My Initial Feelings on Motherhood

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, November 28, 2012.

I wrote an enormous blog about my birth story and there was some kind of glitch and I lost all the information! Gah, it took me forever to write.
Basically what you need to know is that what we wanted from our birth plan was NOT what happened.
  • I was planning a home birth but I developed high blood pressure in the last 10 days of pregnancy and had to be induced (meaning they insert this gel into my cervix to soften it and start my body into labour)
  • The hospital experience was invasive and uncomfortable. I laboured for about 36 hours.
  • I wanted no pain intervention but ended up having to have an epidural to reduce my blood pressure.
  • I had to get an IV and Oxytocin to speed up my contractions
  • In the end, I stalled at 7 cm and had to have an emergency C-section, which was the scariest experience of my life and can't understand how anyone would opt for a Cesarian!
Stella is 3 weeks old now. They are not kidding when they tell you your life will change after you have a baby. My entire existence right now is devoted to keeping her alive, whether that's considered to be by choice or otherwise. She wants to eat every 2 1/2 hours or so, usually for about an hour at a time and I have the boobies, so.....

My initial frustration came from the fact that both Ro and I were exhausted on an unearthly level. We stayed in hospital for 2 sleepless nights before Stella was actually born. After she was born we had, like, no idea how to take care of her. Since I'd had a C-Section my milk wasn't in and she is a hungry baby. A bad combination, which resulted in us staying awake LITERALLY all night long the first 2 nights after she was born. Plus we were in the hospital, sharing a room with another new mom, and the stress of keeping them awake was very overwhelming.

We just didn't know what to do. We felt helpless. Breastfeeding was excruciating. It's so painful. If you're not sure what it feels like, try having your partner or a friend suck on your nipples for 12 hours a day until they are raw and blistered. I couldn't do it anymore. But she was hungry, so what are you supposed to do??

She lost 12% body weight in those first 2 days, and the 'healthy' norm is 6-10%. The solution to help her get her weight back up was to supplement her with a little tube and formula that we gave to her at the breast along with breastfeeding. For the last 3 weeks everytime she eats we have to get the syringe and little tube out and try over and over to get her to latch onto my breast with the tube in her mouth. We have to keep on waking her up, bug her to keep eating, burp her continuously (because formula makes her super gassy) and generally just deal with this huge pain-in-the-ass tube while we pump her full of formula.

The good news is she's back at her birth weight again so today we will talk about the new plan of action (because now we can't just take the tube away, we have to do it slowly).

I'm going to be brutally honest and say that especially in the first two weeks I was having feelings of regret. The biggest reason I never wanted to have children was because I wasn't ready to commit my life to them. I didn't want to be forced into being the one who ends up taking care of the baby and even though I have the most involved husband anyone could ask for, there's a certain amount of care-taking that can ONLY be done by me.

I think this has been one of the biggest challenges for me - getting over my own preconceptions and expectations of myself. I always associated my own version of feminism to reject stereotypes and social expectations of women.

The scariest thing for me is that I don't feel like a natural mother so maybe it's just a fear of failure that I have. I'm afraid of creating a similar relationship with my daughter that I have with my own mother. I don't want to feel resentful. Ro and I made a choice to get pregnant. I want to be able to communicate openly with my baby, as a family.

It's amazing how much starting my own family has made me consider the dynamics of the family I come from. I thought I had worked through all my issues but clearly, I have not!

One thing I know for sure is that I want to be a good mother and make the right choices. What I also know is that I would NOT do this for anyone else in the world, and that's how I know that I love her completely. We keep going. We wake up every couple hours all night long, push through our exhaustion, try to make her smile.

The smile that eventually comes makes EVERYTHING worth it. It's hard to explain. The brief, fleeting eye contact... the turning of her head when we speak because she recognizes our voice.... the intimacy we share as she nurses on what my body has made just for her. Those are the things we live for. I realize that the amount of interaction will only increase and it will be less about simply supplying her endless demand. She will return the love soon with smiles, laughs, hugs... I'm eagerly awaiting those moments but am smart enough to appreciate that these moments will soon be past me. And so I try to keep things in perspective.

First Post-Baby Blog

Posted by Lindsey Costard on Wednesday, November 21, 2012. Filed under: , ,

More than a month since my last blog and I'm happy to announce that our baby has arrived! Today she's 3 weeks old, in fact.  In the last month quite a lot has happened here...

  • Ro's parents arrived and have been here for a month already
This has been a huge blessing. They have been so helpful, especially now that the baby is here, with cooking and cleaning and just helping me with the baby (even when that means I just need to take a break from her incessant crying...) I'm happy that I find myself appreciating their help, rather than resenting it. I was afraid that having so many parents in the house by myself would make me crazy but I imagine that being alone in the house with a newborn would achieve that faster than having extra hands around.... 
  • My blood pressure suddenly sky-rocketed and I had to have a surprise induction
Yes, in the last 2 weeks or so my blood pressure went incredibly high and I was being monitored. Two days before my due date, I went for a regular midwife appointment which ended in me going to the hospital where I was informed that since I was already full-term, I would be induced immediately. That was on Tuesday evening but she wasn't born until Thursday morning. Yes, folks. That's a long time in labour.

Actually, more on that surprise news... it was really surreal to be told we would be having the baby that day. Almost as if the 9 months of preparation meant nothing, because it was like being told we were having a surprise baby. We weren't ready with any of our bags, not prepared to spend the night in the hospital (in fact, our plans were to have a home birth). Generally we were expecting the baby to be late by another 7 days or so....  Obviously none of our birth plan was followed. 
  • After going through more than 24 hours of labour, I ended up having a C-Section
My hospital experience was as good as it could have been, I guess. I really don't like hospitals and the idea of having the baby there was frightening for me. To sum it up, I felt like the birth experience was much more invasive than I wanted. I understand that my particular experience was a bit circumstantial because my pregnancy suddenly became higher risk. But I still didn't like the doctors shoving the forearms up my vagina to check my cervix and insert stinging gels inside of me to induce me.
  • Our baby is here! 
Her name is Stella and she's a little warrior. I call her my little samurai. She is a fighter (literally takes two of us to get her to eat and I constantly ask out loud 'how is it that we are fighting a baby and losing???)

So please forgive my delays in writing right now but in a nutshell Stella lost a lot of weight at birth and only yesterday was back to her birth weight (normally it should take about 10 days to get back up)... My days are pretty much spent breastfeeding at the moment... Hoping for some reassurance that this will change?

Until then, please enjoy this hilariously awesome photo of Stella crying and complaining, as she mostly does! :D

Classic Stella!