Initially, I was pretty devestated that I had to have a c-section. After ALL THAT. Everything I did to ensure I had this better birth experience than with G3. Everything from all the excercise that I did, to working with the chiropractor when she was transverse/breech so I wouldn’t have to automatically have one, to continued work with the chiro to keep my pelvis in alignment, to agreeing to induction, to going through 45 hours of hideousness, to pushing for 45 minutes, only to end in…surgery. The doctors and nurses were all so wonderful and sympathetic, I actually remember Dr. Wetzel leaning down and kissing my hand and telling me I’d done a great job and I gave it a great try. The bottom line was she probably wasn’t going to come out that way no matter what had transpired…
The OR prep was FAST, and quickly I went from being scared to being just…I needed some relief from pain, however brief. A million things happened in the space of about 10 minutes…a new IV, medication put into the epidural to numb me from the chest down, belly scrubbed. There seemed to be 500 people in there, though in actuality there was only about 10 probably. As soon as I was ready Gabe came in and the surgery began. According to Gabe’s description it was gory, disgusting, and he’s still shell-shocked from seeing my body be cut open. His most vivid memory is “buckets of fluid” being pumped out of me. I am impressed that he actually watched them pull our daughter from inside of me…without passing out!!
Nothing hurt but I did feel tugging. The moment when they ACTUALLY pulled her out was the strangest sensation. I really don’t remember much of how I was feeling right then, I was so exhausted, had so many medications on board, and was just…feeling sort of catatonic from the release from pain. I remember shaking violently, to the point that my neck and shoulders hurts. I remember asking Gabe if she was okay and him nodding rapidly that yes, she was fine. They gave her to him and I couldn’t really see much of her face but it was enough that I could tell that…oh my goodness! She was cute! Not just cute, but beautiful. Baby girl:)
She left soon to get weighed and measured, and my mom got to watch her through the nursery window, and reported that she was very squirmy (big shocker there!) She weighed in at 6.15 and 19in long…so really, quite the peanut especially considering she was post-due. She was completely, 100% perfectly healthy and in the next few days passed all the tests they do with flying colors.
Recovery is a bit of a blur, I slept, and shook, for most of it. Gabe sat with me for a bit, I got to drink some ginger ale, and then my mom came and sat with me. I still had a lot of pain meds on board, so the cleaning me up and moving me from the surgery bed to a real bed wasn’t as brutal as I imagined. I was wheeled to my room (actually, half of a room behind a curtain since they were so freaking busy) and adjusted to sit up a bit and finally, finally, FINALLY got to hold my little peanut. It should be noted that I didn’t get to hold either of my children for the first couple hours of their lives, which makes me kind of sad. I really wanted that moment of her coming out and me getting to touch her right away…but, oh well.
My first reaction was that she looked like G3 when he was born. She was so. freaking. cute. Despite everything, she was HERE, healthy, I was finally holding her, she was cute (did I mention that yet??) And just so sweet. I loved her name before it was hers, but seeing her and calling her “Stella” made me fall in love with it even more. It was the perfect name for a perfect baby girl.
What followed in the next 48 hours…a lot of pain. Worst pain of my life, minus the period of induction-without-epidural. Incision pain, abdominal pain, back and shoulder pain from the shaking. IV pain. The inability to hold her to breastfeed without help, or to sit up, or to shift position. Being stuck in a tiny closet for the first 12 hours until they had a room for me (seriously: every pregnant lady in Luzerne County gave birth that week!) Having my meds come late and experiencing that level of pain. Requesting a double dose of Percoset and feeling THAT joyride:) My mom stayed with me most of the time during the day, Gabe worked on Friday and then came after. On Saturday I was given the okay to go home, and after a lot of waiting, discharge hoopla, packing, getting prescriptions for my meds, and timing the whole thing so the car ride would be at the point where I had the most pain meds on board…we were released!
The ride home wasn’t too bad minus the actual getting in and out of the car. I actually fell asleep…one of the benefits of percoset, literally falling asleep each time I closed my eyes. I arrived home and went to change into my loosest, most comfy pj pants only to discover I could not get them on. More investigation revealed by entire lower body was massively swollen with fluid. We’re talking 15-20lbs of fluid!
The first 3 days home were rough. Pain pain pain. Difficulty getting up and down. The ginormous swelling. Difficulty peeing. Major breastfeeding distress. Hormonal issues, most notably being freezing cold and shaking one minute, hot and sweaty to the point ofbeing drenched the next. The first post-op poo experience (it was epic, ugh.) Hemmroids. But then magically around day 4, I started to feel better. Each day was a bit less pain, a bit more mobility. The swelling went away and I dropped a large amount of weight. I could get up and down a bit better. I weaned off of the percoset without issue. I crossed the final pain hurdles of staple removal and then finally, this morning, removing the surgical tape that was placed over my incision afterwards.
So here I am, 11 days out and if you’d told me last weekend that I’d be feeling this good I would have said you were nuts. I know I still need to take it easy (and plan to selectively use the “I just had major surgery” card for awhile) but I really do feel amazing considering I am recovering from not just surgery, but pregnancy. It feels GREAT to not be pregnant. I enjoyed it…but I’m happy I’m no longer in that club. I feel achy at the end of teh day but not much “pain” anymore. I can do things like shave my legs (!!), bend over to pick stuff off the floor, and even play with my poor neglected son…all things I couldn’t fathom a week ago. I am 12# above my pre-pregnancy weight which makes me VERY happy. Definitely still have some work to do, but I’m about where I was with G3 4 mo post-partum…and I haven’t even done anything yet. Hoping this means all my hard work working out counted for something, even if it didn’t give me much of a birth experience!
And the baby? Ohhhh, she’s perfect. She is healthy, robust, pretty, cute, sweet, and just everything that babies are meant to be. She already feels “big” to me…she’s got a chubby belly and cheeks and a double chin. She’s not “mellow” like her brother, but she’s very chill. She will let you know when she’s not happy, and she doesn’t every stop moving when she’s awake. She constantly wants to chew on her hands and sleeves, and refuses to have her arms swaddled–only her lower body. She smiled on Day 10 and lost her umbilcal cord on Day 11. She got a clean bill of health at the pediatrician at 5 days old and was already back to her birth weight. She needs to be held more than G3…you could always put him down, anywhere, and he was happy. She’s snugglier. She’s a voracious eater. And best of all….SHE SLEEPS AT NIGHT! We get up 1-2 times a night, and the 2nd time I don’t really count since its usually 6am and I get up for the day then in order to get a shower before G3 is up. Everyone told me after Gabey “you don’t get two good sleepers!” so I was a bit nervous she’d be one of those kids who is up crying all night long. But, we’re on Day 11 and she’s doing great…sometimes she needs to sleep with me but other times she is fine in her bassinet. And hey–sleep is sleep. I think that God or the powers that be sort of knew I needed someone to throw me a bone here.
In short, the end of the journey was not what I expected or prepared for. But of all my fears, only one was not actualized…and that was the fear that something would be wrong with the baby. G3 had trauma from the vaccuum, severe jaundice, and a skull fracture. So having a newborn who is perfectly healthy is such a blessing. Its already fading from my mind (though I most certainly am happy I will NEVER be going through labor, childbirth, or a c-section EVER again!!) But what’s left is the greatest gift of all, the completion of our family, the baby girl, the little sister. Welcome, Stella Kathleen Horvath!! You are so very loved and cherished and we are so, so, so happy you finally decided to join us!