When we last saw our intrepid heroine, she was ensconced in her hospital bed, looking tired and a bit bedraggled from a long day of labor and childbirth on very little sleep, but also blissed out as she gazed at her strapping new son sleeping peacefully in her arms. Let's rejoin the story from there, shall we?
I finally got Owen sprung from the nursery and spent a while cooing at him while ignoring the grandparents who had come to visit and were desperately hoping for an invitation to hold my child. For his part, Owen was a dream. Slept like a baby, nursed like a champ, I felt like I was ruling the world. Until I started puking. Have you ever thrown up ginger ale? It's an odd experience, this stuff is supposed to make you less nauseous, right? A shot of Zofran to the IV and I was right as rain again - well, as right as could be considering that my uterus had recently been on the outside of my body. Finally, everyone cleared out and Chris and I had a few minutes alone with our son before Chris left to get some food and spend a few minutes with Mia.
While Chris was gone, I decided to nurse Owen and was rewarded with a contraction worse than any from my 10 hours of labor. I still had the epidural at this point and that thing hurt like hell. I am going to try not to put too fine a point on this next bit, but those of you who are squeamish may want to skip to the next paragraph. I got the distinct feeling that this mondo contraction had also resulted in a fair amount of blood, but since I was nursing I decided to just look into it later. When I finally got around to checking things out, I noticed that oh yes, there is rather a lot of blood around, and I called the nurse to mention that I was in rather desperate need of new bedding. Nobody came. I called back 20 minutes later to say that hey, remember me? I seem to have lost a disturbing amount of blood. Could someone come check this out please? Still no nurse, but Chris did come back and I made him look and he started insisting that I call the nurse again. I refused, but did joke that I ought to call and say I was hemorrhaging because that would likely get me some attention. The nurse arrived a few minutes later, and guess what? Yup, I was hemorrhaging. A quick shot of something into my still-numb leg and people stopped looking at me like they were waiting for me to pass out. Then they checked my blood pressure and all got that look on their faces again. Apparently, my super power (now tested twice within 24 hours) is the ability to remain conscious while my blood pressure plunges to levels most closely resembling death.
Once that was all sorted out, we settled in for the night. Owen slept, Chris slept, I itched. Oh, how I itched. I itched like crazy with Mia too, but that time they took the epidural out around midnight so at least I didn't itch all night. This time I still had the epidural and the double doses of Benadryl were doing no good whatsoever. It's highly annoying to be itching like mad while still paralyzed enough that you can't get to scratch where it itches and even when you can are still numb enough that scratching doesn't do much for you. The real fun part was that my left leg was far more numb/paralyzed than my right, and that was where most of the itching was. I finally propped my left hip on a towel and got enough movement and feeling back that the tearing apart of my skin with my raggedy fingernails provided some measure of itch relief. Finally, at 3 AM I begged the nurse to pull the epidural, which she did, and the itching finally stopped about two hours later.
The hour between 5 AM and 6 AM was lovely and peaceful, no more itching and the pain hadn't kicked up yet. Right around 6 was when I got my second dose of Percocet and also when somebody brought The Pain. It started as sort of mildly painful and gradually built over the next five hours until I simply do not know enough bad words with which to describe this pain, and I know a goodly number of bad words. Luckily, it was only nearly unbearable by 8 AM when, after I had spent slightly more than 24 hours leaking various bodily fluids without benefit of shower, toothbrush, hairbrush, or a change of clothes, who should saunter casually into my hospital room but the Hotty Pediatrician. I was aware enough to register that he looked pretty cute in the sweater or possibly fleece thing he was wearing instead of his usual button down and tie, try and fail to listen to whatever he was telling us about jaundice, and then had to just close my eyes and pretend to be somewhere else. I think I also offered some sort of response when he said something generally sympathetic about my condition, but I couldn't swear to it. Figures, you know? He's never going to leave his wife for me now. (Not that he was to begin with since she's totally cuter than me.)
Thank goodness for small favors, at least the Hotty Pediatrician had come and gone before I started in with the uncontrollable weeping. Now sure, I hadn't slept in over a day and had just delivered a child, but it was rather annoying to be in really phenomenal pain and have the nurses keep telling me that I was crying because of the hormones. Um, sure, that and the agony. It was worse than when I had LASIK, and after that I spent about two hours literally wanting to die. It went rapidly from wow, this hurts so much I can't even hold my kid to wow, this hurts so much I can't even blink. After no less than one hundred and fourteen years, they tracked down my OB and got her to order another painkiller, which took another five hundred and six years to come up from the pharmacy and then eight million, six hundred seventeen thousand years to start working and then finally, hallelujah and praise whoever you see fit, it stopped hurting and life was once again worth living. They also hooked me up with a sleeping pill, and can I just say that if you ever take Ambien you should take it while already in bed with your head on the pillow, because I tried to take it and then throw Owen some boob before my nap and I was fast asleep on my child about forty seconds later. When I woke up, I could very nearly remember my name, and things got much better from there.
By Monday afternoon I was feeling nearly human again and was desperate to see Mia, so Chris went home to collect her after naptime and brought her back to meet her baby brother. It was love at first sight, possibly because Owen gave Mia three stuffed Backyardigans to complete her collection plus a stack of Backyardigans books. She wanted to hold him and kiss him and hug him and understood immediately that this was the baby from mommy's tummy that she had been talking to and about for months. The only downside to the visit was the moment when I realized that I was about to fail at my goal of never puking on both of my children at the same time. Chris ran Mia out of the room while I struggled to regain my composure while searching in vain for the nurse call button. The feeling eventually passed and both of my offspring remained vomit-free. Chris hauled Mia out of there shortly thereafter though, I think after the previous two days he had limited faith in my intestinal fortitude.
Tuesday was much better, except for when the Hotty Pediatrician showed up again while I was more than 48 hours and the birth of one child on the wrong side of a shower. Please see above re: leaving his wife for me, never gonna happen-ness thereof. I had managed to brush my teeth though and was wearing a cute-ish bathrobe, so maybe that scored me some points. All that aside, Tuesday was much better. I felt ok, the drugs were working, and I made several trips around the maternity ward under my own power. I had hoped to spend only two nights in the hospital in the case of a c-section, but after Monday morning's dance with disaster we decided that another night was a good idea. I got another visit from Mia Tuesday afternoon, which scared me to death since Chris got her and took her home in the middle of an ice storm which had caused widely varied and conflicting reports of road conditions, but Chris swore everything was fine.
By Wednesday morning, we were ready to go. So ready. Going out of our minds ready. My OB finally showed up and released me, so then we just had to wait for the pediatrician. And wait we did. And wait. And wait some more. Ok, so not really all that long, but when you are trapped in a hospital and desperate to leave the wait seems like forever. He finally showed up, the Hotty Pediatrician once again and this time I was both showered and dressed but entirely too stir-crazy to care, released Owen upon securing a promise that we would be in his office on Friday to check his jaundice. As soon as we heard the word "discharged" come out of his mouth, Chris tore home to retrieve the car with the car seats, I got Owen changed and fed for the trip, we endured Owen's strenuous objections to being so rudely placed into his car seat and then he promptly fell asleep and ten minutes later I was on my couch with my whole little family finally under our own roof.
And then, not to be too corny about it, life began anew. Owen already seems like a necessary part of our family, and I am able to enjoy him in ways I was too stressed out to enjoy Mia's earliest days.
Up next, I go navel gazing on the subject of my repeat c-section. Speaking of which hey! I have a navel again!