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Friday, January 3, 2014

Birth Story: Third Baby ; First C-Section

I really didn’t think that the birth of my third child would present any problems – sort of a ‘been there done that’ type of thing. Then I was hit with a meteor shower of “get over-yourself.”

Lucas was born on December 11, 2013 weighing 9lbs 8oz. He is now 3 weeks old and thank the heavens that he has been an easy to handle newborn because recovering from the delivery and fighting back tears with each painful toe-curling breastfeed have been difficult to handle. I am just now starting to leave the house. 

I am doing ok.  Despite being absolutely smitten with my rather large bundle of joy, breastfeeding this time around has been excruciatingly painful. Psychologically, this has been difficult to cope with since I really enjoyed nursing my two girls, nursing Cristina until she was 18 months. This time around, the first two weeks have been, on a scale of 1 to 10— off the scale painful. Each latch, I’d say a prayer, grit my teeth, curl my toes, remind myself how much I loved the child and quickly latch – always fighting back tears, and nearly on the brink of throwing my drink across the room.  Each day I threatened to resort to formula. It hasn’t helped that I came down with quite a serious case of mastitis, also known as ‘milk fever.’ It is a painful breast infection of the milk ducts that causes pain, flu-like symptoms and (in my case) the feeling of impending death. My doctor thinks, I might need surgery to correct it, but I am dutifully taking my antibiotics and praying for the best.

It has all been made worse by the actual birth experience which was not ideal – 12 hours of labor, 5 of which were spent stalled at 8cm and ended up with an emergency c-section since he wouldn’t fit through my pelvis and my tailbone was bruised beyond belief. I've been told it all had to do with his gaze and size. 

I keep replaying the entire birth and last few weeks of pregnancy (as if reliving it will change things). Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? I should have advocated more, labored longer at home and told them exactly where to go when I was told I had to labor in a bed. Or should I have pushed for an induction at week 38 given his size? For some reason, I feel a bit of blame, a bit of a failure. It didn’t help that everyone in the hospital was surprised, given I had two vaginal births, that this one ended in a c-section.

Api, my first born came at 41 weeks, painfully but quickly (only pushed twice in the course of 5 minutes). She had swallowed meconium and was born with a fever and despite weighing in at around 9 pounds, had to spend 4 days in the NICU. My plans of having a cool and doula led epidural free labor at home with a music play list and massage never happened. My second born, Cristina, while a bit smaller, around 8.5 pounds, got ‘stuck’ and I must have pushed for over an hour but she eventually came with no intervention. My placenta never came and I lost just over 2 liters of blood and ended up being whisked away for an emergency manual removal of the placenta, which was excruciatingly painful. But recovery with both of them was quick and easy.

I was upset when I was told I needed a c-section. I was upset when I saw the midwife give my husband scrubs. I was upset when I was given pain medication. I was upset and shaking as I was wheeled into the operating room. I was in tears as it was happening. As soon as he arrived, I fed him, but felt very weak and the recovery has been hard.

All that said, when I was in recovery, immediately after the operation, a woman was wheeled in next to me. She was about to have a planned c-section. She was the happiest person on earth, just elated to be on the brink of meeting her baby. She came back from her c-section as if she had arrived at Disneyland. I thought she was going to literally spring from her bed. A total contrast to how I felt then - exhausted, weak, sad and like a failure of sorts. 

I feel better now. I have been surrounded by some incredibly faithful friends. Family has really been active in helping with the girls and my husband has taken on 100% of the household burdens. I have therefore been able to rest, recover and bond with Lucas. He and I are working on his latch, which is hit or miss at this point (but still incredibly painful). I am going to continue to trod along and hope that he gets the hang of it SOON.

There is something quite lovely about the way he curls up his little body and is easily comforted by the warmth of another body against his. He is angelic pure-love, not yet tainted by the world. While the birth wasn’t ideal, I am so overjoyed that he is here now. And so far, the girls love him to bits. He's perfect. I am healing. All is good. All is love. 

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