Motherhood. You'd think that when you give birth, the only piece of motherhood you will experience in the hospital is moments of bliss. Nurses helping everywhere. People smiling. Gift baskets and balloons swinging in the door. Happy pictures. Bliss.
I went into detail on my labor in My Little Miracle: The First Breath and as you can see..
Mine didn't go down like that. At all.
I spent a good amount of time alone after being sewed up and evaluated after birth. I don't know why I felt dead. The trauma must not have gone to the way side. I had a lot of time to think, but I was so broken. After all the work I just did. I had no baby in my arms. People ACTUALLY lose their babies and I was sitting there with a hole in my chest feeling like I was never going to see mine. Because I wasn't convinced I was alive. People told me I saw my son, but I didn't remember. The visuals were gone. So without a baby and no mom or husband in the room, I was freaking out. But, I was calm all at the same time.
I can't sit here and explain the science behind the lidocaine I was dosed with and how I felt everything anyway. I just remember a nurse saying if I don't flip constantly, the medicine doesn't work properly and they were unable to flip me. But that doesn't mean I was doing laps after birth either. My legs were completely numb. I couldn't feel my toes at all, but I felt all of that pain. Once the nurses came to check on me, I asked to see my baby and they told me no. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere with numb legs and they still had to monitor me. I felt like a prisoner. I did everything possible to get my legs to feel something, but I couldn't. I ate some food, but was hardly interested and spent a lot of time staring at the wall. I tried sleeping, but I was afraid I wouldn't wake up in the hospital or that I wouldn't be in that room anymore. The dark cloud stayed right over my head.
Doctors would come in and give me the status of my son. They had me start to pump breastmilk for him and it was really the only connection I felt like I had to my son. The only thing letting him know he DID still have a mom. So I obsessed over it. My right leg gained some feeling, so I got excited. I waited a while and kept moving my legs. I could tell the left was not as far ahead as my right when it came to regaining feeling, but I felt I had made major headway. When the nurses checked on me, I asked if I could try to walk. I sat at the edge of the bed and I could tell that there was NO way I would be able to take any steps at all. They told me to lay back down while I begged them to take me to my son in a wheelchair... and they said no.
Prisoner again. Eat again. Try to sleep again. My mom needed to go back to my house because she couldn't handle the stress and the hospital anymore. My husband was sick with a cold and clearly miserable. I just felt like this beautiful experience was the ugliest thing I've ever been a part of. No part of it was fun. I never felt a honest laugh come out once. I just felt traumatized and irritated that everyone else seemed so affected by everything and thought I was fine, but I wasn't and I felt like I was left to suffer in my own mind. It was terrible. I wanted someone to dry my tears just this one time, but everyone else was too sick, too tired, etc. Something.
Finally, my legs gained enough strength to where they agreed to let me see my son. I was thrilled! And terrified at the same time. I came in and he had oxygen, IVs all over his little hand and diapers to cover them, and he looked....sick? He looked like he was struggling. He looked like he had went too long without oxygen. He looked tired. He didn't look like a cute and lively little newborn to me; he looked broken. And it broke my heart.
They let me hold him, but it wasn't long at all. And I was soon wheeled back out and to my room. After someone removing the catheter, the only thing keeping me from leaving was peeing. Of course I didn't. Of course they had to put another one in. Because what else could possibly go wrong for me? I had ZERO small victories and I was mentally exhausted. Soon enough I could and took a shower. I felt a little better, but it meant nothing to me at the time. Finally they felt my son was doing okay with his oxygen levels and brought him to me while I stayed over my second night. I didn't want him to leave my arms. I just wanted to do skin to skin and have all my cute moments with him. As my mom and husband slept, I noticed something strange about my son. I had him in his little basinet the hospital has and he was making a weird sound. I got up, picked him up, and looked and listened closely.
See, a year prior to all of this, I was a CPR instructor. That doesn't mean I'm an expert by any means, but expert enough to teach people the signs of improper breath sounds and much more. My son's lips were blue and he was very quietly making an almost choking sound, like he was barely breathing. As I went for the nurse button, there was blood all over the floor. I mean, it's normal for us ladies to bleed, but what an inconvienient time to have this situation along with my son. I hit the nurse button and they take my son away again, back to the NICU. I cleaned up my blood which seemed like a lot, and laid back down. I didn't bother to wake up my husband and mom because I knew they were really tired. But once they woke up, of course they were really concerned about my son.
The doctor came in and gave me the brief that broke me. My son's issues were too big for the hospital I was in, so they wanted to transfer him to a bigger and better NICU and discharge me immediately. I was supposed to stay for four days because of my side of all of this, but I wasn't in any danger. From there everything moved fast. I bawled over my son in the NICU and the EMTs just stood there, in a hurry and waiting for me to be done so they could take him. I was going to meet him there, but I couldn't go with him, because he needed a team of doctors to help. I packed my stuff, changed, and was discharged. I went to the new hospital and saw him hooked up to a bunch of machines and it traumatized me more. He was put in a room with incubators with pre-mature babies and machines were going off every second... Did they put him in here because he is critical too? Will he struggle to live too? I filled out paperwork and left. I was just in the way. The nurses didn't want me there; the whole dynamic was different. They were trying to keeps babies alive, not look at a crying mom. I could feel that I was supposed to leave, so I did.
I went home, my tailbone was broken. Severely, because I've done it once before and it was not NEARLY as bad as this. No baby. No crying beautiful little baby. Just me, my mom, and my husband. This was NOT the homecoming I had in mind. Not at all.
I was broken. I wasn't a mom. Not like that. I hadn't made one decision on behalf of my son at that point. I didn't get to dress him. I didn't get to wrap him in a little blanket. I got to hold him for an hour total in 2 days. I was trying so hard to count my blessings, but most of you don't know what it's like to go through 9 months of pure torture (I had rough pregnancy symptoms) and not even be able to see your creation. I wasn't a mom. Not yet.
My son was born on 18 Aug 18, at around 3 am or something like that. (I don't remember stuff like that) I was in the hospital for 2 days. Came home, was depressed as hell, went to sleep and then it was my birthday.
21 Aug. That's when I was born. But this day, it meant nothing to me. I felt nothing. I felt nothing but shame and disappointment towards the world. I was mad at God. Because my WHOLE life, I've spent my time on the very edge of a single thread and I learned how to thrive there. But Life, Fate, God, Luck, whatever you believe in, was GONE. I didn't have it. Because everything in my life was hard, all the time, I never ever ever got a break. I was so tired of it. So that birthday was the very birthday that ruined my birthday for the rest of my life. I don't keep track and off the top of my head, I honestly can't tell you if I'm 24 or 25. Because like I said, the day lost meaning. My husband still celebrates and I respect it and am grateful, but for me it brings back a lot of hurt.
There is a way manage that hurt though. I say "manage" because everyone acts like problems just dissolve with time. But, they don't. They don't ever disappear; you just learn how to cope with them. And in the final part of this story, I will talk about the journey of coping during a very hard time like this.
I know I said this would be a 2 part story. However, now that I'm actually typing it out, there's a lot more to it than I thought. Stick around and more is soon to come!