the last I was up in here, I was closing in on 30 weeks of pregnancy, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and working my way through the struggles of growing a bamboo shoot, physical and emotional. well, I made it to the end (39 weeks and 3 days, to be exact), and our baby BOY came into the world with a BANG.
Drake James Surakitbanharn was born on July 15th, 2019 at 7:50 am, coming in hot at 8 lbs, 1 oz and 22 inches long! (all the pictures are from Jao’s website!)
My labor and delivery was wild - I was on blood thinners so there was need to manage my medication, etc to avoid problems, but once my active labor started, it was INSANE. I woke up in the hospital at about 1:30ish am Monday morning to a powerful contraction, felt a pop, ran to the bathroom (my water broke) and shit was ON. I walked out of the bathroom, doubled over, yelling for Jao to call the nurse and my contractions were SUPER strong. Jao asked me what I wanted to listen to and I said something calm - and a few minutes later, as I clutched the bedrail in the throes of another powerful contraction, Joni Mitchell began crooning “California” over the speaker and I knew our Bamboo Shoot was going to be born that day - on his great-grandfather’s birthday.
The nurse came in and I was SCREAMING through every contraction, BEGGING the nurse for something - anything - to hold me over until the epidural could be administered. I had initially balked at the idea of using opioid pain relievers during the labor process - I didn’t want any to get into his little system. but when she offered me a very fast acting, short lived shot of pain reliever in that moment - I was like YES ANYTHING. she told me the risks to him were literally almost nothing, and I was like GREAT GIVE IT TO ME.
if I could sum the experience of labor up in one sentence, it’s this: everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. labor is a huge punch in the face, so it’s really useless to have plans.
OK anyways - the doctor eventually came, and she gave me a THICK ASS epidural. she came in, asked if I was doing OK and my response was “HELP ME PLEASE.” she was AWESOME. she got that epidural in, it started working instantly, and she HOOKED ME UP. you guys I felt NOTHING. my midwife came in to assess me - I was at 4 cm - and I was on the cloud nine. she told me to try to get some sleep, so they turned me on my side and I dozed off. This was around 2 am.
I woke up 6 am, still pain-free and LOVING IT, and the midwife came in to check how far dilated I was again. Jao was asleep on the dad couch/pull-out, and her face immediately lit up the second she touched me. she exclaimed loudly “Oh you’re READY TO PUSH! HIS HEAD IS RIGHT HERE!” I yelled out that I was scared, and Jao shot out of bed, dazed and confused, kind of shocked at the suddenness of the whole thing. I SLEPT FROM 4 CM TO 10 CM - MY EPIDURAL WAS LITERALLY THE GREATEST THING EVER.
I started pushing at 6:30 am, and after some scary cord-around-the-neck moments and a pretty gnarly (but expertly done) episiotomy due to the need to get him out NOW, Drake was born at 7:50 am. Again - I honestly had no serious pain (even being CUT!)… nothing more than some pressure, THANKS TO MY AMAZING EPIDURAL, and it was just so wild to feel my body push him out, like some kind of huge sigh of relief, and there he was. so cute, so fluffy, so long, TONS OF HAIR, and just…gah. my bamboo shoot.
postpartum is real though, you guys. the first 24 hours are so hard. you bleed so much, your vagina is so destroyed, your pelvic floor is torn down to nothing. whether you have tearing or have to be cut, the pain is just so real. I could honestly barely get up. every time I had to pee for the first 24 hours, Jao would have to come over to me, help me half-sit-up, and I’d put my arms around his neck and he’d pull me up to standing, because I just couldn’t do it on my own. you can’t sit, you cannot even think of going to the bathroom beyond peeing, and when you do pee, you need about 15 minutes to pee, rinse off with your peri-bottle, change your pad, line the new pad with tucks pads, get the new vagina ice pack in there, and then also TRY TO STAND UP AGAIN without calling your husband in to help you. oh and also take care of your baby and try to breastfeed during this first day. THE FIRST 24 HOURS ARE VERY REAL.
this painful struggle starts to subside after day one, but only about 1% each day. the first week, you will be amazed at how much pain you are in. walking hurts. sitting hurts. and you gotta “MOM” too. the saviors for me were using disposable underwear (like Depends. no shame), and then an overnight pad in there, and then regular high-waisted panties on top of the disposable underwear. all the pressure helped, and I felt more “secure” with all those layers. and keep up with your pain meds. a moment came when I was like nah i’m feeling better i’ll lay off them but it was a mistake and I was right back on everything within one missed dose.
and then the next layer of drama - waiting for your milk to come in. as it turns out, you don’t just immediately start breastfeeding/producing milk. THAT’S A WHOLE OTHER STORY. what I will say about it is….it doesn’t matter what your kid is eating, or how they’re getting it. formula is fine, breastfeeding is fine, pumping is fine, and/or any and all combinations of this are fine. your kid being fed and happy is the most important thing.
emotionally, postpartum is weird. the first two weeks, i’d cry every night. no reason. couldn’t really pin it down, and Jao would sit next to me and hold me and tell me it’s OK and that I was doing great. I was racked with anxiety, nervous to mess his schedule up, nervous to hear him cry too much, nervous to let anyone touch him. I felt so raw. but even that has started to pass now that we’re at 3 weeks - but not totally, I still don’t feel ready to do most things, but I try to do them anyways. I try.
one thing we did do pretty early was start taking him out. we took him out for a burger at 3 days, and sushi at 4 days. he started getting used to the noise, getting used to being out and about, and that’s been a huge savior for us all. he loves the car, loves his stroller, loves the ergobaby. we take him out to eat as much as we can, or out on walks, out for coffee runs - getting fresh air helps everyone. I also play hip-hop for him all the time - I think he remembers it from our jam sessions on the way to work. he loves the bass - and also the musical gods somehow must have known i’d need it because since he’s been born we got the new Chance record and the new b-sides from Drake. and these new records have given me LIFE. you’re never too old to completely fangirl over a new record.
and finally - as I reflect on my last post, and my struggles through pregnancy, I will say this. it felt thick then. but when I look back, this baby was so kind to my body, and my body fought HARD and all the effort I put into it did not betray me. all that exercise, weightlifting, eating well, sleeping, yielding to the sickness and fatigue when it hit me, seeking help when I felt depressed, crying when I needed to, saying no because I was too tired..…. it did not betray me. my weight gain was low and controlled. I had no serious complications. my ankles didn’t even swell - my rings never didn’t fit. my blood pressure was nice and low. the most serious problem I had was bad leg cramps at night and hip pain that was eased with a strong prenatal massage (and how lucky am I to be able to afford such luxuries? extremely lucky) and epsom salt baths before bedtime. in the weeks after giving birth, my body recovered itself quickly - I have lost a ton of strength of course but no lingering weight to speak of and I feel like myself again. all the weird food aversions went away immediately, my appetite returned in a healthy way, and yesterday I was able to wear my skinny jeans. and I am so grateful to my body and to this baby for this because I think it has helped so much with my mental health - I feel like myself..in my old clothes (call it vain if you want - it makes a difference). those squats and snatches and sled pushes and Tracy Anderson pregnancy workout DVDs did NOT betray me. i’m so so grateful.
all that being said - i’m stopping while i’m ahead. no more kids! this one is premium :-)
Final note - Drake’s 2nd toes are longer than his big toes. Like mine. This is the greatest physical trait I could have possibly passed on and I’m so excited I passed my weird feet on to him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!