I Told Althea I Was Feeling Lost

“I told Althea I was feeling lost
Lacking in some direction
Althea told me upon scrutiny
That my back might need protection
I told Althea that treachery
Was tearing me limb from limb
Althea told me, now cool down boy
Settle back easy, Jim”

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

So, this is where it has to happen, and this is where it has to happen. My story continues!

I left off right at the point in my story in which giving birth had to happen, because I was 10cm! The botched, maybe fateful epidural didn’t really take but it also sort of did. My legs felt weird and rubbery and I felt all of my pain around my hips and upper thighs. So weird to really feel it in my legs. Whatever. I was at the mercy of the midwife and my own bad decisions at that point! Despite the slicing hot pain, I could still be myself. The midwife was off at 7pm and the next midwife on duty was also awesome, but I didn’t know her as well. This was currently only around 6pm. (I was born at 6:32pm) When I knew it was go time, I think I repeatedly said to the midwife:

“I’m so happy for you!”

This cracks me up and does suggest that sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, and weird epidural voodoo were in my system at that part. Not, “I’m happy it’s you,” which I ALSO was, but, “I’m happy FOR you.” I guess I was projecting my own work ethic onto her because I like to finish a job, you know? Not hand it off to another blogger or photographer. I like continuity and stories! That said, she was happy it was her as well. Even if I think I put on a better performance for the midwife who caught Rider. I’m being hard on myself. I think I did ok, and it could have been better, but that’s my own weird problem. I like to be memorable, and also for doing wonderful things. And being in denial about labor, and then taking a botched epidural I truly should have avoided made me not impress myself. Still, by the fourth baby, I really got the hang of pushing. Such a shame because this one is REALLY the last one, like we said of Scarlet, Des, and Rider.

Somehow, now, I mean it. And I did in the past too, but we don’t really have time anymore.

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

Back to the task at hand, I was happy for the midwife and happy for myself. I had shooting, searing pains going up my thighs and that was the strangest experience ever. Luckily, those pains told me when it was time to push, and I made progress fast. They could see the baby’s head after not much time and of course I gasped out the most important question ever (not really): “Does the baby have hair?” “Yes?” “A LOT Of hair?” “Yes, a lot.” I was so happy about this development that it helped me push. The songs on our playlist (32 songs, as you may have seen below each Friday post) kept rolling through, and “Althea” by Grateful Dead came on. Cassidy and I looked at each other hopefully. You see, Althea Grace was our girl’s name! Another Grateful Dead name, like Scarlet and Rider, and Grace was my amazing great-grandmother who passed away before her time, at age 99. We thought maybe Althea would be born to the song, “Althea.”

This was not the case, as you know.

The next song was, “I Feel Fine” by The Beatles, and THIS was the song that gave us our baby. He was out and I think maybe I heard someone call him “buddy” and Cassidy looked at me and said, “It’s a boy.” I was honestly so shocked! I thought for sure it was a girl. Talk about not having a mother’s intuition. Of course, there wasn’t time for shock because suddenly he was in my arms and the searing pains were gone, at least for then. The next couple of hours were such a whirlwind of vital signs, baby footprints, height and weight, trying to breastfeed, taking photos, remembering to text the family, but then delaying it because Scarlet and at least some of the grandparents were at her band concert. He was 21 inches (or maybe 22) and 8 pounds 13 ounces. This is pretty normal for a Bowman baby, to be big, but not a chubby big. It’s a long big! I also marveled at how good he smelled, from just being born. THAT is the true “new baby smell” and not the baby powder scent that Pampers gives. They put him in the warmer and he was so calm! He was just looking all around, and moving his arms and legs. I realized he was way cool.

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

I was in that bed for awhile. The baby seemed to know how to nurse, which was cool. We had two awesome nurses and I still had to get the placenta out and also to get one stitch, which involved Lidocaine and who knows what else. I didn’t care. Sawyer had (and still has but it’s more evened out) the longest fingers and fingernails ever. He was like a wolverine. He also had super long and spindly legs and gigantic feet. Rider has super small feet, and so does Scarlet, so I was not super prepared to have a BOY, and also a skinny boy. He has chunked out a bit at home (ok, a lot) but this was such a marvel at the hospital. We also had our nurse, Emily, take what might be the most fabulous post-birth photos EVER. There’s so much happiness in them.

And decent hair for what I’d been through!

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

Cassidy had made the birth video, which you’ve seen, but the hospital didn’t have great WiFi at first, and we really wanted to get it out to the family members! So I remember he had to go near the hospital entrance to do so. It was getting time for me to go to the recovery room. It was an evening birth (6:26pm!) so we knew pretty early on that we’d have to be there for two nights instead of one, like with Rider. I had to sort of sit up and then shuffle around and go to the bathroom, and with a nurse coming as well! I had no pain meds with Rider and I felt worse at this part with him! Yet, I guess if you have an epidural, the recovery can be longer. I didn’t find that, but, not long after I got up, the back and top of my head had searing pain. Remember the spinal headache we discussed in last week’s post?? Yeah. That. I didn’t really know it at first..

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

We did THE WALK (of not shame) to the recovery room, in which the mother pushes the baby bassinet. This is an awesome thing to do, and I got applause when I walked Rider to our room (and from the same delivery room #3!), but it also helps a mother get balance and steadiness. Well, with Rider, I could barely walk from pushing out a 9 lb baby. And with Sawyer, it was the same, because of my growing headache! I passed so many smiling nurses who gave their “Congrats” and saw the new midwife on duty (who is also pregnant), but the head thing was growing. I just thought it was normal because I hadn’t slept the night before, and I’m not sure I had eaten anything since breakfast. Yeah, nothing. And no IV fluids like I had with Rider. So I couldn’t wait to get to the recovery room (same one we had with Scarlet!!) where I instantly sat down. And then I had to lie down, flat on my back. There was a flurry of activity of getting me food and water and me nursing, and I swear I did it all while lying down. It was a nightmare.

I was on another planet, though. I told a nurse about the headache but it wasn’t peak bad yet.

Luckily I managed to get at least some food and drink down, and I nursed all night. I was pretty dehydrated still but got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and each time, I got the extreme headache in the top and back of my head, which instantly went away when lying flat. So enter in the worst night of sleep ever, between vital signs for me, vital signs for the baby, the nurses rotation, and more. I just figured that if I got some sleep, the headache would go away. It was so nice to be able to lie on my back again, and also, that was the only way to not feel terrible. I’ve only had one migraine in my life (right before puberty) and holy heck, do I now feel for migraine sufferers. There is NO enjoying life like this. There is no enjoying your newborn.

There’s just this eye-view:

And this was the view I wanted, and eventually got, sort of, and then lost and got again:

I told Althea I was feeling lost, Lacking in some direction, Althea told me upon scrutiny, That my back might need protection

When we woke up the next morning, or whatever you call it when you’ve been up every hour but know breakfast is coming, the headache started the instant I got up to use the bathroom. I still hadn’t showered, which was one of the first things I did with the other three babies after their births, and I still hadn’t really had a real meal in over 24 hours. The night nurse knew of my problem and had mentioned a painkiller and something called a “blood patch” but this was all hazy to me. I really thought it would go away on its own, just like I really thought the baby was a girl. So much confusion/pain. This was honestly the only medical thing I’d ever had really wrong.

It was time to get help.

To be continued, to talk about blood patches/homecoming/going BACK to the hospital.

I figured I should give you a nice non-headache photo from today. My little maybe blondie:

“I told Althea, I’m a roving sign
That I was born to be a bachelor
Althea told me, OK that’s fine
So now I’m trying to catch her
Can’t talk to you without talking to me
We’re guilty of the same old things
Thinking a lot about less and less
And forgetting the love we bring”

This is my new birth mix. “Althea” is song #32, and the end of the birth mix.

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  1. It never gets old reading your birth stories just as seeing you and your children is a treasure in my life.

  2. I clicked in because I saw the Alathea lyrics and was like “What are you talking about Tamara? You have ALL the direction right now, lol.” So I was pleasantly surprised to see the continuation of your birth story. Hurray!! And also nonono so sad about the head ache and confusion. I always have issues after birth. It is my hard part. Hoping this didn’t last too long for you!!

  3. “I’m so happy for you.” That’s funny. I think midwives and Doctors have so many stories to tell.

    Ugh, the headache. I am glad you knew when to get help.

  4. Ah, the story continues! What a cute little pumpkin in his hat. I had so many things go wrong with my first, hence why I only had two. I’ve had migraines on and off for years, especially during “hormone intense” seasons. They are debilitating. This is often the only positive thing to come out of a difficult experience, we develop empathy for others in similar situations. You make your babies BIG!!!! Blessings to you all 🙂

  5. Finally playing catch up here this evening and glad I got to read your awesome #4 birth story. But uggh to the headache as do get migraines sometimes still and when I do that are no fun. Can’t even imagine getting one after child birth though. So, truly hope that you were able to some relief and look forward to the next part of the story here ❤️

  6. These pictures bring me teary-eyed joy as l look at all of them Tamara! Just as you said there really is so much happiness and love ❤️ in them. John Lennon’s loving lyrics “Beautiful, Beautiful Boy” are repeating in my music mind as l type. Your steadiness and strength have really shined as your story unfolds. It has been quite a journey so far. I’m ready for the upcoming chapters!

  7. Oh, Tamara, this is so beautifully written and the photos are tremendous. I’m so sorry to hear about the migraine. I’ll await on pins & needles to hear the next part. I hope you didn’t have to suffer too much longer! What a beautiful birth story though. I do love the name Althea Grace but Sawyer…my goodness what a little honey. He is fair haired compared to the other babes. Oh, and p.s. my second was born at 6:30 pm. 🙂

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