February 28, 2004

I awakened this morning (at

I awakened this morning (at 6:30 a.m.) to the
same sounds to which I fell asleep last night (at 11:45 p.m.): six little girls
giggling and slamming doors. C celebrated her eighth birthday the day before
mine. Of all our daughters, she is the most sensitive and the most complex. I
cannot help but consider if what I went through while pregnant with her affected
her in some way. I began therapy when I was about five weeks pregnant with C. I
had a three-almost- four-year old and a 16 month old at the time. I wanted to
have another child, but the thought of this pregnancy overwhelmed me. I became
depressed and anxious. I was fearful of not being able to manage three small
children. I was exhausted and had morning sickness so badly that I couldn't
stand up straight in the morning, but had to crawl everywhere until noon. I
became concerned that all these "negative" hormones and thoughts traveling
around in my body would somehow affect my child, so I went to therapy. I talked
about my fear of screwing up; being over-loaded and under-funded to deal with
three little people who would need me so much. I eventually worked a few things
out, but in truth, never came to be blissfully pregnant. I secretly harbored
guilt-laden thoughts of a miscarriage. I would feel terrible for thinking such
things, but I felt terrible thinking about another human needing so much of me.
I went into labor the day before my 26 birthday. I managed to stay focused and
relaxed until I allowed the OB to break my water- "This will help it along, get
her here quicker (and me back to my dinner party)." Sooner is better than later-
ask any woman in labor. I wasn't suffering immensely at the time. I was kinda
crusing along to a 7 (7 centimeters/sonometers cervical dilitation for those
unfamiliar with pg talk). My first hint of how bad it was going to turn out was
the site of the knitting needle coming at my very private and sensitive parts.
It was uncomfortable, but not painful. I had, after all delivered two other
babies (one with an epidural, one totally natural). When the next contraction
came after the knitting needle episode, I thought my pubic bone was going to
spilt in half. R may still have scars on his arm from my grip on his flesh.
Apparently, I had advanced to transition during the knitting session. I stayed
there for about 10 minutes and decided this was more than I could handle. I
politely begged for an epidural. The OB delighted obliged. You see, he had taken
some Honolulu weekend crash course (generously funded by a certain
pharmaceutical company) in epidural anethesia, so he was now prepared to offer
immediate pain relief. We didn't have to wait for the anethesiologist to get off
his sleep deprived, lazy ass to come save our nerves. So, he administered the
meds. He then told me that I would have to wait about 10 minutes for it to take
full effect. Excuse me? 10 MINUTES? I was having a baby now, thank you. I think
that I may have cursed and accused, but I know I had a baby in those 10 minutes.
And luckily the anethesia took effect- on my Achilles tendon. My foot became
numb just in time to push (only one push, that is) a 9 pound 4 ounce, 2 foot
long live human being from my body- with a head shaped just like her father's.
It wasn't a pleasant birth. Another tick mark on the unpleasantness surrounding
this whole pregnancy. So, I lavished attention on my baby C. We all did,
actually. I even nursed her the longest of all four children. I wanted
desperately to make up for her hormonal uterine wash of insecurity and fear.
But, I determined then and there to never again be pregnant unless I really,
really wanted to be, if ever again. And when we did decide to have one more
child, everyone was ready and it was such a wonderful way to end my child
bearing years. I still struggle with the fact that here I have a terrific kid:
she is kind, creative, compassionate, hilarious, intelligent, introspective, and
thoughtful, and yet there was a very real time in my life that I thought I could
do without her, without having even known her. I am so thankful for C and all
that she is and the dynamic that she brings to my life and this family. As she
starts her ninth year, I am filled with excitement and eagerness for her
potential and her contributions to this world and to those she loves and that
love her. Happy Birthday, baby. Mommy loves you.

Posted by Rae at February 28, 2004 01:54 PM
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