Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Moment

We've been having trouble sleeping.

This past week, Sofia has been screaming bloody murder for hours. She doesn't want my breast, the bottle, or her pacifier. I thought it might be colic or reflux but it isn't. I finally concluded that she's tired but is just too stubborn to sleep.

Like mother, like daughter.

Anyway, this goes on for hours.

Last night I was feeling exhausted. I caught some kind of throat bug and was praying she could sleep.



By 5 am, I had tried everything to get her to sleep. Walking, rocking, pushing her in her pram, singing, cuddling, etc.
I finally just picked her up and put her on my lap and had her facing to the left. She stopped crying, looked around for a bit, turned to face me, and once the light caught my face we made eye contact. All of a sudden her face went soft.

She recognized me.

She then gave me the most wonderful smile, and as I smiled back my eyes flooded with tears.

There really is a satisfaction I can't explain when your baby smiles at you. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

She went back to crying when she realized I was still gonna try to put her to sleep, but that moment made the next hour more bearable.

Motherhood really is all its chalked up to be. For me anyway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Labor Story

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now. Being a new mom means I have no time to do anything. I flew 'home' a few days ago and am staying with my parents for a couple of weeks. I need this breath of fresh air. I also took over Sofia's night shifts from my mom. So far, she's been on somewhat of a schedule. She sleeps a max of 3 hours, which means I only sleep in stretches of 2 hours. Its difficult but it all comes with the job. Plus I finally get to see some of my friends and feel like my whole life doesn't just revolve around my husband. Trust me, this will do wonders for our relationship.

So last you heard of me pre-Sofia was the day before she was born. After I wrote that entry I took my mom to the mall to buy some last minute things from Mothercare. We walked around for a while, I bought a couple of books (which, given how busy I am, I will read when Sofia goes to college), and we had some ice cream.

For some reason, at around 11 pm, I insisted my mom and I go through the hospital bag. I then wrote a short list of things we'd need to grab on our way out (phone chargers, cameras). By midnight I was feeling like I needed to use the bathroom, which I did (TMI).

At 1 am I started getting contractions. Haha, nothing new. I've been getting them for 5 months. So I climbed into bed with the husband, we watched some tv, and I told him the contractions were slightly intense. I decided to just sleep because sleep always helps my contractions stop.

I was up at 3:30 am. I knew the fact that the contractions woke me up meant that this was the real thing. Plus, these contractions were "in my lower back." The only comfortable position was for me to sit on the edge of the bed and just breathe. I decided to go downstairs and call the hospital.

I think the next few minutes were probably some of the most peaceful I've ever had. I stood in my living room with a cup of coffee and I watched my dogs sleep. I knew everything was going to change. But those minutes of silence, where it was just me and them, are ones I will remember for the rest of my life.

I called the hospital and the midwife told me I needed to come in asap. Given my history, they'd been waiting for my call for 3 days now. The contractions were less than 5 minutes apart but not too intense. I was advised NOT to shower (I asked if I could take one) and to just come in.

I woke my mother up and I secretly think she thought it was a false alarm. I then woke my husband up and told him it was "time." I've never seen him get out of bed that fast. We got to the hospital a little before 5 am, and I was pleased it was exactly like I had imagined it would be - NO TRAFFIC!

I got strapped onto a contraction belt, and they started monitoring the baby's heartbeat. We all joked around and I was starting to gear myself up. I do this thing where I just focus on the whole "VERY high threshold of pain" state of mind and just brace myself. The doctor showed up, checked my cervix, and announced that yes I am in labor but unfortunately it's going to take a long time: I was only 1 cm dialated.

Let me take a moment to warn you that this entry is about to bear what some people refer to as TMI (too much information). So if you're a dude, or aren't interested, you can go ahead and stop reading.

So, at about 7 am I was given the mother of all enemas. I shit you not (haha) that thing was about a half a liter of liquid.
Sure enough after I was done with the bathroom I was wheeled into the delivery room to start the labor process. At this point I'm already exhausted, and it's not even 9 am. Yeah, you try having to poop while getting contractions every 2 minutes. NOT FUN

I had requested an epidural, and had met with the doctor that was scheduled to give it to me a few days earlier. I heard he was the best person for the job. My doctor (OB/Gyno) walks into the delivery room and announces that my anesthetist isn't available as he is busy with another surgery. How professional. So I decide to go for the next best thing, Dr. Standby. Of course I wasn't thinking straight cause I was in LABOR.

Dr. Standby takes 45 minutes to administer the epidural. Meanwhile I'm being held down by two midwives and inhaling some kind of gas to try and ease the contractions. Sure enough, it's all over and I feel instant relief. I can still move my toes and lift my legs, which is important cause it means when the baby crowns I can push her out.

About 90 minutes later I started to feel contractions on the right side of my stomach. It's the strangest thing. So we call Dr. Standby to come fix whatever it is that went wrong. He loads me up with more drugs, but unfortunately I am starting to feel the contractions again. An hour later I was given the bad news: the epidural won't work anymore. Apparently the catheter moved, and it was too late for them to try and do the procedure all over again.


It's still early enough for them to give me a pethadine shot, as it wasn't even noon and my water hadn't broken yet. My doctor came in and broke my water, which was strange cause I didn't feel a thing. I think if my water had broken at home I would have had NO IDEA, especially if it was just leaking. Anyway, after the shot I slept for a couple of hours and a midwife was monitoring my contractions and the baby's heartbeat.

Meanwhile, my husband, his mom, and my mom kept coming in and out of the room to check on me. They also took turns taking naps.

By 4 pm I started feeling the serious contractions. The doctor had mentioned earlier that the baby was going to be born in the afternoon sometime, so I was just wanting to get this whole thing over with.

I was asked to lay on my side in a fetal position and push. By this time, all the pain killers and drugs have worn off. I was given the option of the gas mask but I refused to take it. To be honest, it just feels like my head spinning after a night of reckless drinking, yet I can still feel all the pain. I wanted to be able to concentrate on pushing.

So I started to push. And let me tell you, it's the weirdest feeling in the world. The contractions cause so much pain that the only comfort comes from pushing. Yet at the same time, its the most exhausting feeling in the world. At one point I felt like I was the only person in the room, and the only thing I could think of is the baby's body moving down the birth canal. I tried so hard to make it easy for her, to have my body relaxed so she can be relaxed. But all the voices around me of people telling me to push were distracting me. And at one point a midwife told me I was pushing wrong.

I looked up at her and said, "what am I doing wrong?" I must have said it in the calmest angry voice ever because her face, and my husband's face, went still.

Of course I got mad at my husband cause he was looking through pictures on the SLR and saying things like "you're doing great" bla bla bla. So I told him that he wouldn't have any idea how I'm doing cause he's looking at PICTURES! Poor guy.

The next two hours passed like seconds to me. I heard my husband ask what time they think the baby will be born and they said not before 630 pm. I glanced up and it was 530.

Next thing I know my doctor and her team are in the room and they turn me over on my back, and put my legs up in the stir-ups. My doctor then says, "your baby will be out in 2 pushes," and everyone starts to scramble to "scrub in." The pediatrician and nursery nurses are called in, and everyone is ready. There must have been 8 women standing around me, and my husband was standing to my right.

All of a sudden I felt like someone had thrown boiling hot water mixed with alcohol on an open wound on my "hoo-haw." As I screamed my doctor calmly told me that she went ahead and CUT ME. Um. Thanks for telling me you were gonna do that. What doctor doesn't discuss an episiotomy beforehand?

I was so distracted by that pain until someone said "Ok, your baby's head is out, you need to PUSH." I was so confused because there was so much activity around me.

Then my body gave out.

I couldn't push my daughter out. She was stuck. Head out. And I couldn't do anything about it.

All the people in the room are asking me to push and then they all went quiet as my doctor looked at me and said "Your baby is in distress. I want you to concentrate really hard and just push. You need to push harder."

And push I did.

As Sofia was pulled out of my body everything went still. I mean it. Everything went still. All the pain. All the noise. Everything. It was just...nothing. For a second it felt like this is what it must like be to die.

And then they put her on my chest: ass first. For a minute I thought she was a boy cause all I could see was her umbilical cord. I asked them to take her away.

My husband was so happy. All I remember him saying is "she's here! You did it."

At the time, all of it meant nothing.

Sofia was born at 6 pm. The doctor took 45 minutes to stitch me up (inside and out), and proceeded to give me shots of anesthesia in my vagina.
Talk about pain.

Mid-way through stitching, they brought Sofia back to officially meet me before taking her to the nursery.

And it was the first time I really looked at her.

At about 7 pm, they brought her back in to see me and nurse. And from then on it was love.

I should mention that 2 days later we realized I had a CSF leak. I was on morphine for a few days and stayed in the hospital longer than I wanted to. I was in so much pain, I really wish I never got that epidural.

But she's worth it. Don't you think?

Monday, May 3, 2010


I've tried so many times to write an entry. I stop and reread what I wrote and think its total shit.

I can't sleep. I can't relax. It's driving me crazy.

How do I stop the anxiety and panic attacks? Why is it that every time I put my head down and try to get some rest all I can think about is all the bad things that can happen to my baby? Why is it that no one prepared me for this?

These ain't no baby blues.

There's no one to talk to about this. It's a complete loneliness no one can understand but a new mother going through ppd.

My case is mild though.

It's like a friend of mine once said, "If you're going through hell, keep walking."

It will all be ok.