It’s 11:28am. I’ve been awake (ish) since around 6 something…officially up at 7. Short of a half a cup of coffee, a couple of marshmallows and the remainder of a bag of pretzel rods (pieces totaling about one whole pretzel rod), I have had nothing to eat. Georgia has had 6.5 ounces of breastmilk, several diaper changes, a couple of spit ups and a whole lot of fussing.
She’s finally sleeping.
I think I deserve some mac and cheese for this. Yes I do.
Her technical one-month birthday is tomorrow, but we had her check up with the doctor today. Kid is in the 90th percentile for height. What?? There are tall genes somewhere in my family, with both my grandfather (her namesake) and uncle being on the tall side, so I guess maybe this could end up in that direction for her? Who knows.
On all other fronts, baby girl is doing well. Good weight gain, good head size, good growth. I guess Jonny and I are doing something right, right?
I’ve been going back and forth over the last month between the ever-present baby blues and feeling fairly okay with everything. The blues are not unlike anxiety, in that they take over you and make you feel like a different person. When in it, you don’t see how anything will ever be better. Your rational brain just shuts down and all you see is the sadness or anxiety or despair. And then, like anxiety, it passes. Moves out of you like a weather system. And you’re back to (semi) normal—a tired, slightly stressed version of normal.
There have been moments of abject blackness, which I guess I’m sort of prone to, so it’s not all that surprising. There have also been moments of sheer frustration, which I know is totally normal. There has been a little bickering back and forth between me and Jonny, which is understandable. But mostly, we’re working it out together, relieving each other when each of us needs a break. We’re learning who this little gal of ours is. We’re helping her find her way. And she’s doing well. That’s what matters. She’s doing great. How we’re doing is kind of irrelevant right now. We’ll get our time at some point. Right now, it’s all about her.
The Story of Georgia...and my journey into motherhood
After that whole week of false labor…all the waiting and emotions flying and frustration and anxiety about it all…I finally went into labor at around 4pm on Friday, March 16. I was cleaning out my closet in preparation for our move and the pain got so bad I had to lay down on the bed and take a nap. Convinced it was nothing more than stronger faux contractions, I made myself some pasta for dinner and settled in to watch the Bulls game with Jonny. They were still irregularly timed, but man alive were they getting strong. Finally, we made the decision to call the after-hours number and were instructed to come to the hospital.
We arrived at 11:30 and got into triage where we discovered that I’d dilated 2 whole centimeters since my doctor’s appointment that morning. The nurse assured us that, yes, we were going to have a baby really soon. We made our phone calls and texts; his parents jumped in the car to come to the hospital, my parents quickly booked the next flight they could (thank god for Southwest and cheap airfare!).
I tried to go as long as I could without an epidural. Call it exhaustion from the week I’d had, or just that I wasn’t strong enough to handle them, I caved pretty quickly and begged for the epidural once we finally got checked into my birthing room. I give all my natural-childbirth bloggers and friends a hell of a lot of credit. I couldn’t do it, man. I just couldn’t. I thought I’d feel worse about that, but I just don’t. Especially considering what else I would go through later that morning.
Everything seemed to move really quickly and well as the morning progressed. I was comfortable, Jonny was able to get some sleep as the wee hours of the morning passed, and I played Words With Friends and texted with my sister, who was frantic that she couldn’t be there with me. My doctor happened to be the one on call starting at 8 that morning, and I was so happy she would be delivering my baby. She walked in at the beginning of her shift, checked me and promptly said I was fully dilated and ready to push. I thought, this is great! I’ll meet my daughter in about an hour and a half!
Remember my post where I said nothing goes the way you think it will?
Yeah…so I started to push. And I pushed. And I pushed. And my epidural wore off. And I was still pushing. And I was starting to tire. I felt her head in the birth canal. I felt so much pain and pressure. I screamed. I cried. I pushed as hard as I freaking could.
I couldn’t get her out.
At two and a half hours of pushing, I asked my doctor to level with me and tell me if we were even close to this happening. It was then that she said, I gotta be honest, Alison, we need to have a talk about other options. One was forceps. The other was a C-section. Obviously, I wasn’t jazzed about either. Determined to beat these odds of intervention, I asked to push a little longer—partially because my contractions were on top of each other and it felt better to push through them and partially because I wanted to get her out of me with sheer strength. Problem was, I no longer had any. I was sapped.
My doctor thankfully then made the choice for me and said it was best to go with a C-section. I’d been pushing for a little over three hours and I didn’t have anything left to give it. This baby was not coming out that way. It just wasn’t happening. I got prepped and within 20 minutes was being redosed with meds and put on the operating table.
This is where shit went haywire.
No one told me that a side effect of an epidural can be that you shake uncontrollably. So there I was, lying on an operating table, my arms pinned out to the sides crucifixion style, trembling. Also, the epidural went up to my chest this time, and while I could breathe normally, it felt like I couldn’t at all. I felt like something was sitting on me. And with all that, plus the feeling of nausea and just sheer anxiety that I was being cut open at that very moment, I panicked. And I never calmed down.
I don’t quite know what all I said and did. I just know there was a lot of screaming and crying and wild behavior. I’m mostly embarrassed about this. Operating on someone who’s having a full-on panic attack must not have been fun. (I promptly apologized to my doctor when she came to see me on her rounds a couple days later.)
I remember Jonny (who, by the way, was extraordinary during this whole process) trying to get me to focus on Georgia, then unnamed, being cleaned off on the side of the room. I saw her and heard her, but I couldn’t calm down. My only lucid thought at that moment was, wow, she looks bigger than a newborn! This would come into play later.
Things kept progressing and my panic deepening and finally the anesthesiologist asked if I would like some anxiety medication. I said yes. And that is the last thing I remember.
An hour and a half later, I woke up and asked Jonny where I was. I was still trembling. I think I held Georgia. It was then that Jonny told me how much the baby weighed. Little ol’ 5’3” me, who was 7 and a half pounds at birth, and Jonny, who was somewhere in the six pound range, had produced an 8 pound 3 ounce baby. Big girl was just not fitting through what I thought were wide enough hips. They weren’t. (My doctor later said I could have gotten her through, but it would have been another two to three hours of pushing…something I just couldn’t do and that she wasn’t willing to let me do.) I was shocked, even in my semi-conscious state. I was not at all expecting that outcome. Not even a little bit.
But then, I guess that’s pretty fitting for this whole experience, isn’t it?
Now, two weeks out, I’m getting over the fact that I essentially missed my daughter being born and didn’t get to have the idyllic pushing out moment where she was placed on my chest and we bonded, skin to skin. I didn’t get to laugh through tears and instantly forget the pain I’d just endured because there was my daughter in front of me. I was not present, mentally, when G was born. And it sucked, big time.
I would do it again to get the outcome I got. This healthy, STRONG (holding her head up since day two strong…I’m serious) little girl. I did a good job with this. Much as it feels like I didn’t…I know I did. And it is fitting for the rest of this all. I need to get over the disappointment of how it happened and trust that my body and mind and heart know what they can and cannot do. And ask for help when I need to. It’s all there for me. I just need to embrace it.