Friday, January 2, 2009

Episode 31- Recovery

I wish I could say that the next few hours were filled with me gazing into my new daughter's eyes, or feeling her warm skin against mine as I nursed her. I also wish I could say that I felt a connection with her, or a bond if you will. But the reason I can't say any of this is because it was hours before they would let me see her again.

The delivery was uncomplicated and Hailey no problems to speak of. But as always happens in a sterile and un-natural hospital setting is that she was whisked away faster than I could blink. As soon as the surgery was complete I was taken to a recovery room, which happened to be the same pr-op room I'd been in about an hour before. As my uncontrolable shaking lessened and I began to settle down, all I could think about was holding my new baby. Cody wasn't there with me during the first part of recovery because we was taking pictures of Hailey...just like I'd requested. I was grateful that at least he was able to be there with her. He even assisted in her first bath.

But during that time, I laid there in a cold and stiff bed all by myself, and the only thing to keep me company was the soft beep of the blood pressure machine and the thoughts racing inside my head. Every now and then a nurse would come in to check on me, but more so I was left alone. I kept asking when I could see my baby again, and I was constantly patronized and told that I needed to get my rest. I would have plenty of time with the baby in the next few days, I was told.

It has been three years since the birth. But even now as I sit here and write this, I'm filled with anger. Anger at the ignorance of people and their utter disregard for a mother's instinctual needs. After having been through what I went through these last few years, I now truly believe that there is something "magical" that takes place between a mother and her newborn during the first few moments after birth.

In the animal world, as soon as a mother gives birth to her young she immediately nuzzles the baby. She licks him. She paws at him. She puts her snout right against his. And then right away she urges the baby to nurse. This all happens within the first minute or so. We are animals just like those in the wild. Although we have a higher level of intelligence and we are capable of feelings on a different emotional level, the carnal instinct is the same in us.

In numerous countries around the world, as soon as a baby is born the cord isn't even cut until several minutes after birth. A friend of mine recently gave birth at home under the care of two nurse midwives. As soon as her son was pushed out and the fluid was suctioned from his nose and lungs, he was laid in her bare chest and she nursed him immediately. The cord wasn't cut until an entire hour after he was born. Of course this took place at her own home and all of her demands and wishes were accommodated. It's completely different in a hospital setting. But I find it very shameful that the mother's needs are brushed off as a nuisance.

And I'm not saying that the hours that passed before I was able to be with my daughter again was the soul cause of my extreme post-partum problems. But I can't help but think that it had a part to do with it. "Honey, you just lay here and get some rest and we'll bring you your baby after you're properly recovered." What did that mean anyway? Those words still echo through my mind. How, after carrying and nurturing a baby for nine months, then to be cut open and have her extracted only to be yanked from me and taken God knows where...tell me how I was supposed to find any rest at that time?

As I laid there and watched the clock ticking, panic and anxiety began to surface and I tried my best to calm my feelings. But with each passing minute, it became harder and harder to keep it at bay. Cody finally came back into the room and he showed me pictures on the camera. It had been two hours since her birth and already she seemed like a foreign object to me. In my mind I knew she was my baby, but a part of me didn't see her as anything but a picture.

Hour three was nearing and I was feeling the aftermath of the surgery in full force. During my operation with Ethan it was discovered that I had an allergy to morphine, so they obviously weren't giving it to me this time. Whatever pain med was in my IV was not working and I was in agony. Actually, pure hell better describes the physical pain I was in. FINALLY the time had come to be wheeled into the room where I would stay for the next four days. I traveled on the bed and I felt like I had to hold my insides together with my arms. The pain was terrible!

Soon after surgery some kind of leg cuffs were wrapped around my legs from the knee down and they were supposed to continuously message my muscles to keep good blood flow. But all they seemed to do was annoy the crap out of me, make my legs sweat profusely, and make me lose all feeling in my legs every time they came on (kind of like a blood pressure cuff).

Once I was in my room, they got me situated but still NO BABY!! I was beginning to think that she was gone for good, when I heard a knock on the door and the nurse walked in wheeling in a little bassinet. "Are you ready to see your baby?" She said with a little laugh. I could have slapped her. "No, you dumb broad. I'm not ready. I'm tired and I need to rest. Would you mind coming back in another three hours??!!" I didn't really say it, but I wanted to.

This is in recovery. I spent some time under this hot inflatable blanket. It felt cozy, but I was mad. Can you tell?