December 13, 2012

Breaking out of the bubble (for moms).

So, I survived the first 6 weeks and survived a major abdominal surgery. You don't normally equate a c-section with major surgery but after reading up about it, I am convinced it is. Compared to the nightmare that was my first (non-surgery) delivery recovery, this one seems better but I guess if things had gone wrong with the surgery, it could have gone terribly wrong.

The bubble thing. The first six weeks after r~ was born, I was in a haze. I continued to be in a haze even three months after she was born. I just didn't feel quite right (which later I discovered was my thyroid levels acting up). But thyroid levels being off or not, the first six weeks after delivery, you live in a bubble. In my case, I kept hanging on tight to different mementos, places, things at different times during those six weeks. The first thing I held on to as a security object for a few days was this pair of socks -- they gave it to me at the hospital just before the surgery...

The five days in the hospital this time were mainly about little milestones, little victories for me. Last time, it was quite the bollywood drama -- I asked to go home after third degree tears, hemorrhage and the doctor said he would stamp an AMA (against medical advice) on my forms if I did that! 3 days of labor, attempt to birth at home etc etc. Long story that. This time, everything was planned and felt a bit unreal. k actually had a real hospital bag ready (last time, after my last bit of strength with home birthing and labor had drained off, I picked up a kroger bag, stuffed a few nighties in it and insisted we rush to the hospital with that). This time around, we had taken a real hospital tour, pre-registered, all that good stuff.

After a 'regular' delivery, delivering a baby by c-section was...different. I almost missed laboring (or perhaps that was my hormonal imbalance speaking to me). I missed the challenge of kicking labor in its *-- and knowing that I have the strength to push the baby out. I have read that labor pains is one of the worst forms of pain that a human being can endure. So, coming out of it alive seemed like winning something. I was thrilled to see baby m~ and wondered in a drug-induced haze if I should make another one of these wonderful little things but I hadn't pushed the baby out. I felt a little tugging and there she was! The post 'delivery' part of this pregnancy though was as miraculous as the first time :)

That's the surgery part of it. Then came the 5 day period where I had to kick a different *-- i,e surgery recovery :p I decided to stop and make a little mental note every time I crossed a milestone -- getting up to walk (12 hours after surgery), getting off the epidural, using the rest room for the first time, walking out of the hospital room for the first time, everything was a struggle and a small win. After 5 days, I almost felt scared to leave the hospital like I was leaving a safe bubble to go to the outside world. I guess the hospital room and nurses had become my second security blanket. I held on to little things like the warm water and apple juice k would give me in the hospital room -- each was a source of comfort that it was going to be ok.

At home, I looked forward to the huge scoops of nei that I know my mom would have had ready for me. I remembered the taste from my last time and somehow even that helped me recover -- the familiar tastes and smells of home, and settle down to a more normal routine at home. I shed a few tears for not being able to spend enough time with dear big sister r~. Our lives used to revolve around her constantly and now I wasn't able to shower her with the amount of attention I was accustomed to giving her. And the fact that she was so excited about her lil' sister and had not a jealous bone in her body only made me feel sadder somehow. I am back to doing activities and crafts with her (and sitting on the floor!) and am glad for's always the small things that catch you unprepared.

What's the big deal, you ask? Everyone has or knows someone who has gone through a c-section (or a regular delivery for that matter). True, that. But, I thought I'd write a little about what it feels like to actually go through it and emerge out into the sunlight. I am still seeing through tinted glasses, still standing with one leg somewhat inside the bubble but I know I will step out eventually like I did last time.

Here's to all the moms who make the journey! It's not an easy one :)
© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.