Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Holding Hands: Smirker's birth story

I never wrote down my girls’ birth stories. I thought it was about time I did. I’ll try to get as many details as I can right It’s been a while! It’s Smirker’s fourth birthday today (and also mine incidentally). Though she was second born, she gets her story out there first. Here’s to you, birthday buddy.

September 17, 2009- It was about a week before my due date. I was really happy I had gotten that far. Love Monster was born five weeks early and I did not want to go through that again. We knew it was a girl. Though nobody else did. We had a bit of a scare with the triple screen test and were advised to get an amnio. Everything ended up coming back fine, but at the time I needed some immediate good news. So I found out the sex. Everyone else thought we were waiting. It was our little secret. My brother and sister-in-law were in town visiting from Chicagoland. I was feeling good. I was soaking up the last days I’d have with Love Monster as an only child. Man she really was a wild child. (Still is, but, man, back then she really had no restraint.) We were hanging out in the backyard when I started feeling contractions. Now I had a lot Braxton Hicks going on so I thought it was nothing. But I had my sister in law time them anyway and they were coming pretty regularly. Still I thought nothing of it. Two and a half year old Love Monster was keeping me busy not staying still and knocking over everyone’s drinks. That night my sister-in-law met up with a friend and my bro, Smirker’s dad and I hung out at the house. I put Love Monster to sleep. I remember that kiss goodnight. I think I knew inside this would be the last goodnight song I’d sing just to her. (Good night… Good night… again I’d say good night I love my Mack I love her face, I want to kiss her all over the place…) About 10pm my brother headed back to the hotel. Smirk’s dad went to bed. I don’t know if it was the sudden quiet in the house (when Love Monster goes to bed the silence is deafening), but that’s when the contractions started feeling… real. I paged the doc. I called my brother who had just gotten back to the hotel and told them they had to come back and watch LM. It was time.

Between it being four years ago and my mind not feeling clear for obvious reasons, things get a little spotty here.

The car ride. I remember the song “Lighting Crashes” by Live was playing and I hastily changed the channel.

The hospital. We checked in and there was craploads of paperwork. And they kept saying. “What’s your birthdate?” September 18. “Oh wow! You guys are going to have the same birthday.” I remember not really realizing that until that moment. I never thought that would happen. Pretty cool. Me, the normally “I need a lot of attention on my birthday” person was not around. I felt pretty stoked to share.

Birthing room. I waited until 1 am to get an epidural. Sweet relief. It felt very smooth. I remember feeling on a different plane. I know that sounds hokey. But I felt that way. It was a good thing. I felt like my body knew exactly what it was doing. Working just as it should. No nervousness like with LM. It didn’t feel foreign. At 4:15am I pushed out Smirker. Perfect. Tiny. Adorable. A mess of dark hair. Beautiful, melty chocolate eyes. (And no episodemy. YEAH!)

She was here. My birthday sister.

Her dad went back to LM who would wake up not even knowing we had left since everything went so fast.

And then… I started to feel not so right. And I didn’t know how to articulate it to anyone. The pediatrician came in to check on Smirker and she gave me a concerned look, “Are you okay?” I didn’t know the pain was so clear on my face. Truthfully I don’t think I realized I was in pain until then. “No, I’m not,” I said. And she walked quickly to get the nurse. The nurse looked at me. I probably mumbled out something to her. I don’t really remember, but I do remember she said: You just had a baby. You’re going to feel a little pain.

But I had had a baby before. I knew I wouldn’t feel like running a marathon but this was different. Something was wrong. Here’s where things get very foggy. I remember bullet points.
·      I moved rooms. More of a group recovery room. Don’t have any idea why. But Smirker was there so I concentrated on her face.
·      Suppository shoved up the bootie. It felt like shards of glass.
·      I kept looking at Smirks to keep calm.
·      My belly hurt. A lot.
·       Back in my room.
·      Ultrasound


Then my doctor arrived. She said very kindly, “This is going to hurt. You have blood clots and I have to pull them out.” That’s exactly what it sounds like. I gripped the nurse’s hands. I was grateful that she was a petite Asian woman with small hands, but that was some serious pain. I do not recommend hands up the hoo ha. She pulled out 3 or 4 giant blood clots. I had been bleeding internally and no one knew it.

Everyone was glad that was over, especially me. I held and breast fed Smirker then tried to sleep.  When I woke, I still felt pretty hazy. To be expected I guess. Smirk’s dad brought me my favorite chicken parm dinner from Carmine’s, but I didn’t have the energy to eat it. I lay back in the bed. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t find my voice. I remember feeling like I was fading away. That is what it felt like, like I would just disappear in the bed. I kept my hand in Smirker’s bassinet. Sounds around me were muted. I was cold. Not the normal “Beth is annoyingly cold all the time” cold, but bone deep cold. I do remember thinking. Oh yeah, it’s my birthday. Yay. I know my girls’ dad grabbed the nurse and said things still weren’t right. He sounded far away. At 5am they finally took a blood count. They calmly told me, I had lost over a liter and a half of blood and I needed a transfusion. I had been hemorrhaging all day. The nurses told me later, when they saw the count they had panicked a little at the nurse’s station.

The transfusion. Well that was awesome. Like really awesome. I literally felt myself coming back to life. I totally get the vampire thing. I certainly felt reborn that day. And through this whole thing, little Smirker was there, waiting, perfectly calm. I was completely present with her and did as much as I could that first day until I couldn’t. I missed a few diaper changes and feedings that first 24 hours. But her eyes and soul got me through it. Thank you for holding my hand and continuing to hold it. I love you so much my girl. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, best birthday present ever (minus the whole blood loss thing). 

Love Monster meeting Smirker for the first time.  

 And perhaps my favorite picture of the two of them. I mean seriously!!! I call it "the accidental flip off."