I can’t believe I actually had the gall to this a summary. This is legit longer than any actual birth story that I have read! For the 3 (optimistic estimate) of you who are actually still reading this, my apologies. I have deceived you.
I clearly had to make a Part 2, though, bc how depressing would it be to end my birth story summary (lololol) with the words, “I saw a very blue, eerily quiet baby.” Bad Mom Award Winner Forever.
I think about 20 minutes passed, of which I have absolutely no memory as I was flying high on the aforementioned anxiety medicine. Shaine was with Jolie in a different room so there’s no one to tell me if I started belting show-tunes or challenged the cadaver-nurse to a sword fight or whatever. My best guess is I slept. Eventually, they wheeled me into a room that blessedly held no trays full of knives and torches and other such instruments and I lay there for a few minutes until someone wheeled her in. My baby. My Jolie.
She’s in this little cradle thing and I reach my hand out to her and she actually (honestly, not making this up) reaches her little hand back out to me and it’s this wonderful, miraculous moment that I will never ever forget. I ask the nurse if I can hold her, as I have literally not even touched her at this point, and she goes, “um, you’re kinda shaky.” Which is an understatement. The uncontrollable flapping has ceased, thanks be to God, but now I’m trembling from head to foot, teeth chattering and all. But still. Give me my baby, lady! She tentatively hands her to me and right away Jolie starts making this fishy-gulping movement with her mouth and I say, “I think she wants to nurse,” to which the aforementioned emotional robot/nurse replies, “She’s never going to nurse right now. She’s way too groggy.” A statement I flatly ignore, pulling down my robe, and bam! Contact is made, baby nurses, and continues nursing for the next hour or so. Casey 1, Robot Nurse 0.
The more I think about this birth, the more I realize how truly awful it was. I spent the next 3 days in a recovery room with a handful of other newly made mothers, none of whom I saw even once as we were all separated by curtains. I was not once cleaned, given a way to brush my teeth (I couldn’t really walk due to the c section so I couldn’t get to a sink), or had any of the multitudes of sticky hospital pads attached to me removed. When I was finally released to go home, I was still covered (covered) in dry blood from the labor and my husband had to get in the shower with me and scrub it all off as I had limited mobility from the C section. The first night I spent in the recovery room they did not want to leave Jolie with me (still not sure why) so I told them to bring her to me every time she cried so I could nurse her. I hate myself now for not being more assertive about keeping her with me. This hospital was seriously over-crowded so who knows how quick they were to bring her me when she cried. She could have cried for hours and I never would have known. Also, there was no point in separating us if the reason was to let me rest after all the trauma as I can never sleep after I’ve had a baby and so I just laid there, alone (there was nowhere for Shaine to sleep and he was exhausted, having barely slept for 2 days), obsessing over the fear that someone might steal my baby.
I know, I know, it could have been worse. We’re both alive. I suppose I could have given birth in a pig pen underneath a bucking rodeo bull, but still. It was hardly ideal. Jolie has always had this grit about her, like she could survive anything. Maybe her terrible entry into this world has something to do with that. Anyway, that’s my birth novella. Stay tuned for birth 2, which thankfully does not occur in a Soviet-era Russian hospital (aka Sacramento, CA).
So so so so so worth it. My special angel. My gift from God. My Jolie Charlene.