroom (pants and flood were drenched, mind you) and did what i was told: emptied my bladder. then i checked the fluid to make sure there was no blood or meconium. all was well, so i put on clean underwear and a pad to hold the water. the pad was soaked within a minute, so we put in a handtowel. that was soaked within five. chris called his mom and she came over to help take care of the food as we packed for the hospital.

after she arrived, we finished packing the hospital bags, cleaned the apartment, (water was still gushing at this point. it was actually pretty funny), and made our way to the car. i got to sit on a plastic bag and a bathtowel: so. much. fluid. i didn't know it was possible.

once we got to the hospital, i was brought to triage where they did an internal and checked to "make sure" the fluid was actually my water. (i laughed at them for that.) i was zero cm dialated, my cervix was still hard and not at all effaced, and grace was probably more like -3 or -4 station (HA!). they moved me to labor and delivery, where i was prepped for a c-section: no questions asked. i was hooked up to monitors, my blood pressure was checked, central lines put in, gave a health history, talked to the anesthesiologist, and had my pubic hair shaved off my a complete stranger with a buzzer. oh, then my OB finally showed up. i think the most traumatizing part of it was having someone come at me with a buzzer and shave away. talk about being violated.

it was chaotic, busy, and stressful. there were 10 people in my room the whole time, running around and doing x-y-z. when i had done the L&D walk through, i was told that if there were several nurses in your room running around, that something was wrong. nothing was wrong. my baby was not in distress. i was not preeclamptic. we were both fine. i was just being treated like a piece of meat. i had to be cut open.

my body wasn't even given a chance. 

the normal "time" given from the breaking of water to the birth of the baby is supposed to be within 24 hours, per hospital standards. within 3 hours of my water breaking, grace was out and i was with her in recovery. where was my chance?

it wasn't even a consideration.

in the OR, i was cold. i was drugged. i was alone for half that time. really: chris was there right before they started cutting till grace was being wheeled away. i got to see my daughter for a minute before she was gone again. i was alone, strapped down, and vomiting --- unable to move, crying. the anesthesiologist and my OB simply muttered, "you ate too recently" and scolded me, as if it was my fault for throwing up - not theirs for making sure i hadn't eaten within 6 hours or so (and on that note, no, i hadn't eaten for over 6 hours at that point.)

once i was stitched up and wheeled back to the room, i couldn't move my legs. do you know how scary that is, to not be able to move yourself? i was afraid to hold grace. i had no privacy and didn't even WANT to breastfeed her, because i felt so violated. i didn't even nurse her until we were in the postpartum unit (it was about two hours later.) she wasn't interested because of the drugs, and i wasn't prepared to whip out a boob in front of so many people. it was terrible: and to make it worse, "her blood sugar was low" --- they kept telling me. no one said, "let's leave so you can have some privacy and nurse your baby." it was: "her blood sugar is low."

ask me how mad that makes me now.

some time after delivering, the nurses came in to check my uterus. this was so incredibly painful. i refused more pain medications for the next few days, but every time they palpated my uterus, i just wanted to smack them. it was as if i should've said, "i just got cut open and you're shoving down on an open wound? HELLO!?" i had a piece of cake recovery, let's be honest. but it was miserable. no one told me when to take the wound dressing off, or have the staples pulled out, or take the tape off the scar. really. i showed up at my doctors office for my two week postpartum visit with the medical tape STILL on: no one had told me when it needed to come off.

i will never go through that again.

so, this September, or October, or whenever this baby decides to come --- unless there is no other option, i am VBACing this baby out. there are no ifs, ands, or buts. i am getting him out naturally, without medication or any form of induction, and even if he's breeched. if that means i have to sit at home and wait until the last possible minute to show up at the hospital, so be it.

that's my birth story. i hope it never has to happen to another woman, but sadly, i know that not to be the case. it will happen. it happens every day, to thousands of mothers. be educated. trust your body. don't let the doctor be the boss of you. you're the boss of you. you know your body best. trust it.


elimination communication

>> Tuesday, June 15, 2010

alright, it's a really unusual and intimidating adventure, but i'm still trying.

for those of you who don't know (and a lot of people don't, so don't feel bad!), elimination communication is a worldwide, ancient practice of understanding your babies *GASP!* in particular, when they need to go potty. now, when i was pregnant with grace, there were a few things i swore i would atleast try: breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and elimination communication.

in the beginning, it was definitely easier to tell when she needed to go. being less active and less talkative, it's easier to pick up on the grunts, weird faces, and blank stares. nowadays, all those things seem to be relatively constant. i usually took grace to the potty after she woke up from a nap, before the diaper change, and just waited to see. for the few times we did this, it seems like she went almost every time.

needless to say, while i enjoyed watching her go potty, i was not at all consistent about it. now she's ten months old, and i am hoping to give her a chance at using the potty. after all, her poops are relatively predictable. pee, on the other hand, remains quite the mystery to me.

needless to say, we've had two pees in the potty today. no poop yet, because it was one of the few "unpredictable" early morning poops. i should've expected it, from what i fed her last night, but didn't (so those wool longies got a bath this morning...) after her morning nap, i figured i would just TRY to see what she did. it took about ten minutes, but i was pleasantly surprised to see her go pee! i tried again after this afternoon nap, and again, it took about ten minutes of us sitting, hanging out, and babbling away when i was pleasantly surprised with another pee!

so, if nothing else, we're starting the process of learning each other. i have no concept of her current "pee" signals --- her personality doesn't seem to change and she doesn't really make weird faces. i guess the only thing i can really go by at this point is timing. we'll see where this goes.

yay for babies!


austin: the land of love, friendship, and bank robberies.

>> Sunday, June 13, 2010

there wasn't really a bank robbery. the bride only thought there was --- and in her pre-wedding insanity, made absolutely certain that no one was dying. turns out it was just some men tiling the floor.  listen, i can sympathize: at one point, i too was a bride, and i was certain that someone was going to kill me and ruin the whole thing.

austin was wonderful. it was like a breath of fresh air --- much needed, and much deserved. through all wedding chaos (and trust me: there is always a fair bit of it), it was a great time to spend with some good friends and my little family. despite the nearly thirty hours of driving that took place over the course of four days, it was still well-worth it and much appreciated. being able to go out with women, alone, without little gracie attached to my hip for a night was fantastic. i guess i hadn't realized how much i was aching to just be with friends.

cloth diapering on the road was not even remotely disastrous. i was delighted, to say the least. it was easy, normal, and comfortable for all involved. part of me thinks it might've been for the very best, since we didn't have to deal with any rashes or welts --- just regular diaper changes with the usual routine. every change just went into the wetbag, and the night before we left, i soaked them first in vinegar/borax, rinsed, then in bleach. there were no foul smells, no leaks --- just a happy baby and mommy (and daddy, too, if you're wondering.) poopy diapers always happened somewhere where they could be dealt with (THANK GOD!) i mean, i couldn't tell in the slightest that we had wet diapers in the car. it was great.

so, overall, it was fantastic. it was a great weekend spent with those i love --- both my husband and daughter, as well as a beautiful bride and many good friends. it was a weekend with lessons --- from how to cloth diaper on the go, to how to comfort a bride (and that, i could write a book about)... it was good.

so, on that note, time to watch Mulan...



>> Tuesday, June 8, 2010

not me, that's for sure. i look in the mirror and all i can think is "man, when did i get so big?"

in other news, the title more meant what this post would be: small.

the car is almost completely packed for austin. we're just down to those "odds-and-ends" that need to get thrown in. basically, we're ready to go. i know mentally, at this point, i'm ready to go. let's get this show on the road, folks.

our bedroom is spotless. i cleaned all our bedding today, washed all the laundry, vacuumed, and dusted. i'm lucky i didn't send myself into preterm labor with all those braxton hicks (i'm bad, i know. 24 weeks is not baked, baby!) needless to say, i love coming home to a clean room. it is one of my favorite things; maybe it's because it makes me think someone prepared a place for me. (god knows that i am going to love heaven. He actually has prepared a place for me.. or so i hope!) i just remembered that i didn't wash grace's bedding. that might be on the "to-do" list in the morning. scrupulous, i know. but i enjoy it, nonetheless.

the sunset tonight was beautiful. there was this beautiful peach glow that cast itself over us at the foot of the catalina mountains. i stepped outside for a few minutes to enjoy it, considered fetching my camera, and then decided that it was just one of those things to "let be". so i enjoyed it, and went back to life.

that's it for the day. that was my day.

assuming the laptop manages to be packed, you'll hear from me soon. otherwise, until sunday, peace.



>> Monday, June 7, 2010

so we're going to austin this weekend for a wedding, and while i am really excited for the actual wedding - i am not so enthused about getting there. after all, grace is nine months old, bottle fed, and cloth diapered. that equivilates to: all our bottles, most of the diapers, all the covers, bleach, vinegar, quarters for laundry, and a wetbag.

while i have read that cloth diapering on the road can be a hassle (but is really not that bad, most moms admit), i am hoping that the system i am building in my trunk will be adequate to provide for all our CDing needs. two wetbags on standby. a tote with bleach, vinegar, borax, baby wipes. a completely stocked diaper bag. oh, and i'm planning on bringing all the covers, all our soakers, all our premium prefolds, and half the regular prefolds. that will equate to: three Thirsties, one wool cover, a pair of longies, 8 soakers, 10 premiums, and 15 regulars. god help me.

i think every other day will be laundry day for the diapers. i am prepared to do them anywhere - i can clean them in a sink, in a tub, in a washing machine --- i can clean them anywhere! (i feel like dr. seuss)

oh, and that's just for the diapers. mind you, we also need to bring the bebepod (like a bumbo, except way cooler..), the packnplay, toys galore for neverending entertainment, formula and bottles... AH! packing for a baby is going to be the death of me.

luckily chris and i can pack light. really, all we need is his suit, my bridesmaids dress (and shoes, and strapless bra...), some casual dress clothes for the rehearsal, swimsuits (because you know we're going to be in the water every chance we get) and clothes to drive in. piece of cake. plus the toiletries. plus the snack foods and cooler.

and if you're wondering how in god's name all this will fit in my tiny ford taurus, have no fear. a family member has been so kind to loan us their nice, big, safe lexus.

there is light at the end of this tunnel, self. there's a wedding and friends and reunions and love! have hope; it's only a fourteen hour drive (plus all the stops we have to make for grace..)

i'm excited. it's going to be a new and interesting and (hopefully) fun adventure. pray for us - for safe travels and sanity.

peace and love.


my baby is a fish, and mommy is an idiot

>> Sunday, June 6, 2010

well, i just figured something out. please don't laugh: now i know why i would've failed chemistry. while i don't think any harm came from my experiment the other day, to make my diapers smell-free, i did just learn that mixing bleach and vinegar can create chlorine gas... which can not only cause chemical burn to eyes and lungs, but also flat-out kill a person.

so that's my lesson in stupidity this week.

in other news, today we got in the pool. grace has so far enjoyed the adventures of the baby pool; today she got to enjoy the big pool. she had a blast. we lathered her up with sunscreen, put her in a swim diaper and her little swimsuit, threw on a hat --- and spent an hour enjoying the sun. the water was as warm as a bath; it was 105 degrees outside; it was glorious.

and then, to top it all off, grace and i came inside, showered, i popped a bottle in her mouth, and she's been asleep for almost an hour now. thank god.

that's all for today. i am exhausted.. chugging down the water...



the triumph over evil

>> Saturday, June 5, 2010

evil smells, that is. i hadn't mentioned it here, for sake of not horrifying anyone, but the last few times we had washed grace's diapers, this terrible smell was emitted - not from the diapers AFTER the wash, but from simply getting them into the washing machine and getting the pail outside. that minute of exposed diapers and barren pail --- well, to put it gently, we were dying here.

the in-laws said it smelled like fish. i didn't think it's smelled like fish so much as it just smelled gross --- but they were diapers, so i could understand. nevertheless, the complaints about the smell got to me and i searched for a cure. remember, it's not my clean diapers that smell --- it was the smell that happens when you take them out of the pail and chuck them into the wash. their "air exposure" for that minute caused the most rotten smell. okay, well, not rotten: but the ammonia smell from urine is not pleasant in the slightest.

after my hunt for a solution --- which was tricky, mind you, because most people explain how to get the smell out of diapers that are "clean" and washed (which is a whole different matter) --- last night i tried adding bleach and vinegar to the load. it was the magical solution. that, and i moved so fast getting the diapers out of the pail, into the machine, and the pail back outside that it wasn't even funny. i looked like a roadrunner, i moved so fast. i was desperate to not allow the smell to contaminate the happy family space.

it didn't smell at all. you couldn't tell i was even running a load of diapers, that's how little it smelled. i was in cloth-diapering heaven.

so, that's my story of my triumph over evil smells. it's left me quite happy. i can't believe i just bragged to the world about how i didn't make the house stink!

have a good, stink-free day!


About This Blog

this blog wasn't intended to always be happy or true. it was, however, made to be honest -- an honest expression of my beliefs, my feelings, and what I know to be the Truth. it'll be snarky, sarcastic, and put just as i see the world: might not always be pleasant, but neither is life. i hope that from reading this, i can help you walk through an unopened door and help you see things from my walk of life.

dedicated to

my beautiful daughter, grace anne; this next baby who i hope to love just as much; my husband, who is my strength and inspiration to carry on; my mother and father, who taught me to embrace what i know is right, to love, and to always be the woman God intended me to be; all my siblings, who show me what good the occasional sacrifice, often annoyance, and frequent laughter is.

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