Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Memories... light the corners of my mind

I have very little recollection of our first few weeks at home with Ben. There were a lot of visitors, a lot of food and a lot of crying (by both Ben and me), but mostly what I remember is being in massive amounts of pain.

The strange thing is that I remember the hospital stay very clearly. Here are some of those memories (in mostly chronological order):

While I was in labor we had the TV on some news station for background noise (which we needed since, as Heath says, I would've passed the Scientology "silent birth" test). That was only days after John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, so that was all they were talking about. She will forever be associated with my first labor. And even though I had no intention of voting for them, I certainly wouldn't have after that!

At one point during labor I got really hot. Heath and Bekah alternated wetting wash cloths and putting them on my forehead, neck and chest. Heath was a very good coach and Bekah was a very good nurse.

Transition labor nearly killed me. I didn't realize that's what it was, I just thought the contractions were becoming brutal. It was at that point I asked for an epidural. However, by the time the anesthesiologist got there I was already pushing. She called into the room and my doctor yelled, "We're having a baby!"

I don't really remember seeing Ben for the first time. I was so relieved that it was over and so in awe that I'd done it. Unfortunately after giving birth I needed some serious stitches and I do remember that when I was holding Ben I didn't feel anything and when they took him away to weigh and measure him it was very uncomfortable.

When they took me to my postpartum room they took Ben to the nursery to clean him up and take some vitals. I remember feeling guilty because I didn't miss him. All I wanted to do was eat and watch TV and relax.

I remember that first night feeding him. He started crying afterward and I started to freak out because I had no idea what to do. Then I remembered that babies needed to be burped after they ate. I laid him against my shoulder, patted his back and he burped. Then he stopped crying and I felt the largest sense of accomplishment I think I've ever felt in my life. My baby was crying, I assessed the situation and I did the right thing! I am SUPERWOMAN!

I didn't sleep very much those two days and instead opened my eyes approximately every four seconds to check if Ben was still breathing.

It was so quiet on the postpartum floor, aside from the occasional baby crying.

The first night we spent in the hospital went like this: Ben would cry, Heath would bring him to me to feed him and then Heath would go back to sleep. However, I couldn't even get out of bed on my own, let alone holding a newborn, so I'd yell at Heath to wake up and put the baby back in the bassinet. But Heath is a very deep sleeper, so my yelling didn't wake him. I had to throw leftover Ranch packets at him to wake him up. The second night he put his cell phone on the bedside table and I actually had to CALL HIM from 4 feet away to wake him up.

My first shower after giving birth was the most satisfying shower of my life, even though it took twice the normal time.

Heath changed most of the diapers in the hospital. At one point he was out of the room and I was terrified to change one myself.

I remember feeling so inadequate when it came time to dress Ben in his going home outfit. I had never dressed an infant before and I was afraid of hurting him.

Ben cried at first when we put him in the car seat. As we drove home in the rain he fell asleep, but he woke up and cried every time we stopped for a stoplight.

That's where my memories end. I honestly have no recollection of what happened when we got home. It was so overwhelming and chaotic and I was so exhausted. Perhaps it's for the best that I don't remember.

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