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The Not-So Magical Truth about Giving Birth

Let’s be real. Being a new parent is the hardest thing most adults will ever go through.

The birth of your child is supposed to be so magical, a moment you will never forget. I want to share the story of my first child being born because I still need to heal from it. I am surprised how much it still upsets me to look back at the experience. Even today, as my husband and I debate about having another…. this experience lingers in my head as a cautionary tale of what I wouldn’t want to happen if a second opportunity came around.
All my friends had told me about these “magical” moments that happen in the first couple days of being a parent especially during and after the birth. My expectations going into it were high. I was so anxious to meet my son but also nervous about what my body was about to go through. I kept holding onto that moment after the birth, when you hold your child for the first time and realize your life is now complete.
I went in to get induced on February 12th at 7pm. They started me on cervidil to help “soften my cervix.” Fast forward to 7am on February 13th. No real contractions happening yet and I had not progressed on the dilation scale. My husband stepped out to go grab coffee. At that moment, my OB walked in to tell me the plan. We were going to break my water and start pitocin. I was excited to get started! What she didn’t tell me is breaking your water consists of her shoving her entire hand up your hooha to the point that she might of been touching my belly button from the inside. So gross, so uncomfortable and why the hell did she wait for my husband to step out?
My family started arriving around 10am to keep us company, which was appreciated. I was already having contractions and at the time, refusing the epidural. I am tough chic and frankly wanted to be as coherent as possible when the moment came. I wanted that magic sensation of feeling my son make his way into the world. I wanted that unforgettable birth I had read about for months leading up to this moment.
By noon, I had only dilated to a 3 (you have to be a 10 to start pushing). Guys, the pain was like nothing I can truthfully describe. My husband sat by my side, holding my hand as my body felt like it was being ripped around from the inside every 3 minutes. Everyone is telling you to “BREATHE!!!” You try taking deep breaths when you are in that much pain. My nurse was actually my sister, so every time she told me to breathe, I really wanted to roll my eyes at her. I know she was trying to help and do her job, but at that moment in time, I had no energy to say anything. No energy to even say thank you for everyone that was there to support me.
I kept my eyes shut, trying to focus at the task at hand. My husband kept reaching over to wipe my tears away from my eyes because I was crying, I was sweating as if I had been sitting in a sauna for hours, and the anticipation that another contraction was coming was enough to drive me insane.
If terrorist could figure out a way to make their prisoners feel was I was feeling, I truly believe it would be more effective that water boarding. But what doesn’t kills us, makes us stronger, right?
2pm – No baby yet. I was only a 4cm. I had technically been going through this process now for 19 hours. Seven of those hours were on pitocin. My husband asked my family to leave the room so he could talk with me alone. With the most sympathetic and concerning look I had ever seen him make, he asked me to get the epidural. “I can’t watch you go through this anymore babe. You proved you are the toughest woman I know. It’s time to get the drugs.”
With a big sigh, I gave in….. or so I thought.
Minutes later the anesthesiologist came in. He told me to roll to my side and try and stay still. Oh and they made my husband leave. A contraction was coming, I could feel it. I tried to warn them. I had nobody to hold my hand, nobody to look me in the eyes and tell me it was going to be ok. Just a rude anesthesiologist sitting behind me, most likely rolling his eyes, waiting for me to be still so he could stick a large needle into my spine. The contraction passed, needle in and holy shit it hurt.
He said the numbness would start immediately.. and it did… down my left side.
I could still feel every ounce of pain down my right side and it might even be worse now because its confined. The “pleasant” anesthesiologist was called back in. I assume he had gone off to take a nap because when he came waltzing in, he looked like he had just rolled out of bed. My husband told him that I was still feeling everything down my right side, “impossible” he said. “It was a successful epidural.” Another contraction was coming, I could feel it. The screaming started.
My OB and the anesthesiologist decided to give me something to help me relax. At this point, its 10pm. I am beyond exhausted, too tired to even cry. My emotional, magical birthing exp
erience I had hoped for was no longer realistic and I was starting to give up. I was more relaxed now, but still in quite a bit of pain and guess what… I was still only dilated to a 4. They care team decided to give me a low grade pain reliever. I was completely out of it at this point between the exhaustion, no food, anti anxiety med and pain pill.
3am rolled around and I started to spike a fever. I have now been in labor for 32 hours and only dilated to a 4. My OB said it was time to go back for a cesarean. I was so emotional because I was feeling defeated, weak and disappointed in the outcome.
They brought me back to the operating room which was freezing and laid my arms out in a T formation. Once again, I was pushed more drugs to help calm me down and make me numb so I couldn’t feel the incision. I glanced up and saw the large surgical light facing me had a reflection. At that moment, I was able to see everything that my OB was doing as she sliced me open. I tried mumbling it to my husband and he realized what was going on. I couldn’t stay awake any longer and drifted off the sleep.
My son was born. I was asleep on the table, non responsive.
That unforgettable moment everyone talks about when you first meet your child had come and gone and I was out of it. My poor husband was torn between saying hello to his son and staying by my side. As soon as he realized our son was doing great, he came back to me.
I was wheeled back into our room for bonding time. I was awake but barely coherent. The next few days were a blur to me and I can’t ever thank my husband enough for being my rock and support. The days after my birth are another story, that I plan to share someday.
I am not sharing this story to scare anyone because I wouldn’t take back having my son for anything. Soon to be mothers and fathers put so much emphasis on the birthing plan, the magic that happens at birth, which hospital to deliver at, what to wear, what to bring and whether you will breast feed or not. The point of this story is sometimes life doesn’t allow your plan to unfold the way you want it to.
Looking back, was I induced too early? Possibly. My OB stands by the fact that she didn’t think my hips and pelvis were wide enough for my son to come through. I guess I will never know.
I want soon to be mothers to understand that birthing your first child is one of the hardest if not THE hardest thing you will ever go through in your life. Some mothers have that magical moment, some are traumatic like mine and some have even more serious situations to deal with if the baby is in distress. No matter what your story or path may be, the end result you are hoping for is a healthy baby. Don’t sweat the birthing plan too much, if anything EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Be present in the moment and say thank you for your support system.
Motherhood changed me for the better. I know I can conquer anything now
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