Two weeks ago today we brought home our new baby.
I can’t begin to describe how different this experience was from the birth of Mateo. With him, I was induced at 41 weeks, and laboured for 20 hours before finally being taken to the OR for an emergent C-section. I hadn’t progressed, and his heart was showing signs that he was getting stressed. When they called the section at 1 am, Paul and I just felt so relieved, and excited that we were finally going to meet our baby. Though there are moments of absolute clarity in my memory – his first cry, and the look on Paul’s face when he heard it, my first glimpse of his precious face, the feeling of his warm body on my skin in recovery – a lot of that experience is a bit hazy to me. Because, let’s be honest, how alert can you be when you haven’t slept in a day and a half.
After Mateo was born, I had a lot of people respond to his birth story with comments like, “Oh, well you can try and do it naturally next time,” or “I had to have a section with my first too, but my second came flying out, so don’t worry.” The truth is, I wasn’t too worried about it. I was just grateful to have a healthy, happy baby, and to have made it through with no complications myself. But inevitably, some of these comments began to sink into my hormonal, vulnerable, sleep-deprived heart, and I began to feel like less of something. Less of a woman because I hadn’t been able to birth my baby “normally,” and less of a mother because I didn’t have what it took to do it. Add to that some monumental issues with breastfeeding and milk production, and I was pretty much a wreck the first few weeks of Mateo’s life (ok, maybe months). With time came perspective, and confidence, and the ability to heal some of the wounds unknowingly and unintentionally inflicted by well-meaning people, though I confess when I think of that time, the tears start to well, and I realize how much those wounds can still hurt.
When I found out I was pregnant again, my plan was to try for a natural birth, within limits. I grow big babies, so I knew that there was a chance this baby (like Mateo) would just be too big for me to deliver safely. (The ultrasound tech that measured this Little Babe at 36 weeks stated there was “evidence of abundant fetal growth”). I work in L&D, so I’ve seen my fair share of too big babies pushed out, and the resulting carnage. I wasn’t into that. The Hubs and I decided that if the baby hadn’t come on it’s own by my due date, I would book a section, rather than wait another week and try and be induced. I prayed throughout my pregnancy for the safest and healthiest delivery for both me and the baby, whether that was in a delivery room, or in the OR, and so I felt a peace with whichever happened.
And so it was, that at 1 pm on July 30th, we walked into the hospital, after a good night’s sleep and a restful, relaxing morning at home (albeit a hungry one for me), and began the process of experiencing an elective section.
And let me tell you – it was an absolutely wonderful experience. The Hubs and I spent an hour and a half talking, relaxing, planning and dreaming while I got set up with an IV, and all the documentation was done. It was like one last date before the baby came. At 2:30, pretty much exactly on schedule (a minor miracle, considering how busy the unit can get), we walked back to the OR, and I got my spinal put in and prepped for surgery while the Hubs waited outside. It was such a fun and laid back atmosphere. My wonderful nurse friends were as excited as I was, making last minute bets, and cracking jokes. The OB made sure everyone knew that Paul was going to be the one to call the sex of the baby. Before I knew it, Paul was at my side, and I could feel the tugging and pulling that meant they had started. We stared into each others eyes as we waited for the moment when we would hear our baby’s cry.
Before long I heard the OB say, “Ok, Paul, look over and tell us what it is.” Paul looked over the drape, and I heard him say “Oh wow! It’s a boy!” At that moment, it felt like the whole world was a perfect place. We had wondered and waited so long to know who this baby was, and he was here. I’ve never felt such complete peace, and overwhelming joy as I did in that moment, when I realized I was the mama of two boys – brothers. It just felt like it was meant to be.
On July 30th, 2015, at 2:52pm, Luka Paul joined our family.
For me, the second baby has been much easier to enjoy. Because of my experience with Mateo, I am better able and equipped to handle the challenges that come. Everything – from breastfeeding, to healing from major abdominal surgery – has come a little bit easier. Oh, I’ve still had hormonal breakdowns, and I’m still exhausted, but the perspective of knowing this is a stage that doesn’t last long has made a huge difference. I have only to look at my handsome, growing 2 year old son to know that these moments with Luka are to be treasured while they last.
So for now, I’ll say goodbye, because I have a newborn baby boy to snuggle.