Thursday, January 14, 2010

The gift of time

Today was an easier day. I only had one spell where I almost cried, after doing some reading online and realizing just how difficult the recovery is going to be compared to what I could've expected from an uncomplicated natural birth. I knew I'd have to take it easy longer, but it hadn't occurred to me that I would be expected to avoid the stairs as much as possible. Since our bedroom and the baby's nursery are upstairs, this complicates things. I think, oddly, the moment that almost broke me down was the one when I realized that in addition to not being able to go to yoga class, walk my dog, or lift my baby in his carseat carrier, I won't be able to do laundry by myself. So in addition to working a job and a half and waiting on me hand and foot, MB will also have to do the wash for weeks. It's a small, stupid thing, but for a little while it felt like a symbol of what we will be giving up. I like my independence, I like doing things by and for myself, and honestly I'm more than a little bit Type A. It will be a hard and humbling experience to have to rely on other people to do the tasks that I am used to just doing myself, my way. But I didn't cry. And I will learn to ask for help, and I am sure in the long run it'll be good for me to do so.

While we're keeping the news off facebook for the time being, I've emailed and chatted with quite a few people about the situation since yesterday. I always find myself starting the conversation the same way:  this wasn't how we hoped to go out, or this wasn't the plan. Having a little distance from the news has definitely helped, though. While it would have perhaps been nicer if the baby had turned breech earlier, so that we had a few weeks to deal with the possibility of this outcome, finding out the way we did was vastly preferable to finding out after hours of labor or even after going in for an induction and then being surprised. A day and a half is certainly short notice for a change this dramatic, but there are definite benefits. Less time to fret, for one. And enough time to do a bit of preparation, for another.

MB was able to take the day off from his full time job, which gave him the morning to prepare all the materials for the subs who will be covering the classes he usually teaches on Saturday morning and Monday night. He had time to carry the Christmas decorations up to the attic and clean out the coffee maker. I had the opportunity to email a few friends who have had C-sections and ask for tips and advice. We went out to our favorite Szechwan restaurant and hit Target for a few things, including some really scary granny panties. And okay, I'm not excited about fugly granny panties, but it was nice to be able to pick them myself instead of sending MB to find some after an emergency delivery. We stopped for ice cream on the way back and had a chance to make a few changes to the setup here at the house that will hopefully make our first few weeks at home a lot easier. We moved the baby's changing table from his room to the dining room and put most of his 0-3 month clothes into a little plastic cart beside it so that if he blows out a diaper when I'm home alone with him, I won't have to decide between a naked baby or breaking the rules to carry him up the stairs.

I had time to write a recommendation letter for one of my volunteers at work, wash the clothes we'll need this weekend at the hospital, move the cheesecake I made last weekend into plastic containers so it won't mold by the time we get back, wash the dishes, sweep up the dog hair on the floor. All small and mundane things, but I think that sometimes humble and routine things are the most humanizing. I may not be able to control every aspect of my baby's birth, but I had a chance to leave the house in the state I wanted, to do a few last chores my way before I have to hand over the helm for a while. It was sad to unpack my naively assembled hospital bag, to take out the tennis balls I scrounged from the dog's supply and the back massager, the colorful washcloths and sour candies that we won't need now that we're not going to be coping with labor. But I'm grateful that I had a chance to repack the suitcase with things that we'll actually need, instead of having to make do with supplies packed for a very different experience.

This wasn't how I hoped we'd go out and it wasn't the plan we formulated, but really, the plan and the hope was always a healthy baby. God willing, that's exactly what we're going to get, and I suspect as soon as we see him, the details of how he got here won't seem all that important after all.


  1. You're going to totally ace this thing, and tomorrow afternoon? You'll be holding your baby! In your arms! Where his face and fingers and hair and toes are visible! And that, my friend, is going to be FANTASTIC.

    Best of luck, mama. I can't wait to hear about mommying in your world.

  2. "To say that my birth plan went out the window is a colossal understatement. My birth plan tied sheets together, went out the window, caught a cab to the airport and spent the weekend losing money at The Sahara and getting hammered on free cocktails."

    Yep, that's how it went for me too the first time around. And I know how disappointing it can be. I'm so sorry you're not going to get the birth you want this time around. :(

    However, it's good that all of this breech business was discovered BEFORE labor started so the little guy doesn't have to get stressed out. Also, it's good that you can start visualizing a different birth ahead of time so that it's not a big traumatic surprise done in an emergency. The not-being-able-to-do-stuff aspect following a c-section does indeed blow, but from all accounts, M sounds like a total champion and there's NOTHING more valuable in the first few weeks than a hugely supportive partner!

    The three of you will do just fine, and I'll be thinking about you today as you meet your little person. :)

  3. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! I'm sorry things didn't go the way you had intended, but happy that (even as I type) you've met your little baby boy!

    All the best, and fervent wishes for a speedy recovery.

  4. Anxious for an update!

  5. xoxo. Speedy recovery to you and sweet, healthy sleeping baby. Thinking of you all.