Little recap – In part 1 I told you about my struggles with pregnancy, and my homebirth that was taking an ugly turn. If you didn’t get a chance to read that, catch up here.
…We left off with me being wheeling into the surgery room for the c-section.
“Umm, I can’t feel anything below my neck. Is that normal?” I asked as I looked up at the anesthesiologist when they started the c-section. Apparently it is, but whoa, it’s weird.
They had also put me on this nasty drug called, “Magnesium Sulfate.” Apparently while I was laboring I developed either preeclampsia or a condition called HELLP (which can be fatal for mom’s). Both conditions can cause you to seizure, so this drug makes all the muscles in your body basically turn into pudding, including your eyelids!
As I laid there desperately trying to keep my eyelids open, they lifted a little baby over the curtain as Zac said, “It’s a boy!” smiling ear-to-ear.
Wyatt was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as they laid him on my chest. I tried to talk to him but I had lost my voice as well. I think this had something to do with the drugs. I’m not really sure.
…But all I know is, that feeling I was hoping for, that rush of pure love to overtake my body when I first saw my child — it wasn’t there.
I dreamt of this feeling throughout my entire pregnancy. The thought of this moment carried me through the tough days. I envisioned Wyatt coming out, wrapping him in my arms and sobbing with joy.
It was one of the main reasons why I wanted a drug free birth in the first place.
But I felt none of that. I was numb. Physically and emotionally.
Everyone was so excited to see him when we got back to our room, but I was in another world by this point (I mean just look at the picture below). Soon it was just the three of us, so we could finally get some rest. You’d think would be easy to rest after not sleeping or eating for over 24 hours, but I couldn’t.
It wasn’t because I wanted to stare at my beautiful new baby.
Unfortunately my attention was nowhere near him. I was so uncomfortable and ridiculously doped up. Another side effect of Magnesium Sulfate (the drug they gave me) is feeling hot. Hot is an understatement — I was on FIRE. Sleeping wasn’t possible.
The next day they realized that Wyatt could have some sort of infection and could no longer stay with us in our room. He had to go to the NICU. Since I couldn’t walk (remember, I still had pudding muscles) they had to wheel me into the NICU to feed Wyatt every two hours.
I felt inadequate.
I felt pathetic.
I felt like a failure.
The first time seeing Wyatt hooked up to all those machines with needles in his little bruised hands, broke my heart. I sat there nursing him while tears dripped down my face, landing on his forehead.
I never imagined things would unfold this way. Ever.
I was a mess, obviously. As I mentioned in Part 1, I had worked so hard to create a birth that would have been the complete opposite of this. I took classes, read books, watched peaceful birthing videos, and did millions of visualizations… Seriously millions.
I see now I was borderline obsessed. Which is never a good thing.
There has to be a level of surrender and trust when you’re wanting to bring an experience into your life. And though I’d say, “I trust things will unfold the way they’re meant to,” deep down I wanted it MY WAY!
Like a three-year-old throwing a fit, not wanting to leave the park. I was digging my heels in by squeezing in just one more visualization or one more birthing video before I went to bed.
Around day 2 (still in the hospital), we begged the nurses to take me off that nasty ‘pudding muscle drug.’ After much persistence they drew blood to test my Magnesium Sulfate levels.
Low and behold my levels were way too high and they immediately took me off this drug. I was like a new person. It was immediate. I could feel the fog lifting. Zac was so relieved to see me back to myself again. He said to me later that day, “I never in a million years thought I’d have to worry about you (just Wyatt if at all), but I was getting scared.”
I stayed in the hospital for 4 days (which felt like an eternity). We were so excited to go home. I’m pretty sure the nurses and doctors were thrilled to see us leaving. They were a little annoyed by us.
You see, Zac and I are big question-askers. We don’t follow the crowd, and want to develop our own opinion… and to do that you must educate yourself and ask A LOT of questions.
This didn’t change in the hospital. We weren’t afraid to ask, “Why” when they told us they needed to run certain protocols. It’s not that we don’t trust our doctors, we just believe that every human body and situation is different, and “protocol” doesn’t see it that way. We were more questioning the protocol, than their medical expertise.
Our midwife LOVED it. She was so impressed by our desire to learn, so we could form our own opinion about all of our options when it came to the birth (which there are a TON!).
I believe this holds true for everything, especially when it comes to highly controversial, and sensitive topics.
No, I’m not talking about those, nor is this a place to discuss them…
But I will say, empower yourself!
Do the research (from reliable resources, of course) and develop your own opinion. You’ll never be sorry you did. Even if your opinion doesn’t change, you’ll find peace of mind.
We packed up our stuff to leave the hospital and walked to the car. I sat down in the passenger seat utterly exhausted. I felt like I had been hit by a truck (literally).
As I walked into my bedroom (where I labored), my stomach sank.
All of the mantras were still hung up, the room still smelt of lavender and geranium, and the remains of the candles were still scattered around the room.
I completely lost it.
All my visions of having my baby at home, in a peaceful, soothing, loving environment, and the reality of what actually happened – it all became so real now. Being hit by a truck was nothing compared to this pain. It was hard.
A week later, I finally started feeling a little better, when I got my placenta pills from my midwife. I don’t know what I would’ve done without those! Up until then, I thought I was going to die. Not only was I recovering from a 22-hour marathon, major surgery and the hormonal rollercoaster, but I had to care for this little human (who was getting up every 2 hours).
Right when I thought I was completely depleted and couldn’t give any more, something new came up.
I had a torn muscle in my back that prevented me from sleeping. I had clogged milk ducts… Then I caught a cold!
I was only taking half the dose of the pain pills, because I didn’t want to numb out any longer.
Yeah, it would’ve helped with the physical pain, but…
I needed to start really feeling this, fully.
Plus, I was nursing and since I could manage a smaller dose, I did.
The tears of exhaustion continued for weeks.
I know my story isn’t the exception. I’ve heard worse, but that doesn’t make coming to terms with my experience any easier. This shit is hard. Although people would tell me it’s “the toughest job in the world,” my arrogance would step in and say, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I got this.”
I remember sharing Wyatt’s birth story, and so many people’s response was, “I know it’s not what you wanted, but at least you two are okay.” And yeah, I get that. I was happy we were both healthy and alive (of course).
But deep down, I was grieving.
With every comment like that, it made me feel like I was wrong for feeling so upset.
So I shoved it down.
Then, my midwife, texted me, “I just wanted to let you know that you did NOTHING wrong. Nothing. I know how much you wanted this. It’s okay to feel sad about that.” She not only eased my mind (because I did keep questioning if we should’ve done something differently), but she also gave me the permission to really feel my sadness to its depth.
I didn’t get to experience the level of love, peace and connection that I wanted.
I deserved to honor my feeling about the situation, despite us still being okay.
That was the beginning of my healing.
Some may say I’m being a bit dramatic… But this is honestly how I felt.
The whole experience was very humbling. I mean, how could it not be!
I found so much respect for every parent out there. I remember thinking, “We all deserve a badge of freaking honor!” I was dead serious. WE DO!
I called my parents. With so much love and respect, I told them, “Thank you.” I was eternally grateful that they went through this when they had me.
But most of all, when it’s all said and done…
I wouldn’t change any part of this story. This birth didn’t happen TO me, it happened FOR ME.
The lessons I’ve learned are far greater than a “perfect birthing vision.”
*That we all are so much stronger than we EVER imagined… Adversity and challenges will prove this to us.
*That surrendering is a part of life, and when you do, it creates so much ease. You can’t control it (is no matter how hard you try or how pure your intentions are).
*That talking about your feelings, even if they are hard, is the only way to heal.
*That you need to trust others instincts (like in my case trusting Wyatt’s instincts) — He chose the hospital and potentially saved my life.
*That it’s okay to be sad and mourn about an outcome, even if there’s worse situations out there.
*Yet again, the human body is absolutely incredible. Not only can the human body create a baby, but how your body literally takes over once the birthing process begins (it forces your mind and intellect to take the back seat so they won’t get in the way– whoa).
*And personally, I learned that labor, in its rawest form, is one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced (I didn’t say easy). Talk about surrender and trust! I feel more connected to my body than ever. I’m honestly excited to do it again in the future.
*And that I’m incredibly lucky to have such a great husband. I mean, you saw the birthing pictures… and that level of love and support has stayed consistent even with the many speed bumps that comes with parenthood.
Transitioning into motherhood was no cakewalk either. I mean it never is. But the trauma from this birth threw a big wrench into the whole thing.
I struggled. Hard.
Once I felt like I was getting my footing, the rug would quickly be pulled out from under me.
I did suffered from postpartum depression (PPD), even though it took me a long time to fully accept it. I never thought, in a million years I would’ve fell victim to it. I mean, I usually annoy people with my positivity! But I now see why it’s so easy to “catch”.
I’ll write about the first year of motherhood and how I overcame postpartum depression some other time.
For now, I think it’s important to note that we women NEED to talk about our postpartum stories (PPD or not). Not only for our own healing, but to also to give our future momma’s a heads up, and encourage them to get support (because most don’t).
All I can say right now, is SHIT! It feels AMAZING to finally feel like myself again! To feel happy without it feeling like “work,” is IN-CRED-IBLE!
I finally enjoy being a mother 🙂
I do want more children, but am not quite ready to get back into the ring.
I know it’ll be easier because I know what I’m in for, but I’d be fooling myself if I said it’s not going to kick up some of these emotions again.
Which is a good thing, I know, because it means there’s more healing to do.
…For now, I’m gonna enjoy feeling good, and relish in this big beautiful lesson, that I’m now on the other side of.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. If you are still here and read this entire story, I want to give you a big virtual hug, and say thank you. This was a big thing for me. Writing my story wasn’t easy. I appreciate the time and space you’ve held for me as I’ve shared it with you.
Do you have a powerful birthing story? I’d love to hear it or your thoughts about my story in the comments section below.
SIDE NOTE: If while reading this post you had some emotions surface in your body (tears well up, knots in your stomach or tightness in your throat) that’s a sign from your body that there may be some healing to do yourself. I have a little assignment for you – keep reading.
A little backstory — Monday night, before the first email went out I was really nervous, and questioning if I should send it out. Was I oversharing? Would you think I’m being overly dramatic? Would people judge me?
Quickly after the email went out it solidified that sending it was the right choice. So many women shared their birthing stories with me, and what I realized is, that no matter how the birth unfolds there may be some level of trauma. It really is one of the most intense experience life has to offer.
I did lots of things to heal, like got craniosacral work on both Wyatt and I (I highly recommend!), worked with a metaphysician to help clear the traumatic energy from my body, and a few other things…
But there was one exercise that REALLY helped me, that I’d suggest you take the time out to do too. Are you willing to honor your body for some deeper healing? I promise, it’s worth it.
Lie down and place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart, and envision the ideal birth with you and your child. Take your time. Don’t rush this, and let yourself relish in that vision…
Welcome all the feelings.
Then once it’s over take a deep breath and feel the peace wash over your body. It’s seriously amazing.
I actually did this while holding Wyatt, and it was incredible to watch his energy shift as well. I know that’s not possible for everyone, but if you can touch or even just be around your child, do it. If not, the vision in it of itself is still super powerful.
Want to take it a step further? Write your birthing story(s) in detail (like I did with these posts) and FEEL IT ALL. Happy healing momma ❤️