(Ok, so here is all the boring detail for those of you who want it. I’ve also posted the gory birth pictures at the very end -just a warning for those of you who want to give them a miss…)
On Monday night, Charles worked late so I went to a ‘crappy’ romantic comedy (Definitely, maybe) and nestled in with a big box of popcorn (one last hurrah before post birth healthy-diet). Got home around 11am and played on the computer a bit before hitting the couch (much easier to sleep on side with the back support). Charles had the next day off so we had plans to do final packing and cleaning and nesting.
Then at 1am it felt like I was peeing the bed. I went into the bedroom and said “sweety?”
“My waters broke.”
“What!? Ok. ok. ok.,” as he sprung out of bed. Just like in the movies. Just like a real-life unplanned labour. So that was fun.
We went into the hospital right away and they called our obstetrician, Dr. Sue Jacobs and got her out of bed and started monitoring me while we all waited for my popcorn to digest, various midwives coming in and out asking me which movie I had seen and me kicking myself for not seeing something more worthy and intellectual -like High School Musical 2 (which I actually kinda liked. Definitely, maybe was also not bad, but still).
I think I only had one actual contraction -although they thought I had two more because Charles made me laugh while I was being recorded. And I must say that it was a pretty intense experience, that one contraction. A tiny taste to make the c-section look like a pretty damn good option.
So at 4am they wheeled me up stairs on a rollie-bed with Charles shuffling along beside me in his surgery gear. They made him wait outside while they took me into the surgery room and did things like put in a catheter, shave my bits, and stick a needle into my spine. Everyone was very nice, by the way. Sue and the midwife stood in front of me and chatted to distract me from the big shiny needle glistening under the operating lights behind me. Then my legs began to feel all warm and heavy and tingly like when your foot goes to sleep.
Meanwhile Charles was still waiting outside with the camera:
When they let him in, he sat at my head while they did their magic on the other side of the curtain. The thought of them cutting through my belly made me freak out a bit so I focused on breathing and being calm. Looking at Charles helped. It didn’t hurt but I could feel pressure and the sensation of pulling and tugging in my stomach area. Like more intense ‘kicking’ by the baby.
It didn’t take long in the end. Within 10 minutes they dropped the curtain and held him up all purple and wiggling. Born butt first. You could immediately see that he was a boy and he looked to me just like Charles.
(gory photos at the bottom of the page)
After a very quick wipe down, they put him on my chest for a little bit. As close as you can get to the skin on skin experience of natural labour. Don’t think they usually do that so it was very nice of them to let me.
Then they took him to the corner where Charles cut the umbilical cord and they wrapped him in a blanket that I had slept in for two nights (so that it would have a bit of my smell with him which is meant to help keep things familiar for him). And then we got to hold him again while they sewed me up. Which again was really nice of them because they usually don’t have the time for this.
People talk about it being the best moment of their life, but it didn’t feel like that for me. I didn’t feel immediately connected. Maybe because I didn’t go through the hard yards of physical labour, or maybe it was just me. I look at the pictures now, 6 days later, and can see his little face and just melt. But it took a few days for that to kick in. I mean, I wasn’t cold hearted or anything, I was excited and thrilled and all I wanted to do was look at him. But the ‘falling in love’ part wasn’t there yet.
We split up for the next half hour, with Charles and baby taking a tour of the hospital and getting weighed and measured and cooed at by various midwives. And with me being wheeled through the halls to a room where two people watched me closely for signs of whatever it is they look for post-surgery. I remember looking up at the lights, unable to feel my legs and thinking how surreal it all was that I was now a mother.
(Ok, now I’m just adding this bit to give you a bit of warning that the gooky pictures are coming. If you don’t want to see them, stop reading now. They don’t gross me out but I know some people may be reading this over their morning cereal or simply don’t need to see afterbirth offered up so casually in an otherwise perfectly unoffensive and sterile blog post. So I’ll just keep chatting here until there’s enough space where you won’t have to see it. La la la. So how are things? A lot of weather we’re having. Did you get a hair cut? It looks good. Really. No, I like it that short. It suits you. We really should catch up more often. Go for coffee. See a movie. I heard they’re coming out with a High School Musical 3 soon. Ok, that’s it. Enough warning. Here they are. Ta Da!)