My pregnancy with my daughter was a total dream. Very little morning sickness, some occasional hip pain, and the usual insomniac tendencies toward the last few weeks, but nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't expect her birth to be anything out of the ordinary either. Boy was I wrong.
I went into the hospital 5 days overdue with leaking waters. They admitted me and put me on Pitocin immediately. I labored naturally on Pitocin for 18 hours, until the contractions became unbearably painful with no rest in between. I got the epidural placed, and labor stalled. I was stuck at 8.5 cm for several hours. We came on the 29th hour of labor and I was starving, running a fever, and in immense pain as I had let the epidural wear off in the hopes that it would help labor move along. The doctor had me do some "practice pushes", but told me my cervix was so swollen (probably from all the cervical checks and long duration of labor) that it was pushing her back up instead of out. I was given the option of laboring for another 2 hours with a 10% chance of having her vaginally, or go for the emergency c section while her heart rate was still good.
My one greatest fear was having a c section, but in that moment all I could think about was the odds were slim of having her the way I wanted to, and that she could go into distress if I put her through much more. I had to set aside my wishes and put my daughter's wellbeing first.
I don't even remember what the anesthesiologist said to me as they rushed around prepping me for surgery. I felt like too much of a complete failure and was crying too much to listen. I had no idea what to expect from a c section. None of my relatives or friends had had one so I was in completely in the dark on what would happen.
I was shaking so badly on the surgery table partly from fear, partly from meds, and partly from cold, that I thought I was having a seizure. It was terrifying. They had to strap my arms down and I wasn't allowed to hold my daughter after she was born, which was the biggest disappointment I encountered. It was the one thing I was most looking forward to. I felt so disconnected from the birth and disconnected from my daughter after that moment was stolen from me.
During recovery I was unable to get from a lying position (in the hospital bed) to a standing position without immense pain. My baby would cry in her bassinet and I was helpless to hold her. I couldn't step over the lip of my tub to take a shower without my husband helping me lift my leg. I couldn't sit on the toilet or get up from the toilet by myself. It was absolutely humiliating. I wasnt allowed to drive myself anywhere or lift anything for weeks afterwards. I lost all independence.
My daughter ended up being extremely colicky. Family and in-laws lived out of state and my husband and I were alone in our new roles as parents. I ended up spiraling into a postpartum depression I had never expected. I didn't feel like myself. My body felt strange and foreign, my role as someone who had normally been cared for was now switched to caretaker all the while recovering from major surgery. I lacked the attachment and immediate love for my daughter that everyone said I would have. It was the darkest time of my life.
Luckily the days got easier and with time and therapy we are both doing wonderfully. I have developed that bond with her and she has turned into a beautiful, happy, almost 1 year old who sleeps through the night! (Something I NEVER thought would happen!) My husband was also my biggest supporter and cheerleader during those first hard months and I know I couldn't do it without him by my side.
Now I find myself unexpectedly pregnant 10 months after having my firstborn daughter. We knew we always wanted a second, but I didn't expect or want to have another child without fully being able to heal from that ordeal. I still don't feel ready most days, but I still have several months to mentally and emotionally prepare. I hope that posting my daughter's story here will help me on my journey toward healing. Thanks for hearing my story. ❤️