Friday, April 15, 2005

Back when I was pregnant, everything was quite different. Not better, not worse, just different. I was about 4 or 5 months along when I discovered 'the Power'. The Power is the ability to have anyone- family, strangers, or even ex-boyfriends fall all over themselves to make sure that you are comfortable. My favorite time was one night I was at my brother and sister in laws home for a get-together. I was about 7 months along and definitely showing it. I was standing talking to my mom and this girl I had just met. My mom asked me if I would like the comfortable chair. I said 'yes I want the comfy chair, thank you'. She immediately stood up and gave me her chair. After she walked away the girl asked me how I was enjoying the pregnancy. "Well" I said to her "I'm really enjoying The Power!" I told her that when you are pregnant, most people will go out of there way to make sure that you are comfortable. "Sometimes, I told her, "you would think I've got the Messiah in there!" To prove my theory, I pointed across the room where my ex-boyfriend happened to be sitting. I said "Watch". I got up and walked my round self over to him and just stood there a second. He looked up at me and immediately jumped out of his chair and asked if I wanted it. I said no, it was okay and walked back to the girl. She was pretty impressed. After our conversation, I decided to have a little more fun with my power. After all I thought, in about 2 months no one will be paying any attention to ME anymore! I walked over to the couch where there were 3 people seated having a conversation. I started talking and one of them looked at me and asked if I would like to sit down. I said "No, no- the Dr. keeps telling me I should keep my feet up and everything, but Im really not that tired." Well as if the sofa ejected them, they all stood up at the same time and insisted I sit there with my feet up. "this is fun" I thought. I wondered to myself how far I could go with this. They asked if I needed anything. I said I was a little thirsty, but all I saw anyone drinking was wine. Well as if a gunshot had gone off signaling the beginning of a race, they all scattered to find me a nice, albeit, non-alcoholic drink. I sat there with my feet up, still wondering if I could continue to use my power so blatently without getting called on it. I started looking around the room and locked eyes with one person and then quickly looked away as if I was searching for someone. That person came over and asked if I needed something. I said "no- I was just trying to find my husband, Matt, so he could grab me something to eat." The friend told me not to worry and left the room on a mission to find me some yummy treats. I sat there probably looking very much like the Cheshire cat. Then the first 3 people who set out on the journey for an acceptable beverage came back all at once, with a nice tall glass of lemon seltzer with ice. I thanked them and they stood there as if waiting for their next assignment. I took a sip and looked at them very bashfully and said, "I'm so embarrassed- I finally have this nice spot and a cold drink and I have to go to the bathroom!" They all laughed and one of them took my arm to help me up while the other 2 STOOD in front of the sofa guarding it for me. I have to tell you- I went in that bathroom and had a good laugh for myself!
Now I know that my behavior may have been a bit extreme. However if its any consolation to you or the people reading this that may recall becoming unknowing victim to my power, back labor is the worst pain in the whole world. It literally felt like someone had bent me over backwards and parked a truck on me. I was convinced that after Annabell was born, they were going to break it to me gently. "You're baby is beautiful and perfect, Mrs. Schmidt but you have a broken back." I honestly can't fathom how you can be in that much pain and not have something really injured. Annabell is 10 months today and I dont remember the pain of delivering her- But I will NEVER forget the back labor. Although I planned on having the epidural and would do it again, it had come out of the epidural space and failed me. During my horrible back labor, someone determined the epiduaral was not working. I think maybe it was cause I nearly kicked a resident in the face. I remember being SO HOT and sweaty that I felt like the hospital gown was just sticking to me. My nurse, Susan- whom I loved- came over and took it off me. I thanked her over and over as she walked away with it. I was now laying there completely naked- but I only think of that now. I couldnt have cared less at the time. I was so happy that i felt a little cooler. The next thing I knew, Susan was trying to put another gown on me. "NO" I insisted. She was trying to tell me I had nothing covering my chest area. I remember saying something like- "there are 5 people standing at the other end of this table seeing parts of me I havent seen in months!" She managed to get me to compromise somehow and just layed the gown on top of me. This skinny anasthesiologist comes to my side and was tapping a vile with a HUGE needle on it. She was trying to explain they had mixed it up special for me and that they would inject it- I offered to take it in a shot glass if i had to. And in went the morphine.
The morphine caused me to lose about 5 hrs. Annabell was born at 2:19. According to the pictures, my family came to the room in the maternity ward around 7:30. I dont remember much of anything between those hours. I do remember taking a picture of Matt holding his baby girl for the first time. I had waited a long time to see that and thankfully the drugs did not get in the way of that moment.
Those first few hours of being the mommy were strange. I understand now why some women choose not to do the pain medications. I felt so hazy and very detatched from this creature next to me. She had been brought to me wrapped into something resembling a caterpillar in a chrysalis. I knew she was mine, but felt like I had no idea who she was. It was an unsettling feeling. Relatives would come and give me great big hugs and smile with all sorts of approval. (another strange feeling in of itself!) Everyone kept saying I had done such a wonderful job and congratulated us over & over. I was upset with myself because I had expected this to be the biggest moment of emotion I had ever had- and I felt nothing. Every time I had watched one of those birthing shows on the Discovery channel, I had cried with joy for every one of those couples. But for my own daughter I couldn't cry. I know now that it was the morphine, but it was so disturbing at the time. The morphine also gave me nightmares and took a full 24 hours to really wear off. The episiotomy they had given me and stitched was very painful. If it werent for the 'souvenir' I came home with it would have been the worst couple of days of my life. But because of my beautiful Bell it was the most wonderful thing I've experienced yet. What a fine line.
The day we left the Hospital was the day I realized The Power was gone. I had fully expected a wheel-chair ride to the car. All the moms in those shows had been taken out to their cars in wheel-chairs holding flowers & teddy bears. But I found myself hobbling down the hallway. I was quickly losing pace with my husband who was proudly holding his little girl and my own father who was just as proudly walking alongside his first grandchild. As they got further away from me I felt like the shiny wrapper off a fine chocolate truffle. You open it up- and toss the wrapper aside holding onto the treasure. This, I supposed was payback for my misuse of The Power.
When we returned home, I found my husband had hung an 'Its A Girl!' banner over the front door. When we came inside he had picked some flowers from the back yard and put them in a vase. It was very sweet. I know lots of women expect an expensive gift after delivering their child, but knowing my husband had been out there picking flowers and arranging them in a pretty vase was a wonderful gift to me.
At home I felt much better about being mommy. I was back in familiar territory. I had a beautiful nursery all prepared. We had received so many gifts from so many friends and relatives. Annabell was a beautiful baby. The poor thing, she had some problems with colic. The was lots of stuff coming out of her and it was anyones guess which end it would come from next! But for the most part, like any baby, she slept alot. This was lucky for me, because I was still in a lot of pain still from the stiches. Going to the bathroom would prove to be a project for a good 2-3 weeks. I spent all day laying on the couch with Bell sleeping in the swing next to me. If for some reason, I needed to get up, I had to roll to the floor first. Someone had given me a Boppy, which I had found more useful as a seat cushion at this point. Matt wasn't able to take any time off due to the fact that he had a new job and hadnt qualified for vacation time yet. Except for family, coming in to help a few times, the majority of the time it was just me and Annabell all day. I loved it. I bonded with my baby alone. Since she slept most of the time, I did too and there was little else that needed to be done. I preferred to be alone with her anyhow. I had become a little paranoid of people coming in with their 'germs'. Except for Matt, I wasnt comfortable with anyone touching her at all.
I was very dedicated to keeping my 'baby notes' I wrote down religiously when she pooped, when she peed, when she threw up, what time she ate, which boob she ate from, and what I was eating. It seems a little silly now- but it did help me then. I kept the notes for about the first 3 weeks then I figured her schedule out and was able to remember which boob's turn it was.
When Annabell was about 6 weeks old, we had to attend the District Convention. This meant not only traveling with her, but staying at a hotel, and then spending all day at the convention site. To make the experience even more overwhelming was that I was leaving Thursday nite and Matt would not be coming until Friday nite. My brother and sister in law offered to spend the first nite with me to take the edge off. The first day at the convention was completely crazy. Everybody wanted to hold her, everyone wanted to meet her and all she wanted to do was eat. She had also developed this lovely talent for loud pooping- I mean LOUD! I was exhausted. I could not wait until Matt came that night. I missed him and the baby did too. When we got back to the hotel room that afternoon, the airconditioning was broken. I called the desk to explain this was not going to work as it was really hot and I had an infant with me. They were very helpful and proceeded to move me and the baby to a suite! It was twice the size of the other rooms. This was Divine intervention I thought. I had so much baby gear- a swing, a carriage etc.. and it was very cramped in the first room. But this was awesome! I couldn't wait for Matt to get here and see our beautiful room! Then my cell phone rang- it was Matt. There was some very ill-timed emergency and he would not be up until the next nite. I was crushed. Not only did I miss him but I needed him. Yes my family was all ready and willing to help out, but the baby was more comfortable with him, and frankly, so was I. Annabell must have sensed that mom needed a break. Because this would be the first nite that she slept thru. Eight hours! I woke in the morning and couldnt believe it. She was snug as a bug, all cuddled up in the King-size bed with her mommy. Even though she kept her regular feeding schedule of every 2 1/2 hours that day, I was so much better off for the full nite's sleep. When her Daddy finally arrived, she happened to be having a breakdown (And I wasn't too far behind!) I handed her to him and she stopped crying immediately. She had missed her daddy!