Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Getting a tooth removed--memories of postpartum

Yesterday I had a wisdom tooth removed, it had come in a few years ago and several dentist's had told me it was growing in crooked and harming the tooth in front of it. Which at my last cleaning the dentist said this little pest was going to cause that good tooth a possible root canal, which is supposed to be an awful procedure, so it had to come out. Now I know most of you probably got your wisdom teeth out in your teens or college years. I was not so lucky, mostly because this means I had to pay for it (no one in town takes any type of insurance for this procedure CASH ONLY), and that I also was taking care of my toddler in the afternoon. My husband took the greater half of the morning off to take care of us but had a few obligations in the afternoon.

Here was my experience and why I'm writing about it. After the consultation with the Dr he wanted to take my 3 wisdom teeth out for $1500---which we don't have that kind of cash just laying around so buddy just take the one. I also had this idea that as someone who chose natural water birth I would also be able to get the tooth removed with local drugs and no laughing gas...wrong. He convinced me to get the gas in about 3 words, maybe more, but the words "... crack that tooth into about 4 parts.. drill it out" was enough for me to sign up for the $100 fee to get the gas.

They put me in the operating room, and hooked me up to all sorts of heart monitoring clips and started the gas. Now whoever said it was supposed to make me laugh was wrong. "Take a few deep breaths Holli" next think I knew I started crying. Not like sobbing but huge hot tears just flowing out my closed eyes. It was so weird, as soon as I got "high" I could not stop crying. The nurse kept asking me if I was OK and I just said, "yeah I guess". So I have been trying to remember what I was thinking about and why I would have reacted that way. All I can come up with is that I think I got scared that I would be dopey all day and not be able to take care of my baby. I think it was sort of like a postpartum feeling I had experienced the day after giving birth. I could hardly move my body and yet knew I was going to be needed as a mom.

Anyways the tooth came right out in about 5 minutes and before I knew it I was home with some drugs and Marin doing her 2 year old stunts like dancing and singing all day for me.

I think as a mother the thought of being "out of it" must really scare me. I know the feelings I had under the gas were very similar to being in a state of postpartum exhaustion. There were some days my mind was so fuzzy that I had to be intentional about every step I took, every time I carried my baby from one room to another. This lead me to realize that one of the reasons I think the first three months of postpartum were so scary for me was that my mind was not 100% and yet I was responsible for this tiny creature who demanded me to care for all of her needs. Before we have babies our minds are sharp, we are aware of our actions and then the combination of hormones and sleeplessness causes us to doubt our abilities as new mothers. I had a lot of night anxiety for about 4 weeks after Marin's birth, I truly believe this was my mind telling me "you have one hell of a job laid out for you" that burden laying under my hormone/exhaustion cocktail became frightening. All this to be said, I'm sure if I had gotten my wisdom teeth out when everyone else does then I would probably laughed during the gas, not cried.

Oh the joys of parenting can have its funny affects on a woman. While it might cause me to cry under laughing gas, it also causes me to laugh so hard at times I am also crying.

So in my state of numbness and narcotics I made my avatar self. Here is what I'm supposed to look like.

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