One Year Post-Partum Thoughts

Oct 4

13 months ago, I went into pre-term labor that I thought was just Braxton Hicks contractions. I mean, I was only 34 weeks pregnant! And then a few hours later I started pushing a baby out and was rushed into surgery because of his position. A nurse with purple gloves flashed his tiny body by my head while my husband snapped a photo with his cellphone, and then my son was rushed out of the room.

My thoughts were “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED???”
(well, those are my *edited* thoughts)

A few hours after “giving birth” we were down in the cafeteria EATING CHICKEN NUGGETS.
Like…did I just have a baby? WHERE IS THE BABY? WHERE IS MY BABY??
It didn’t feel real.
Because I had an epidural, I wasn’t allowed to hold him that night. Adam pushed my wheelchair as close to the bassinet as possible. I stood up and looked at my son. My son! He had a breathing mask and all sorts of gear on. There was no real connection for me. I mean, I couldn’t even see his face! How did I even know this was the baby they pulled out of my belly?
The whole thing was BIZARRE.
The 4 weeks that he spent in the NICU were long and WEIRD. I was with him a lot, but I didn’t HAVE him. I held him about 2-3 hours a day. I wasn’t able to nurse him for a few weeks. I couldn’t even see his face for the first week because of the breathing mask! I was driving 200 minutes a day, every day, which meant the seatbelt was pressing against my sensitive incision for 200 minutes a day. And hey Chattanooga–do something about all the potholes!! I was pumping every 2-3 hours–in my car, in the NICU, in the bathroom, and at home. I was hungry all the time, but didn’t have any time to cook. I only saw Finley every few days and couldn’t really interact with her because of my C-section.
All of these things caused problems with bonding with Ransom. That’s a whole nother post.
(I think we’re fully bonded now though.)

And then, while I’m griping about my experience, there was another sweet NICU baby next to mine that had a banner saying “Happy 100 Days” on her crib. So let’s add some guilt into the mix. Here I am, struggling with a 28 day NICU stay….and this other baby was over 100 days into her NICU journey. HOW DARE I FEEL SAD ABOUT MINE.

Anyways, today I went to Erlanger to visit my best friend. Like mine, her birth didn’t go as expected either. On the drive down to Chattanooga, I listened to Sturgill Simpson’s song “Welcome to Earth” (which is an amazing song, listen to it). It’s a song I would listen to on my drives to and from the NICU. I pulled into the hospitals massive parking garage and was flooded with emotions. During our NICU stay I would come, sit in my car, and weep. I was so sad to not have my baby in my arms.  And towards the end, I was constantly devastated that he hadn’t been released yet.

Back to today: I walked into the hospital. The same route that I walked 48 times. I took the elevator up to the NICU. I walked by the room I stayed in. I walked past Pod 7 (the “graduation pod” that Ransom was discharged from). And MAN….I realized that I have NOT processed that experience at all!!!

 

 

Everyone says to me “Well, healthy mama and healthy baby, that’s all that matters.” They say it in such and black-and-white tone and it annoys me. And yeah, DUH, healthy mom and baby are the most important thing. But the experience still matters! IT ALL MATTERS!!! You can’t just dismiss experiences like that!

I am so thrilled that Ransom is healthy and alive. I feel that gratitude EVERY SINGLE DAY. But it’s okay to feel sad about his entrance. About that month he spent hooked up to wires and IVs and not snuggled warm against my chest. Every time someone says “healthy mama and healthy baby, that’s all that matters” I want to pinch them really hard and say “I’M ALLOWED TO FEEL SAD ABOUT THESE THINGS!”

Growing up as a young punk, I would shrug and tell my mom “that doesn’t matter”. And she would patiently, consistently, and simply reply “Everything matters.” I’m 32 years old now and I’ve known she’s right for a few years. Everything matters!

Lots of emotions and thoughts happened to me today. When I found out my friend had her baby last night, and that it was an emergency C-section, I cried myself to sleep. I mean, just a little bit. I had to wipe my eyes a lot. And it dragged up all these FEELINGS. I wanted to slap myself in the face all day today! PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER SARA.

13 months later and I think I’m still in shock.

Ransom is so different than he was then, 13 long months ago. He gives THE BEST hugs. They’re so solid for a one year old! He loves to be held and tickled. He has delicious leg rolls and if you squeeze them, he dissolves into giggles. He has my teeth (which means they’re big and gapped!). He’s agreeable. He loves bagels with cream cheese (me too!). He’s so fun!

People ask us if we want more kids. And…I do. But man! I am terrified at the possibility of going through this again. So yeah, I want a homebirth VBAC and I’m not afraid to put that out there. If it has to be another C-Section…okay. But please, please: I want to give birth to a baby and then have them with me. On my chest, in my arms.
(Note: no more kids are happening any time soon!).

Okay, the End.

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