Thank you all for welcoming Baby Man! We are doing well – a bit concerned about some jaundice but the docs are assuring us that while we need to obviously be vigilant about it it’s not all that abnormal for such a big baby. So I need to breastfeed as much as humanly possible. That’s made for a tough night and morning but I think my milk is coming now. One of the nurses said the phrase “at high risk,” which sent me into a bit of a meltdown – and leading Dr. K to be annoyed that the nurse hadn’t been more careful with her words. Dr. K spent quite a while with us this morning and she cried. I really did pick a good doctor this time.
So, the birth story. It was a beautiful, wonderful night. Difficult. I don’t particularly want to detail it moment by moment, but really some of it is very relevant to the larger story of grieving and pregnancy. I did have an epidural – after I’d dilated to 7-8cm. At that point, the pain triggered physical memories of my labor with Natan. At first, I couldn’t stop the comparisons. But then, even worse, I had a near flashback – during one contraction I imagined the rush of waters and the sudden presence of feet in my vagina. When I regained my composure at the end of the contraction I realized I had to do something to change things, that this labor was different, the baby was fine, responding perfectly, in fact, to labor. I didn’t want my memories of it to be all pain. And I thought, why I am doing this to myself? What purpose does this pain serve? No purpose I decided. I was in the hospital of my choice, among doctors and nurses I trusted, and the baby was fine. I had told myself I wanted to do it without meds because I wanted to be “fully present” at the birth. I wasn’t. I couldn’t be. I was half there, half somewhere else. And from the moment the epidural took effect until my meltdown above, my first two days with Baby Man were perfect. Utter bliss. Pushing still hurt – we’d stopped the epidural and I only ever took enough to take the edge of the pain rather than erase it. But when the doctor said, “Just one more push,” and I pushed with everything I had, only to be rewarded at its end with the sound of our son’s cries, I laughed.
Granted, I also laughed because he looked like a baby from a movie. The enormous 3-monthers used to portray newborns. I said to myself, “And finally, the universe has made a good joke.”