When I last left you, moppets, I was about to head in for a c-section. We called my doula, who was on her way home and was like, “What? Now? Okay, hold on, I have to changes shoes!” (No flip-flops in the OR, which apparently is a rule. Besides, who wants to get placenta on your pedi?) She was able to run in just as they were about to administer my epidural.
I felt surprisingly calm, which usually happens when I’m supposed to be freaking out and is a trait I hope I still have if I ever set the house on fire or something. (Well, I hope I DON’T set the house on fire more, but if I do, that’s my second hope.) The anesthesiologist asked if I was okay and I said, “Fine, I just wish I hadn’t watched all those “One Born Every Minute” shows because I know exactly what you’re doing back there and how big that damn needle is.” Jethro, meanwhile, was adorable in his scrubs and has his “I’m fine…I SAID, I’M FINE” face on. He was a vet tech AND reads stuff on the internet too much, so he is silently freaking as the nurses tell me how calm he is and I should be proud. (Totally was proud of him, but he had those ladies FOOLED.)
I don’t remember a huge amount about the surgery itself, what I do is in bits and pieces. I remember my doula sorting through CD’s and putting in a nice jazz CD so I listened to Norah Jones as they prepped me. I remember asking my doula about her kids and commenting on her eyelash extensions and talking about getting mine done too, like we were sitting in Starbucks having lattes together. (A coping mechanism because I knew if I looked at Jethro I knew I’d cry from the enormity of it all. And if I cried, he’d think I was in pain and either worry or carry me out of there over his shoulder. A mite protective, that one…) I remember one of my nurses being so awesome because she explained every procedure as they did it to me and laughed at everything stupid I said. I remember one of the drugs they gave making me start to pass out slightly and I heard that same nurse explaining to Jethro why I drifted off in the middle of a sentence and being SO grateful for that. I also remember lots of tugging and pulling and realizing WHY there was all that tugging and trying to not think about it.
And then I remember the moment that they pulled out Tater, our little fat chunk. Who was born with Billie Holiday in the background. Who did not cry immediately, which is a little scary but made his first scream all the more amazing. And who turned out to be not fat at all and was in fact teeny-tiny, but who also had the cord wrapped around his neck twice. So while my anticipated natural birth would have been awesome to have, the reality of a nuchal cord twice is not so bueno. The cord around his neck is why he didn’t move, and also why I’m completely fine with deciding to have the c-section rather than go into labor. Had I gone into labor, there was a chance he would have gone into distress and it would have been a true emergency. Terrifying and something I’m NOT going to think about.
Jethro brought Tater to me, who was lovely and just a tiny bit screamy. I didn’t get to hold him until the recovery room, but that was okay because I was on a lot of drugs and pretty much everything was okay. And it was for the best because it was in recovery when the shivers set in; a by-product of my anesthetic and the fact that my insides were on the outside for a bit and needed to warm up. They would come and go in almost violent waves, which sounds scary but was actually kind of funny. When I did get to hold him, in addition to just being crazy amazed at his existence, I was shocked at how tiny and WHITE he was.
Being half-white and half-black, I knew my kid wouldn’t come out lookin’ like Wesley Snipes, but I thought he’d have SOME color. Instead he was very pale, with light brown hair and very very dark blue eyes. When my mom walked in, I think the first thing I said was, “Look Mom, I had a white baby!!” (This, sadly, cannot be blamed on the drugs.) It’s fun because when you look at his newborn photos and look at him now, it looks like I had a white baby and misplaced him so I kidnapped a small Hispanic child as a replacement. Genetics are hilarious and awesome.
(The monkey jacket might be a teeny bit inappropriate within the context of this conversation…)
Can we pause for a minute and talk about Tater’s head? Seriously, in the first few months he was born, I had more older women comment on how pretty his head is than anything else. They’re used to squishy alien-headed babies who are born naturally, so it’s not really a compliment and hard to receive. I always had the urge to reply “You know, since they cut me open and yanked him out through a small opening in my lower abdomen, the walls of my vaginal canal didn’t have a chance squish his cranium and make it temporarily misshapen. Thanks for noticing!”
Instead, I said thank you because you acknowledge compliments in the spirit in which they’re given. Partially because its polite and partially because I’m the only one who finds me funny most of the time.
Anyway, we spent about three nights in the hospital and then headed home, where things got scary because I didn’t have my kind nurses to make everything better. Which is another post for another day.
SO! There’s Tater’s birth story, five months later. Tater is a lovely and funny little child who already giggles at his own burps and yells a lot. Totally mine and Jethro’s spawn. Being a mom is hard, but not scary hard like I was worried it would be.
It’s the hard you just deal with and get used to and you get used to it…and then the kid changes on you and you have to adjust all over again. It’s starting college hard, new job hard, first year marriage hard—it’s exciting and scary and awesome and exhausting and half the time I have no idea what I’m doing. And I’m not going to lie; when I work ten hours and am almost late to pick up Tater at daycare and I still have to hit the store before going home and Tater is screaming in his car seat because he thinks it is the devil and he wants out now, now, NOW…sometimes I start eyeing fire stations to drop him off at and pricing tickets to Greece.
But later I get to kiss wee little hands and smell a round little perfectly shaped c-section head and it’s worth it. That may be because I have the most perfect child in the world, but its totally worth it.
Rockin’ the micro ‘hawk.