As a warning, all items in this entry are either inappropriate, gross, or simply too much information. Don't proceed unless you're inexplicably drawn to the aforementioned sort of topics, as I am.
#1 The tabs that cover the adhesive on my pads keep bidding me a "happy period." I think the fine folks at Always have unduly limited themselves. After all, periods are not the only occasion we have for utilizing feminine products. Perhaps they should consider the following slogans:
Have a happy lochia! Have a happy hormone therapy-induced six-week period! Have a happy ruptured membranes! Have a happy leukorrhea!
#2 When we were checked into the hospital and being prepared for surgery, Todd asked when I'd be allowed to eat again after Caroline's birth. "I don't know," I admitted, "I can't remember. But I think it's performance-related. I think I have to do something first."
"Yeah. Like burp or fart."
Todd snorted right away. "Pffffrrrrrrrrrt! Now can I have a cheeseburger?!"
I laughed so hard I sent the fetal monitor off the chart.
#3 The poo story. (In order to preserve a pinch of my own dignity, which is in short supply as of late, I'm going to leave out many, many details on this one.) As those of you who've had c-sections or other major surgery before (not the outpatient sort) know, disruptions of the digestive tract are to be expected in the days following surgery. And indeed, before you can eat solid food, you have to demonstrate your preparedness by farting.
Having proved myself worthy of solid food, I dove into the hospital's room service-style menu and ordered up plates of French toast, chicken sandwiches, pork tenderloin and the like. Each balanced nicely with fruit juice, seasonal fruit, and the occasional salad. But nevertheless, five days after having Caroline I still had not, um, rid my body of the waste. I felt worse and worse and more and more bloated until one night when it all came to a head. We sent home friends who had brought over dinner and I sequestered myself in our bedroom.
But it was all to no avail. Suffice it to say that by six in the morning, my father (yeah, my father) had been dispatched to buy an enema, while Todd went into Chandler mode and cracked inappropriate jokes while I quite literally cried in our bathroom.
It was awful. No, really. AWFUL. I thought I was going to tear open my incision. I thought something else might very well tear, too. It was the closest thing to labor I've ever experienced, aside from labor itself. In the end (ha!), the enema did the trick and I felt so much better I cried with relief.
The moral of the story, gals, is to do whatever it takes to avoid constipation after a c-section. Whatever. It. Takes. You'll thank me later.
#4 Again, during prep for the c-section, my male nurse shaved the, uh, area. Very standard practice, of course, but the method had changed since Hannah's birth. Then, they used a razor. This time, an electric shaver. I had about a nanosecond to think, "Cool! Less razor burn!" before I was overwhelmed by tickle! It tickled so badly that I jerked around on the bed like I had Tourette's, apologizing each time. But the best part came later, when I finally had a chance to inspect his handiwork in the mirror. He shaved nearly everything in the front, but left all the business down below because it wouldn't be involved in the surgery. The end result was nothing less stunning than a vagina goatee. Lovely. I know - you can't wait to sport one of your own.
Well, that should be enough humiliation for today. Feel free to share your own stories of shame.
When I was a teenager, my mother and I would attend a church luncheon for Mother's Day. And at the luncheon, after a prayer, they would start things off by singing a song, "I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry"*. And my mother would cry. And I would roll my eyes in that teen-aged way that simultaneously said, "Mom, stop embarrassing me!" and "You're a giant goober." And then I would cry, because I always do when my mom does and because really, even as a teenage girl, the song got to me.
Last Wednesday, around 7:00 in the morning as I lay on the operating table, numb as a sofa from the ribs down and exposed as a fish to all the world, I felt so removed from everything that was going on. I was in clinical mode - one which I'm sure a few of you are familiar with. It's a coping mechanism whereby you render everything into facts. Analog. Simple yes or no answers that keep emotion at a distance and try to make the whole situation - good or bad - manageable. I lay there talking calmly with the anesthesiologist about what I did or didn't feel, analyzing the sound of my increasing and decreasing heart rate, jokingly placing bets with my doctor about Caroline's size (she won, by the way, nailing it to the ounce), and even calmly reflecting on how much more "with it" I felt this time compared to Hannah's birth. But I didn't feel emotional.
Not until Caroline Olivia drew her first breath and screamed out to the world, myself included, that she was here. In that moment I felt all of the emotion on the moment wash over me and I began to cry. And then I laughed at myself for feeling caught so off guard by the joy. And then I cried some more. And when they held her over the drape for the first time, I looked at her messy, screaming face and felt overwhelmed by relief and pure, unadulterated love. I thought immediately of that song and of my mother's reaction.
And then, with her father's classic sense of comic timing, she dripped a glob of bloody, mucousy eew on my lips. I tried to push it off using my lips, as my hands were otherwise occupied with gadgets and monitors and IVs, but it didn't work. "Get it off!" I scream-muttered to Todd. He laughed and wiped away the stuff on my lips but inadvertently left some on my chin. I had to ask the anesthesiologist to get it off later.
* To be fair, I don't recall the "where demons dwell" part. My church may have cut that part out or I just have fuzzy memories.
I'll write a more in-depth birth story later, but suffice it to say it was wonderful. I have a big, healthy baby girl and I have my uterus. I have a great husband, and family and friends who filled our room every moment we allowed them.
It's been a week, so I already have some product recommendations, new nursing tips, and funny-yet-horrifying poop stories (mine, not hers) to share with you.
Caroline is everything I remember loving about an infant, and nothing I remember hating (namely the reflux). And Hannah is acting out no more that can be expected. Plus, she loves her Baby Sister with an intensity I honestly did not expect. Her minor outbursts are aimed solely at me and Todd, never at Caroline.
For now, I'll have to settle for sharing a few pictures and I'll shave the stories for future posts.
To all of you cyber sisters, this is Julia's mom signing on again. We just wanted you to know that Caroline (with no middle name yet) arrived this morning at 7:29. She's a beautiful 20", 7 lb.10 oz. dark haired beauty. Luckily, this time there was no need for any NICU care. And Julia's surgery went far better that we dared to hope. There was some minor placenta problem, but it was easily worked around. And the hospital has vastly improved their procedures for this type of inter-departmental cooperation, so we were informed all along the way of everyone's progress. After a brief recovery room stay, Caroline was brought in for breast feeding, which has started out very well. So we're pooped, but it's been a grand day, and Hannah is thrilled to be a big sister. I'll try to post a photo update tomorrow, and maybe a middle name. Mom