Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Birth Story and What I Wished I'd Known

For a while since I became an adult, and especially after I got pregnant, I heard so many stories of what labor was like. Some seemed like horror stories, others weren’t so bad. Yet, it was still so unimaginable to me what the whole experience could be like.

And then, last December (we 're talking 2018) I found out I was pregnant.

I couldn’t believe that I was finally going to experience pregnancy, labor and motherhood. It had been something I had always imagined and wanted for years. I had never tried and my husband and I were lucky to get pregnant very soon. Seeing those two little lines in the pregnancy test was the start of a new life. 

Fast forward to August 25th in the evening, I started feeling contractions. A stabbing pain that started in my lower back and moved forward to my pelvis. My doctor and several others had mentioned that I would know when they were contractions, and they were right! There was no mistaking them. 

I saw my doctor a few times before I was dilated enough to be hospitalized. On Monday night, I was admitted, thankfully, as the contractions were increasing in pain and consistency. After a few hours, my doctor came in to check me again but, to my surprise, I was still only dilated at 4 cm (of a total of 10). Hours passed, the pain got more and more intense and my plans for a “natural birth without an epidural” started to seem unrealistic. All the women in history that didn’t have that option for pain medication came to my mind and I felt a sudden and utter admiration for them all. And I also was sure they would have also gladly accepted the drugs if they did have the option! I was given medicine to induce more contractions to hopefully speed up the process.

After a few more hours, I was sure I was dilated enough to start pushing soon. But, when the doctor came to check me again, I had only dilated to 5 cm. I could not believe her when she told me… It had been hours, it was probably 6 am and the pain was so intense, horrible and exhausting, that I couldn’t bear to think I had to still wait a few more hours. I had been in labor for far over twenty four hours. The doctor couldn't really figure out why I was not dilating enough when my contractions were strong enough and told me we could either wait or go on to do a cesarean. 

Weeks prior I had designed my Birth Plan, where I had written that I wanted a natural birth, and only a cesarean if there was any danger. As soon as she told me we could do the surgery, though, my intended birth plan went out the window! I was extremely exhausted and in so much pain, that I said yes to surgery right away. Within a few minutes, I was in the surgery room and longing for the epidural that would take me out of my misery. Within seconds, it did. And I thanked science for that. 

My baby was born at 7:58 a.m. on August 27th. A big and healthy baby boy. 

I was very thankful to have had a healthy boy and to the doctors that assisted with the surgery and his birth. I had a realization that even some decades ago, women in my situation would have ended in a far worse situation than I did. Many women died during childbirth, and if I didn’t live in the era we do today, I would very likely have gone too… a lot of us that have had to have C sections would have. 

At seven months pregnant. 

And that is something I wished I’d realized before. Cesareans are often sought as the “worse case scenario”, when in reality, it’s just another better off scenario. All of us that have gone through one, should feel extremely grateful for having had the option and opportunity of one, which very likely saved both ours and our babies’ lives. I wished many of us all realized this and cesareans finally got the reinforcing fame that they deserve. 

On a more superficial note, something else I wished I’d known is that, the weeks following birth, I would still look around 5 months pregnant because of the swelling. Why doesn’t anyone talk about that? It is not cute, yet it is a reality. And something that should be talked about along with it is that it is OK. We just literally gave life, who cares if there are some physical consequences after that, especially if they are temporary! (The swelling usually goes away after a couple of months and you CAN get your figure back!). 

Another thing I wished I’d known is that, unlike I thought and we are all made to believe, I didn’t feel the happiest I would ever feel days after I gave birth, despite having just birthed the person you feel unconditional love towards. Yes, the baby blues are somewhat mentioned here and there and, thankfully, there is more awareness now, but not enough. There are SO many changes going on in your life, hormones going crazy, your wound hurts, you have a belly despite not having a baby inside anymore, you often don’t sleep at all, nipples hurt every time the baby latches on… it is not the best time. And you feel like crying for all of these things, because you love your baby so much, because you love your baby so much AND you still feel these things, and for no reason at all. And that is OK! I always wanted to be a mother and I still felt these things. I did because they are normal. And there are many more! Baby blues usually go away a few weeks after giving birth but there are so many women in which they perpetuate, sometimes becoming an actual depression. And that is OK. It is important, however, to get treatment. And there should be no shame in going through that. It is uncontrollable, just the way you wouldn’t judge someone getting cancer or any other illness. 

Something else I wished I’d known is that it WOULD get better. That hormones would adjust and so would I to my new life and not only things would be OK, but they would be better than ever. Because what they told me was true; every single pain and discomfort would be worth it. 

I hope this helps any of you that are going through pregnancy and/or early parenting. This stage in life has no price. The love you feel for your child truly is unconditional. Enjoy every minute of it, that’s what I’m trying to do every day.

Below is a picture of baby Luca a day after he was born and then of us two months later.


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