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« The Story of Owen: Part One, Labor and Birth | Main | Sliced and Diced »

The Story of Owen: Part Two, Highs and Lows

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!

Comments (40)

wow! You are awesome. Happy you are all home, being the fabulously beautiful happy family you all are! Looking forward to part 3 of the story and of course, tons more pictures!!!!

Wow. Just wow. I remember that pain (but my was caused by something different) -- it's extraordinary. So sorry for that. But it appears that you are now bionic - what with the BP drops, loss of blood and all. So you've got that going for ya. ;)

Glad you guys are home and happy.

I am so pissed at the slacking nurses on your behalf. That sucks ass.

Fuckin' ouch, Beth. You are a top trooper among troopers.

You have done a wonderful thing, carrying and birthing that boy. It's a sacrifice, it's traumatic, and it's unforgettable in good and bad ways. But I love that you are so happy right now with your little ones all around you, sometimes attached to you. It's unique and it makes life special in a completely different way. So great.

Looking forward to more here.

Listen, I can think of much worse things you can do to your children than throw up on them, but I'm still happy for you that it could be avoided.

Man are you going to be able to Lord this over Owen's head when he is a teenager, you have the world's best trump card ever.

Incredible! I'm so glad that you and Owen are home, safe and sound, and the life anew has begun for the Cactus-Fish family.

Shower be damned. Who needs a shower when you have super powers? After that show of womanly strength, I bet Hotty Pediatrician wants you more than ever!

That was quite the experience. Reading about it makes me think a little longer about whether I'm ready to pursue #2. Can I just say how impressed I am that you remember all these details and are able to convey them? I'd say that's another super power.

Wow, that's not so good, all the vomit and stuff.

Am looking forward to the c-section retrospective.

Holy Shit! that's some super power, and good thing too!

I'm amazed that you can remember all that. Thanks for sharing... and isn't it amazing the way it all falls into place?

Congrats again!

I've said this before and will no doubt say it again in the future, but stories like this make me both respect women immensely and ridiculously happy that I don't have a uterus.

The sentence above about your goal of never puking on both children really cracks me up and makes me very impressed by you at the same time. Way to use sarcasm to help you through difficult times.

we're thinking of you and hope all continues to improve!!

Awesome. Glad the little family is together again and that all are settling in well to the new routine. I loved my first day home back with my big boy, whom I missed dearly (to my surprise by how much), and the little one who completed our little family! Yeah for you guys!

Wow, I'm so glad you are okay. That pain sounds scary and you should try to keep that super power under wraps, okay? Cheers to being home with your new beautifully expanded family.

Part two was nothing like that for me. Thank goodness. You are an amazing woman Beth! Glad you're home, showered and feeling better!

Happy for you! But honestly, hearing about the pain, a little scared for me now. Yikes - I'm a wimp.

Like Susan said, I'm pretty sure Hotty Pediatrician would have been impressed by the amazing feat of bringing Owen into the world and how very strongly female that makes you. You are so Wonder Woman. :-)
Sorry about the pain...that sounds really scary actually. But! You never have to do it again! Lalalala! :-D

This made me laugh and then laugh some more, and believe me, I don't usually laugh when thinking about my c-sections. Isn't it the most wonderful experience to be done with? To wake up in the morning and think, "Look, there's sunshine, and I can have sushi and vodka for breakfast, and I have a precious little baby to snuggle and MY POST C-SECTION HOSPITAL STAY IS OVER!" Cheers!

Whoa, when you suggested we might not want to read on, I forgot that when I read about blood loss (not when I write about it), or when I hear about it, I almost pass out. So, whew! I both nearly passed out and nearly vomited, but I kept reading, and holy god, you are a trooper!

And it is totally worth the queaziness I felt to read about how much in love you are with your son.

Oh boy. I had no idea that you could have post partum contractions. I also didn't know that vomitting was a part of the process. And to hear you speak of the pain.... Yowsa Beth, you're a rockstar !

Congratulations again to you, Chris and Mia and welcome home Owen his name!!

Holy geeze woman--when you give birth you really do a bang-up job.

SO GLAD you're feeling better and things are going well. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that, but yeah for drugs!!!


I am so sorry you had such a rough go of it for a few days there! Happy to hear that Mia reacted so wonderfully to Owen(now I know why people all raised their eyebrows at mime being only 18 months apart). I agree with the loving the second in ways you were too stressed to love the first- you put it so well. You have a beautiful family and you are one hellofa strong CHIC!!!

Why is it that the hotties ALWAYS show up when you are at your worst?


OK this is going to sound pretty corny, but WOW you're a trooper! I'm so glad everything is going so well now. And I'm glad to know that the second is a lot easier to enjoy during those first few days at home.

what on earth is a backyardian? no, don't tell me... I'm a big girl, i can google it, and you are a busy mother of two.

congratulations! LOVE the name.

That's a beautiful story (even the bloody parts). Congrats, you guys!

Wow! After seeing how cute your Mia is and how adorable my niece and nephew are, I keep thinking I want to have one. After reading this story, I'll just spoil the niece and nephew!

Thanks for the reality check! And glad you are feeling better and your family is all under one roof.

Oh, dang!
I JUST WROTE a blog a few days ago, the entire purpose of which was to preach my love for the word bedraggled.
No. Really.
It's here:
Love that you used it, love hearing more of your story with Owen!

That is one fantastic super power to have. He really is a beautiful baby, I am glad you are home and fine and enjoying him. One of my friends gave birth to a baby that was 10lbs 2oz, and holy guacamole I totally give you props for your over 9lb baby. That's quite a moose.

Congrats on seeing your navel again. You can resume wearing your cropped tops in no time!! ;-)

You rock. You have such a beautiful family and you have done such a wonderful job bringing two beautiful babies into the world. I'm glad things are going well now and you're all home safe and sound. Much happiness in the future!

Ow. That sounds awful. I had a spinal and an epidural for my last c-section (in case there was so much scarring that the c-section lasted longer than the spinal) and then, a lot of morphine apparently. After that, on to good old percocet. But c-sections are the fancy way just because it's so convenient, right? El fun. Once again, I am happy for you to have finished those few days in the hospital...there is nothing like a new nice when they are out and become an indispensable part of your life.

I have loved reading your blog the last couple of days especially but really everyday. But the last two days have been icing on the cake. You really should write a book as you are sooo gifted with words! Thank you for sharing. You did such a great job of becoming a mommy x's 2.

I'm so glad you and Owen made it through everything OK. I had no idea it had gotten so dicey. Why did they leave the epidural in? I was also totally ignored by my post-op nurses. Good thing you got to hold Owen right away.

As far as the hemorraging, someone above wasn't familiar so I thought I'd explain if that's OK - you have post-partum contractions to "clamp down" and shrink the uterus, and if it doesn't shrink quickly enough you can bleed too much. They usually give Pitocin (a completely different drug when used this way). Also as someone above said, I don't understand why they give Pitocin to VBACs when studies have shown it increases rupture risk (not as much as prostaglandins but still).

Oh Beth that sounds so incredibly scary! I am sorry you had to go through that - ack!

I'm so happy a has worked out fine now and Owen is healthy and you are on the path to mending. :)

oh babe! sorry you had such a rough time :(

and welcome back to your navel!

Good heavens, Beth. What a rough time you had! You did a great job with your birth story (I still haven't written mine, because I couldn't quite think straight for a month or two there). So glad everyone is home and hunkered down.

Wow Beth - I'm sorry you had such a rough time in the beginning. Thank God for painkillers, eh?

What you said about Owen, already being a necessary part of the family and being able to enjoy him in ways you couldn't with Mia - I can so relate to both. With my second child I was scared of so many things - how would life be with 2 kids, how would it affect my first born, etc. But when we got her home everything just fell into place like it was meant to be. And the second time, because I knew what to expect, I was so much more relaxed than with my first.

Oh, good lord, that sounds awful.

But, in the end, you got an adorable Owen. So, yay. And yay for painkillers and Ambien. And Supah Yay for Hottie Pediatricians.

Wow. Just wow. I'm sure you're very happy to have your beautiful son and all, and that you'd probably say it was worth it, but that situation you described there? Sounds like an effing nightmare. Are you sure you don't moonlight as a superhero?

And nobody laugh at me, but I'm damn near 30 and I never realized that an epidural is something THEY LEAVE IN. They leave it in?!?! NO, for serious? That just seems ... not right, somehow. I am convinced, now more than ever, that there's gotta be a better way to get babies into the world. Like teleportation or something maybe.

Sorry for hijacking the comments. Off to wander around in a state of low-grade shock.

Holy crap, where were the nurses for cripes sake????

Was this at Eye-Know-va fare fax? 'Cause I'll go up and have a little clue stick party over there if you want.

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So the Fish Said...

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