Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ruminations on pregnany and delivery

This is a pretty important blog post because it's my first since giving birth to my son, Robert James (man that still sounds weird). It's been more than two weeks and I'm not sure it's completely sunk in that this kid is mine and that he's going to be around me like all the time, for like, forever. Well, that may be an overstatement. But you know what I mean.

In any case, bringing Robby into this world has been an amazing, scarey, painful, joyous experience. Through the nine months (41 weeks and two days, but who's counting) until today, his 19th as an ex-utero being, I've learned a lot. Here are some of the highlights:

Our health care system stinks. I've written about this before, but here it is again in a nutshell: Insurance companies have painted doctors into a corner so that they are forced to play medical defense as opposed to really caring for patients. The result is that most of us patients are left with competent, but less than compassionate care. What a bummer.

Too much of having a baby is political. Do you use a pacifier or not? Do you have your son circumcised or not? Do you breastfeed or not? Every professional involved with helping you have a baby clearly has an opinion on these topics, but they've been brow-beaten by the PC club so much that they feel obligated to play it completely neutral, giving you the pros and cons of every little decision. The result is that no one with a degree experience in childbirth actually tells you their honest advice. They give you both sides of every debate and allow you, the one with absolutely no experience, to make ill informed decisions. I wish we could live in a world where a doctor or a nurse could just say, "In my opinion, you should do X, and this is why..." Wouldn't that be nice?

No matter how prepared you are for delivery, you'll never be prepared. I'd like to think I had some sense of what I was in for, but boy was I wrong. And my guess is that every delivery is so different that it's virtually impossible to be prepared for what faces you once the labor process begins. My labor came on a lot faster than I expected. And that delivery playlist that I slaved over creating? Well, it never got used. The only thing you can count on is that the baby will come out, one way or another.

Nurses rock. I was blown away by the nurses at Windham Hospital. I wish I could have visited them once a month for my prenatal checkups rather than my doctor's office. They actually took the time to educate me and my husband about this new life form that was now our responsibility. The labor and delivery nurse who coached me through active labor was amazing. I don't know how she does that job day in and day out. It's like going to war every day. Truly incredible. The doctor arrived for the last two pushes and got to collect her fat paycheck without even breaking sweat. Meanwhile the nurse coached me through delivery like a pro and stuck around to help me afterward.

Babies smell good. I could sniff my son's head all day long.

iPhones make 4 a.m. feedings bearable. I don't know how parents of newborns survived pre-iPhones. I have an app that tells me when to feed my son and I can keep myself entertained (as long as my eyes are open) at all hours of the day while I'm nursing. God bless the iPhone.

Hormones are crazy. I have never felt the level of emotion that I felt in the days following the birth of my son. It was pretty wild. I've since come back down to earth, but boy, hormones sure are powerful.

I have the world's greatest husband and my son has the world's greatest dad. All throughout my pregnancy I was struck by how special it was to share the experience with my husband, Bobby. But I wasn't prepared for the joy I felt in caring for our newborn son as a couple. I'm lucky to have someone like Bobby to be by my side through this journey and Robby's lucky to have him for a dad.

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