When Piper was born things were not at all like we imagined. We had a super cute outfit picked out and knew what morning we would be leaving to bring her back to the comfort of our home. In my head I had all these lovely visions like I assume most mothers do. I don’t know what my husband had imagined, but I do know it sure as hell wasn’t what we were dealt.
See I had to have a C-section, & let me repeat for you super judgmental moms out there that think they shit out rainbows like a unicorn, I HAD TO have a C-section. Looking back at that now, I am once again confirmed that things happen for a reason & it was quiet perfect and enjoyable. Plus my lady bits gets to stay intact as a bonus.
My C-section was scheduled for a Wednesday – 3 days before her due date. I went into labor super early Sunday morning unknowingly, I thought I had poop pains & was popping fiber capsules all day. That night I knew something wasn’t normal by the way she seemed to be freaking out inside of me instead of our usual sleeping routine, plus my lower stomach was cramping harder and I had all of a sudden started shivering. My husband rushed me to labor and delivery. No joke my water broke like a 5 gallon bucket all over the elevator on the way up, we sure made a grand entrance! She was born that Monday morning & we were supposed to go home Wednesday morning.
While in recovery, which surprisingly didn’t faze me like I thought it would, we found out our stay would be cut short. Before we knew that something bad was coming at us insurance said they would allow us to stay and extra day & we accepted. Who wouldn’t lol? Great food, people taking care of you, and let’s face we were scared shitless to leave with her and had no idea what we were doing.
Well, Mother Nature had other plans. After we had made the decision to stay we found out Hurricane Hermine was barreling towards us. We could (A) choose to stay at the hospital and hope that the back up generators worked & receive low priority medical care, or (B) go home and hope for the best there. Now mind you the town we resided in reported that they had not had a hurricane in 30 years. I tell ya this kid and the man above had this planned out to protect us big time!
So that Wednesday night around 10 pm we got discharged and went home. We were both so scared, it was dark out, and she had to go home in warm pajamas and no cute outfit. The next day we watched the Weather Channel for this so-called “hurricane”. Honestly we thought it was a joke. We were so wrong. Thursday night/Friday morning all hell broke loose. The power went out and we had to use candles. I was freaking out and severely sleep deprived. We had to figure out how to assembly the manual breast pump the hospital left us, because I had no batteries for my Medela. My anxiety and paranoia from my ptsd was through the roof. I was praying the complex we lived in was strong enough, because they seemed so cookie cutter built like everything else here. I couldn’t wait for daylight but was scared of what I’d see.
When daylight came it really didn’t look bad at all where we were at, but the power wouldn’t come back on. This has never happened before . Hundreds of dollars of our food stockpile was melting in the fridge/freezer. The temperate began to rise and by noon it was about 80 inside. We were sweating and super worried about the baby. I was very dehydrated, hungry but not hungry, and stressed to the max. I wasn’t making much milk when pumping, but she would breast feed and then eat what I pumped and seemed alright.
We finally heard how bad it was in the town. We still had hope the power would be back on in a few hours though because of the lack of damage on our side of town. My husbands boss invited us to come stay with them until power was back on since they still had power and a/c. So we packed lightly and went. We were so grateful for their help, but honestly this was the last thing I wanted.
You see, they were a stranger to me. I had never met them. They too had children and a large house dog that terrified me. I kept having visions of it eating my baby. Hell, I didn’t even want our Boxer around our baby let alone a strange loose dog. What I wanted was to be left alone with my baby to bond and figure this out. To relax, eat/drink, & nap. To have a hot shower in my own home.
They wanted to see her and hold her and I wasn’t okay with that. My husband tried to convince me it was okay, this made me feel like he wasn’t on my team & that he really didn’t understand what I was going through. At the same time I felt so selfish for trying to hide in their beautiful room with adjoining bathroom they gave us, but I didn’t want her hurt or sick. Lets be real here she was only a few days old.
I REALLY didn’t want to socialize. I had just been sliced open and instead of resting, I was up running around, traveling in a truck, going up stairs and my swelling was getting out of control in my legs and feet. I already had anxiety, depression, & ptsd that had been under control until this happened. I felt so intensely protective of her and convinced bad things were going to happen to her.
It seemed like I was “bat shit crazy” and everyone was looking at me like what’s wrong with her. It felt very misunderstood & there where times I felt my wishes were brushed off by my husband. I know this wasn’t easy for him, he was sleep deprived too and in maybe even a more awkward position that I was. I know he was not intentionally making me feel this way. I did anger me and drive me mad to be felt like I was being pressured into letting her be held or having her out around the dog. I felt like I was failing her. I was putting her immune system at risk and her safety & for what to make someone else feel good?
Then the soft side of me would say how do you justify your feelings when you could be on the streets and sweating to death with a newborn? People had to drive 2-5 hours away for a shitty hotel & lord knows I couldn’t do that after a C-Section. We only had to drive 30 mins to stay for free in a beautiful home with super kind & generous people. They didn’t have to do that for us.
We finally got word about the power, it wasn’t coming back on anytime soon. In fact some places didn’t have power for weeks! We had to stay there for about 4 days before our power came back on. We would make daily trips back to our place which was up 3 flights of stairs by the way to make sure it was okay, get clean clothes, baby items, and to remove the rotting food. I didn’t always go up because my husband would make my stubborn ass stay with the truck.
My milk supply kept decreasing. I didn’t eat much (wasn’t hungry), barley drank, couldn’t really sleep. They would make me food and have it brought to my room via my husband. I would cry. They were so gracious and I am forever thankful to them.
Then my baby would eat & when I would lay her down would randomly start shooting milk out of her mouth. This happened a few times. After about two nights there she started screaming for 3 hours straight and we didn’t know why. We rushed her to the ER at like 1 am just to be told she has re-flux and is starving but otherwise healthy. I had to feed her formula and whatever breast-milk I could produce. I felt like a failing piece of shit mother. At this point I was living on caffeine to stay awake, I couldn’t remember the last time since I went into labor that I had slept more than a few hours a day. I didn’t know what day it was & I literally cried all the time.
At night I started waking up thinking I killed her by loosing her in the blanket. I would look for her and think I saw her dead body and it would be a blanket lumped up. I would find her right next to me sound asleep. I was co sleeping because we had no crib there. My husband slept on a cot. I didn’t want him near her when he was not awake.
The night we finally got to stay home, I had to go to the ER. I felt so bad about it. We had finally got the place cleaned up, cooled down, showers, baby safe and happy, and dinner! Then I thought I had a hernia coming out of my incision and the swelling in my legs and feet were worse than right before birth. I was told I was fine and that I needed to eat, drink water, & rest! After 24 hours of feet up and following the doctor’s orders I looked like a new person.
It wasn’t until after week 3 when we all started to get some regular sleep 4-6 hours & it was like heaven. Life was finally starting to look up. I started to feel like a hero bad ass mom, I could do anything.
We were some of the lucky ones though, a lot of people had it way worse and lost a lot more.
Like I said before we are so grateful to this day for what his boss and family did for us. Just because I explained my raw feelings doesn’t take away from that. I think the way I felt was very justifiable.
Looking back now it’s one hell of a story for us and for our baby girl! She was fresh out of the womb for a historic storm, her first ER visit (they gave her a stuffed yellow duck too), and it was something we had never gone through before. It forced my husband and I to hit the ground running. It taught us to be better prepared and not take warnings lightly.
Thank you, Cat 1 Hurricane Hermine for showing me how strong I really am, that I am one hell of a mother, and that I have one tough family too.
P.S. Picture I took at about 3 AM looking for formula after the ER visit, days after the hurricane. Wal-Mart was on generators like everyone else and lost all their food. People were actually fighting over ice in the town it was so sad.
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