Some of what I detail below you might already know about me. But the cool part is that I had to do a little background/explaining in this post because it's being featured over at Mommy and Molly today! Alissa was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to guest post on her site after I asked if she would do a guest post here. What luck! So read it here, read it at Mommy and Molly, and be sure to check out Alissa's guest post on Monday!
I'm what you might call a type-A personality: organized, a tad anal, lover of lists and having to know exactly what the next step is. Sure, I'm a bit of a control freak. Sure, I drive some people crazy. Sure, I could probably benefit from some Valium. But most days, that personality drives my work and brings some stability to life. When I found out I was pregnant I was told by numerous people that I could just throw all that out the door. There's NO way to keep a schedule when you have a baby, they said. NO WAY. Like, don't even TRY, they said. So, kind of taking their word for it, I took a step back and let myself relax a bit. I was fully prepared for the you-only-get-to-sleep-once-
I was blessed with an extremely easy pregnancy. No morning sickness, no crazy weight gain, hardly any bloating (I think I'll stop here so you stop hating me). Yes, near the end I got a bit uncomfortable and was peeing every two minutes. But I just told myself that many women have it much worse and it'll all be over in just a few weeks. Zen Moment Realization One! As I type this, I'm thinking to myself, "YOU ARE A CRAZY WOMAN. Those last few MONTHS were awful! So uncomfortable! Not able to indulge in a delicious cocktail to take the edge off!" But honestly, in the moment, I was a pillar of strength. Possibly even glowing.
Due to my small stature (I'm "petite") and ever-growing size of my baby (Over 8 lbs. at my 37 week checkup), my doctor and I decided to go ahead an induce at week 39 should I be showing no signs of progress. (Side note: Everyone has their own opinion on induction, due dates, etc. I am by NO means telling you what to do here. Merely sharing what I decided to do for my specific situation.) Some women might freak out a bit here. Especially type-A freaks like me, who might, I don't know, start Googling "likelihood of induction with small frame and large baby" or some other asinine equivalent phrase. Cough. Or whatever. But then I remembered my little inner-mantra of going with the flow, and I calmed down. Quite a bit. And was actually able to enjoy my last few days at work and alone time with my husband. Zen Moment Realization Two! REALLY? I actually managed to inch back from the ledge and not dive deep into the bowels of Doctor Google? After my doctor telling me we might be inducing in a couple weeks? At this point, I wonder if I wasn't so high on hormones that it completely clouded my usual judgment.
And, of course, induction day came. We checked into the hospital at 2 a.m. Oh? You didn't know that "scheduled" inductions aren't really scheduled so much as thrown in if there's enough staffing at the hospital? Ha! Anyway...where was I? Oh yes. Induction day. We checked in, I got hooked up to all the monitors and the ever-important Pitocin drip, and we were on our way. TO HAVING A BABY. Was I freaked out? Nah. I was eerily calm and collected. I just hung out, let the Pitocin do its thing, watched some TV, dozed in and out of sleep and sat on my ass. And when the Pitocin REALLY started working its magic and giving me those horrendous contractions that only Pitocin can do? I was STILL calm. I breathed and clenched and squeezed my eyes so tight. And then I got moved to a new room where the lovely anesthesiologist (Hey, I typed that right on the first try! Go me!) gave me the nectar of the gods and hooked me up with that awesome epidural. That gigantic needle going in my back the exact same moment as a hugely painful contraction came on? Psh. The pain was just pain. We still had a long way to go. Zen Moment Realization Three! HOLY SHIT BALLS. I'm sorry, for swearing, but it's hard for me to put into words just how I feel right now. Looking back on it, that pain is like no other pain I've EVER felt. I can still feel phantom pain if I think about it. And guess what! That wasn't even delivering-a-baby pain! That was just contractions and a stupid needle in my back! But it still hurt and it still remains VIVID in my memory.
Does anyone know the statistics for inductions that end in c-sections? I think it's fairly high. Well, I'm in that high number. (Side note again: Everyone has their own opinion on c-sections, etc. I am by NO means telling you what to do here. Merely sharing what I decided to do for my specific situation.) While I had progressed (comfortably, thanks to my lovely epidural) to about a 7, I'd been going for 12 hours. And hadn't made much progress in the last couple hours or so. So when my doctor stopped by to check me and suggested we go with a c-section, I was all, "sounds like a plan!" Oh, and did I tell you that the contractions were so strong at some points that they were causing my baby's heart rate to increase? And they had me wearing a stupid oxygen mask for hours at a time to help with that? But that whole time I just laid there, watching some Arrested Development DVDs (CRUCIAL to the hospital bag, y'all. If your hospital has DVD players make sure you pack some DVDs to pass the time), joking with my husband and sneaking a few naps in. My nurse kept me apprised of any issues and/or progress. She explained why they wanted to do oxygen. She told me a c-section might be in my future. And I just nodded my head, said it all sounded good, and let's get this show on the road. Zen Moment Realization Four! DID Y'ALL READ THE PART ABOUT BABY HEART RATE AND OXYGEN AND C-SECTION????? I could use some freaking oxygen right now just thinking about it! I should have known I was being waaaay too relaxed about the situation when my nurse commented, more than once, that I was one of the most calm patients she'd ever had. Okay, Nurse Julie, you happy now? BECAUSE I AM FREAKING OUT that I was so calm. Seriously. I'm wondering how all this was humanly possible. And I was that human.
After a successful c-section, we spent another three days in the hospital, and then went home. Like with the baby. They were letting us take her home and her whole life was our responsibility. And we brought her into the house where we told the dog to calm down and smell his new baby "sister." And we fell into this whole parenting gig. And we had the "WHY WON'T YOU STOP CRYING???" moments. And we had the "Babe, come see this gigantic poop!" moments. And now we're in the "Oh my gosh, she just clapped!" and "Look! She's sitting up all on her own!" and "I feel a little tooth bump!" moments. Every moment of every day is different and challenging and satisfying and shows us just how blessed we are. And I hate to say it, but it really took me almost this long to realize how ZEN I was (and mostly am still) about being a mother. I am a textbook 180 when it comes to my attitude and approach to parenting before and after actually becoming a parent. Yes, I still churn out lists like a Mofo. Yes, some people at work still can't stand my anal attention to detail. Sure, my baby has her schedule that I try to protect. But I also know that any little hiccup can completely implode any schedule or plans I've made. And what was once a panic attack-inducing thought is now just a fact of life. A life that I never dreamed in a million years I would be lucky enough to have.