I read an article on cesarean sections as I lay forever awake in the hospital - roused by endless beeping, wails from the nursery, checkers of my vital-signs, the whir of the IV pump, the tubes coming and going in and out of me. It stated that cesarean section mothers are less responsive to their newborns than mothers who give birth vaginally - because of the lack of oxytocin experienced in labor and delivery. I was fascinated - not offended. I remembered the rush of love that swamped me when Colette was born. I was literally overcome. I couldn't read news articles or talk to people for about three weeks without crying about it. So, here I was 24 hours after a cesarean wondering how this little Romy lady and I were going to fare without that oxytocin.
I had just been through a science fiction birth. I walked into a blinding room - metal and sharp edges and cold instruments and eyes peering out of blue bands (the only human part was Xavier's big brown eyes and eyelashes hovering over my head, every blink a salve for my increasing disquiet) - and 10 minutes later a baby was wailing like a tiger and my midsection was being pulled and rolled over by a bulldozer (without any pain) and suddenly a charming woman in glasses came over looking for a formal introduction (a pediatrician, I guess) and then Xavier was allowed to present small baby to me and I could gaze at her sideways while wanting to scream: "stop tugging!" Romy: I apologize, our initial introduction was not up to the occasion.
No, a cesarean is not something I will ever understand, having provided both passages out.
That time that I threw up violently at work about a month ago - that was when Romy flipped head up in my belly. Or so we think. Had we been more thorough in checking baby's position, we most certainly could have "turned" her at 36 weeks, but by 39 weeks, impossible. Perhaps I was leaking amniotic fluid - there was close to none left. No chance to turn her and no chance to get her out any other way than the sci fi version. Alas, I had wanted a simplified birth version to uproot the other one in my mind and body, but instead I got the non-birth, the tech version of the tale - leaving me feeling raw and resentful. At least it was a clean incision.
Back to Romy. When she drinks I can see dimples in her cheeks like her papa and her little furry head makes me think I am sleeping with a woodland creature on my chest - who whimpers and purrs and charms through her endless dream routine. She is divine. Now that we are about a week into the whole thing, I must disagree with the findings of that article. I am totally in love. I am only less responsive because it takes me so long to sit up or do anything really. Plenty of oxytocin running through these veins.
My mom has swooped in and has taken Colette in her arms to bestow all the "holdings", story-book readings, piggy back rides, baths and full on love I wanted to pour all over her while I was in the hospital and since I've been a bit bed focused at home. And with Marguerite, my mom has encircled her in every element of getting to know baby Romy and the games and fun she has with Colette. This is something she has always done for this little French girl. The care my mom gives is incredible because she considers what you need, not what she thinks you need and she fulfills it that way. And Stephen, my dream of a brother, is here almost every day bringing treats and Uncle John and endless rounds of hide and seek for the girls. I feel sorry for myself for a few minutes and then decide against it understanding that this is an ideal recovery situation.
Colette. When she walked into the hospital to visit and meet Romy for the first time I just sobbed. She had transformed into a toddler girl - there was no trace of baby left. I was bowled over and so sad that my baby Colette had disappeared and I hadn't properly said goodbye, thinking she would still be there on the other side. It was like the passing of a love affair - I had so forcefully loved that baby. The Colette who stood on that hospital bed, wholeheartedly ignoring baby Romy, was an independent girl. Independent girl + the entrance of baby + a debilitated mom = a thousand times more "no" (although she has been saying a very tight and firm, "no thanks" - a funny and amiable version) and much more generally unrecognizable other forms of bad behavior. This is not Colette. Or it is a very new, very oafish version of my little love. A transition was inevitable. Just tricker when you can't pick up the monster for a little "hold-you".