Sunday, December 23, 2007

How I felt During Labor and When she was Born

Last Saturday (Dec. 15) I woke up with contractions at around 5:30 a.m. and I knew my big day had arrived. The night before I felt like something big was going to happen. Around 6:30 I started writing down the contraction time & length they were at 12 minutes apart, then 10 minutes, then 8 minutes ... by 9 a.m. I decided I should probably wake up my husband to let him know. This whole time I felt very anxious -- I honestly started thinking "oh no -- what have I done!" Followed by -- "baby can't you just stay inside another 6 months maybe then I will feel ready".

We left for the hospital at 10:45 when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, for more than an hour. When we got there I was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor and all the sudden the experience really started to feel surreal. I also felt detached from the whole process -- all the while I started to think - what if I don't make a good parent? What if my life changes too drastically? Things progressed along and I finally got an epidural around 3:30 pm (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the epidural.)

At 7:20 I started pushing. This is when I really started to feel like I was not even mentally there. During the delivery my doctor was talking to me about the show "Flipping Out" and we were laughing about some of the interesting personalities. It was a total distraction from the exhaustion that I felt. My husband later told me that was the most unexpected thing that here I was having a baby and had HGTV on in the background and was discussing a real estate show with my OB/GYN. At 8:05 Leila was born. MY first reaction was relief -- I was thankful it was over, and tired and really hungry.

And then they handed me my daughter. And I looked at her and felt like she was this little creature that I didn't know what to do with. The nurse showed me how to breastfeed her -- and I thought it was the weirdest sensation. I was expecting to be flooded with feelings of love and affection -- and yet I really didn't feel any of that initially.

At the hospital I delivered at they never take the baby out of your room (unless there is a problem with the baby) so from delivery to checkout she's there. Which is great -- except when you are so tired and all your baby wants to do is cry.

The day after delivery was the hardest. Physically I felt bad and then Leila refused to breastfeed. And I started getting worried and nervous. In fact she went 13 hours without eating. And I tried to feed her every 2 hours -- to say I was frustrated would put it mildly. I was also angry. I'm not sure at who -- her or me. And I seriously considered giving up on breastfeeding and it hadn't even been 24 hours since delivery!

Luckily we kept trying and then miraculously she finally got the hang of it. I am so glad I decided to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is what started the bonding process between Leila and I. The skin-to-skin contact made me feel better.

Fortunately all the feelings I had about not knowing who this creature was, was unfounded. I am madly in love with my baby now ... so next up how I overcame the emotions I was feeling.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how glad I am that I found your blog. I am pregnant and on Lamictal, too, and I am staying on it. I blog already, but not about this topic. I am going to start, because I think it is so important for women to have support making decisions like this. I'm not comfortable signing in with a blogger name because most of the people I know aren't aware that I am bipolar, since I've always been high functioning. My brother died from this disease, so telling my family and others that I suffer from it would frighten them. I certainly don't want to tell them over the internet. Anyway, I will start a blog on this soon and leave you that information. I hope we can get in touch via e-mail at some point, because I think it could really help us both. For now, my name is Iris.

Rachel said...

Hi Rachael,

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Rachel
Massachusetts General Hospital
Center for Women's Mental Health
Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Program

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