It was literally the day after I got married that I found out that I was pregnant with my first.
Although, we hadn’t planned on a baby that early, we were absolutely thrilled at the time. Keeping the pregnancy quiet was tough. I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone. We finally reached the 12 weeks “safety” and while at a group event we were able to share the happy news with a bunch of our friends. That night, as we were driving home, I knew something wasn’t right and headed to the hospital. After several excruciating hours there, we were told there was no heartbeat. “No longer a viable pregnancy” was the term they used. It seems so cold and uncaring, like my baby was just nothing. Needless to say we were devastated. I never knew I could feel that sad.
Fast forward to exactly one year later and I am back in the very same hospital in full on labor about to give birth to my son. I remember the contractions being so strong and painful and practically wanting to call and have the epidural ready for me when I walked in the door. I have a pretty high pain tolerance but this pain was nothing like I had ever experienced before.
We weren’t at the hospital too long when I was finally able to get my epidural. Please no judgement in my use of the drugs in my delivery, and I definitely admire those that have a natural childbirth. But this epidural probably saved my child’s life. I was finally somewhat more comfortable but I noticed that when I was having contractions that my son’s heartbeat would drop down. We notified the nurses/doctor immediately and as discretely as they could, the started to go into panic mode. They indicated that it appeared that umbilical cord was wrapped around my son’s neck and he was losing oxygen every time I had a contraction and he needed to come out, NOW!
That is when I turned into the crazy lady everyone hears the stories about. I was literally screaming at the doctor’s to get my baby out. I was not going to lose yet another baby on this day two years in a row.
I remember being wheeled into the operating room and passing my parents who had just arrived. I remember that cold, sterile feeling of the room I had been in just a year earlier and starting to panic and the tears started rolling. All I could say to myself was “This is NOT happening again!”
Luckily, because I had already had the epidural they only needed to give me a local before performing an emergency c-section. I told them I didn’t care what they did to me, just get my baby out and safe.
Soon, my baby was out. But it was those panicked few moments that felt like an eternity before I had the first wonderful cry. I begged my then husband to go and ensure he was alright. He eventually came back and said he was fine. Moments later, he was brought over to me to see. My arms were strapped down from the c-section so I didn’t get to hold him right away, but I got to see his beautiful little face. I couldn’t stop crying, I was so happy to see him and that he was ok.
I guess I always imagined that when I had my baby it would be that perfect scenario that you see in the movies and that isn’t what I got. To this day, I feel somewhat robbed of the true birthing experience. I didn’t get to push, I didn’t get the baby on my chest, I didn’t to be the first one to hold my little bundle of joy. The experience was filled with fear and upset. It wasn’t until I was back into my room that I actually got to hold my son and have that first skin to skin contact with him.
Having the emergency c-section, my first week or so with my son, were not completely filled with happiness and joy either. I anticipated pain, I wasn’t naive enough to think it was going to be a walk in the park, but I never had anticipated the pain I experienced. My c-section scar is large compared to other Moms that I know. And for that first week, I couldn’t just walk out and pick up my baby anytime I wanted to, just getting up and walking took effort and if I turned or moved to quickly, there was excruciating pain. I would have loved to have just been able to pick up my son and carry him around every single minute I could.
Yes, I know that I got lucky in comparison to other births, I got to bring home a healthy, wonderful baby boy. I will never forget than and don’t want to appear like I am ungrateful. I am definitely not!!! However, when I look back on my birthing experience, I feel somewhat let down and unfulfilled.
As well, each year now on my son’s birthday, it’s somewhat bittersweet. I get to celebrate his amazing life, but I also remember the little life we lost that day as well.
I hope that any other Mom that has gone through a similar experience can relate and understand what I am trying to say here.
I think that is perhaps why now I go that extra mile to ensure every moment going forward with my son is everything I ever wanted it to be.