Now, I know that maybe a 'c-section is a c-section' but your birth has a story too, and I want to share it.
Wednesday night, the day before Fiona's birth, her grandparents took the boys so that Jason and I could have an evening to ourselves. It was a little bit emotional to pack them up and see them off. How big they were! How much bigger they would seem when we'd see them next! But nonetheless, we enjoyed a quiet dinner at home together marveling, speculating, and anticipating the next days and weeks ahead. We sang together, we prayed together, we dreamt together, and then went to our favourite local spot (Wendels) for dessert and book browsing. It was lovely. Sweet, relaxing, and memorable.
The next day dawned and we went off to the hospital. Our home cleaned and prepped, our hearts ready to receive this new gift. We waited, tried to pass time, and then almost as if going to the dentist or something like that, I walked into the operating room and sat down.
The next 48 hours were impressively hard. The spinal procedure was painful, and once the medication took effect my blood pressure plummeted and I was nauseous and felt horrible. It was scary and overwhelming. I got very emotional, as I tried to cope with the procedure, trying to be brave but also wanting desperately to know that Fiona would be okay. Jason came in and stayed with me as I cried a Mommy's tears and waited for 'news.'
Then she was born and she was screaming and crying. Good lungs! Strong heart! I was so concerned she would be too little because I was growing very little in the weeks leading up to her 'early' arrival (10 days before her due date) but there she was, 7 lbs 2 oz. The surge of relief and emotion that followed was incredible. Like falling headlong into love and fear at the same time. My heart all at once vulnerable again!
We journeyed to the recovery room which was quite challenging. It was very difficult to get Fiona to nurse while lying flat. And very uncomfortable. The hours to follow were filled with quite a bit of pain, discomfort, and itchiness (as happened with the boys). My physical misery only matched by my emotional love for this new little girl.
The boys came later to meet their sister and that bent my heart in new ways. Silas was a perfect older brother- marveling at his sister, holding, snuggling, 'oohing' and 'aaahing.' I was so proud of him! Toby was not so happy. He didn't want Mommy or Daddy and was grumpy and removed. He liked Fiona okay but suddenly he was not the happy, bonded boy anymore. He looked rejected. My heart was breaking a little already. He was my baby, and still a baby in so many ways in my eyes. We had such a special bond together, it was hurting me to see him acting rejected. I wanted to cuddle him, hold him, reassure him, kiss and wrestle him but my wounded body couldn't get close to his combative one.
The next day's visit was much the same. In a tidal wave of emotions (hormones?) I had a mini meltdown watching Toby. It was very difficult for this Momma's heart to be both embracing a new lovely child but also to see your older child feel rejected. The room was crowded with our family but I was in the bathroom sobbing my eyes out. I spent the next few hours in terrible pain and bawling. This was a low point for me.
Another night passed, and the peaceful days with Jason in the hospital were also filled with physical triumphs and physical lows. Getting up! Moving! Getting the IV out! Showering! But agonizing nursing, engorgement, incision pain, sleeplessness, back spasms... New motherhood post c-section is just soooo hard.
We left after two days in the hospital and came home bringing treats for the boys. Fiona gave them some gifts in the hospital but I might have been wanting to 'win them back.' I was delighted and relieved to very quickly see Toby 'rebound' to having his mom and dad together at home. This twinkly boy and his loving older brother have been embracing Fiona and watching with wonder at the changes, the bathing, the nursing, and all the little aspects of having a newborn around. It's been wonderful to see. It's hard to see your 'baby' become your middle child though.
And so we're settling into this season. Right now it is pure survival. Baby 'stuff' has filled every room, our living room has become my 'home' as I'm a prisoner of the downstairs and I spend all my time feeding Fiona or doctoring my many wounds. Jason is on 'boy' duty and runs around after them trying to keep them entertained and off of me! Usually I have a delighted audience when I try to nurse which can be amusing and overwhelming.
Fiona is gaining weight, a bit jaundiced, but very healthy. She seems to have figured out how to sleep through most of the day quite nicely but at night time she's ready to be awake and alert (arg). It's musical beds right now- everyone everywhere at different times. We're piecing together sleep but never enough. I love trying Fiona's little outfits on her (although she delights in spitting up on them immediately afterwards). She hates being clothed or unclothed and gets herself all worked up in quite a little fit, and turns a mighty shade of red and has the cutest girly sneeze you've ever heard. One of the first times she opened her eyes, Toby exclaimed "blue eyes, like mine!" Silas laughed hysterically when he saw how Fiona was to be fed and Toby, mortified, said "why baby eating mommy??" I love when the boys are outside and the first thing they do is run in and ask "where is fiona?" or Toby says "where MY baby?" Toby has also determined that I am no longer able to call him 'baby' and is very adamant that 'I not baby.'
We've been very blessed with some visits with friends and families and have dove into our freezer crock pot meals (thanks to our life group!) So grateful for her safe arrival. Praying for these first blurry weeks to gracefully pass and for each area of my pain to be relieved. Everyone said that this 'planned' c-section would be 'so much better' than my other two. I haven't found this to be the case. It's been every bit as hard, every bit as arduous, and every bit as emotional. The only difference was that there was less panic and anxiety going into it.
Our life will never be the same again, thank you Jesus for this beautiful gift.