Saturday, March 3, 2012

The most difficult weeks of my life.

(This post was written 3 weeks ago).  It has been 7 weeks since Sage was born.  Seven of the darkest most difficult weeks of my life.  Don't get me wrong, Sage is simply the best thing ever to have happened - to have arrived in my life, but I never thought I would be taxed and tested in ways like this.

After Sage flew out of me in the hospital, I was in shock - immense, engrossing, fulfilling happiness, and shock.  Shock that she had arrived so easily, that she was so beautiful, that I loved her so intensely, shocked that she was So perfect.  I could not believe my good fortune.  While Sage slept I stared at her in awe and gratitude.

While Sage slept, endless nurses and tecks came to visit, a whole whirlwind of life I could have done without seemed to envelop me.  Firstly I found I could not pee - and spent hours trying to - only just avoiding being catheterized.  I won't mention either the stool softener which seemed to make my anus as tight as a ball of fire!

Then there was the argument which seemed to involve half the hospital staff (I exaggerate of course) but it did include the hospital administrator - because I had declined a number of the routine procedures for baby (such as erithromiacin in the eyes - and the hep B vaccine etc).  At one point they decided they would go ahead without my consent - until that is - my hard headed doula spoke up for me.  She reminded them that I had all my paperwork in order - and of course they could go ahead against my wishes, but that there would naturally be legal consequences!  It was then that I realized why it had been the right thing to hire her.

Breastfeeding did not come easily.  A nurse told me she had the perfect latch.  When Sage came off the nipple I had two big blisters - that are still evident today.  Eventually someone suggested I use a pump.  This was when I met the lovely nurse who looked to be about 8 months pregnant - with a baby which she later told me was to be born dead.  I heard her whole story - I felt so guilty to have such a perfect baby, and know that hers would not make it.

Between stuffing down vast quantities of the absolutely fabulous food they served at my hospital, and staring at my baby, I realized it was nearly time to be discharged and I had still not slept.  In fact I didn't sleep for 5 more days.  It took a trip to the emergency room, where I was badly treated, because for some reason they thought I was a suicide case - or that I might have harmed the baby.  I was not allowed to use the bathroom - or drink any water.  People treated me like I was crazy - In fact I was.  By the time I was discharged I was so dehydrated and tired I couldn't recognize my friend who had come to pick me up - or give directions to my house - which is only a matter of minutes away.

Later we found out I had a severe case of thrush - baby too.  Somehow everything seemed to go wrong.  I got home and had to call people out for the washing machine, garbage disposal, replace the boiler, car etc.  The lovely colleague who was staying with me to help - who I have known for years , and absolutely love - turned out to have what I could only describe as early stage alzheimers.  She was No help at all.

Suddenly because of the thrush, I lost my taste - nothing tasted good.  It was three prescriptions before they managed to give me the right drug.  My nipples were So painful - and it was days before someone  suggested I could have a bra to hold the milking apparatus.

Later I would have to battle through more insomnia, and resultant confusion, psychosis, paranoia - and we won't forget a horrendous week of mastitis.  I will make a special post about mastitis later.  As I am writing this now I realize I don't want to remember how awful things were.  And sadly I actually don't remember a lot of the wonderful and amazing people who came to visit me and deliver tremendous kindness and gorgeous gifts during this time.  I think I should wait till a time this nightmare is further away - in a past that can never come back to remember to recount exactly what happened.


  1. Thankfully it has been 3 weeks since I wrote this and things have gotten TONS better. I am currently trying to get some nice pics of Sage to post for her 10 weeks birthday! i.e. I have time to actually Do stuff and enjoy -other the just survive!

  2. So sorry to hear about the rather rough start. I hope things are perking up, and I look forward to some cute pictures of your little girl!

  3. My gosh! I am very sorry those first many weeks were so awful! I hope things get better & better for you.

  4. I am glad that things are getting better for you. And, I can't wait to see more pictures of your beautiful girl.

    Where did you deliver? Since I am in the same area and I don't want the erythromycin or hep B vaccine at birth, I would like to know which hospital was trying to override your wishes. If you would rather not post it here, I can give you my email address.

    Amy (whom you met at the Choice Moms seminar)

  5. I was checking almost daily for another post for you, and was worried about how things were going. People like to talk about the 'miracle of birth' and how wonderful things are, but they seldom mention all the sad or awful things they experience, because, just like you said, they only want to forget about them. I wish more women would share that childbirth is NOT magical and perfect, and that afterwards you're lonely and terrified and in pain, despite the blessed little bundle of joy.

    I love seeing another picture, and can't wait for more. And I hope that you are getting SOME help, from someone/somewhere. And that you've got udder cream, and that you are getting a little sleep if you can.

    Take lots of pictures, no matter what you're going to forget things and the pics will make you feel better. Hang in there.

  6. Well, first of all, she's absolutely beautiful! I bet you can't stop looking at her! But, WOW, what a time you've had! I don't know why everyone thinks that as soon as a woman has a baby, we become suicidal or something. Do they not realize how difficult those first several weeks are? And, how crazy we become with no sleep? I hope everything has improved, now, and that you are hanging in there! In retrospect, the reality is that it's worth all the pain in the world to see that healthy little girl! But, boy, it's no fun going through it! Hopefully, it's just a memory now.

  7. how are things going? haven't heard from you in ages!