Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Worth Remembering

[Warning: The graphic and boring nature of this post may nauseate/put you to sleep. It’s written as a continuation of my efforts to journal about times I’m sure to eventually forget. After reading this you may wonder why I’d want to remember.]

Now where were we? Oh yes, Sierra was born. On Thursday August 13, 1998 at 9:52 p.m. This was the start of a rough few weeks for me. I was happy to have my girl but nothing seemed to go anywhere near as planned. To begin with, my hospital experience was awful. Never before or since have I had nurses that were anything but helpful and kind but this was nuts. My catheter wasn’t emptied when it needed to be and if I pushed a call button for help, it took a very long time to hear from someone. I remember vividly pushing that button at a time when Sierra was crying and it was very painful to get up. No one came so I stood up to make my way over to her. As I did, the catheter leaked all over my feet. When the nurse walked in to see what I wanted, I explained and asked if she minded changing Sierra’s diaper. She said I needed to do it myself because soon I wouldn’t have other people to rely on. I couldn’t believe it. The same woman lectured me, gosh, how do I put this delicately? If I didn’t have any luck in the bathroom department, I wouldn’t be going home. I really wanted out of there and I found myself in tears praying for it to happen. Add this to all the hormonal issues that would be sort of expected after giving birth and I was a train wreck. When my doctor came to see me Saturday morning I asked him if I could just go home now. Please. He didn’t like the idea but gave in.

It seemed like things were improving till we got to the car to leave. We had my brother’s Nissan 240SX and it was small enough that the car seat would only fit if the seat in front of it was pulled all the way forward. I had the honors as Michael needed leg room to drive. I wasn’t comfortable but oh well. Then something really weird happened. I completely lost my mind. I totally freaked out. I had a full blown claustrophobia-induced panic attack right there in the car. I’ve never experienced anything like it before in my life. It was scary as heck.

Michael flew out the next day and I began life caring for two kids. In retrospect I kind of amaze myself—why didn’t I ask for help? I’d only had a c-section just three days before. I guess I didn’t think my mom could take time away from the office. But anyway, Sierra was an awesome baby, sleeping four hours at a stretch and she’d go back to sleep right after nursing at night. It should’ve been bliss, I mean I had oxycodone from the surgeon and hydrocodone from my doctor. What else did I need? (Truth be told, I actually hoarded those and at a few later dates was sort of glad I did.) What I needed was a breast pump.

I was in some serious pain in that upper region and I knew I needed a serious, medical-grade electric breast pump. I called the hospital but theirs were all rented out. I called everywhere I could think of but with the UPS strike, they simply weren’t available. The next best thing would be a battery-operated option so I picked one up at Tim’s Pharmacy. And it didn’t do a darned thing. Turned out to be part of a recall. So anyway, I was a pretty touchy, pretending to be happy, grumpy girl for a bit.

Two weeks after Sierra’s birth it was time for the flight home to New Jersey. I’m not sure how I would’ve managed if my mom hadn’t come along with us. She sat with Michael Jr. near the middle of the plane and I sat with Sierra on my lap in a window seat in the last row. Now this shouldn’t have been a problem. I’d flown across country several times with Michael Jr. and each time I sat in a window seat with him on my lap. But clearly, I was still in a very bad place. As soon as someone sat next to me, I began to panic. I can’t get out. I can’t get out. I can’t get out. This thought bombarded me in an endless loop. I didn’t know what do to. When the tears began to spring from my eyes, I pushed a button above my head for help. A flight attendant arrived and asked what I needed. I told her I needed to move. I couldn’t sit there. I was completely embarrassed and the tears wouldn’t stop. She told me that she was sorry but we were ready to leave and there wasn’t another seat available. Additional panic. Then a lady in front of me asked if I’d please take her husband’s aisle seat; he’d love to sit by the window. An angel from heaven. She talked me down from that cliff I felt I was on and got me through the flight. This is the part that’s worth remembering. This is what I hope I never forget.

1 comment:

  1. What horrible nurses! I'm sorry that you had that experience.


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