It took me a week of reminding myself how great it was to be a part of my son’s birth before I could admit that the VBAC was a good decision. From the moment he was born I was done with the pain; the pain, however, was not done with me. Somehow I had it in my mind that once the delivery was over the pain would be gone.
I was incredibly deceived and felt that everyone had lied to me. The books all talked about taking it easy and hiring a maid during the first couple of weeks home, but they all seemed to slant it with “so you can bond with your baby.” The recovery from a cesarean, they all seemed to say, was the only recovery that was seriously debilitating. It didn’t help that I had some very energetic friends who were up and walking around shortly after giving birth.
It was another day before I could go to the bathroom and several days before I could do so without crying. I could only waddle for short distances and standing still is still painful as gravity is not my friend. I discovered the dark, unglamourous side of childbirth: donuts, ice packs, peri bottles, and Preparation H, in addition to copious amounts of Tylenol. I hated having to be waited on hand and foot and I hated not even being able to diaper my own children. I hated my battle between taking enough medication that I felt okay, and not taking so much that the baby was drousy. And I just couldn’t believe the pain.
I had only one freak-out, and it was fairly mild as it was after I had heard Elder Holland’s talk about not complaining. (“No problem” he said, “is so bad that it can’t be made worse by whining about it.”) But why wasn’t I getting any better? Why was it still so hard and so painful? I had been prepared for a long recovery when they wheeled me into surgery for Little Red, but nothing prepared me for a painful recovery from a “normal” birth.
As soon as I started feeling better, physically and emotionally, we landed ourselves in lactation problems. To the endless game of supply and demand we added nipple confusion. With 19 months of successful breastfeeding under my belt I immediately applied all the advice my instinct gave, then when I finally had a minute, sat down with the internet. La Leche League International, Dr. Sears, and others all supported my theories, as did my friend who has overcome several latch issues of her own. I should have stopped reading then, but continued reading more about breastfeeding problems, just enough to make me crazy. What I needed to remember was not to compare Early Bird’s technique with that of Little Red’s at 19 months, after all Early Bird has only been doing this for a few days, and when Little Red was young we basically lived on the couch for three months.
In the end, I think we’re all doing better. I’m learning to forget the bumbling, forgetful nurses, and with time I’m forgetting the pain. I did three days at home by myself (no help), although for two of those mornings Little Red was wisked away to play with friends. It helps that he is the sweetest big brother and truly loves Early Bird. It also helps that it’s the weekend: my husband is home and his Dad is back in town for a few days. The key for me is to just not think, everytime I do I go crazy.