Sunday, January 07, 2007

To doula or not to doula

Well, that's not really the question. I am definitely hiring a post-partum doula, which my mother has generously offered to pay for. The issue is figuring out when I will need one and arranging that time along with when my mom and my MIL will come visit. See, having a scheduled c-section is nice in that you can actually plan in advance--but then, because you can plan in advance, you end up thinking about this stuff in probably WAY too much detail.

To begin with: When I found out I was having a c-section, my mother asked me when I would be coming home from the hospital. I said, "Well, the c-section is on a Monday, so probably Thursday or Friday." She said, "OK, I'll book my plane ticket so I come on Friday then!" Mind you, this was less than an hour after I'd been informed I was having the c-section, so I was a bit overwhelmed, but I had the presence of mind to tell her to hold off until we'd had time to figure out what we wanted to do. See, I love my mom, and she is not a horrible or abusive person...but we have a complicated relationship, and she can be very critical under the best of circumstances, and she stresses me out like you would not believe. So as much as I know she genuinely wants to be helpful to me, I'm pretty sure that having her there from day 1 would not be ideal for my emotional health, my confidence as a new mother, or my general sanity level. (Especially since she definitely is one of those "don't hold the baby too much, you'll spoil her" types.) When she offered to pay for us to hire help after the baby is born, she said she would pay for a month, "since I can't come for a whole month." Of course, what I was thinking was that if my mother came and stayed with us for a whole month, someone--me, my husband, or my mom--would be dead before the month was out.

So: I told her that actually, it would be more helpful if she came about 5-7 days later, after my husband goes back to work, when I'll "really need" her--I figure that will give me time to gain a little confidence before she comes in and starts criticizing everything I'm doing. And I planned to have a doula come those first few days to help out.

We met with three PP doulas today. Unfortunately, the one I liked the best is going to be out of town Feb. 8-11--exactly the days when I'll first be home from the hospital, exactly the days when I think we'll need help the MOST. Add to that the fact that my husband may need to go back to work earlier than we originally thought--potentially leaving me totally alone with an infant while recovering from major surgery.

Obviously, I need to interview more doulas and try to find someone who will be available earlier--though I really, really loved this one, and she also has lots of experience with breastfeeding support, which appeals to me because I'm very, very worried about breastfeeding (that's another post, though). Whether or not I find someone, though, if my husband can't guarantee he'll be able to be home 24 hours a day those first couple of days, I may have to give in to the worst case scenario and have my mom come after all.

If I didn't know for sure that I'm having a c/s, I might try to just power through and assume I can handle a few hours alone. But I'm honestly terrified of the c-section and worried about what the healing is going to be like, and I just don't think I can do it alone. I just wish that I had a better, more trusting relationship with my mother. I wish I had one of those awesome moms who I would definitely want with me, not one I feel I have to protect myself from.


It has sunk in that in four weeks or less, we are going to have a baby, and I feel totally unprepared. Our "nursery" looks like a crack den--bare floors and walls, crib in the corner with a bare mattress, dresser lying in pieces all over the floor. (I became paranoid about formaldehyde off-gassing from the particle board in the cheap dresser I bought online--seriously, I could smell it through the box--and am making my husband seal all the uncovered edges before he puts it together. Yes, somehow this seemed easier to me than returning the damn thing--we don't have a car, my husband works 70+ hours a week, and it's just too. damn. hard. By the way, do you know how hard it is to find nursery furniture that is made from solid wood, especially when you can't go to a store and look at it yourself? Did you know that even the expensive Pottery Barn shit is made almost entirely from MDF and plywood?) We have stacks and stacks of gear, clothing, bedding, diapers, etc.--all heaped up in a corner of the living room, unwashed and unorganized. I suppose if worse comes to worst, Bat Girl will sleep in her car seat--which, oh yeah, failed the Consumer Reports crash testing. Hey, I'm on a roll!

I actually started crying at my OB appointment last week when TheGoodDoc asked me how I'm doing. I couldn't articulate what was wrong--she interpreted it as fear for the baby, and reassured me that if Bat Girl comes now, she will be just fine. But actually, I am just filled with terror and panic and a deep sense of inadequacy. Two and a half years of hoping and planning and waiting, and now I really am going to have a baby, and I am not ready for this. I'm not sure I can even do this.


On the bright side, in just one more week I will reach 35 weeks and all my bedrest restrictions will be lifted. I think I'm still going to take it somewhat easy--as much as I'm eager to get out of the house, I would still like to hold out until 38 weeks. This morning I found a massive glob of mucus on the tp when I wiped, and the panic I felt at the idea that it might be my mucus plug is not something I would like to repeat. (I did call my OB's office--the doctor on call said that since it was clear--no blood--and my contractions were not increasing and I wasn't feeling increased pressure, it was probably OK but that I should hydrate like crazy and stay off my feet as much as possible. So far, all quiet.) But at least I'll be able to do some laundry and start getting the baby's room organized.

And I had a growth scan at the hospital on Thursday, and everything looked good. Fluid levels fine, baby developing OK--they estimated she is about 4.5 lbs now. I could see quite clearly on the screen that everything was measuring 4-7 days behind, but I guess that was enough within the margin of error that they were OK with that. It wasn't a very fun scan--no cute profiles or anything, just endless measurements of Bat Girl's head and abdomen circumferences. For some strange reason, I've been paranoid lately that the tech at my anatomy scan misread the results and Bat Girl is actually a boy, but I didn't have the courage to ask them to double check to make sure she's still a girl. I guess if she ends up being a boy, my baby boy will just have to live with pink sheets. At least the sheets will be clean.


Blogger sarabeth said...

You'll be fine.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Robber Barren said...

Whatever happens, you and Bat Girl will be okay. A doula would be tremendously helpful, really. Bt if you don't have one, YOU WILL SURVIVE. Or if you have one but she's not perfect, YOU WILL SURVIVE. And you are smart enough and self-assured enough to handle whatever your mom throws at you. I just know it.

As for crack-den least yours has baby stuff in it. Ours still has Ezra overflowing mess of a desk, an empty bookcase (not a child-friendly one, either), and countless boxes half-filled with crap we don't need but can't bear to throw out...from when we moved in...sixteen months ago. Our bedroom, where the kids are going to sleep for the first few months? Not really any better. But it will resolve itself, as will Bat Girl's room.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Rachel Inbar said...

Despite having become a mom after 3-1/2 years of infertility AND all my friends having kids AND having a sister who's 9 years younger than I am, I had no clue what to do with my daughter when I brought her home from the hospital. It was like, OK, and now what?

Amazingly, you kind of ask for help when you need it and wing the rest & it works out :-) You'll be fine!

3:49 AM  
Blogger TeamWinks said...

You will figure it out. Just think of it as some serious on the job training. Just move past your fears. You've been living with fear for so long now, that you it probably is scarry to let it go. Just try. Everything will be fine.

9:50 AM  

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