“C-section babies are born with perfect heads,” my boss at the time would say. She knew I’d been dreading a C-section and would say this to reassure me.
When Lucia was six weeks old and finally breastfeeding, I began to notice that when she’d lay on her left side, she looked like a normal baby with a flawlessly shaped head, a proportionally placed eye and ear, and a well-rounded cheek. But when she’d lay on her right side, the left side of her head looked a little off: a slanted forehead, a slightly twisted ear, her cheekbone flatter and the area around the eye stretched out.
Mind flipping through memories like thumbing through a card catalog at the library, back to the days after Lucia was born. Red marks on her forehead. “Why where there red marks on Lucia’s forehead?” I’d asked the obstetrician. Forceps. I clearly remember he said something about forceps.
The summer Lucia was born, it seemed a lot of women I knew were having babies. Pictures going up on Facebook and Instagram, round babies with perfect heads, mothers with bright, sparkling faces. We’re happy to announce the arrival of our baby girl or boy, can’t wait to head home to our color coordinated nursery with prancing elephants and magical butterflies. And oh the breast milk! Breasts overflowing with milk for baby!
The bright fluorescent lights and cold air sliced through the operating room. No soft lighting from the lamp on the nightstand. No gentle breeze from bedroom ceiling fan. No walks in the backyard under the giant oak tree through hours of labor. An emergency C-section. She wasn’t supposed to be born this way.
My lower and middle back is stiff and achy, and my ribs feel as if they’re about to split apart. Even though the chiropractor is working on my back, along with my slightly misaligned hips, I feel as if I’ve inhabited someone else’s body. The skin on my back has sprouted something akin to acne*, which I’ve never had to deal with as an adult, except for the occasional pimple or two on my face when I get my period. I have to wear a pantiliner every day, because sometimes when I sneeze or cough or laugh, a bit of pee leaks out. Continue reading “Maternal Metamorphosis”