Time, time, where art thou? Monday it'll already be three weeks since Rosa was born, and the days just seem to be filled with feeding her, putting her to sleep, putting ourselves to sleep (a pretty important one too, I've already learned!) and meeting with friends and family to show them our lovely little one. Even though I think in general Rosa is a relatively relaxed and easy baby, it's been pretty labour-intensive so far. Two days ago we went to the supermarket with her (my very first trip 'somewhere' after Rosa's birth), and that was already quite a journey... So right now we just stick to cocooning at home. We've been lucky that Helmut could take quite some time off from work, so when he has to go back to work Rosa will already be almost a month old. It's been good to really do this first part together (we have a strict regime of me doing the breastfeeding and Helmut changing her diapers and clothes; it works very well, but I guess I'll really have to adjust to doing both parts once Helmut will go to work again!).
Anyway, Rosa's birth... Let me stop whining about how long ago it already seems in these scarce minutes of spare time that I have and tell you a bit about how it all went...
As you probably remember, Rosa was in breech presentation by the end of my pregnancy, which put us in the position to decide whether we wanted to try a natural birth or a planned c-section. At first I found that a pretty difficult decision to make: I had always imagined myself giving birth at home under natural circumstances, and now the birth would take place in hospital in the first place, and probably under not very natural circumstances in the second place. The idea of a c-section had always seemed scary, unpleasant and very unnatural to me, and somehow I had always thought of it as something that happened to others instead of to me (you know, somehow you always have this irrational image in your head of 'things that happen to others but not to me', and to me a c-section always felt like one of those things...). But on the other hand we didn't feel very comfortable with the idea of giving birth the natural way to a baby in breech position either: there are health risks involved for the baby (especially when it's your first birth), and there's about fifty percent chance that the birth will end in an emergency c-section anyway.
So we tried to make the right decision, and we quickly found that we tended towards the idea of a planned c-section. The experiences you shared with me here on this blog were of great help with that, I must say. I hardly knew anyone who had a c-section before and had no idea what to expect of it, but hearing your experiences on the matter made it possible for me to get more of a real idea about the options I had. We realized that all that really mattered for us was that our girl would be delivered in the safest possible way, and in the end I didn't really care if that would mean that I would have to recover a little longer or wouldn't be able to have the super-holistic-mother-earth-experience of a non-medical homebirth. And so we decided on a planned c-section, and after carefully making this decision we felt completely okay about it and so far haven't ever regretted it a single second.
The idea of planning a birth was pretty strange though. When I was about 37 weeks pregnant, our gynecologist took the 'c-section agenda' that they apparently have over there (an untidy and chaotic looking little booklet with all the appointments for c-sections written down in it) and while she looked at it with a slightly worried face ('we're already fully booked for the next couple of weeks, let's see what I can do', and then she started making phonecalls...), we were waiting eagerly to hear when our baby would be born. At first she came up with december the 20th, but after some consultation with the assistant she decided that it would be thursday december the 16th. Wow, so december the 16th would be the birth date of our baby... A nice date we thought, since it was exactly eight months after the day -the 16th of april- that we first had a positive pregnancy test.
But even planned births can change, we learned a few days later. December the 9th I was in hospital again for one of my by then almost daily checks, and once again my blood pressure was pretty high. I was seeing another gynecologist this time, and all of a sudden she said: 'What do you think of having your baby a few days earlier, if that would be possible?' I happily said that I liked that idea: by then I was feeling completely tired and swollen, the daily hospital visits had become quite a burden and besides that I could hardly wait to meet our baby (a bad reason for planning a birth early, I know!). The gynecologist found a gap in the surgery schedule on monday december the 13th, and all of a sudden I had to call Helmut to tell him that instead of a week later, our baby would already come right after the weekend!
Completely swollen, one day before Rosa's birth (at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnancy). My hands, feet and face were so swollen I thought I would never get back to normal... But guess what: less than three weeks after birth the swelling is already gone and I can finally wear my normal shoes again!
That weekend was pretty bizarre and we were both feeling weird. I just wished for the time to pass, while on the other hand I thought: shouldn't we spend this last time without the baby in a more symbolic way together? So we went for drinks in the city, but I guess both our minds weren't really there. We even went to visit friends on sunday night, without telling them that we would check into the hospital very early the next morning... It felt pretty exciting to keep such a big secret! (we hadn't told anyone the exact date of the c-section, with all this planning we liked to keep the exact moment of birth a secret to family and friends.)
We also took some last pictures that sunday before Rosa was born: officially huge!
Late sunday night we finally went to bed to catch a last bit of sleep, knowing that when we would wake up we would leave for the hospital to finally meet that amazing mystery of the baby that I had been carrying around for so long...
To be continued!