**This is the third part of a two part series: Labor And Delivery (Because the fun doesn't end after a baby falls out of your hoo-ha). A lot of people have been asking me about my experiences so I thought I'd share. DISCLAIMER--if you have no interest in reading about labor or my labor, you should stop here. Things will get pretty graphic** We did our skin-to-skin bonding and all that jazz. They whisked her away to the pediatrician for standard testing and routine newborn care.
I was in my new mama glee. I barely realized my doctor working away feverishly under the sheet.
"What's going on down there? Is it the placenta?"
"No, you already passed that, it's right over there, " she motioned towards a Stainless Steel table. "I'm actually stitching you up. Your little girl came out like Superman, with her arm straight out in front of her. Well, she grabbed hold on her way out, and, well, I'm just stitching you up. Totally normal. Nothing to freak out about."
So I stared at my doctor, who at this point, started to resemble a skilled seamstress. I almost felt like Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas who was always sewing herself back up again. It wasn't terrible, though. I still couldn't feel a thing.
"Nurse, I need a Popsicle please."
I was determined to milk this hospital stay for all it was worth.
Soon enough, I was all stitched up and ready to make my transition to the recovery ward. The nurse came back to prep me.
"Your epidural is going to wear off soon. Before it does, I'm going to have to remove your catheter, and you are going to have to go to the bathroom to pee at some point. You are going to think you can walk, but I guarantee you will fall. Do not attempt to get off this bed unless I am here."
It started feeling less like a relaxing stay at the private hospital birthing suite and more like baby bearing boot camp. Wait. The epidural ends? I need to talk to your supervisor.
The nurse came back in a while later and untaped the bag of pee from my leg then removed my catheter. Slowly I began to regain sensation. The only thing I remember feeling at this point was sore. I wiggled my toes and raised my legs. I was ready to use the bathroom, or so I thought.
I waited for my nurse to come back even though I was sure I didn't need her. She instructed me to slowly get off the bed and gradually put weight on my legs. I followed her instructions. I was standing on my own. Clearly she had no idea what she was talking about.
I took my first step, wobbled, and fell. She caught me before I could fall to the floor. She was right, I accepted defeat. I hobbled over to the bathroom with her supporting most of my weight. I sat on the toilet and waited.
"Do you need to pee? "
"Yes, actually, I really need to pee but nothing is happening."
"You need to pee before you leave this room because they're going to give you a catheter in recovery and you are going to feel it. You don't want to feel it. You need to pee."
The added pressure was not helping the situation. I pictured waterfalls and rivers. Nothing. I pushed. Nothing.
"I just can't pee. I really need to but I can't. I don't know what else to tell you."
She helped me back to my bed and brought me a 32oz jug of water. I chugged it. She brought me another 32oz jug. I chugged that. She brought me a third 32oz jug. I made it through half of it.
"I really need to pee. Really bad."
She helped me hobble over to the bathroom. Still nothing.
The recovery nurses arrived with a wheelchair to transport me to their unit. I could hear my nurse whispering to them, "she hasn't peed. She's going to need to pee." I felt like a toddler being forced to pee before bedtime for fear of wetting the sheets.
As soon as I got to the recovery room, the nurses took me to the bathroom.
"We're going to let you try one last time, but if you still can't, you're going to need a catheter. "
I could feel my bladder about to explode, but I still couldn't pee. There was no use trying. I told the nurses to go ahead with the catheter because I really need to pee and it clearly wasn't happening on its own.
They helped me up onto the bed and both nurses stood between my spread legs. One nurse got the catheter ready.
"Hold my hand, this is going to hurt."
"It can't hurt any worse than what I'm feeling right now, plus I really really need to pee so let's just get it over with."
"One, two, three! "
I felt pressure, then nothing. The nurse looked at me.
"We missed. Everything is just so swollen, we missed your urethra. It's actually swollen shut. We put the catheter in your vagina by mistake. But what I'm going to do is I'll just leave it in there, so I know where not to put the next one."
That was the most absurd thing I had ever heard. Two experienced nurses couldn't put in one catheter. I knew my vulva probably looked like it had gone through a blender, but that was no excuse.
I waited for them to prep another catheter.
"One, two, three!"
Instant relief. The urine flowed into a huge container and slowly filled it up.
Once my bladder was empty, one nurse brought me my hospital issue underwear, and the other nurse brought me an "ice pack", which looked like crushed ice wrapped in a paper towel. Padsicles are real? I instantly regretted not having any Padsicles prepped and ready in my freezer. The ice pack felt like heaven against my inflamed lady-bits.
I struggled to get comfortable. The nurses brought Mimi in for a feeding. It wasn't one of those magical baby crawl moments I envisioned where the baby would find its own way to the nipple. Instead, one nurse held Mimi, one nurse held my breast, one nurse used a suction cup on my nipple to get the colostrum going, and one nurse stood in the corner coaching me. It was awkward. I started having post-labor contractions while breastfeeding and it added to my level of discomfort.
V took Mimi after her feeding while I focused on my cocktail of medication. I took my laxative (apparently the first post-baby poop is... Difficult) and my pain medication. My pain immediately melted away and I fell asleep until the next morning.
The next day I opted out of the magic pain-killing pill because I needed to be awake and present to bond with my precious baby. The rest of my stay was painful yet uneventful, and V and I just couldn't wait to head home with our little bundle.
My recovery took a full 6 weeks. I gained a whole new level of respect for my mother.
....And then the hospital bill came.
Thank God for health insurance.