To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, February 11, 2016

After Thoughts After Labor

Here I am, a new mommy and completely in love! On Super Bowl Sunday some team of football players won a game. People all over the US had parties eating yummy snack food. Money was won in Super Bowl pools. I missed all of that, but I came out the ultimate winner by giving birth to my precious little girl, which you can read all about here if you missed it!

Having documented the experience already, I still have more thoughts I wanted to write down to help me remember down the road. So here we go, in no particular order!

  • Music was the key to my labor. The Super Bowl was on in my room, but I had it on mute. My focus, other than on breathing, was the music I had playing. I worked on an 8.5 hour music list ahead of time, which wow -- that's how long my labor was. I just now realized that! Some of the music I really remember hearing that helped a lot was:
    • Titanic. We did the entire soundtrack a couple of times unintentionally. But this is me, could I ever get sick of it?
    • Eddy Arnold. Grandpa's music kept coming on at times when I really did need it!
    • Michael Jackson ... as soon as she came out the song switched to Michael. She's getting a good early introduction to good music!
  • Pushing. Common sense tells us all it hurts. What I didn't exactly expect was one particular pain I felt as her head was getting close to coming out. I even said it out loud to the room... "It feels like my urethra is getting ripped out!" I guess it's a part of anatomy you usually just ignore. It has it's function and does it without effort. But when it's being squished to hell, oh my gosh, no, it was bad. That really was the worst part of the pushing process!
  • Sticking with that part of my body, the after effects .... you get these huge diapers that are like white, almost mesh, boy shorts. I am proof you can go wearing only Victoria's Secret thongs for an entire pregnancy ... and now they are sticking me in big ol' undies and putting in these pads that are so big I felt like I was walking around in adult diapers. To make it even thicker, they made these ice packs with newborn diapers to stick IN the undies to help ease all that was happening with my lady bits. Awkward? Yes. But overall did it help ease things? Yes. Welcome to the stuff people don't normally talk about. 
  • Spritzing. They gave me a little bottle to fill with warm water and use to spritz my girly bits when I'm using the potty. Oh hallelujah. That does bring some minor relief.
  • Also after the birth they took care of my uterus. Periodically, including right after the placenta came out, they would push down really hard on my tummy to help the uterus start getting back to normal. Pure horror. I hated it so much. Even today, 3 and a half days after the event, I had it done at the hospital again, and ugh, it just hurts really bad.
  • Let's keep the bloody nasty stuff going, shall we? After the room was cleared and Katura and I had enjoyed her first meal together it was time for me to happily take a shower. I was so nasty feeling, like I had just finished a marathon, so getting in the shower was exciting. Then while washing my hair I looked down. Hello Alfred Hitchcock. It was like the Psycho shower scene in there!
  • Speaking of marathons, my arms feel like they ran one. I know I was grabbing onto the bars by the tub during the transition phase of labor, but also during pushing they had me grab my legs and pull. Still my arms are sore from all the tension, pushing and pulling I did with them.
  • During labor Man Friend kept reminding me that I could do this. I did marathons and so I could do this. He reminded me how even during my first one when my knees buckled under me I didn't give up. I stayed mentally strong and pushed through to the end, and that I could do the same thing. He was right. And it was like a marathon. It started out easy, got awkward, then I had a second wind and felt strong again. Soon I was starting to question things and wanting to be done. Then it got really hard. The end got close and when I remembered how far I had come and what was at the finish line, I reached down deep and pushed so hard until I thought I couldn't do it anymore ... then I had my traditional finishing kick to the line and felt amazing when I did reach my goal and was handed my finisher's medal named Katura!

  • This photo melts my heart. My mom took a photo of her and I right after they put her on my chest, which I have cropped and shared here. We just stared at each other and it was incredible. We knew each other so well already. It was like the entire room went dark and quiet. I have no idea what all was going on. People could have been talking to me and I really have no memory. All I saw was that little face looking up at me. I think I got a little stitch and delivered my placenta ... didn't even notice. The whole world ceased to exist to me. The only thing that mattered was this precious little girl, still covered in some vernix caseosa, little bits of blood, the usual body fluid stuff on a baby. I didn't even care. I still had to caress and kiss her. She's my best creation and my most favorite thing in the entire world! Best moment of my life!

  • We had an immediate bond. Still, she might start crying, but if I barely touch her she stops and becomes calm. And skin to skin bonding ... she loves it. we do it all the time. Feedings at my house are a nudist affair at this point!
  • Nursing is an interesting thing. Sometimes I think it sucks when she practically bites while latching on. But overall it's not so bad. We get a lot of alone time together, her dad always nearby if we need an extra hand.  
  • The cute sounds she makes. Oh my gosh. In the hospital I pretty much never slept because I couldn't stop listening to her sleeping noises and watching her. Even still I find myself just gazing at her little face.
  • Hospital food. Could it be any more bland? It did make me happy to have cottage cheese and yogurt a lot. The vegetables I ordered were so bleh. I felt smart when I realized the best bet was to order Cheerios and fruit cups. Can't go wrong with that!
  • Man Friend told the guys in Lamaze to make sure to take advantage when the nurses ask if there is anything they can bring. Drinks? Snacks? Warm blankets? Ice? They are happy to oblige!
  • Ooh, that reminds me of labor. During active labor just before the transition phase I was shaking. I was so cold. The nurses said I could be cold, but it could be a reaction from hormones and signs that the baby was coming soon. They brought me heated blankets which helped a ton!
  • Speaking of blankets, I brought my own soft blanket which was one of the best things I had with me. I was using it the entire time after she was born.
  • We had a VHS/DVD player in our hospital room. We brought a lot of movies with us... if you can, do that! Hospital TV SUCKS!!!
  • I had a baby and my belly button never popped out and I didn't get stretch marks.  What?!?! I'm shocked at how my body is already bouncing back just days later. Obviously I'm not the way I was before being pregnant, but I feel optimistic!
  • Having a game plan going in I think was a good idea for us. It was nice not having to worry. Everybody knew my "rules" for the room and my desires for how the birth and labor would go. And everything was followed, Thank You!
  • Part of my idea birth plan was to not be naked and feel no sense of dignity. Well, you CAN give birth without being naked and without having everybody see everything. I pulled it off. EVERYBODY said, "you won't care". Really? I always told them that No, I would. But they ALL insisted "you won't care or even know". Yeah, ask the 4 in the room with me and they will confirm I was always keeping covered and making sure I stayed that way. 
  • What else did people tell me? That I would want drugs. Sure I whined that I would want them, but we know I didn't really want them. And as much as people thought it couldn't be done, I had a 100% drug free birth!
  • Lamaze class was completely worth it! I can't imagine not taking the opportunity to learn about breathing, as well as information regarding birth and labor.
  • Pushing hurts. BUT after all those contractions it was actually a relief to be at that final bit and be allowed to push your way to the end.
  • The phases of labor broken down (8.5 total hours of labor):
    • My water broke, and nothing happened for 2.5 hours.
    • Early Labor: I spent it at home with my mom. I was up, walking around, putting on make up, hanging up clothes, getting the bags officially ready for the move to the car, watching Friends, texting my BFF, taking photos. This was only 2 hours long actually. I had a very short "early labor"!
    • Active Labor: It started shortly after the Star Spangled Banner and kick off of the Super Bowl. We left for the hospital after the game began. I was admitted and got situated in my room. The half-time show is blurry to me, but I saw Bruno Mars like I wanted to. That is the last thing before switching to Transition.
    • Transition: This, coupled with active labor, was about 4 hours long. It was very painful. I was throwing up at times and spent most of Transition in the jacuzzi tub.
    • Pushing: This was about 2.5 hours we think. Fortunately for ME it felt faster since it was non-stop. I feel like for everybody else it had to be painful to watch or incredibly boring. 
    • Katura was born 11 hours and 58 minutes after my water broke!
  • Poop happens. 'Nuf said.
  • Contrary to what people say, you don't ruin your clothes. After labor and holding my fresh little baby I still could have worn my gown around if I wanted to without it even showing what had just gone on!
  • And finally, it's never too early to use your baby as a prop for fun photos and collages!

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