The whole labor experience was a nightmare and I'm not really sure if I'm living in the "real world" yet.

My water broke and I didn't recognize it, and the baby had already pooped in the water (meconium in my water) which increases the risk of infection. wSo... at the hospital they gave me pitocin to speed up my contractions and said he needed to be born within 24 hours of my water breaking. I wasn't even sure what time it was that my water broken and I guessed when I was SURE it was already broken (bad call on my part). I was only dilated to 1cm, but they didn't give me anything to help me dilate. They just gave me pitocin to help my contractions become more regular, and because of the pitocin drip they had to put me on a fetal monitor and a uterine contraction monitor. Since I was on the monitors, I couldn't walk, turn over, or do much to help my labor progress.

After 15 hours of labor, I was dilated to 7cm. After 17 hours, I was still at 7cm. Horrified, I asked for an epidural (which I had promised myself I would never get--I hate feeling numb). The pain itself wasn't as bad as the concept that I wasn't progressing, and the contractions had been one on top of the other for almost a day. I had no idea how much longer we would go even though I was supposed to deliver within 24 hours of 2:30 PM (when I told them my water broke. In retrospect, it may have been as early as 4am). After 5 hours on the epidural, I was at 9cm, with a left side lip. I asked them to turn down the epidural because the numbness was freaking me out.

The numbness didn't go away but the pain came back. After 7 hours on the epidural, I was finally 10cm. I was ready to push. They let me push for just a few minutes to get the side lip pushed open, then said they would come back. About 90 minutes later they came back and I started pushing. I got baby from -2 (yes, I was 10cm and -2) to almost +2 before I spiked a fever and baby's heart rate spiked and dropped and spiked and dropped--so they said we both had an infection and I needed a c-section but it was "not an emergency." Still, I was on the operating table in less than 5 minutes). I hadn't eaten at that point in over 30 hours--nothing to drink either.

I started shaking uncontrollably and didn't stop. They had to put me out on the operating table. I missed the birth completely. My husband sort of saw it, but they didn't really lower the drape for him. He did say "I saw your insides and your uterus is ORANGE," but he didn't see the baby come out. Turns out I had back labor, baby was "sunny side up" and his head was stuck in my pelvis (and really funny shaped!) My husband got to cut the cord, but it was not what he wanted--they had already cut it, they just let him trim the cord down--the cord was no longer attached to me/my placenta.

When I woke up from surgery, I had no clue what was going on, and I looked down, and my belly was much smaller (not gone though). There was no screaming baby, just a lot of faces looking down at me. I was taken to the PACU, and then the mother-baby room, and met the baby about 3 hours after that. Those 3 hours were HORRIBLE. My parents were in the mother-baby room with me. My husband went back and forth between our room and the nursery.

Over this whole process, I went through 3 urinary catheters (2 without pain medication), 4 IVs, and a epidural catheter. The next 3 days at the hospital I went through another foley catheter (the first one busted--and with still numb legs I had to switch hospital beds), and 3 more IVs.

I finally met the baby just before midnight. I wasn't sure he was mine (except he looked like me). What an experience!

I wasn't allowed out of bed for 12 hours. They also said I couldn't eat until I passed gas. No, really. So, I hadn't eaten for 2 days at this point, and I just begged to eat something. I had an IV in, baby had an IV, he was screaming for food and I was too exhausted to do anything. So--they let me eat.

The first two times urinating were painful and not productive. My lady parts were all super swollen even though I didn't get to deliver him vaginally. My sides hurt from the gas, but I couldn't feel the incision. I had difficulty getting up, moving my legs to get out of bed, and standing up straight. My lungs kept collapsing. My IVs kept busting. The baby kept crying and I was terrible at feeding him. I was EXHAUSTED. The first two days after his birth I probably slept 3 hours total--in 15 or 30 minute spurts. I didn't have pain per se, but I was miserable and felt guilty for giving in to the c-section and the epidural.

I wasn't able to finish any meals during my 5 day stay, but from the IV fluids and bloating due to gas, my maternity pants to leave the hospital didn't fit over my legs no less my belly. I wore a dress and slippers to the car. I got home and weighed myself. Even after delivering an 8lb baby, I was still at the same weight as when I walked in to the hospital!

Now, one week post partum, I am down 22 pounds, my swollen legs are back to normal, the rings I haven't been able to wear for 3 months fit (albeit a little tight). I cry a LOT and have insane mood swings. My belly is much lower, I have a waist again and a jelly belly below it. I can't see my incision, but sometimes it aches (that started about 5days post partum). I feel like a failure as a woman because I couldn't deliver him naturally. And I have a really beautiful newborn who cries like a banshee but smiles and squeaks like a little angel.

We already ran out of diaper wipes, but for the most part, we are ready, we can do this! We are more rested every night, and the little guy is slowly learning to eat. I never felt my milk come in, but I know it did because I went from not being able to pump anything to producing 2oz of milk from my pump overnight (yay, no more formula when baby is too freaked out to drink straight from the breast!).

What an experience! Welcome little Gabriel-- 8lb 2oz, 21 inches. Born at 7:41 pm last Monday.