It’s official, we’ve survived the first month of mothering two babes and although I’m a little scratched up, we’re in pretty good shape. I’d like to report that we’re all on a schedule and that everyone is sleeping through the night but, let’s be real, schedules and sleeping aren’t really my thing and this isn’t Unicornland.
In the midst of an insane pregnancy and fun recovery, I’ve thought of you. Pregnancy was rough, what could I learn from that and share so that my fellow moms could get to the bright side of things a little more quickly? The truth is, most lessons were just reaffirmations of things I already knew. Other experiences were, new. So, here’s the knew versus new rundown.
First, I knew that pregnancy, for me at least, sucks. Chasing, bathing, carrying, and parenting a toddler as a bowling ball, was new. As was the pneumonia and mysterious rash that landed me in the hospital. Thank you, Zika. P.S. 99.9% sure it wasn’t actually Zika.
I knew what a c-section was like, but having a planned c-section was new. Round two isn’t as intense as round one in the sense that you’re not as stressed and exhausted going into it (and round two doesn’t come with general anesthesia that knocks you out, which in most ways is a shame). Round two was more intimidating solely when it came to the actual prep. When you enter the big, white OR with a dozen people and tons of medical tools, you feel like you’re in the middle of a Grays Anatomy episode. In these intense situations, I like to add a little humor. Adding in “tummy tuck” in their operation schedule review was likely a little TOO much humor for most doctors, luckily mine were just as fun as I’d hoped (although I didn’t end up with a tuck, hopefully you’ll have better luck).
Recovery was new this time around (highly recommend VBAC even though I was an awful candidate for it, no hard feelings). I knew it would be hard, but the first week was worlds easier than round one for me. But when it came to nursing, I knew it was painful the first time around. I thought this time around it would be simple. I had already broken these bad boys in, right? WRONG. On the scale between the kiss of a light breeze to the sting of a thousand bees and 90 million paper cuts, it falls somewhere north of a dairy farm and sandpaper. Which is slightly south of 5,000 paper cuts.
I also had no idea what we’d name Kate until the moment we left the hospital, that was new. After five days of trying out new names and avoiding Medical Records, it came down to one game, one round of rock, paper, scissors. Kate Riley won.
But that’s the light stuff. Many things were new this time around. The state, the hospital, the doctors, the nurses, Kate’s brief stay in the NICU, and the sound of the parrots keeping me up (thank you, Hurricane Andrew, for blowing the roof off of Parrot Jungle 24 years ago and allowing these beautiful birds to multiply and inhabit our colorful city).
What was completely new and nowhere on my radar,was the fear I felt the second night when Kate stopped breathing for several seconds and all I could hear was the fading away of a whistling noise followed by the collapsing in of her rib cage, three times in a row. The fear I had when I called the nurse and she ran in, took one look at Kate, and ran out without a word, was new. And I never knew the strength I had as I ran after her to the nursing station.
Then came the NICU Doctor.Reluctantly and after yelling at my amazing nurse, she looked at Kate for the second time that day, after the nurses had suctioned her out and calmed her down, she looked at me with her 4AM scowl and told me nothing was wrong. The mother in me, which with round two, I recognized, left me with an unsettled feeling. So instead of just listening to the doctor and going back to bed I asked her what it was I could do if this happened again. Her response, “nothing is wrong.” So I asked again, only to receive the same response. Then I asked a third time, thinking that maybe she just misunderstood me, “I know she looks fine now, but all nine nurses she’s seen have voiced their concerns about her breathing. What can I do to help her if this happens again and I’m alone with her?” Her response was “is this your first child?”
And that is when I learned the biggest “new” this time around and it roared inside my chest so loudly that I couldn’t ignore it. I am not a dumb mom. I am not a young mom, I am not a new mom, I am not a dumb mom. Adjectives are irrelevant. I am a MOM. So with my best, “screw you” smile, I dealt with the situation as a mom. I didn’t listen to the doctor, I listened to my gut. After two hours of observation and a visit from the pediatrician (Dr. Madelyn Donnes, whom I highly recommend), Kate was transferred to the NICU. There, they were able to test her, monitor her, and treat her, and her breathing greatly improved.
Mind you, I know we lucked out with Kate, her issues are minor in comparison to other children. My heart bleeds for any parent that is put in a predicament where they fear for the health and safety of their child. Listen to your mom-gut. I’m usually very dismissive about my concerns, I don’t worry often, I’m not paranoid, and sometimes I may be much more dismissive than most. But this time, I heard the roar, and I followed suit. So here’s the new – listen to your mom-gut. You are not too young to know when to worry, you are not too new to know when to worry, when your gut tells you to pursue a concern, follow it upstream like the salmon of Capistrano.
And in the end, I’ll put in a shameless plug for Baptist Hospital, Samara (my beyond favorite nurse of all time), and my OBs, Doctors Karsenti and Apollon. Overall my experience was beyond amazing.