When someone asked me what my birth plan was, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a natural, non-medicated, stay at home as long as I could, glorified delivery. I wrote the whole thing down, I discussed it with my doctor, I draw it out to my husband like a football play, stamped it with ignorance and awaited my magical moment. I ignored all the mom’s who laughed in my face and I shut down any “be prepared,” advice. My experience was going to be beautiful and magical and I was indifferent to the warnings that were being thrown my way. The tormented souls of delivery’s past were trying to throw me a bone and I wasn’t taking it.
After experiencing a pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum , I should have been aware that nothing turns out the way you plan. Especially something as complicated and chaotic as child birth. Maybe my struggles with my complicated pregnancy led me to believe that God was going to shine down on me and reward me with a blissful delivery; How naive I was. God had a plan for me and it wasn’t the easy road. He looked down on me and said, “You prayed for strength, so I will present you with a battle that will make you stronger.” When asking God for an ability, instead of bestowing upon us our wish, he places us in a path that brings our prayers to life. Life has taught me that we don’t just acquire strength, we build it, like armor, in which we piece together bit by bit.
I envisioned myself sitting at home one night and out of nowhere I would experience a pain. A few moments later, another pain would follow. “Contractions,” I would exclaim and pull out my contraction calculator. My husband and I would watch the timer as the contractions got closer and closer. As the intervals approached three minutes, my husband and I would go back and forth between waiting it out and heading to the hospital. At the last minute I would decide, “we should go.” Suddenly, my water would break. My husband and I would rush out of the door, hospital bag in tow.
I would waddle my way up to the service desk in the Maternity Ward. “I’m having a baby,” I would yell. I would then be rushed off to the delivery room where I would wonder the room, freely, walking through each contraction. I would play my “Here comes baby” playlist and within a few hours, I would feel the urge to push. My doctor would return to check and state that I was 10 cm and ready to go. I would push and out would come this beautiful bundle of mush. I would hold her against my chest as the cord continued to pump nutrients to her for several more minutes. Finally, she would be cleaned and wrapped, and she would fall asleep on my chest. “You did great,” my husband would say, and I would feel like a warrior. I can hear all my fellow Mama’s out there laughing hysterically.
Thinking about how different my delivery was from my expectations still stings. In reality, it was chaotic, it was messy, and it was debilitating. My anxiety escalated, my ability to remain calm went right out the window, and I was extremely emotional. Giving birth is painful, it’s scary, and it’s overwhelming; that’s the reality of it. I didn’t have a magical delivery and did not come out the other end feeling glorified. I felt vulnerable, I felt weak and I felt robbed of this amazing experience I would one day be able to share with my daughter. Instead, I’m left with the reality that nothing goes the way that we plan. It’s common sense. I was ashamed of my birth story and I did not feel a sense of pride talking about it.
I was given inducement medication because I was overdue, and it failed miserably. I spent 30 plus hours waiting for my body to take over and it refused. The pain was intense and my “natural birth plan” crashed and burned when I made the decision to get an epidural which stopped working effectively after about ten hours. When I hit the thirty-something mark, my temperature spiked, and my doctor was concerned about a possible infection that would spread to my baby. He uttered the words I had refused to listen to my entire pregnancy; C-Section I broke out into a sobbing mess as they wheeled me into the OR.
I’m going to save you the gory details, but my c-section escapade was unpleasant, and I struggled with managing the pain after the surgery. The truth is though, I survived. I made it through the toughest physical experience of my life and I’m a stronger person because of it. No, I did not feel very strong in the midst of it all, but I made it to the finish line. In the end, I still got to hold my beautiful bundle of mush. She battled a few struggles of her own, but we both have recovered vigorously. Six months into my post-partum recovery and I can finally laugh at myself. My chaotic mess of a delivery experience is a distant memory, my battle scar is healing beautifully, and I’m a little more humble when it comes to expectations vs realities. I’m even considering a possible baby number two in the future; well, maybe. Definitely not in the near future.
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