Monday, October 19, 2009

It Went Off the Rails

I think maybe enough time has passed that I can write a bit about Penelope Blair's arrival. It took some time since nothing went the way I expected it to. Actually, the mere fact that I was expecting a third baby proves that sometimes life just does it's own thing with or WITHOUT your permission. Following that principle, Penny's birth was equally traumatic and, I can honestly say, took me completely by surprise.

When I found out about baby number three, I could not have been more shocked. Even though I had been through the process twice, it still floored me. The very idea that I could be pregnant (AGAIN!) never even occurred to me despite clear signs which pointed to the obvious conclusion. It was just that far out of my realm of possibilities. But, despite having no real desire to be pregnant (AGAIN!), I was Penny's mom from the moment it all sank in. I was instantly terrified that I would miscarry or that it would all turn out to be an ectopic pregnancy (which is a real possibility if you conceive with an IUD in place). All I wanted to hear was that the pregnancy was healthy. The sonogram showing a tiny beating heart was so gorgeous to me. There she was, despite my best efforts. And I loved her.

Coming to terms with having a new baby wasn't totally easy. I already had a baby to care for. Vivi was only 10 months old when I realized that Penny was on her way. Plus, there was Catie, my first baby love. How was I going to split my time between them all without short changing anyone, especially Vivi who would be forever in the middle? The one most likely to fall through the cracks. I felt guilty about ending her time as the "baby" so quickly.

There was one bright spot though that kept me excited and enthusiastic about the new baby. I couldn't wait for the "moment" when, amid all the chaos, time would stop and there she would be. All the effort and misery would instantly and forever be completely worth it. Waiting for that time fitted each moment until then with anticipation and impatience. So many times I played it over in my head and thought that I was actually lucky to have this chance one more time.

I should have known that counting on something renders it less likely to happen. In my case, I didn't get the moment that I had looked so forward to for so long since, as my title suggests, the whole thing went off the rails at the last minute. Despite having had a totally healthy pregnancy, it seems my body decided to go completely crazy during labor. I was a few hours into a normal labor when I suffered an abruption. This put both the baby and me in a precarious situation which called for an emergency c-section. While I wasn't really scared at that point (thanks to an incredibly competent and calm doctor), I was in enough pain to fell an elephant. So, when the doctor told me that she would have the anesthesiologist knock me out, I was totally on board with her recommendation.

With very little adieu, I was whisked away to the operating room. Blake wasn't allowed to go in with me since I was going to be completely anesthetized and, I assume, the emergency nature of the situation didn't allow for wasting time. In retrospect, I am glad that no one was in there with me. I was rolled onto the operating table, my arms were strapped to bars that folded out from the table and a drape was thrown up in front of my face all in about 20 seconds. I think anyone who loved me would have been scared completely s*!#less had they been in there. Luckily, after putting up a fairly pitiful fight against the oxygen mask (claustrophobia), I was out.

I don't know how long I was under, but it seemed as if I went out and came back instantly. The only difference between before and after was the literally gut wrenching pain from the operation. My first sight on coming out of anesthesia was my doctor telling me that "your baby is beautiful". My reaction was, "OK, go get my mama!". I was crying (my usual reaction to anesthesia is to wake up sobbing like the end of the world). She arrived so quickly, I figured that she must have been standing there the whole time. I was relieved when she said exactly what I needed to hear, "Charla Carole, you are fine. You are going to be just fine. Calm down, it's all over and you are fine". When your mama tells you that you are going to be fine, well then, you ARE going to be fine.

Blake was there with baby Penny and she was beautiful. She was just so, so beautiful and a balm to my soul since, once again, it had all been worth it and we were both totally fine. Well, I wasn't totally fine as I hurt like a sonofabitch, but still I would be fine. I did, after all, have a demerol pump to get acquainted with, so things were looking up at that point.

Since Penny arrived, I have for the most part been completely happy and at peace with having a third child. The only recurring bit of unhappiness for me has been dealing with the disappointment that I mentioned earlier. After having anticipated all of the joy and excitement of Penny's arrival, to have it turn into a bit of a mini nightmare has been difficult for me to deal with. In fact, as I write this, I see that I haven't totally dealt with it. It still upsets me. It hurts me that I missed all of her very "firsts": her first breath, her first cry, the first precious and irreplaceable moments that all mamas look forward to.

Going forward, I guess the only way I can look at the whole ordeal is that Penny is a real miracle. She wasn't even supposed to happen, but here she is all perfect, tiny and full of promise. So, I will take my miracle as it came and say thank you for it. Besides, at least I can plan on being there for all of her other firsts and, if I have anything to do with it, I will be.