Saturday, October 5, 2013

Eilí's Birth Versus Mairéad's

Mairéad was a totally different pregnancy and birth than Eilí was. With Mairéad the whole pregnancy I was researching fetal progress and was totally consumed with her. I loved her the minute I knew I was pregnant, I thought about here several times a day and I loved every second (even the painful third trimester). I even knew without a doubt she had to be a girl, even before we were far enough along to get the ultrasound to confirm. I fell in love with who I thought she’d be and I was heartbroken that she had to be born and be separated from me. I cried often thinking about not being pregnant when she was born, I was very desolate. Then when she was born I felt like I didn’t know her, it was a total disconnect from the little girl I loved in the womb. I didn’t love her instantly like everyone says you will, I felt empty. It took me weeks to adjust and to fall in love with her completely. I’m being honest here, and I am sure I’m not the only mom in history to have to fall in love with their child after they were born and not have it come naturally.

With Eilí I didn’t have time to fantasize about her. We didn’t know her gender, and that actually made me have a horrible time bonding with this gender-less fetus I was carrying. I didn’t want to know (and more precisely, I liked keeping everyone else in the dark. It had been my experience that not knowing my friends’ babies’ genders pre-birth was much more exciting. I loved the surprise and suspense!) but how can you bond if you can’t picture how they’ll be with their big sister? I felt in my gut that she *had* to be another girl, but I couldn’t be certain because I felt it was my fervent desire to have a second girl that was making me feel that way. Honestly, all my dreams involved sisters who were close as best friends, and if it had been a boy I know I would have taken it much harder than is rational. It caused a great conflict in my heart, I couldn’t bond with a baby who I wasn’t sure was a girl… I know I am a horrible person, but that was how it was.
Both times I had a Cesarean Section. I elected to with Mairéad, and was super adamant about it. I had no real legitimate reason to have one with her, but I talked the doctor into it and he let me schedule one. It turns out she was 9 lbs 1 oz, 21 inches long with a round head that was in the 100th percentile! The medical professionals said that those factors would have more than likely made me have to have a C-Section if I’d labored before hand, and the recovery would have been harder! With Eilí, I was pretty terrified about the C-Section. I was stupid enough to look into all the things that could go wrong the weeks preceding the scheduled C-Section. I cried all afternoon the day before she was born because I was so scared (even though I’d done it before!).

On Mairéad’s birthday everything was a blur, we spent a few days in the hospital and I felt “rushed” out. I was scared to go home, especially with the pain I was having (which was not as bad as I anticipated from the incision, since I had nerve damage and couldn’t feel much of it. It was 90% back pain from the spinal block. I had a huge grapefruit sized bruise on my back from it!). With Eilí my pain was easier to deal with, and I didn’t get the horrible back bruise and pain (but I did mention how bad my first back pain had been to the anesthesiologist. I didn’t know it could have been better, but man, it can be sooooo much better!). I couldn’t tell you all the things I felt and thought with Mairéad after birth and in the hospital. I was tired and I put off making a journal entry about it until it was too late and all the details had faded away. Now I am two weeks post-partum with Eilí and already I’m forgetting things about her birth!

On Eilí’s birthday we had to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM. I woke up at 3:30 AM to get ready (yes I insisted on wearing makeup and doing my hair). Mike and I arrived at 5:05 AM at the ER and were told to go on to labor & delivery where quote “They have been waiting for you”… as if 5 minutes is a huge deal (and they didn’t even take me back into surgery until an hour later than scheduled, at 8:00 AM versus 7:00 AM)! We had 3 hours to wait and to worry. We watched “That 70’s Show” and “Golden Girls” while we waited. The IV was the most horrible experience of the entire procedure (for Mairéad’s birth and Eilí’s as well). I asked an anesthesiologist to do my IV since I have a bad track record with IVs. Apparently I should have had an understanding nurse do it because he still blew one of my veins and ended up using a bigger needle (which I felt for the 2.5 days I had to have it). I am hyper aware of IVs, I feel them even when I don’t move, and they freak me out and make me dizzy/nauseous. I have a preferred insertion point, but the anesthesiologist wouldn’t listen and put it in a vein on the inside of my wrist, so moving my wrist at all made it move (which made me ill). 

So then more waiting, and then I was lead back to the OR with two nurses. I had a new anesthesiologist there (maybe I ticked off the first one with my crying over the IV?), and he did great. The spinal block wasn’t horrible, (in fact, nearly no bruising or back pain since!) and it was fairly fast. I could still “sense” my legs, but no feeling (which was so weird!). Mike was let into the OR shortly after I was on the table and he didn’t sit like he did with Mairéad… which worried me, since he could accidentally glance over the curtain in front of me and see the operation (he says he saw Eilí come out, but nothing more graphic). I’m so glad they didn’t tell me what was going on, I was trying desperately not to think about the incision, etc. In no time Eilí was out, we heard her cry (which was so different than Mairéad’s, which was loud and ear-splitting whereas Eilí’s was normal and kind of cute). Mike’s eyes were glued to Eilí the minute she was out. I kept asking him questions, but he barely noticed, ha ha! He was enamored with our second little girl. They brought her to us and we asked her weight. They said they wouldn’t know until they took her to the nursery (that was different than Mairéad, we knew her birth time and weight all in the OR). I had to wait another hour (or two?) in recovery to find out her weight! It was 8 lbs 9 ounces by the way  (Mairéad’s was 9 lbs 1 ounce). She was 21 ¼ inches long (a quarter inch taller than Mairéad, but half a pound lighter!)

Mike and Eilí left shortly after and then I was readied to go to “recovery”. This time I was hot, like sweating like a pig, super uncomfortably hot. With Mairéad I was fine, but I shivered convulsively as if I was freezing. It is so weird how two C-Sections can be so entirely different, and done by the same doctor! Even the recovery was so different! With Mairéad my back pain post-partum was horrendous, and it never entirely went away (it would flare up when I did too much). Two weeks out, and my back feels no worse than before Eilí (and somewhat better than in my pregnancy with Eilí). My incision barely was noticeable after 2 weeks with Mairéad (which I attribute to nerve damage) and my back was tolerable too. This time my incision feels pretty good right now, but I’m still careful. I had issues with the staples this time (I had to have 2 staples removed before we left the hospital on day 4, and when I had all the others removed a week after the surgery one nurse was so concerned with the crookedness of the staples that she called in backup… who then called in Dr. Moore to make sure I could have them all removed!). 

We stayed maybe 3 days with Mairéad, and 4 days with Eilí (who had jaundice, and they kept her under the lights for a day and a half). I had a horrible time breastfeeding Mairéad, (looking back, she must have had a bad latch, but I didn’t know the importance of latching then) but with Eilí it was pretty natural. She has a huge little mouth, and a fantastic latch 80% of the time. I feel disappointed and like I should have done more research or tried harder with Mairéad since it was no one’s fault but mine that I succumbed to the pressures of the nurses (they said things like “She isn’t getting enough since she is so big” and “If it hurts so much why not supplement?”). It was the easy way out, and it sucks. Mairéad is perfect and super smart, but still. I’m much more determined this time (and I was adamant in the hospital about breastfeeding, even when they made it sound like that was what was causing the jaundice) even with only 2 weeks off work to figure it out, and me having to pump at work. I’m hoping for 6 months at least. 

Now that I’m done being pregnant, I can tell you that Eilí was a harder pregnancy (I had mild morning sickness the first trimester, my lower back ache started in the second trimester instead of the third, but my swelling began later and was maintainable instead of out of control), even though from what I’ve heard from other moms it was still a relative breeze. I loved being pregnant both times (but took the end harder with Mairéad, where I was borderline depressed). With Eilí I was more excited to meet her (especially considering the lack-of-bonding I felt while in utero) and so thrilled for Mairéad to meet her new sibling. We’d been trying to get pregnant for 22 months, so she was a blessing I’d prayed for every day. I never intended Mairéad to be an only child, and in all my dreams she had a little sister (who ws much closer in age, but we couldn’t arrange that no matter how hard we tried). I only feel a little sad that she has to adjust to having a sister, because I’ve envisioned the benefits all of my own life. My own sister and I are 7 years apart, and it is much too big of a gap. We could have been so much closer if our gap wasn’t nearly a generation. I always wanted a twin sister growing up, and then as an adult I wanted to have twin girls. I feel it is making a built in best friend (and with me having such a hard time making friends, this is can prevent that with my children I hope). 

One thing that is completely awesome is that so far Mairéad adores her. She calls Eilí "her" baby. She talks about how cute/adorable/sweet, etc Eilí is at least once an hour. She is totally enamored with her and doesn't seem to mind that we have to feed her constantly and change her diaper often. She seems to understand that we still love her totally, but we also have to take care of her sister too. She hasn't shown any jealousy, and she loves to hold Eilí when we let her. I look forward to seeing how they interact as they grow up together. They are 3 years and 2 months apart, but they'll be 4 school years apart. I definitely hope Mairéad and Eilí are able to have things in common and understand one another with such a gap. 


Daddy and Eilí

Eilí held by her aunt Samantha

My first time to hold Eilí

Mairéad and aunt Samantha holding Eilí