In week 36 of my pregnancy, Brian and I learned that baby Cameron was breech. Not even a little breech - completely head up and facing the wrong direction. Most babies have turned head down that this point and it was clear that I most likely would need a c-section. At the time, I was crushed. Don't get me wrong - I was never planning to have a completely natural birth, but I definitely wanted to experience the excitement and anticipation of going into labor. I was given the option to have my doctor try and turn the baby externally.... not my idea of fun! Over the course of the next week, I realized that safest/healthiest/most comfortable thing for Cameron would be a caesarean. As it turns out, Cameron being breech was a blessing in disguise. Had I gone into labor, it's possible that neither of us would have made it.
With a c-section, your time in the hospital is prolonged since it's considered fairly serious surgery. Somehow, I lucked out and was given a HUGE hospital room. This worked out well, because Cam and I had quite the parade of visitors. Grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers came to celebrate his arrival. I also had the nicest nurses on the planet. (If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, here's my plug for Dr. Michael Chen and Missouri Baptist!) Overall, my first few days with Cameron were brimming with love and I felt so lucky. My incision was healing nicely, I wasn't in much pain and all of my vital signs were in the normal range. We came home on Saturday, April 9th.
In my third trimester, I really began to worry about post-partum depression. As I have felt the effects of seasonal mood swings from time to time, I felt particularly susceptible to this condition. After speaking with my doctor about my concerns, I knew what feelings/signs to look for. In the first few days we were home from the hospital, I made sure to talk to my husband and my mom about my feelings, especially the stress I was having from my breastfeeding struggles. There are no books, conversations, DVDs or what have you that can really, legitimately prepare you for becoming a parent. Sure, you can get tips and ideas, but becoming a parent is the fastest, most complicated transition I've ever made. It takes time to get to know your baby's noises, to understand his patterns and to know what he needs. And since you want to do all these things well, you wind up neglecting yourself a little bit. But when you and baby "connect" or you find yourself able to take a diaper off without getting peed on or he's staring rather intently at you while he takes a bottle, it is MAGIC (Sidebar: If you told me a year ago, I would be a blogger babbling about my baby, I would have bet you a significant sum of money this wouldn't be the case... who really knows what good things are and when they'll come your way?) Anyway... I found time to squeeze in a shower in the evening on Tuesday the 12th. Brian had Cameron and Mowgli under control, so I turned on the water and let steam fill the bathroom as I stood under the spray and thought...and thought, and thought. I thought of my little family sitting on the couch falling asleep together and I worried about the future, about how to protect them and give them everything they needed. I distinctly remember tearing up as I washed my hair, wondering how I could become this superwoman. And then, I consoled myself with the notion that if I couldn't do all these things, that there were so many people in the world who loved my son already (many without even having met him), that they would take care of him. It absolutely gives me chills/goosebumps/the willies now, but that night, standing in shower, I knew that if anything ever happened to me, my family would be taken care of by a huge network of support. I enjoyed my quiet time in the bathroom until the water ran cold, then dried off and tried to get a little bit of sleep before I needed to feed Cam again.
When I think about that first week with Brian and Cameron home, I can't help but think the universe was trying to show me every beautiful, perfect facet of itself. There was no way I could have known what would happen less than 12 hours after my in-shower reflection. But what I did know, and what I continue to remind myself of now is that there is SO much love in the world and you just have to let yourself be a part of that (even if you're like me and enjoy wearing your "crabby" pants sometimes).
To be continued..........
"There's moments in your life that make you, that set the course of who you're gonna be. Sometimes they're little, subtle moments. Sometimes they're not..... Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are. " - Buffy the Vampire Slayer