By Payton Foeller
My Birth Story: An Unexpected Turn
I love my new life. I love my new baby and all my new things…But I also don’t like them sometimes. And sometimes I don’t like them a lot of the time. And sometimes I hate them. I look at my sweet baby and sometimes I see a beautiful tiny human that I created with my husband and grew for 9 wonderful months. And sometimes I see a tiny monster that stole my free time, my decent body, and my life. Sometimes, I just see a grueling 36-hour labor that resulted in a c-section, a long painful recover, and crushed my birth plan. Sometimes I see the freedom that I lost. Sometimes I see the love that I gained. I love my new life but I don’t love it all the time. And I think that’s OK…
I think it’s OK because labor sucks.
I had a very easy going, lovely pregnancy. I had ailments that cleared up, asthma that took a back seat, headaches that disappeared (that have now returned PP). I thought to myself, “I could do this a million times over again.” As I approached 42 weeks of pregnancy, I started to second guess that thought. I trusted that my body could do this. Women are built for this, right? I trusted God and trusted my body to pick the right time until my doctor said, “No more waiting. Come in and we will discuss where we go from here, induction.” Surprisingly, the morning of this appointment I woke up to some painful yet exciting contractions. I asked for this, right? This is good, this is good, but holy cow that hurt! We went into the regular appointment time and I was barely dilated. She allowed me a few hours to walk the mall (sneak some Chick-fil-A that I would soon regret) and try to progress on my own, which I did a little.
We went into the hospital later that afternoon and they broke my water. Which is when the real fun began. Several nurses and techs come in asking various questions; my all-time favorite, with all seriousness, the nurse looked me in the eye and said, “What brings you in today?” I was having a bit of PREGNANCY so I thought I’d come in and GET THIS THING OUT OF ME! The look they give you when you ask to wear your clothes from home is pretty grand too…later I discovered what I thought was a look of annoyance was really a look of ‘oh honey…you’re gonna puke on that pretty little gown…but okay, you wear that if you want.’
My plan of a natural, cozy, drug-free labor went out the window about two miserable hours later as I pressed the call button with all my might and begged for the epidural, assuring the nurse I didn’t care what my plan said, hook me up now. One nurse gave me some tips to work through some contractions. Go ‘loosey goosey’ when the pain hits, which helped for about five seconds. Something about the way the baby was sitting caused more pain than usual I suppose and to that I said, Thank you God for drugs! My husband was almost in tears at the relief that the epidural brought me, and I could finally take a breath and almost had tears of joy.
The whopping four and a half hours between breaking my water and getting that epidural were the longest hours of my entire life. God bless the women who make it drug-free, you amaze me. Truly, you’re amazing. The ‘sleep’ I was able to get the relief actually helped me progress and by the next morning, after a long night, I was fully dilated and the real work began and lasted for almost four hours with no success.
My baby really is mama’s girl, a stubborn homebody. She didn’t want to leave! Due to this, my wonderful OB then suggested a C-section, the words no mama wants to hear. I was tired and ready to be done so with sadness I quickly complied. They prepped and wheeled me to surgery where I would experience a whole other set of traumatizing things. I asked that my arms not be strapped down (as if surgery AWAKE wasn’t traumatizing enough, let’s add the feeling of being strapped to a table incapable of escaping the matter) due to anxiety issues. I asked if my wonderful husband could hold my arms for the procedure, they allowed it. They got everything ready, I recall very little, but I remember being annoyed at how skinny the table was, I felt like I was going to fall off! And of all the things to worry about that’s what I kept thinking about; this table is so small and I’m not a large person. How does this work for anybody bigger than me? Not well I’m sure. I was obsessed with the width of the table. They finally brought my husband back and he cried, he was so worried about me.
I heard them counting tools and sponges getting ready for the procedure as I chatted incoherently with the anesthesiologist about epidurals. I explained all the reasons I hadn’t wanted one in so much detail that she asked me if I worked in obstetrics. Nope, I just do my research. But all the research in the world didn’t make things go my way or even close to the way I wanted. Not even an hour later they had the baby out and they held her up by my face while they sewed up my insides. It was not the dream but it is our story.
With swollen everything and a drugged up foggy brain, I welcomed my new baby into the world and stepped into a whole new chapter. I don’t love it all the time but that’s OK, cause it’s mine. All that to say, your story is special too. We grow and birth tiny humans and that’s amazing. We then wade into postpartum hormones while we try to keep the tiny humans alive. Fast forward a few really, really long days.
“She’s so beautiful, aw so sweet, I love her, she’s so cute.” Everyone loved my baby but I wasn’t sure if I did. All that I was sure of was that I was tired and sore and drugged up. All I knew was I wanted this tiny human to *pardon my french* shut up for an hour so I could sleep…
For the first…at least four weeks of my daughter’s life…I wanted to give her away. Not forever, just for a few nights, maybe a week or two, a month possibly? I had changed my mind and I didn’t think I wanted her. The weight of saying that out loud was really tough. I felt like everyone loved my kid more than me. Every ‘she’s so precious’ and ‘oh, I love her already’ had my stomach turning because I didn’t. I didn’t love her already or I didn’t feel like I loved her yet.
We stayed in the hospital almost a whole week recovering from a C-section, for which they drug you up a good deal. Narcotics do a great deal to twist your emotions and make you feel funny. And they partner REALLY well with postpartum hormones and exhaustion.
After several breakdowns through the week, we prepared to head home with our new screaming bundle of chaos/I mean my pretty bundle of joy. My husband helped me shower, like an elderly person and a nursing home worker. Which looking back was a beautiful display from a loving husband but at the time wasn’t great for the ego. We made it home slowly, cringing through every bump and crevasse – thank you C-section. Getting into the house felt like coming home from being gone on a very long and not so fun vacation. That vacation where everything is planned out and sounds good on paper but along the way, everything goes wrong- it rains on your beach day, all the theaters are closed, and then you get food poisoning, kind of vacation. And then you give birth to the food poisoning and have to take it home with you; oh and it’s really loud and smelly. That whole, ‘oh as soon as you see the baby you will forget all the pain and all the labor and all the stress will just melt away with the baby fat.;’ that’s crap. Just pure crap. I remember all the pain and all the labor, except for the few hours after the C-section where I was too foggy to spell my own name. It took several days to get used to being home. We had one night where she slept for 9 hours straight, thank heavens, because I was about to die of exhaustion.
It took several weeks to wean off the drugs and learn how to manage nursing a newborn. And it took several months to feel like it was ‘worth it.’ It did not happen ‘the moment I saw her’ like most people say it does. And now I know that’s okay. The haze has lifted and the hormones have leveled off. New mommies: give it time. The fog will clear. You can know everything in the world and still struggle with the adjustments a new baby brings. You can have a plan and be completely derailed. You can not love your baby and survive it. You will survive it.
Reposted with permission from A Hopeful Happenstance.
Payton Foeller: A wife, a mom, a friend. Tired, lazy, and hungry. I’m just a gal trying to do my part to make your #youngmomlife life a little bit better. Use #ahhmoms to share your crazy mom days with us!