Friday, September 24, 2010

My week so far

Sorry I haven't been updating or returning phone calls and such. This week has been both really good and really hard. Giving birth to Genevieve has ravaged my body, and the subsequent blood loss has zapped all my reserves of strength. I appreciate all the good wishes people have been sending my way, but I really haven't had the energy to respond.

Genevieve is a great baby. And so far, it seems that she is a much better sleeper than Annabella was. She has so many periods of extended wakefulness, and she's so aware through them. She's also so strong. She lifts her head and moves it around and just looks around, taking it all in. She seems a couple weeks older than she is. Maybe this is because she spent an extra week baking inside Momma.

Annabella is quickly turning into a great big sister. I still see flashes of panic/stress/unhappiness, but all in all, she's taking having a new little sister in stride. The first night was admittedly rough, and she had a couple meltdowns. But at the end of the night she blew Genevieve a kiss and said "Bye bye baby". Jason and I almost cried, the moment was so sweet. Since then, she's given the baby kisses and petted her head and been really pretty great. Annabella's also poked at her eyes, elbowed her head, and tossed her leg over Genevieve's neck. All of these were unintentional or at least without malice, and she looks troubled when she realizes she's upset the baby. So I'm hoping that things continue to get better, and that Annabella gets more and more comfortable realizing that Mommy or Daddy can't always hold her, and that sometimes we have to spend time with the baby. Annabella also lights up with excitement whenever she first sees or hears the baby when she gets home from daycare. I'm sure this will not continue forever, but it's sweet to see.

I will probably post a birth story at some point in the future, but the summary is that it was pretty uneventful overall. I was given pitocin to start labor, made pretty good progress through the night, opted for an epidural at some point, had my water manually broken, labored for a few hours longer, then had the baby. Pretty standard stuff, labor-wise. The scariest parts were at the end, when Genevieve was showing some signs of being unhappy. I'm somewhat afraid that I might have made her stay in longer than I should have, because at one point I wanted to be checked, but my water had already been broken. After your water breaks, they don't like to check you very often because it increases the risks of infection. I had a feeling I'd made progress and was feeling urges to push (and in fact was sort of pushing with each contraction, just a little). But the time before I'd been checked I hadn't made progress when I thought I had; so I decided to ride it out for awhile. When I finally decided it was time to be checked, the nurse gave a look of surprise when she realized I was fully good to go. She let me labor without pushing for just a couple minutes longer (letting my body do some work without too much effort thanks to the powers of the epidural), but soon came in and said it looked like Genevieve wanted to come out already (meaning her heart rate monitor was showing more signs of unhappiness.) So my fear is that I should have persisted in being checked the hour or so before, and that poor Genevieve was struggling inside me. Of course, I could have been checked and found that once again I'd made no progress, but I doubt it. I think I knew magic was happening, but was a little afraid in case I was wrong. That I regret.

When Genevieve was actually born, she was pretty blue and silent. She had to be rubbed down with towels for several minutes before she would pink up and start crying. Her 1-minute Apgar was a 6, and she only got up to an 8 at the 5-minute mark. I had assumed that since she was such a big, active baby that she would come out strong and screaming. I think we were all a little panicked for a few minutes there, at least I was. I just wanted to hold my baby, but every nurse and doctor around was rubbing her down vigorously. Once she finally did cry, it was pretty relieving. The doctor assured us that she was fine, and that some babies just take a little longer to recover from being born. The cord was wrapped once around her body, and apparently it was a short cord; so my guess is that she didn't get the happy amount of oxygen for a few minutes. Knowing that, and knowing that some responsibility for that might lie with me is pretty hard. I also have a bit of a hard time knowing that my one baby had a cord that was too skinny, and my other had a cord that was too short. I feel a little defective when I think about it.

After delivery, I was really weak and light-headed. Some of this is normal. But I didn't feel like I was recovering as I expected to. They took my blood pressure, and it was fine. Looking back, I remember thinking that maybe I was losing blood somewhere that they didn't know. And apparently, that is exactly what was happening. My uterus was filling with blood clots. Finally, about 6 hours after labor, the blood clots were so big that the contractions caused by nursing Genevieve forced some of them out. What happened next I can best describe as an avalanche of blood, or at least that's my perception. They massaged my uterus externally, and blood started pouring from my body. It was honestly a little terrifying. (The details for how they stopped the blood flow are not fun. Let's just say it was stopped.)

Hmm, I don't know that there's much left to write, birth-story wise. So that might be all you get.

In other scary news (if you made it this far), we learned today that Genevieve has a heart murmur. Right now we don't have any reason to believe that we should be scared, but that doesn't stop me (or Jason). We have a follow-up with a pediatric cardiologist on the 4th. (I hate that what feels like an emergency to me is like standard practice for them, and that the wait is so terribly long.) For now, we're holding our breath, hoping to learn that our perfect Genevieve is perfect inside as well as outside.

I knew that this pregnancy had gone too smoothly, that things had been too easy. I'm sad and terrified that I was right. But everything ended up great with Annabella, and I'm trying to believe that it will with Genevieve as well. It's hard to love somebody so much so quickly and then be so terrified in an instant. I guess that's just a part of parenthood. And we've really been blessed. We have 2 beautiful, perfect little girls. Who could ask for more?

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