we’ve been at home for a week, and my parents just left after spending all of their time these past days cleaning, cooking, bathing alex, caring for the pets, doing general handyman things around the house, and loads and loads of laundry. thank you so much mom and dad!
now, it’s just me and her at home. daniel is at his office – the beauty of self-employment is the flexibility. the tradeoff is that when business is good, he’s the one who has to be there to meet the demand. but i have no doubt that we’ll figure out the rhythm of this new life we have. sometimes we just kind of look at each other and say, “i’m a dad!” “i’m a mom!” it feels kind of surreal, and very real and primal at the same time. i’ve never been so concerned with body functions (both hers and mine) before, and never so content just looking at another person, or s thankful for the time to get through a bowl of oatmeal. i’ve also never considered a solid four hours of sleep to be a good rest before. but we are mostly good (just the occasional sleep-deprived moment) and alexandra is so, so good.
now she is sleeping, and i have a little time to actually get her birth story down on paper. (rather, the screen) here is an excerpt from an email i sent out last week:
tuesday morning, ultrasound measurements estimated her weight to be 11 pounds, 4 ounces. even with a 15% margin of error, we knew this meant we were having a pretty big baby. after lots of discussion, we ultimately decided to have a c-section wednesday morning. as we were discussing where to have our “last supper” on tuesday evening, my water broke! we took this as a sign that just maybe we would get our birth plan and natural, vaginal delivery after all. we got to the hospital and met our amazing, dear friend/doula, nikki, and a lovely nurse, holly. it took awhile for contractions to really start kicking in, but once they did, i felt like i had the best support system ever with daniel and nikki. i had hoped to go totally medication-free, but got to a point of feeling so exhausted, and asked for a shot of painkiller, which allowed me to sleep through strong contractions for an hour or so. when it started wearing off, i ultimately decided to ask for an epidural to get through the end, as labor had been lasting quite awhile, and i wanted to be able to rest enough to be mentally and emotionally engaged in the process. i’m glad i did this, especially when we decided to start pushing – a process that turned into three hours. (the epidural was turned down considerably during pushing, so i felt a lot of what was happening.) we got some really great pushes in, where she seemed to be crowning, but she just kept going back to where she was, instead of making real progress in descending. finally, we decided that going ahead with the c-section was the safest way to deliver a healthy baby, and at 2:32, i heard her immediate cry coming from behind the blue curtain, and it was absolutely amazing. because they had to sew me up, daniel got to be the one to really hold her first, and i’m really glad for that, since
i’m the one who got to hold her for the past nine months. i had been
worried that breastfeeding would be impeded by the surgery and the
drugs i was on, but alex latched on like a champ, and we had the
assistance of a really skilled lactation consultant, so hopefully that
continues to go well. by the way, i have always heard that grant
hospital has incredible nurses, and i have to say that with the number
we’ve gone through with various shift changes, every single one has
been excellent and kind, encouraging and responsive. i highly
recommend having a baby here! and, although the birth ended up not
being what we had originally hoped for at all, i really am glad that
we got to have such a wide range of experiences in the past day, and i
really can say that i have no regrets about the way it happened.
(end of excerpt)
now that some time has passed, i can still say i have no regrets. birth can be a strongly political issue at times, and i had some stronger opinions about the process before i experienced it. could i have avoided a c-section? maybe, but i’m glad now that i had the option. yes, my life has been a little more complicated since i’m recovering from major surgery. i also lost a considerable amount of blood in the process, which made me weaker and resulted in some difficulty with feeding. (not to mention the painkillers most likely reducing my milk supply as well.) but now my body is finding its balance again, and we have an amazing little person who is a part of us, and for that, i’m thankful and pretty much amazed every day.