It’s 4:00 AM on Halloween, and the husband and I have already started the party. We’re in our costumes…have been for nearly 48 hours now. I don’t know about his, but mine is pretty gruesome. It comes with bags under the eyes, several ratty hospital bands, ugly socks, and localized yet still distracting numbness. The crowning jewel of my costume happens to be that really itchy incision in the worst possible place. Or maybe it’s that incessant need to pee every fifteen minutes.

We’re going as new parents for Halloween.

Granted this party consists of three people in one tiny hospital room and not much else. At least the food is decent. Right now he’s on the couch (or what passes for one, though I have to say it’s much more comfortable than this meat tray I’m on) passed out and half snoring while holding a very opinionated (and mostly fussy but thankfully sleeping) infant.

I’m the one on the internet. It turns out the after-effects of being pregnant this time around aren’t that much different than the symptoms. I still can’t walk, I still can’t sleep, I still spend most of my life in the bathroom, and the little one insists on keeping me awake as much as humanly possible.

For those not in the know (which is pretty much the entire world not connected to my Facebook feed), my second daughter was born at 8:05 AM yesterday morning by scheduled cesarean section. At 9 pounds, 6 ounces, it was certainly warranted, even if I wasn’t happy about it. See, the doctor didn’t give me a choice when I went in for my last checkup on Tuesday. They threatened macrosomia (in other words…hey y’all, she gon’ be big!) due to this fictional case of gestational diabetes (long story…don’t ask unless you ply me with alcohol first) and told me to show up at the hospital 5:30 Thursday morning (ugh.).

They tell you every pregnancy is different, and I will now be the first one to tell you that statement could not possibly be truer. With my first daughter, it was easy. I slept like a rock, aced every test, got to be all the right people in all the right places, and had that general glow of a new, expectant mother. I went into labor on my own and didn’t really have any major pain. There were no complications and she was born perfectly happy and healthy. And really, really, REALLY tiny. 6-15 was her initial weigh-in. She’s almost four now and all set for world domination once she learns to read. Smart as a whip, that one, and it scares the hell out of me.

This time? Hell no. I couldn’t sleep even though I wanted to, got pegged as a gestational diabetic, apparently did everything wrong, and ended up with a rather large baby and eighteen stitches across my pelvis. We won’t even talk about the panic attack on the operating table or the two days of angry grumbling prior to it. We aren’t going to discuss the shaving and the bleeding and the gas pain and the general feeling of ohfortheloveofgodsomeonejustkillmenow that has been present up until the last 10 hours. And while yes, I’ll concede that in a lot of ways a c-section is a much easier process, it isn’t particularly pleasant. I can admit now that I was terrified of the whole concept. I didn’t want to go through with it because it was major surgery, because my recovery time will be longer, and if we’re completely honest (and why not be in the wee hours of the morning?), because the last time I was present for a major surgical procedure, I lost my father. Granted that wasn’t due to the surgery, but his own long-standing stubborn refusal to take better care of himself. I’m still mad at him for that, by the way. But more than anything, I was absolutely terrified of the spinal block. I don’t like the concept of someone messing around back there, and I don’t like being out of control. And both happened in rapid succession. They shoved that needle into the space between vertebrae and set me on fire. Then they pumped me full of anesthetic that created the most bizarre sensations of my life (ever been acutely aware of the presence of your feet yet have no control over them?). Then I had a full-blown panic attack that resulted in a pretty heavy-duty sedative being added to my IV while the lower half of my body was split open and jerked from pillar to post. I write horror and I have a pretty strong stomach, but the meaty, squishing sound as the doctor shoved his hand inside me and pulled Miss L. free is way up there with Most Disgusting Things Ever. And DUDE… THAT SHIT CAME FROM ME!

But I’m fine. She’s fine. We’re all fine here. She’s healthy and happy and has excellent lung capacity. The two of us in costume are exhausted little zombies, but hey… this ain’t our first rodeo and we’re going to be okay. Now, I say she’s large, but she’s exactly the same length the first one was. Both of them were 21.5” long at birth. Miss L. here isn’t large…she’s just solid. You don’t expect her to weigh as much as she does until you take off her blankets and look at her squishy arms and chunky legs. She’s mostly long enough to accommodate them, though. Poor thing looks like me, right down to inheriting the monkey-like feet of my father’s people. We all have these really long toes and this inhuman gap between the first two on each foot. It’s sort of like having an extra set of thumbs, really. Regardless of the self-deprecating humor, she’s a perfectly healthy, beautiful little bundle of joy and I couldn’t be happier she’s here.

We go home Sunday. Maybe then I can start getting things done again. In the last two weeks I’ve had two anthologies go live to which I was a contributor. I have about 10 blog posts written which need to be scheduled announcing these things and more, but the constant back-and-forth to the doctor, the aches and pains, and the panic attacks have sufficiently kept me from being human. With any luck, that’s going to change really soon.

But first, Miss L. is hungry. Looks like she’s singing my song.

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