Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Real Talk about Having a Baby

So as most of you are already aware of, I am officially a mom now.  Since my womb is so hospitable and cozy, my baby refused to come out before we were scheduled to be induced.  On Wednesday the 10th, Jacob and I got a call at about 4:45 am telling us to come in to be induced.  I tried to play it cool and just enjoy that moment--knowing I was on my way to the hospital to have a baby.  It didn't work.  I basically cried the entire time I got ready and during the drive down there.  I was nervous and completely terrified.  I won't go into all the details of labor, but it was a really REALLY long day.  They started me on the pitocin at about 7 am-ish and by about 1pm I still hadn't made any progress on how much I was dilated.  The whole experience was just pretty defeating.  I went as long as I could with no medicine, but as my contractions started to get harder, I knew I'd have to get something.  Especially once I learned my cervix wasn't dilated, despite the worsening pain.  I figured I was in for a long day.  At one point when my doctor came in to check on me, I was so scared of how much it was going to hurt when he checked my cervix, I had a complete breakdown, which I'm convinced is what made my water break.  FYI, when my water broke, at that moment in my life, it was the grossest thing I've ever experienced.  Also, since it was during my doctor's examination of my cervix, I was genuinely thinking "he probably needs some goggles to see through this mess."  My nurse had told me that contractions would get worse once my water broke, so my doctor and I discussed pain relief.  Ultimately I decided I wanted to hold off on the epidural for a little longer and see what would happen.  My doctor said he'd come back and check on me in an hour, and I said I'd see how I felt at that point about the epidural.  They gave me some pain medication through the iv which worked WONDERS for about half an hour.  When that stuff wore off, it hit me really hard and it was everything I could do to make it to the full hour I had mentally given myself before committing to the epidural.  I became pretty stereotypical lady in labor at that point.  I was doing my yoga breathing during contractions and squeezing Jacob's hand so hard I thought his bones would break.  When the hour was up, I was crying and shaking from the pain, so I asked for the epidural and they brought in the CRNA and made everyone else leave the room.  It seems obvious to say, but getting the epidural was a nightmare.  My body was shaking so much from the pain and nerves that one nurse had to help me lean over so they could get the needle in, and another nurse had to hold my shoulders to try to steady me.  I was pretty shocked at how much I could feel when they were putting the epidural in.  Once that was done, they catheterized me and propped me on my side and let people back into the room.  This was about 7pm.  The night got easier from here.  I couldn't feel the contractions, but the catheter was SUPER uncomfortable.  Looking back, that should've been a red flag, but I complained for like an hour solid to my nurse, who wasn't really sure how to help me.  At about 10:45 pm, my nurse checked me and told Jacob and I that I was 100% effaced and 10cm dilated.  She said I'd start pushing soon.  I can honestly say, I have never felt such a strong, primal fear in my entire life.  I knew I was at the end, and I was TERRIFIED.  That's when all the sugar-free Popsicles I'd be sucking on throughout the day came back up.  Once we started pushing, things got really real.  Suddenly I could feel everything-the contractions, the baby, everything.  It was awful.  I knew labor would be hard, but I honestly had no idea HOW hard and how exhausting it could be.  After just 15 minutes of pushing, I remember thinking that I didn't have the strength to keep going.  Unfortunately, Olivia was pretty content just hanging out in the birth canal.  They could see her head for about an hour of my pushing, but I just couldn't force her out.  Finally, after two hours, when I was pushing during a contraction, they pulled her out, which I wasn't expecting.  It hurt.  I'll say that, and I'll leave it there.   They put her in my arms and started wiping the goo off, but i was so weak and tired, holding her was almost too much.  I didn't feel like I had the strength to do it.  Meanwhile, there were issues with my placenta, so things continued to be very uncomfortable.  I focused on trying not to crush my baby while I tensed up and was screaming as they continued to work on me.  At one point, the CRNA came back in to check on me, and was alarmed at the amount of pain I was in.  He put more in my epidural, but at that point it was time for the doctor to stitch me up, so unfortunately the pain meds hadn't taken effect and I felt all of that as well.  After a few minutes and a lot of crying, the CRNA was like "here, I'll just give you some more...".  Eventually all that anesthesia kicked in and my whole bottom half was totally numb.  They took my 9lb 6 oz (HOLY SMOKES) baby to the nursery and got me ready to go to my postpartum room.    Moving me from one bed to the next was a complete nightmare.  I have a new-found appreciation for people who are paralyzed because I just couldn't do it.  My legs wouldn't move, so I needed to pull myself from one bed to the other with my upper body, but since I was so tired and sore from pulling myself up to push during delivery, I didn't physically have any arm strength left to move myself.  Jacob basically had to pick me up by my armpits to get me into the bed.  A few times, my legs would slip off the side and I'd have to ask the nurse to put them back on the bed, for fear she'd knock me into something during our journey from one room to the other.  There's nothing more demoralizing than saying "ma'am, do you mind picking up my leg for me?".  So yeah, that was my birth experience.  All in all, it was pretty miserable.  I know most people are like "oh the whole thing is so beautiful." or "it was all totally worth it"....Ehhhh I guess I'm just not there yet.  It's still all a little too fresh.  And I still have trouble going to the bathroom.  So at this point, it's not some sort of beautiful magical memory to me.  I will say, I am SO thankful for my family.  Even though it was a really long (and probably very boring day) for them, they all came down to see me at the hospital and spend time with me while I was in labor.  It was a painful and miserable day, but it would've been so much worse without them there to distract me and keep Jacob and I company.  I am SO SO SO grateful they all came.

So now Olivia is almost three weeks old and things are still pretty blah, to be honest.  Maybe it makes me a bad mom, but I'm certainly not one of those women who's like "she's amazing!  I'm loving every sleepless minute!!".  No.  I'm not.  I'm exhausted and crabby and irritable.  Olivia's great and I love her and all, but if she could jump ahead to being like 6 months old, that would be amazing.  I expected the first several weeks to be hard and emotional, but this is much more so than I expected.  Unfortunately for both Jacob and I (and probably Olivia), she got my temperament, so she's fussy and pouty and cries A LOT.  It's just really overwhelming.  I know I'll look back one day and be like "awww I miss when she was just a little baby" but I don't feel like that now.  Honestly, I'm miserable most of the time, which I blame on lack of sleep and feeling completely consumed by a crying baby.  If I were ever taken captive as some sort of POW, all they'd need to do is put a screaming baby in the room with me and I'd be like "tell you what.  Here's the intell I have-we'll start with undercover agents and work our way to ground operations, kay?" 

So that's where I'm at now.  I really do try to stay positive, but when it's late and I'm tired and she's crying and won't go down, there's just nothing I can do but be miserable.  It's exhausting, really.  And just a piece of advice to everyone out there.  Whenever you're trying to make a new, completely overwhelmed mom feel better, don't tell her "it'll get better!".  I'm not saying that with any one person in mind.  But since Olivia was born, every single person I've spoken to has said that to me, and at this point, if I hear it again, my head will probably explode.  I know it's true.  It will get better.  But that really doesn't help me at this moment.  Anyways, I know a lot of this is terrible and really whiny and I should just be thankful for a healthy baby.  And I am, honestly.  But I'm also just emotional and tired and having a hard time saying anything positive.  If that makes me a bad mom, so be it.  Unfortunately it's just how things are for me right now.  It's a lot harder than you'd think to be totally consumed by a baby.   I'm constantly feeding her,
or putting her down for a nap and listening to her scream, or changing her diaper.
Right now it's just not the fairy tale people make it out to be.  But it'll get better!


  1. Hayley, the fact that you're still going strong despite all the negative emotions that are totally okay (you are not a bad mom ... unless you've left Olivia in the dog kennel while she's crying or something, then perhaps we should talk) makes you supermom. You are awesome. Crying babies stink. I'm about 5 minutes away and have recently had a lot of practice walking up and down and up and down with crying babies and would be glad to spell you if you would like. Or let you vent with zero judgement.

  2. Oh my, the "goggles" are hilarious. Made me smile.

    I hated the first three months and I wasn't shy about saying it. All you do is give and give and there is no relief...no visible reward. YOU ARE NOT ALONE and it does not make you a bad mom. You are just honest.

    You have probably heard of these but here are a few tips that helped us manage the first few months:

    1. Put baby in carseat on top of the dryer. Hold the carseat until she falls asleep. Take her off the dryer but leave the dryer going. Leave her sleeping (in her carseat) near the dryer.
    2. BABYWISE book (a serious lifesaver!)
    3. Pump extra during the day and let Jacob feed her late evening. For example: I would go to bed at 7pm (right after I fed Greyson). Luke would take breastmilk and do the 9-10pm feeding. That would allow me to sleep until the 1am feeding. For months, that helped give me atleast 4 hours of straight sleep.
    4. Rough days where she cries all day - put her in the crib with white noise and go take a hot shower. Don't feel bad. She is fine. Take of yourself.

    I'm here if you ever need to vent.