Now We Are Six
To think, just 6 years ago I was sitting at my parents house. Filled with anticipation. Nervous and yet excited. It was my due date, and although I knew it was rare for babies to be born on their actual due date, I felt Rhayn's birth was imminent.
That evening I had gone to class. I was taking a math class, ambitious I know! I could not concentrate. I was having trouble focusing on the white board as the Professor wrote out equations and explained them. There was another pregnant lady in the class, due about a month later. My friend was taking the class with me, and we giggled and joked after class about me having the baby in class.
I remember sitting in bed that night, feeling slight cramps. I had been feeling them for weeks, on and off. I had even been to labor and delivery because of them "irritable uterus" was the diagnosis.
I lay down, listened to some music, tried to read a book, but could not focus. I decided to take a shower, hoping that the water would help me relax. Instead the surges seemed to intensify. They still weren't painful, I could deal with them. When I came out of the shower, I sat in one of the lazy boy recliners that had been passed to my parents from Grandma. I rocked gently, thinking, focusing on me, my baby and breathing deeply. I had two cats in my lap, Sheba, my long time cat, my best kitty friend, and her nearly one year old kitten I had named, "Floh" (it means flea in German she was an ugly kitten.) Floh had been born the previous year on my sister Dacheese's birthday (March 7th.)
At around five my dad woke up to go for his run. I was in the chair, rocking gently, he asked me if I was ok. I said"Go run, I'm Ok, you have time to go for your run and get dressed." He told me I should probably wake up Mom. Which I did. We left the house around 6 am. (They later thanked me for letting them have a good night's sleep.)
The ride to the hospital was a blur, a painful blur. Leaving the comfort of our home and getting into the car while having contractions was hard.
We arrived at the hospital and its more of a blur. I remember Mom asking them when I would get my epidural. I hadn't even considered NOT getting it, and assumed it was just part of having a baby. I am not sure what time I received the epidural. It was scary, there was a moment when I felt myself go black. My blood pressure dropped badly. I was scared. Then as quickly as that had happened I was fine. We called my grandma, who came soon afterwards.
We watched tv for a time, joking around, as is our nature. It was interesting to watch the contractions on the monitor, without feeling them at all. The nurse came in and checked me every so often, but I didn't feel a thing.
At one point I remember feeling a strong urge to poop. The nurse had told me if I felt like I needed to push or if I felt pressure or anything to ring for her. I did, but no one came. I told my dad about it. Eventually the nurse came in and declared me "fully dilated," why didn't I give her a trial push. I guess it was good because I did a few more and she told me she was getting the doctor. This all happened around noon.
In came some doctor I had never seen before. Even though part of the reason I went with the practice I did was because they were next to the hospital, and it was regular business hours. My doctor had been late a few times because he was "delivering a baby." (or you know, assisting a MOM, who was birthing a baby, um, yeah.)
They set up the mirror so I could watch her emerge from my vagina, and my dad stood at my shoulder, I don't remember where my mom was, but my grandma, who had never watched a baby be born (even though she had six of her own, and had twenty-six or so grandchildren, and this was at least the tenth great-grandchild) was sitting there, and I was aware of her, but not in a bad way. I think it was important to me that she was there. I was giving this baby her name to carry on. Her first name as a middle name. I bear her middle name as my middle.
After only thirty minutes, Rhaynnon Loretta was born, at 12:33 pm on March 6th, 2001. She weighed six pounds and fourteen ounces, she had so much hair. But the thing I recall the most clearly, was how she scowled at me. She looked just like her daddy, and he and I were not totally getting along. She did not have big brown eyes like me. I cried a little, because she did not look like I pictured she would but even so, I loved her immediately.
I attempted to nurse her, and after a little while of her not latching on, they took her away to clean her up, we would try that again later. I was given lunch, and my parents and grandma went out to eat.
While they were gone I was moved into one of the crappy, smaller rooms. My parents came back, and my mom was going to stay the night with me, so she received the bracelet that says she can take the baby from the nursery.
It had been about four hours since I had seen my little babe. I sent Mom to find out where she was and why I didn't have her. When she came back she told me that they were running some tests on her, and the doctor would be in soon to talk to me. Then she told me that Rhayn's lips had turned blue and when they looked they found a cleft in her soft palate. They were checking to see if there was anything else wrong. I was numb at that point, emotionally. I was afraid and had no idea what would happen. I mean she had looked so perfect to me.
I had consultations with a pediatrician, as well as the lactation consultant.
There was very little chance that Rhayn would nurse, I was given a breast pump to use, so she would get the colostrum. I was instructed on how to use it. I think that the LC could have been better. I mean, she did give me a lot of reading material, and she tried to help me get her latched on. She did not tell me that I should stick with it, or keep trying. I felt dejected and alone. I was not going to be able to nurse her like I had assumed that I would. That was what I focused on for the longest time. In fact it wasn't until Gwennie was born that I was able to let it go even a little. I still think about it, I still worry about the lasting effects that it will have on her. I still worry that maybe that was why even when she was little I didn't have any problem leaving her at my parents house over night, and with Gwennie, it would be impossible. I wonder if that is why I hold on so tightly to my nursing relationship with Gwennie.
Now all of this time has passed, and I am getting ready to go to bed. My little girl is going to be six, and it seems like she was just born yesterday. Today I told her I was saying goodnight to my five year old Rhayn for the last time, tomorrow she would be six. There is a book called "Now We are Six" by A.A. Milne that I remember reading when I was younger. It was hard saying goodnight and goodbye to my five year old. Never again will she be this age again. Never again to show me how old she is on only one hand.
Goodnight my beautiful five year old. I will miss you, but I welcome your six year old self into my home gladly, may we enjoy six as much as five.
I love you, Rhaynnon