Friday, September 3, 2010

he broke the mold

"This is a limited, numbered production, and once it's finished, the mold will be broken and the opportunity will be lost!" 

Hobie is truly the baby that broke the mold. Who on earth has three babies via natural, vaginal deliveries, and then has the fourth baby be the c-section baby? I've been pondering Hobie's arrival since yesterday when my husband mentioned that Hobie had been outside of my belly now for longer than he'd been inside, and I have to say it was a little bit depressing!

I was looking at my scar today, and thinking about his entrance into the world. Having a c-section was both the scariest and most surprising thing that's ever happened to my body. The fear and helplessness rank right up there with the worst tortures I could ever imagine, but the pain and recovery were nothing at all like I assumed they would be. The physical aspects of the surgery were, in all, pretty minor. It definitely wasn't an enjoyable experience, but also not half as bad as I had thought. I was walking out of the hospital in 36 hours, and Christmas shopping in days. Not being able to bend over for awhile was a major inconvenience, and it was incredibly achy to maneuver in and out of bed, but I took less than half the narcotic painkillers prescribed to me and really wasn't hurting.

Emotionally, however, I was a train wreck. I know most of it has to do with the fact that it was an emergency c-section and we could easily have lost him. I had a placental abruption and he was being deprived of oxygen as I was lying in a hospital bed, gushing blood and grapefruit-sized clots. Abruption has a fifty percent infant mortality rate. I was horrified when Coral was born at 30 weeks and the neonatologist came up to my room and "reassured" me that only ten percent of 30 weekers didn't survive; Hobie's odds had me literally shaking with fear. I felt like I was reliving the nightmare of Coral's unexpected emergency birth, which although a vaginal delivery, was marked by the same sense of urgency and fear. Being wheeled down that OR hallway, staring up into those ultra-bright lights as my heart raced a mile a minute, was a surreal, terrifying ordeal. 

What really hit me about a c-section delivery versus a vaginal delivery was how out of touch I felt with having birthed a child. I was laboring and at 6 centimeters when I was rushed back for the operation so I had the benefit of many of the normal childbirth hormones, but actually birthing the baby is missing from the c-section picture. How do you feel like you've given birth to a child, when technically you haven't? It took a LONG time for me to fully connect with Hobie for who he was, my fourth baby. When I was tired I kept referring to him as "her" and "she," and on several occasions I called him Coral and confused him with her. That's the sort of lasting effects a traumatic birth (or in my case, two) has on a post-partum mom. I know from experience that it doesn't just magically go away - with Coral I got incredibly depressed around her first birthday (the anniversary of the trauma) and I pushed everyone away. I've become proactive about Hobie and am making plans for a really fun party that will hopefully keep the blues away!

But I still feel broken inside.

a newborn Hobie
almost nine months old