The house blend of cognitive dissonance

Welp, As I Mentioned: I Had A Baby.

Note: Some pregnancy/birth/surgery/baby-related triggers here for some. Not a birth story, really.

On the internet you can read a lot of birth stories. Today I read one that sounded almost exactly like mine, except with more bleeding and trauma! This was less comforting than I thought it would be. There are always worse birth stories, and there are many, many, many tougher people than me. (The extent of my toughness today is waiting from 6 a.m. till evening to take my pain pills. But we did have a tough, crying-filled NICU visit today, so that’s probably why–I’m all hopped on hormones and sadness. Not that baby is not okay! Baby is okay. We were just emotional.)

Anyhoo and all levels of toughness aside, here are some facts I learned and relearned during and after giving birth:

1. Bitches can’t drive. Did you know that when you have a c-section, you’re not supposed to drive for a week afterwards? Er, best practices, presumably. Yes, some of it is likely related to narcotic painkiller use, but I wonder how many women have to call bullshit because they have to return to work, or buy groceries or whatever. We currently live in an area of the country where a car is a necessity to get around. Luckily I have A. to drive me.

2. Ibuprofen/Motrin is commonly prescribed for c-sectioned (ha ha) women to help wean off narcotics and heal the abdomen more quickly. Too bad ibuprofen and ulcerative colitis do not play well together. My OB was frustrated with me. I tried to explain: I’ve avoided all painkillers except acetaminophen for the past decade, on specific gastroenterologist orders. It is probably the only consistent info I’ve gotten from every gastro ever. It’s not me being a jerk, I promise! I would break out my jerkface with far less evidence. And I would much rather be pain-free than right.

So I called the gastro. They didn’t QUITE freak out. They did say, “You can have 200-400 mg. For a couple of days. But then you need to stop taking it.” The recommendation from Labor & Delivery? 600 mg as needed day and night, throughout the six-week healing process. I’m going to take one more tonight with the narcotic, and then stay off.

3. Spinals suck. But they work really well. My legs were like bags of cement for a few hours afterward. Spinals do not stop your arms from shaking, however, and that is a bad deal. Luckily the OR staff have arm straps and they delight in using them.

4. Magnesium sulfate REALLY, REALLY SUCKS. More than spinals, more than c-section recovery, more than narcotic fuzz-brain. Maybe not as much as seeing your darling babe in the NICU. But prednisone definitely has a contender for Top Devil Drug. If you can get your pregnant body to avoid high blood pressure and the threat of pre-eclampsia through mind-over-matter magic or secret vegetable tinctures, I recommend you do so. I’ve no idea what kind of things I said to my Labor and Delivery recovery staff while on that stuff PLUS painkillers, but I will err on the side of much crazy talk. I do remember at least one early a.m. painkiller discussion regarding the pain being “in the pinnacle of my crotch.” Very helpful, very descriptive. Having control over one’s brain is a mighty power. Do not take it lightly!

5. My husband is the best. Sorry, everyone. Luckily your partner will likely rise to the occasion for you, too, so you will also have this feeling. But mine is still the best. From the moment they came in to tell me: “We need you to sign these consent forms, pump you full of drugs, cut out your baby, resuscitate him/load him up with wires and IVs and breathing devices, put him in a hospital an hour away, sew you up, pump you full of more drugs, and keep you here over the weekend (duh), and this will be happening in t-minus thirty minutes, okay?” he was the best. AND there was chicken chili when I finally got home from Labor and Delivery. I know you are all sad he is taken. Sorry.

6. It will take some time to get over all this shit, and I don’t mean six months for complete abdominal healing.  AHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH

Seriously. Only I would need something like that spelled out for me, I guess. Luckily there’s stuff to do. Imagine that. So we’re doing it. We’re visiting Mr. Baby daily. I’m pumping out my milk and we bring it to him. We’re both off from work at the moment, which is amazing. We’re eating and sleeping and medicating, and taking care of our sweet puppy dog. We’ve got the baby’s room mostly set. The car seat is supposed to arrive today — not that we need it yet.

Maybe there was no better ending ever coming for this pregnancy, not to a stressed-out anxious dingbat with ulcerative colitis and all the complications that come with it. I am overjoyed and teary and breathlessly grateful every time I see his little baby face. (Whether it’s snoozy and quiet in my arms or red and angry in the incubator.) I might write down a more comprehensive birth story, but I probably won’t put it here. Coherence on this subject is still not my strong point, and I get more catharsis from holding and feeding our baby than from reliving the surgery.

Today’s Related Unrelated

You know what’re weird? Updates from pregnancy sites, the ones I signed up for, telling me how my baby is doing in utero this week. Weird, since when I see the info, it’s usually after A. and I just came from the NICU where we saw baby crying, waving his teeny arms and legs, eating, and snoozing. It’s a little mind-blowing. I unsubscribed to a couple, since I don’t think I can take that kind of inundation for the remaining pregnancy weeks. But the others give so much information that might be helpful for a NICU baby — I can’t help but worry I might miss some good facts. So I’m keeping them for now.

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