Even though I am and always have been panicking for all sorts of reasons, I am still conscious enough to realize my reasons are small.
There’s a saying in Portuguese that says God will only give you as much as you can take. If there is in fact a God up there, I’m happy He realizes I can handle next to nothing and that’s fine by me.
At the end of the day, we are finally living in Canada, I finally got a decent job, and my girls are perfect. On top of that, we all love each other.
Today, I came home with chest pains.
I called my cousin during lunch and she told me that not only her 14 days old baby probably had a syndrome , it’s possible that he’ll need brain surgery. As in, his soft spot is not soft, leaving his brain no room to grow, as the skull is not flexible as it should be at that age. Hopefully, the x-ray will show that the skull is just overlapped. I mean, that’s what I am hoping for after trying to google some good news.
She was desperate. She hasn’t slept ever since he was born. She is afraid of looking away. There’s absolutely nothing she can do to help her child and that killed me.
I pray to this God I believe from time to time that things always work out for me. I am not strong at all. I’m afraid of birds. Tiny birds. That’s how much I can’t handle problems. I am just not prepared for this world.
Our kids are a handful. I sleep with one eye open. I haven’t felt rested in about 3 years. I am exhausted and I miss tons of things. that can only mean one thing: We are the lucky ones.
We are both unemployed and trying to adjust to a new country. We are obviously on a budget here. So, yesterday I told me husand we really needed to find a way to block the girls from going into the kitchen ’cause that’d make my life a lot easier. His answer obviously was: do you think that’s absolutely necessary? I said YES, and to help me with my argument, here is a photo guide to what happened today as I replied to ONE text message from my father-in-law:
I was going through some old pictures today. Pictures from when I was pregnant and from when they were really small. Every time I look at those pictures I’m thinking “I wouldn’t wanna go back there”.
It is a magical moment, so they say, but I remember not having enough time even to cry. I was not allowed to break down and I certainly couldn’t rest. I wanted to cry from lack of sleep. Seriously.
I remember sleeping for a whole 20 minutes on the day my girls were born and thinking “Oh, God! I fell asleep! I CAN’T fall asleep”.
I watch movies where you see a sister, a mom or a friend holding a newborn so that the mom can rest from the labour. Well, that never happened to me. Main reason being because only my husband were allowed to enter the hospital and we had two babies and a mom with no milk. Do your math.
I also remember being trapped inside the house. I couldn’t go anywhere. I had to breastfeed a baby every hour. They’d spend 25 minutes in my breast to stimulate the milk, then I’d switch to the bottle, then I’d change the diaper, rest for 10 minutes and pick up the other baby. That was the routine, including in the middle of the night.
Seven days after the girls were born, I actually left the house for a couple minutes. I felt so free! I could walk again and I didn’t look like THIS anymore:
I remember one day, they were 2 months old precisely and my husband and I had to take the IELTS exam… so, we left the babies with our parents and went out alone for the first time. We felt SO guilty, we finished the test and even though we wanted to take a walk and grab something to eat, we couldn’t do it! We HAD to hurry back to them, even though they consumed every last sign of strength in our bodies.
We couldn’t go anywhere with them really, because any small excitement would cause endless cramps and suffering, so we avoided leaving the house with them because we desperately wanted to sleep for more then one hour straight in the night. I’m not sure if it solved the problem, but the few times we ignored our own rule I WAS HELL. So, we pretty much stuck by our rule and waited for the 100-ish crampy days to go by. Slowly, very slowly.
So, for five months they cried and cried and cried and the only moment they’d stop crying was when they were sleeping. ‘Til one day… they started crying for 3 hours straight instead of 5. Next thing I knew, they were crying for 10 minutes. It was magical!
They actually woke up crying every day until they were about 16 months BUT it was nothing compared to the first 5 months. We wanted to go out, like normal un-encacerated people but we could never take them (harly ever, I mean) and it sucked. It really sucked leaving the house without our babies… our minds were never really there.
I kept imagining what it would be like when they were a bit bigger, when the cramping days would be over, when we could take them to the mall with us and have a good time…
So, one day…
See my point here? Having a newborn beats being pregnant with twins at anytime. Having a 6 months old baby beats having a newborn and having a one year old is a lot less complicated than having a 6 months old baby. I can barely wait to have a baby I can actually talk to and who’ll tell me WHY they’re crying!
Things are always changing. For better!
moving update: 2 and a half weeks to go, people!
Last night Aurora woke up at 3:00am and didn’t fall back sleep before 6:00am. I feel like I’ve taken several sleeping pills right now.
Isn’t amazing how I can type things in my sleep?
I can’t really write right now, but I do have a question to you, fellow bloggers: I wanna move this blog into my host so I can play with the layouts better, but I’m afraid I’ll lose the stuff I’ve organized here. Does anyone have any experience with that?
Day 2 was hard. Not the diet, but the actual day. Both my girls are sick and can’t breathe through their noses, which keeps me up most of the night. I, like all moms, don’t understand why we can’t choose to get sick instead of our kids. It’s the kind of day when you deserve a nice cup of cocoa when they finally fall asleep and things calm down, I didn’t care about the stupid diet at 5:40 am when my baby was trying to breathe, but I decided to stay strong ’cause I’m sick and tired of living with all this extra weight.
So, this was day 2:
This was supposed to be breakfast… but I woke up pretty late, from being up all night (the joys of being unemployed) so I actually ate this around 5pm: My first meal of the day was what considered a pretty satisfying lunch , especially compared with the day1 meals:
That’s stake and all-the-wrong-fruit. We only had bananas and papaya so, that’s what I had, even though we all know bananas are pretty caloric.
And dinner was all you could eat ham… it turns out, I can eat a LOT of ham.
Before I went to bed (at least I thought I was going to bed at that time) I had actually GAINED 1 pound. So, I looked at my ankles and they were HUGE! I took a diuretic ’cause I figured I was retaining water for some reason (diet soda is the reason, people) and I actually woke up 4 pounds lighter. Water retention is a bˆ%$#. I did ask the doctor if I should take the diuretics, though. Don’t go around taking those, thinking they’re gonna make you lose weight. It’s not the way it works, despite the way I’ve worded my sentence above!
By morning, my girls were happy and playing. They’re still a bit sick, which breaks my heart, but I’m doing everything I can to make them feel better.
Day 3 is here and I have so much on my mind I’m not hungry at all anymore… we’ll see if I can go through with this!
I got to the hospital from hell and a resident, who wished she was anywhere but there, told me I was 7cm dilated and had 10 minutes to decided if I wanted to move to a better hospital or have the girls there. I had had 2 contractions , just two! The whole thing had lasted about 20 minutes and I had 10 minutes do decide??? What happened with “You have 24 hours to make it to a hospital after you water breaks”?
In my head I was thinking “ok. This ends today, and we’ll soon all be ok. The 3 of us.” And that’s when the resident told me the news: “If there’s no reason for a c-section you’re delivering these babies naturally.” The earth stopped spinning for a second as I decided I couldn’t panic, even though I wanted to. I wanted to scream and cry on the floor like a baby… I wanted to run away. I knew I couldn’t do it. I had been in pain for the past 8 months. I didn’t have the strength to push a human being out of me… and another one a few minutes after that. It was my body, but not my decision. No one cared about how I felt about it or what I wanted, it was a public hospital and I didn’t have the power to decide on anything. “That’s the procedure” the doctor said. I had no idea what that doctor’s name was, since she never spoke to me as a human person. To her, I was a number, an object to be studied. She didn’t care if the 3 of us survived or not.
People seam to rush to attack doctors who prefer scheduling a c-section instead of waiting for the baby to be ready for a natural birth, but they seam to forget that it’s a pretty scary thing to not be ready for a natural child birth and suddenly see yourself forced to have one. I often read about the dangers of a c-section, I not so often read about the dangers of a natural childbirth, but I know they are there and they scare the hell out of me. My grandmother grew up without a mom because of this and also, my mom almost died when I was born. I was scared. I thought I was going to die, I thought I could lose one of my babies or both of my babies. I kept picturing my husband alone with 2 babies, my dad holding his grandchildren and showing them the pictures of what their mother used to look like… I was the living picture of desperation.
But I’m the girl with the luck on her side and baby Agatha made me a huge favor… she somehow moved to a position where natural childbirth wasn’t possible anymore. Aurora was already not in position and so it was decided: There was no time to wait anymore… I was getting a c-section.
A couple months later, at Walmart the cashier told me she was supposed to have 2 babies, but she only had one, because, at that very same hospital, the doctor told her “it was the procedure” and the second baby didn’t make it out alive. She heard the residents say she needed a c-section, but the doctor was working on a budget, apparently. The natural childbirth was a lot less expensive for the hospital so she went back home with her baby daughter and baby boy’s clothes; the doctor went home with a black eye that day. I’m not the one to encourage violence, but you have to excuse a mom who just lost her child. She wanted to kill the doctor, but she didn’t… she had to be home for her baby.
Coincidence or not, the girl standing next to me in line told me a similar story. Lack of oxygen for her second baby or something… I was too appalled to pay attention to what she was saying. They both cried when they saw my girls.
So, there I was, on my way to the evil surgery that was going to make me less of a mom than the other moms, apparently, according to many, many blogs. I didn’t feel the anesthesia at all. At this point I started to panic and couldn’t breathe properly anymore. I asked someone to hold me because my arms was jumping up and down and I couldn’t control that at all. I was living my last moments on earth.
At one point the anesthesiologist looked at the monitor and went “oh, I think there’s a problem with this moment, because she has low blood pressure and it’s reading a really high mark”. It was 170 over something. I looked at that monitor and I knew it was right. I had been there before, many times. I was no stranger to panic attacks. So, I started remembering my yoga classes and tried out some breathing exercises… and somehow the monitor went down after just a couple of minutes. I wonder what couldn’t happened if I hadn’t calmed myself down, since the doctors were not trusting the monitor. I tried saying something about my panic attacks but no one would listen, after all, there are 2 kinds of people in this world: doctors and complete ignorants.
I started paying attention to the doctor’s dialogue with the resident who was performing her FIRST c-section ever: mine! It went pretty much like this:
– Now, you cut here.
– Like this?
– Yes! Now, you cut there.
– You grab the “….” and cut the “….”
– Like this?
– Yes. Not so hard, is it?
At this point I was paying crazy attention to their dialogue, hoping I wouldn’t hear a “like this?” followed by a “OH MY GOD, NO! That was a bladder!”
So, there I was, alone, naked, soaked in my own blood with a bunch of strangers around, wishing my husband was there with me, instead of waiting in the outside like some random dude at the hall wishing he could witness his first children come to this world… because the doctors said he couldn’t be in the room, since the room was TOO SMALL. And I believed them, for like 3 seconds before I went “wait… what?”
And that’s the story on how my husband wasn’t there when the girls were born.
Well, if you think about it, I wasn’t there much either…
You know that feeling when you are carrying a heavy box and suddenly you put it down on the floor? That’s how I knew Agatha was out! I remember stretching my neck to look at her… I remember a woman smiling at me and saying “look!” I wanted to touch her, and kiss her… but they kept her away from me
Agatha was born first; Aurora was came 2 minutes after.
When Aurora was born, the doctor said “weird… isn’t she going to cry?” as an euphemism to “is this one dead?” and a couple seconds later she started to cry… finally.
But I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t emotional. I knew I wasn’t fine yet and it wasn’t over. They needed to “sew me back together”, there was still a chance my girls cold grow up without a mom.
I watched the doctors as they sewed me and I couldn’t think about the beauty of the moment, I just wanted it to be over. It’s been a long time and sometimes I still feel like I’m over that table… like it’s not over yet.
I went to the recovery room. There was no one else there. I wanted to let my husband know I was ok. I needed to talk to my dad.
Suddenly a door opened… I looked over and my husband smiled and waved at me. I could smell the nerves on him. He was a dad. He was so cute and naive and proud and scared and so many emotions were showing on his face! My dad was worried about me and my mom was one big walking smile.
A student nurse came to talk to me at the recovery room. She was an angel. The first angel I met that night. We talked about college and random stuff. She said I was going to be fine and she could see my legs moving. She helped “moving” the time that had stopped.
And so, the girls came to me.
Will I know what to do with them? – I thought. Well, I didn’t know. At all. But I but them on my chest, one at a time.
Aurora was so hungry and she, somehow, knew exactly what to do. I remember thinking “how does she know that?”. Agatha didn’t. She struggled with my nipple and just couldn’t get it right. Even when she was older, she’d stay on my chest just to be close to me, she always found the bottle was easier to get her milk from! (she’s taking the computer away from me right now… hahaha)
I went to the room.
it wasn’t a private room. It was filled with people screaming and bleeding and screaming from contractions. I don’t remember putting on my clothes at all. I left my body for a second there again.
I remember lying in bed for the first time in a horizontal position in months! I laughed a little. I had been wondering for a while when I’d be able to do that again.
Staying at the hospital was hard. The bathroom floor was covered with blood. I knew I couldn’t have a fever for 48 hours and I’d be probably ok. Aurora choke, we ran to the nurses. I thought about what couldn’t happened if we were already home with no nurses around.
Agatha started crying like mad, so I took her for a walk in the hall. She was so tiny in my arms and I was desperately trying to make her feel better. I didn’t know the problem was me. I didn’t have enough milk for her both and I thought I did. I had no idea they were just hungry at that point.
As I was walking with her through the hospital hall, one of the nurses told me to get back inside the room because a virus had spread and some babies and moms were already taken to quarantine.
I called the doctor -the one that never showed up- and asked him if he could please some to the hospital and sign us out. He obviously didn’t came.
I stayed a little longer at the hospital. Not because we had to, but because there was no doctor available to sign us out.
My dad came to the hospital, even though security told him not to. My brother-in-law tried to visit us one hundred thousand million times and there was NO WAY he could get in.
You know that scene in movies with the people coming with the balloons to welcome your baby? Well, that never happened.
But my dad did get in, we turned over and there he was. He wasn’t in with good news, though. 12 hours after the girls were born, my grandmother died. It was like she was waiting to make sure the girls were in the world to leave us.
My dad didn’t cry in front of me. He said the girls kept him strong. He said God had waited for the “best” moment to take his mom away from him. A moment were He knew he’d be strong enough not to break down.
They were born on a Tuesday night. Friday morning we went home. It felt like a couple of months though.
I had picture this moment differently, but the importante thing is, we were all ok. The 3 of us. We were ready to go home.
For months I woke up in the middle of the night feeling I was still at the hospital. But we are home, we’re fine… and I’m glad I can touch them and play with them.
Bottom line is: The old ladies to told me to enjoy pregnancy because I wouldn’t be able to rest anymore once the babies came could NOT have been more wrong!
They are the joy of my life and I’d do it all over again and again just to have them with me.
When it came to pregnancy, I always knew I was different from most women. I’ve notice that particularly when I was pregnant. I was certainly not into natural labour or having the baby at home or whatever. To me, pregnancy would resume in several months of panic wondering about the zillion things that could go wrong with me or my baby and at the end, one of us could actually die, not mattering what kind of labour I chose. I was never afraid of the pain, I was just afraid I wouldn’t survive that moment.
When I was in 5th grade, I shared that thought of mine with a classmate who said to me “You are saying this now, but you’re gonna grow old and mature”.Well, that never happened. I mean, I have gotten old, but I’m still pretty immature.
But the funny thing is, being afraid of labour has never made me not want to have a child! At all. I’ve always wanted to be a mom! I just hate hospitals or going through situations with a risk of death (like flying).
So, I got pregnant.
When I was pregnant a ridiculous amount of women came to touch my belly, without even saying “excuse me”. They’d smile at me on the street and everyone would make the same cliche questions “when are you due?”; “is it a boy or a girl?” followed by, in my particular case, “your belly is so low, you’re almost going into labour! That’s what happened to me!”
Woman, my belly has been low since day 1! I wanted to punch everyone who was so sure I was delivering my babies at the end of the 4th month so hard!
I was in pain. All-the-time. By the end of the second week I couldn’t get up by myself. My uterus enlarged so fast, it pressured my nerve, so, I pretty much couldn’t move. But I did move, of course, it just took me while before I could actually breathe again after changing from one position to another. I certainly did not need strangers coming and touching me and sharing their opinions about my situation.
Not to mention I had a 7cm myoma standing out, so everyone (including the doctors) would exclaim “oh! a little feet!” and, of course, touch it. Don’t touch it, people! It hurts like hell! According to fabulous Dr. Henri: myomas don’t hurt. Well, doc, mine did. A lot! Let’s talk when you grow an uterus.
Up until this day, and it has always been this way, if I see a pregnant girl on the street, I’m thinking “poor little thing, that’s gotta be uncomfortable!”. And that has nothing to do with the baby! I’ve always wanted to have children, and, every time I look at my girls, I wanna have 5 more! But then I’d have to get pregnant again and again and I’m not sure I’d survive that.
So, being pregnant wasn’t special or great or beautiful. It was a sequence of infinite pain, and fears. I was afraid of going through labour, I was afraid of dying, I was afraid I’d hit my belly too hard on something, I was afraid of tripping and falling belly-down, I was terrified if they spent hours without moving (minutes, seconds), I was afraid of posting about my being pregnant of facebook because something could go wrong and all that would be left would be that facebook filled with “I’m so sorry” messages. I was afraid of leaving my girls. I was afraid that the could grow up without a mother like my grandmother did. I was afraid of everything. Absolutely everything. And since I am the girl with the phobias, being afraid is a bit more intense to me than it is to you, normal mom. (is there such thing?).
Well, I was basically to afraid to enjoy the moment. I just wanted it to be over and make sure all 3 of us had survived and that we were ok.
When my 7th month started, the list of experts around me grew. “Twins are usually born early! It’s practically a miracle you’ve made it this far! You’ll have your babies in the next couple of days”. I was googling like a crazy person to find out how far pregnant I’d have to be for my babies to have a good chance of survival due to these comments. They were born with 37 weeks and 3kg each, but thank you for your opinions. All of you. But still, I had never been there before so, every time I felt something, I ran to the hospital.
One time, one of the monsters. I’m sorry, not MONSTER, I mean, special being, sent my God who is by far smarter than everyone else for being become a doctor looked at the wounds in my lower belly (which had been caused by torn skin… like a super stripe mark that split open) and said “Oh, you’ve had a c-section before!”. So, I answered “No, I havent.” And he complemented “ARE YOU SURE?”. NO! I’m not sure! Now that you’ve mentioned, I’ve just remembered I have another baby at home, but I had totally forgotten! I am so forgetful!
I understand that, specially in a 3rd world country, there’s a huge part of the population who is completely ignorant, but, excuse me, Sir., you were talking to someone who had been to university. For crying out loud, how could I possibly not know if I had have a c-section before?
And last, but not least, the hospital was inside the university, which means there are 6 male students watching me, naked over a bed, who thought it would be interesting to learn about what a uterus about to break felt like BY TOUCHING IT.
Suddenly I wasn’t a human being anymore. I went to a place far away from my body and imagined myself flying away. I felt violated. The only reason why I didn’t spend the next few weeks lying on the bed in fetal position was because I couldn’t get in such position. I wanted to cover myself with 1000 blankets and sew my legs together forever.
Week 32 started and the doctor (who thinks he’s God) wanted me to stay in the hospital because, according to him, I was about to give birth to my babies. I would have to spend both Christmas and New Year’s away. This would be really sacrificing for my family. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to not spend christmas with my husband and parents to spend it in a hospital that had blood on the floor and screaming roommates with suspicious life stories.
I told the doctor I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to deal with that. And maybe it’s me being spoiled, but guess what? It is my life and I get to chose what bothers me. And that did bother me. I was huge, in main, scared, I did not need to spend Christmas in a hospital. Me, of all people. The greatest fan Christmas ever had!
So, I went home and promised to stay in bed. Which I didn’t.
I kept on walking every day, like always. Well, not like always, I was obviously taking much shorter walks at this point. And I waited and waited for my water to break at any second, ’cause I believe the doctor when he said it was hours away from happening.
So, I started thinking about labor and delivery, which was something I was really afraid of. It was getting real. My whole life, I thought this was the way I was going to die. I couldn’t picture myself with the babies or any moment after that. That was it. Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to the story of how my great grandmother died after labour and how my mom lost so much blood she passed out several times when I was born and no one knew if she was gonna be ok. She needed a c-section, but my sweet grandmother wouldn’t pay for one, ’cause she decided my mom had to feel the pain to become a mom, or whatever. It’s funny the way people sometimes decode not to help their children ’cause they have to learn things on their own. Sometimes, it’s a bit too extreme. My mom almost died, but she learned her lesson, according to grandma. My parents have always helped me out in any way they could. As I grew up, I started helping them too. And hope my girls feel about me the way I do about them, when it comes to that. It’s important to feel like you’re not alone in this world. In my family, at least, it is. But that’s up for each person to decide, I guess.
As the delivery date got closer, all those people who support the humanized childbirth came on explaining to me that it was indeed possible to have a natural childbirth, squatting, in the bathtub, at home, God knows where, even if I was having twins, triplets or more.
The feeling I got from these groups was of total intolerance. Is was either their way or I was less of a mom than they were. This woman on my facebook mom group actually had a heart attack because she wasn’t able to breastfeed. Moms should stop being so hard on one another. Motherhood is already hard enough without the bullying.
I went to the doctor on a Monday, the 6th. He had lead me to believe that he’d be scheduling my birth for that very same day, or the day after.
So, there I was with my 1.35m stomach (circumference) and I was still 1.51m tall. Totally unfair. The doctor told me I was doing so well, he’d schedule the c-section for the 13th. Here’s a picture of that particular day:
I know, I know, a lot of people give birth to twins, or more and I was being a big baby about it, but I was tired, I was in pain, I couldn’t sit down anymore. You know how people turn to their left side to sleep when they’re pregnant? Well, I couldn’t do that. When I set down and opened my legs, my belly touched the chair. I hadn’t slept in months. Women complain about the 3rd trimester being so uncomfortable, and it had been that way for me since the 4th month. I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE and the doctor wanted me to wait another whole week? A week felt like 2540 days at that point. After I got those news, I spent the whole day crying.
On the next day, I went for a little walk.
That same day I had taken a pill for urinary infection and started peeing myself (that’s not true, but it’s what I thought). I asked my super-experient mom if my water had broken and she said no! She said that what was happening to me was totally different and I was probably just having an urinary incontinence.
So, I went to bed. Which was a terrible idea.
Whe n I laid on the bed, I felt a pain that started in my feet and smashed my head to the size of an egg. I punched my husband, ’cause I didn’t have the strength to say his name and we ran to the hospital
I called my doctor, who was sleeping and told me he wouldn’t come.
It took us around 15 minutes to get to the hospital and the intern told me that not only my water had in fact broken, I was actually 7cm dilated.