Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Labor Day (Part II)

1 Day Old

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman & Jerry Scott

Now the funny thing is I’ve spent the last month hesitant and apprehensive about the big L&D. Now that that is over, I sort of am at a loss. See, I forgot to prepare for the big task at hand. Labor and Delivery isn’t the hard part. I now know being a mom is the hard part.

Here I am being stitched up by my doctor (no lacerations just an episiotomy) and they plop this slippery little human being on my chest and say, “Welcome to motherhood. We’ll give you a few diapers and a crash course on how to stick her onto your boob but you’re on your own.”

You hold your baby gingerly, kiss her and then they whisk her away for a quick bath. That’s your vacation, ladies. Seriously, be happy for that 1 hour. You will not get that again for the next few days. Personally, if the hospital could, they’d tell you to go bath the kid yourself but they need that one hour to get you cleaned up. See, you’re going to need to go to the bathroom and you’re going to need to do this with the assistance of a nurse. Yes, you will not be able to pee by yourself for the first few times. They need to make sure you pass a certain amount of liquid. Don’t worry, most of the time you will, especially if you’ve been on an IV drip.

Between the IV drip and the pitocin, I ballooned up to orca status. The edema was brutal but not painful. Brutal because I kept staring at my Fred Flintstone feet mortified.

Anyway, the hardest part about going to the bathroom is not doing it in front of a nurse or doing it with a million tubes strapped on you. Heck, during labor you may very well receive a cathether, like I did to relieve some of the bladder pressure. You won’t care. The hardest part is knowing if you peed. See they spray the peri bottle on you and you think you peed but you may not have. The nurse squats in front of you to check and measure and then helps you slap on the sexiest pair of underwear you will ever wear. I call them sexy because they are essentially fishnets granny panties. They hold up the adult diaper, gigantic maxi pad, a glove filled with ice and witch hazel pads they slap together so you have a bit more comfort. It’s all very humbling.

As soon as they diaper you up, they wheel in your baby again and you have to learn to diaper up your kid. At least mom and baby have something in common already.

So by the time I got into the post partum ward, I was handed off a human being to take care of. No manual. No instructions. My supply kit came with some diapers, wipes, a nasal aspirator, some alcohol swabs, a kimono top, a hat, several swaddlers and a comb. Yes, that was all she came with.

To top it all off, my husband looked to me for instructions. I wanted to say, “Honey, I can’t even pee without assistance. I have no idea where to begin.” He also did not spend the nights with me as I had hoped for. Long story short, there were items that needed to be cared for outside of the hospital. If I had to do it again, I’d ask him next time to spend the night with me. It was sort of a being put in the fire initiation into motherhood.

Somehow we managed to make it through our first night, BG and I. I’m not sure how we pulled it off. I think it was the fact that both of us were so exhausted we slept through most of it. Ok, that’s a crock of bull because BG hollered like a banshee for 1 hour straight and I had no idea what was wrong.

The second night was better but still had its troubles, mainly with latching. I’ll discuss this more in future entries.

The last day, discharge day, was a tough one for me. I still felt out of my element. To top it off, the last two days of physician rounds and nursing classes were only attended by myself and BG. My mind was still in a haze so it was tough to remember everything and look at everything in perspective.

Hubby came to the hospital to pick me up at 1pm. I packed everything up by myself and waited it out nervously. Mental note: Do not let your husband tell you he will come to pick you up at 12. First, he will come later. Second, you are left to pack yourself up. Third, you are left to discharge yourself and listen to ever instruction while caring for a crying baby. Fourth, you will be inundated by doctors and nurses and won’t be able to retain most of it. Fifth, your hormones dip tremendously during your third to fifth day postpartum and you will feel totally alone.

More Labor tidbits:
Lacerations: none
Episiotomy: yes
Hemis: thankfully, no
Fishnet granny panties rock.
Your belly will still look huge, especially if you are retaining water.
Dermoplast is the most remarkable thing in the world.
You will still not be able to get out of bed as readily as you used to.
The days will fly by.
Take all the classes and instructions you can while in the hospital.
Take them with your spouse/partner.

Tomorrow (If I can muster the energy/have the time), our first day home.