Sunday, 26 February 2012

Of Champions and Sneezes

After an emergency Caesarean that brought Tara out into this world, the one thing I remember more vividly than the face of my first (and only) born is my first sneeze. ! 
There I was, almost half crazed after the trauma of an emergency C-section, with a baby put in my arms, and a very stern lady known as the 'breast feeding champion' telling me to start feeding, as the baby was getting cold. The only problem was I was still numb all the way down my legs, and didn't know how to feed a child. Battling tears of panic, I fumbled around embarrassed, when a sudden sneeze escaped my nose.
I won't even attempt to describe what that felt like. If I had a scale of pain, I might have put it somewhere near the top. The disapproving "breast feeding champion", rolled her eyes at me and steadied Tara as she almost rolled away from me while I tried to stop crying. I felt incompetent, terrified, and my confidence level dropped to the floor as the 'champion' ticked me off her to-do list, told me to keep trying and left me alone to 'help' another Mum.
One would imagine that all Mums who have had the sneeze experience would freely share this most important advice with any new Mums to be. But no. Everyone told me to breathe, to do this and the other but no one warned me about the sneeze...and cough...and how to deal with the 'cut'.
It was quite by luck I found a way to deal with the dreaded sneezes and coughs. I was lying alone on my hospital bed, crying and clutching a pillow when a sneeze arrived again. Before I had time to panic, I realized it wasn't so bad this time. So here it is, Advice for all new Mums with a C-section cut. When a sneeze or cough comes on, press a pillow with controlled and reasonable pressure on the operation scar evenly covering the surface, and a bit beyond if you know what I mean. It really helps. I was in constant possession of a pillow under my arm ready to spring into action at the first stirring of cold or cough. It really helps. The said pillow travelled with me EVERYWHERE ,from room to bathroom.
Yeah yeah yeah! All those who think it is unhygienic to carry a pillow to the loo, have probably never experienced the sheer agony of sneezing with an operation scar. It is exquisite! You’ll carry a kangaroo to the loo if it helped reduce that pain.
I was sad and nervous to eventually let go of the pillow. It had served me well but disposing of it was the most hygienic thing to do. Now if you have a few bucks you should buy a great many pillows and use and throw at will.
Now back to our friend the 'breast feeding champion'. So how many children do you have to have breast fed to be made a 'champion'? None perhaps. Maybe you just complete a course somewhere that bestows on you the coveted title. I would love to know. They should have given me a friendly non-champion nurse who understood my pain and fears and gently helped me learn. Or at the very least, they should have allowed one member of my family to be with me in the hospital at all times. That would do. Failing all they should have just let me go home.

I didn't know my rights back then. I still don't know many things now. But I do know I'm not having another child. It's a shame really. I'm Tara's Mum now, and feel better equipped to lock horns with a  'champion' who rubbed me the wrong way.

Don't forget to pack a nice pillow in your hospital bag ladies! 

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