April 24, 2009

Week 11 Rantings

Warning: this is a rant and a journal entry. I swear and complain a lot. And, I'm tired of defending myself for it.

I KNOW I'm supposed to be happy about being pregnant and really, I am happy about being pregnant. I've loved this baby before we even conceived it. We worked pretty hard to get this far. (Shut up! That pun was not intended.)

What I'm not happy about is the circumstances surrounding this pregnancy. Right now it feels like I'm the only one who loves this baby and is happy about it. I feel like the buffer surrounding me right now is just filled with negativity. Now, I know that isn't true – I know people are extremely happy for us – I just can't help how I FEEL is different from what I KNOW.

Blame it on the bad economy. Blame it on planetary alignment. It's not you, it's me.

It really helped when I went public with my pregnancy. All the well-wishing that poured in was uplifting. I guess I just wish I could get that kind of support from my immediate family. (Namely my mother, who has not spoken to me in about two months now – which is probably the crux of the problem here.) (and I don't even want to go into detail about that right now. I did something wrong, she did something wrong. She said/she said. She won't let it go. I don't have a choice now.) I still can't help thinking there is something about the second baby just being so lackluster compared to the first. I don't know how to deal with that yet.

Of course, I know my husband feels happy about the baby, but you know how it is for men – it takes a while until they can really emotionally connect. Sometimes it doesn't even happen until they get to hold the baby for the first time. I don't hold it against him. He can't help it and I can't help feeling frustrated wishing there was a way he could connect better. Right now he is more focused on keeping Lucian out of my hair during the weekends so I can catch up on rest. (I consider myself very lucky indeed.)

One problem I'm having is trying to bond with this pregnancy. It's only 11 weeks. Something could still go wrong. Aside from the normal moodiness, lack of energy, breast tenderness and nausea, I still don't feel pregnant and have a hard time accepting that someday we'll have another family member here in our little home. As if all those symptoms aren't enough, I can't help feeling I'd like more feedback from the baby. Ugh! I'm so impatient!

Why didn't God build us with a little porthole we could look in on? Why? Is that asking too much? Come on!

I keep wanting to put the bassinet together and start going through the baby clothing and getting organized, but it's way too soon for nesting. I'm terrified I'll put lots of energy into all that and then something terrible will happen and it will make things worse. Those thoughts are so disturbing to me now. I've read it's normal to think those things, but that doesn't make it any easier. I keep thinking if I can just get through these next few weeks and hear the baby's heartbeat for reassurance, I can invest more of a connection to it.

I'm really frustrated and depressed about a lot of things right now. It's mostly the uncertainty that gets to me. I'm a control freak so uncertainty is a bad thing for me. Not feeling in control really pisses me off. I feel very sad and scared thinking about how this baby might be born. I'm terrified and still traumatized since my first delivery experience. It's hard to explain and unless you've had a long labor that ended in emergency C-section, you just wouldn't understand.

Being told by the OB that she's strongly recommending another C-section is not helping me. I know we have time and I've advocated against it, but still, I'm not feeling very confident right now like I thought I would since it's my second time. I felt like a failure the first time around and now I already feel like a failure not even being given the option to use my vagina to give birth like it was meant to be. I don't want to go through life never knowing what it's like to birth a baby.

I'm considering asking for a different doctor, but I just don't know how to go about doing it. How can I tell a different doctor won't tell me the same thing?

To me, I still can not say with confidence that I "gave birth." To ME, I had an operation and my baby was cut out of me. I was stripped naked, strapped to a table, arms restrained, in a cold room, cut open (and could feel it all). They cut the baby out and shoved him in front of my face for 3 seconds. All I could see was his nose poking out. Hubby and baby were whisked out of the room, leaving me abandoned with a bunch of strangers so the surgical team could finish putting my organs back in and sew me up.

While I was getting put back together (physically, at the very least) EVERYONE else back in the delivery room (6 friends and family) got to bask in the glory of holding and bonding with the little person I was so anxious to meet. MY SON. I got no skin contact with him for close to an hour. He was all wrapped up so tightly I don't even remember getting to count his toes or interact with him much at all. I couldn't even hold him because of the after effects of the surgery. I had the shakes and was nauseous. Right away, the nurses tried to assist us in nursing. Right away, I was the meal ticket – no, hi, hello, how are ya – just, here, put your boob in his mouth and try to feed him. (Never mind that it took another 7 days for my milk to come in directly followed by mastitis – no doubt a result of the drugs and surgery stripping my immune system.) That's my memory of it. Not saying that's what actually happened, but that's how I remember it. My brain has protected me just enough to allow me the bravery to get pregnant again, but let me tell ya – I think it took Nate and I a few months to get pregnant just because we were both still terrified. There were times I looked at my ovulation calendar and just plain chickened out or was relieved when either of us got sick and didn't feel like it.

Birth was not romantic or organic and I wished I had never thought it would be.

I'll never regret the bonding that took place between Nate and our son and of course I was not envious of his experience at all. I was extremely grateful for it. Other men would be envious of my husband's bonding experience and I'm proud of him for being SuperDad and SuperHubby simultaneously. (And when I said MY SON, I mean OUR son, but for that traumatic and physical moment where the baby and I were separated and the pregnancy ended, that was MY physical moment between myself and the baby that grew inside of MY body.) I also was grateful for all the family and friends that were present and their tremendous support. I would not have changed having them all there for the birth. However, I learned the hard way, that as far as the bonding experience right after the baby is born, that part should be private and intimate with the parents and baby – not the entire entourage and team. It was the first experience of this kind for almost everyone present, so no one really knew what would have been best. I don't regret them being there, I just wished I could have had some private time is all. Just a pause would have been nice. Private moments with just the two of us and our new baby just didn't seem to happen for days. That's something I'd like to change this time around.

I have massive delivery envy now. I am jealous of everyone who can give birth the way it was intended to happen. I cry and then get mad at myself because my bitterness gets in the way of being happy for people and the true joy, blessing and privilege it is to have a live and healthy baby no matter how it gets here. I really hope I can get over that some day. I wish I didn't think that a vaginal birth for me is the cure.

I don't think I'll ever watch any of those baby story shows on TV. I just can't handle it. They romanticize it too much. I fell so hard for it last time. All I could dream about was pushing the baby out and being able to hold it right away, skin to skin on my bare chest – just like I had seen and been told about. I wouldn't care how gross and messy it would have been. I read and heard stories of women being able to reach down and help pull the baby out. I really wanted to try that. I wanted to give birth in the water. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted – too much to be like the women who had given birth before me and told me how romantic it was despite all the pain and agony. I raised my expectations so high that I never prepared myself mentally for a cesarian section. I was too terrified to go there in my mind and now I know why.

Back in the fifties, they put some women to sleep and then they woke up later and had to go see the baby in the nursery. Fathers, let alone any other visitors, were not allowed to be present at the birth. I still can't wrap my mind around that concept. Does that have to do with our expectations now? Back then, did women just not expect to be able to bond with their babies right away and so they accepted that's the way it was?

I guess I'm just so confused about what to expect versus what to accept.

Perhaps if I had not labored for 20 hours before the surgery it might have been different. From the beginning of being induced to the final delivery was just. such. a. long. time! Too long. While I'm grateful to the nursing staff for giving us every opportunity to have him vaginally, after trying for so hard, for so long, it was just a huge let down. We were admitted around 4 pm on the 29th and I wasn't delivered until after 10 pm on the 30th. It was a long 2 days just trying to get the baby out. The poor kid was stuck for 7 hours at 7 centimeters so no wonder he still had a cone head! Then we were stuck in the hospital recovering from infection and blood sugar issues until the 4th of July. It was a long time to be in a hospital for the first time. Even my IV gave up on me.

The recovery afterwards was painful and time consuming. I felt helpless and even more of a failure for not being able to care for our new baby. Nate did it all. I just tried to nurse and pump, sleep, eat and drink and pop pills. I could barely stand or walk because my body had swelled up to a point where I didn't even recognize myself in a mirror. I had to get up and move to keep my body circulating and avoid blood clots but then I had to keep my feet up when not doing that to get the swelling to go down. I lost so much blood I became anemic. I was catheterized for several days. I had to drag a pole with my fluids every time I got out of bed to move around – which took an agonizing many minutes to accomplish. Any time I stood up, I felt like my intestines were going to fall out of my body and land on the floor.

I can't help thinking that if I had only been able to give birth vaginally, most of that pain could have been avoided. Sure, there would have been pain, but it would have at least been localized and healed faster and I could have been more active sooner. I also don't believe that I'm incapable of having a vaginal birth. I think Lucian just got stuck. (The delivering OB said his head was tilted back.)

The thought of experiencing all of that over again is terrifying because we now have a demanding toddler to care for as well. Nate won't be able to take as much time off since we'll be delivering right before the holidays. I'm hoping that having Lucian around will help to take my mind off of the pain and I'll recover faster because I won't be able to focus on it as much as I did last time. I hope. Once the holidays pick up, then Nate will be home more, so that will help, plus my mother in law now lives closer too. It's just the feeling of helplessness that I dread. I hate needing so much assistance. I want to be able to do it all – on my own. It's not rocket science. I should be able to handle it all. Other women do it, why shouldn't I?

I'm pretty sure it's all normal to feel this hormonal and out of control of my feelings in the first trimester. It's partly the reason why I haven't been blogging. But I can't keep my mouth shut anymore. I have to vent. Writing is very cathartic for me. It's usually been my personal policy to try and keep things light or at least, when I write something dark – to immediately post something light to take the focus off of the negativity. I hate negativity. I hate being negative. I hate not even being able to fake being positive at times. I hate using the word hate. It makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide for fear I'll say something that will offend someone else or be taken the wrong way.

I wish I could just keep my mouth shut. If I were a mute, sometimes I think it would solve ALL of my problems.

I know this will pass. I know something will make it all better and things will work out. Is it possible to be optimistic AND depressed at the same time?

I think the things that bother me the most right now are:
1. My relationship with my Mother – or lack there of
2. Finances
3. Insurance coverage costs making life miserable
4. My health – pain, lack of energy, depression
5. Worries about delivery and feeling like I have a lack of options right now
6. Forgetfulness – I know I'm forgetting something all the time

No offense, but I'm tempted to close the comments on this post just because I'm feeling so bitchy right now and I don't want to hear "perk up, it will be all right." or "you have nothing to worry about, there are starving kids in Africa where infant mortality is higher." or "here, let me sell you something to make you feel better" or "you're a fat bitch and need to get over yourself" – you know, because the trolls still visit once in a while. (the word 'vaginal' is bound to trigger poised search engines. oh yay.) Or "OMG, I can't believe you swear on your blog, you're not the righteous woman I thought you were, I'm no longer reading your blog." (to which I say – "See ya.")

And oh, crap, this blog gets sucked into Facebook and put into my notes section where others may read it who think I'm normally very light-hearted and will be disappointed to find out just how dark I can be. I'm tempted to delete the post.

Screw it. Sometimes I just have to be real and candid, so deal. Unfriend me, unfollow me, ignore me if that's what you need to do – seriously – I've over needing to feel accepted and popular. (Ok, that's stretching it, but you're a real friend to me if you stick around and try to understand and that's all that matters to me anymore.)

I just can't deal with that shit right now. I just want to blog. I just want to vent and complain about MY problems and be self-absorbed for a moment in MY JOURNAL. I know there are people who have it much worse than me right now. I am grateful for the opportunities I DO have in life right now. I'm grateful for a husband who loves me, a wonderful son, a supportive family (most of them anyhow), a roof over my head, food to eat, and some material possessions that make life more bearable among other things I'm too moody to think about right now.

So, I suppose moodiness sums up Week 11. I wish it were all rainbows and Unicorns, but it's not right now. Right now I'm filled with bitterness, fear, sadness and helplessness to name a few.

I just want to be able to look back on this entry in a few months and see what a crazy person I was while feeling completely different in the future. That is the goal and I hope writing this and getting it off my chest will help with that process.

Maybe I just want some other cesarian section victims to reach out and tell me I'm not the only one for whom it's turned into a psychotic weirdo.

I'm also hoping this is so long that no one will want to read it, maybe not even me later.
Now I need to go find something fun to put above this post to move it down and out of other aggregators!