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Piper Turns One: A Reflection

March 29, 2017

Today is Piper’s first birthday. I suppose it is normal to become reminiscent about how a year has already come along and how we can’t imagine life before she was part of our family. Those things are true, and I mean them, but her birth is not something I’ll soon forget. So, for me, as much as it is also Piper’s birthday, it is the anniversary of her birth, or That One Time I Had Unplanned Major Surgery in the African Jungle.

I’ve written the story here, so you may reminisce if you desire (or read it for the first time if you must). I think of it in random highlights:

Like, how did I give birth in a place with no toilets? Or without running water? Who does that? How did I get through the heat? I am writing this today while sweating, because it is the hottest time of year, and the power is out. But in the village where Piper was born, the only power is the power you supply yourself. We had a few fans, but no air conditioning…and the humidity is enough to stop you from doing anything.

I remember my dear dear friend, Shannon, also my epic OBGYN, joking with us and being excited as we started the induction, but then as things turned increasingly serious, I remember her yelling (in French!) because the hospital personnel were not moving fast enough. And Matthew was yelling along side of her. I was happily headed into shock, so the yelling was neither here nor there, but just as much noise as the goats outside the [open] hospital windows.

I remember being wheeled to the neighboring building for the c-section in a plastic chairs with after-market casters. And feeling the first cut of the scalpel. I hold to the fact that this was a very cool experience, to feel it, because I don’t remember it hurting as much as everything else was.

It is still a bit of a mystery as to why the Pitocin didn’t advance labor, why Piper didn’t drop properly, or why there were such bizarre, intense pains between the contractions that made my labor pains feels easy breezy. Everything checked out once she born. But, whatever the cause, we are all incredibly grateful for the best outcome one could have imagined.

I remember, because my husband brings it up about once a week, coming out of the drug haze. It was not a shining moment, but those who were present definitely found it funny.

I remember Piper fussing about being hot that first night. There was a fan on one side, and she was happy, but when I moved her to nurse on the other side, she complained until she was back in front of the fan. To this day, she hates being hot. She gets this from her mother.

I remember not being able to move in the little hospital room, chosen for me because it was the only private place AND it had an electric outlet (and we brought the fan from the house).

I remember swearing as they took out my catheter without any sort of gentleness. African women must be super tough, because they acted surprised to hear that it hurt.

I remember getting into a tall vehicle the next day and being driven quite skillfully by Ryan, Shannon’s husband, despite the roads being more akin to dumpy sand pits. He did a great job.

I remember Piper getting a fever that first night, the German monk pediatrician coming over. While he and Shannon were inspecting Piper in the living room, I couldn’t move from the bed in the bedroom. That was scary.

The pediatric nurse slept on the couch, Piper got IV antibiotics on her first night (my first kiddo EVER to receive antibiotics), and the fever left and never came back. I also had a matching IV port for my own antibiotics. I got painkillers for the first two nights and then switched to Ibuprofen for the rest of my recovery. I swear it really wasn’t that bad if I rested well. However, I am not a strong person.

I remember that Piper was our first and only child to do well at breastfeeding. This was a saving grace that we needed desperately. The three previous had been such struggles with varying results.

I remember getting on a small airplane on Day 4 (yay MAF). I remember that the immigration officials still wanted to bother us both in the village and in the city. They charged Piper for immigrating, despite a significant lack of paperwork. This is how Congo works.

I remember getting a fairly nasty infection in the incision site because heat and humidity just can’t be avoided in this climate. It took two different antibiotics, and twice-daily packing for two weeks before it healed. It’s fine now.

But, through it all, I’d do it again for our sweet little princess. I mean, only if I had to. Because it was kind of a nightmare. I’m not sure I’m any tougher for it, but it’s a good story to tell.

But, seriously, when the next one comes along, I’m going to deliver in a place with toilets.

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Piper Pretty in Pink

One Comment leave one →
  1. ricetd permalink
    March 29, 2017 0829

    Dear Lisa, I promise to have more toilets and real flush type if you come to the hospital to deliver again.

    Well told and somewhat funny if it wasn’t a serious situation. God Bless, Tim

    On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 5:04 PM, The Linds in DR Congo with MAF wrote:

    > Matthew & Lisa Lind posted: “Today is Piper’s first birthday. I suppose it > is normal to become reminiscent about how a year has already come along and > how we can’t imagine life before she was part of our family. Those things > are true, and I mean them, but her birth is not something I” >

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