Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Birth Story (and then some)

A year ago, we were considering starting a family. I was mentally preparing myself for a difficult time conceiving and the possibility of not at all, worrying about my heart condition, and coming to terms with delivering via c-section should we actually get pregnant.

Which only goes to show God laughs at your plans.

I think I'm still in a little bit of shock that there is a 9-day old human, mine, asleep in his nursery dreaming of his next feeding. I could not have imagined this to be a reality as quickly as it became one, nor the way in which it did.

After getting pregnant immediately and having an easy pregnancy at that, I figured the rest would be a bit more complicated. When he was diagnosed with his heart condition, I felt vindicated, as I'm perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop. And then we determined it was simply something to watch, and knowing I've lived a full life with the same thing, there was suddenly less to worry about.

So therefore delivery would most certainly be on the grueling end of the spectrum you hear about so often (e.g. 20 hours of labor followed by an emergency c-section).  And then it wasn't. Induction, roughly 6 hours of contractions felt simply as pressure (thanks to that epidural), four strong pushes, and voila -- baby.


And now were home, finding our way in our new world and getting to know one another. It's, in a word, surreal. Exhausting, exhilarating, frustrating, rewarding...every possible emotion on the spectrum.  And it's only just begun.

I've learned a few lessons, and there are a few things I wish I'd known:

  1. Get a brazilian before labor. You will be spread eagle and exposed most of the day in front of nine of your closest medical professional friends. And your husband. All humility is lost. 
  2. The "every three hour" feeding is actually every 2-3 hours, which equals about 1 1/2 - 2 hours sleep for you, max. Feedings are counted from the time they START, not end. Devastating. 
  3. Baby Blues affect everyone. In some way shape or form. Mine manifests in anxiety starting at 7pm each night, like clockwork, until my 11pm feeding. Crying has become a full time hobby, be they tears of joy or pain. Hormones are awesome.
I've also had a few unexpected realizations:
  1. Having a baby has evolved and deepened the love I have for my husband. Seeing him embrace and enjoy the role of Daddy makes an already amazing man absolutely incredible. 
  2. It's true - you can't describe the feelings you have for your child when placed in your arms for the first time. It's a whole new level of love, and an entirely different emotion. It changes you forever.
  3. Your body is superhuman. You will find a way to exist on 3 hours of sleep over 4 days, and manage to socialize. And you won't need caffeine (or blow) to do it. 
  4. I will never, ever, for a single second, consider delivering naturally. The 5 minutes of contractions I felt were enough for one lifetime. 
And now it's time for nap. 

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