* This post is written for the monthly Chicago Now Blogapalooz-Hour. The prompt this month is: “Write about a time you lost your temper or somebody lost their temper at you”. We have one hour to write it.
I became a lion mom eight years, three months and seven days ago.
That was the same day I became a mom.
For most women, their kid’s birth day is a hard working but sweet and rewarding day. For some of us, it can be the worst day of our lives.
As many women do, I had planned every single bit of my birth. As a naive 27 year old navigating a medical system completely foreign to me, I thought that choosing the fanciest hospital around and a practice with midwives would be all I needed to achieve my much wanted, natural water birth.
But soon enough I would learn my first lesson as a mom: nothing in motherhood can be planned. Feel free to try, but you better have a back up plan, because things don’t always go the way you wanted them to.
As it turned out, I ended up with an unwanted and unnecessary C-section that landed my first baby in the NICU. The doctor’s failure to wait was the reason for it. And his mismanagement of the baby’s suctioning caused him a pneumothorax. A collapsed lung. On someone who was 6 lb 12 oz. On top of everything else, no one in that OR noticed that something was wrong with the baby. It was my husband, who had never held a baby in his arms, who asked me, while I was all groggy, if newborns were supposed to have foam coming out of their mouths. My instinct said no, and I was right. Five minutes later, at 35 minutes of life, he was rushed to the NICU, and we wouldn’t know anything about him for the next five hours.
As I was wheeled from recovery into my room, we saw how they were taking the empty crib out of there. I don’t think I have ever been so terrified or panicked in my whole life. What did that mean about our baby? It couldn’t mean anything good. I started to cry, not knowing how he was, as we had had no updates.
When we entered the room, we were told they were working on him. As that was certainly not enough information for these new panicked parents, we asked to go to the NICU. And I was told that I had to wait a few hours after the C-section. That’s when I lost my temper. Big time. At three hours after the surgery, I asked the nurses for a pump, so I could get milk for my baby (take that, Donald Trump!), and for food so I could start recovering. Their answer was that I could not eat for a few hours. When I heard that I gave them two choices: either they could bring me some soup, or my husband would go to McDonalds and I would engulf a Big Mac in three bites. I had my soup brought in within minutes.
The next step was to walk. And for being allowed to walk I needed the catheter removed. Once again, they said that I had to wait a few hours. And once again, I gave them two choices: they could remove it, or I could rip it off myself. By then I was so mad that they knew I meant business, so they quickly removed it. And several hours before it was medically advised, I was up and on my way to the NICU, to find out how my son was doing.
I’m thankful for my fury that day. It didn’t only allow me to take the necessary steps to start working towards nourishing my baby with the breastmilk that would help him recover faster, but had I not being that angry when I entered his bay in the NICU and I saw his little face covered in tape, and ten different cables coming out of his body, only to be told that we couldn’t even touch him, I would have broken apart. Thanks to my anger, I didn’t, and I was able to hold my shit together for that very rough first week as a mom. I paid it months later, and it took me four years, and two VBACs (vaginal births after C-section) to fully recover from that experience. The mere thought that my son spent his first hours of life being poked, touched, treated, pinched and God knows what else by strangers who didn’t even know his name brought me to tears for months and will always haunt me. I will be forever grateful to those strangers who saved his life, but that doesn’t make it easier.
He is fine now, walking through life, and he is now the one with a temper. I will take that. Happily. At least most of the time.
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