My Birth Story - My Journey Into Motherhood: Part 1

My Journey into Motherhood... a journey indeed. We all have one don't we? A story to tell, an experience to share. That's just it, we don't share the whole experience. As women I feel we tend to sugar coat the negatives. Maybe for fear of guilt, or embarrassment. When we don't share the whole truth, I feel we do one another a disservice. By sharing my story I am outing myself, I am admitting that I am not the strongest women in the world, or the most "together". Sharing my experience means sharing my truth, even when that truth isn't pretty or well received. My truth will not be the same as everyone's, but it could be the same for someone. Not everyone handles things the way I do, but someone might.

I never wanted children. I am an only child who never babysat or had exposure the children. The first diaper I ever changed was my son's. I didn't want children, until I met Justin, my husband. Then I wanted kids... I wanted his kids! So I got pregnant at the exact moment I wanted to. What a blessing that was since my mother struggled and struggled to get and stay pregnant. The second I realized it, the fear hit like a ton of bricks. OH CRAP, I am going to have a BABY. What the hell do I know about raising a baby!? Not a damn thing. 

I will spare you the boring details of my easy pregnancy. In short: My back went out once, that was terrible. I gained 50 pounds because I basically had not touched a carb in two years, and I went a little crazy! I worked full time while completing an internship and I was taking 19 credits in school.The first half of my pregnancy I regretted it, and knew it was a mistake. The second half his movements were my favorite thing in the world and I was so ready to be his mommy. I was tired, and huge. That was about it. I wasn't sick. Nothing went wrong. I was just... pregnant.

41 weeks later I was a college graduate, and unemployed. I was taking time for myself before I became a mother. My plan was to have an non-medicated vaginal birth. Being a recovering alcoholic and drug addict it was important to me to experience the journey of child birth, pain and all. I was told it would be painful and damn near impossible. There is not much support out there for non-medicated birth, and I found that to be quite troubling and discouraging. My doctor was on vacation and wanted to induce me before he left, but I knew baby Waylon would come when he was ready. 

August 25th at 3:00AM I felt what I thought were cramps, but I was hoping they were contractions. I had cramping throughout my pregnancy so I tried not to get too excited. Justin asked if he should stay home from work but I told him to go ahead and go, I would call him if it was time. The cramps came every 2-4 minutes so I was convinced it was happening! I was finally in labor! I was so excited and could not fall back to sleep so I got up and paced the hall, took a shower, got ready. Around 8AM they were still 2-4 minutes apart and so strong they brought me to my knees. I called Justin and told him to come home. Apparently he drove 100mph all the way home, even though I was not panicked or in a hurry. He was excited to say the least.

We got to the hospital around 8:30AM and checked in. The nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 2, that wasn't too exciting since I had been at a 2 for about three weeks now. She gave me the option to go back home but being in so much pain I felt more comfortable staying right where I was. 

Hours went by and this was way harder than I thought it would be. The best way I can explain a contraction is by not explaining a contraction. I thought I had a high tolerance for pain but after 12 hours I was done. I screamed to Justin amidst my sobs, " YOU TELL THEM I AM DONE! I'M DONE! I'M DONE!" I could not handle the thought of one more contraction. At this point I knew I couldn't do this, I was convinced it was an impossible task.

When the anesthesiologist arrived and was ready to do the epidural, I was terrified. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I have a real fear of not being able to see what is going on. I have always had a saying, "you can amputate my leg if you want, as long as a can watch." The thought of getting an epidural left me feeling vulnerable and hopeless. ... I need to mention I had a fantastic nurse who helped calm me down in my many moments of panic and need. (She also brought me an espresso the next morning, and I could have kissed her.) 

When the epidural was in and I was calmed down I tried to do my best to relax and rest. Let me tell you something, epidurals SUCK. I wasn't able to lay flat on my back. You have to have an IV, continuous fetal monitoring, and a catheter. Granted all of that was better than the pain of contractions. Though, after sometime I was able to feel my contractions again, on a different level. They upped my epidural but I still felt them for the most part on my right side the entire time.

After my epidural they broke my water, hoping that would help me progress quicker. We were 14 hours in and I was maybe 5cm. The offered pitocin a number of times but I still wanted to limit my medications and interventions as much as possible so I declined. By 8pm I felt the need to push. I was dilated to a 9 and had to wait a half hour for the midwife who would be doing my delivery to show up. She had been up for 48 hours at this point, the hospital was full and she had done a number of deliveries before me. I was the last person admitted who still needed to deliver. Despite her expected exhaustion she came in bright eyed and ready to get to business. 

Around 8:30pm I began to push. The method of pushing seemed very unnatural to me. I was flat on my back with my feet in the stirrups. I had read about pushing using a squat bar or on all fours, but obviously those options were out for me since I had gotten an epidural. So there I was, doing crunches and baring down as hard as I could at each contraction. Time seemed to have stopped and I was stuck in this awful moment for all eternity. Because I was numb, it was not the pain that was terrible, but rather the exhaustion. Pushing over and over again is like running a marathon you have not trained for. You don't have the option of quitting, so instead you push through knowing at any moment your heart, lungs or head are going to explode. During this everlasting moment I felt defeated and worthless. I knew I wasn't doing it right, and I couldn't do it effectively. I was a failure of a women. What was taking so long? Why aren't my pushes doing anything? Is he ever going to come out? Why am I on oxygen? Why does his heart rate keep dropping? Why does everyone seem disappointed in me? I had all of these questions but I didn't have the energy or the oxygen to ask them. Instead, when I could muster a breathe I would beg my midwife for reassurance, and she would give it. Yes, Justin was there through out all of this, as well as a couple girls I went to high school with who worked at the hospital. I didn't notice them there, or I didn't care. Oh... and yes, I pooped while pushing... and no, I didn't care about that either. 

Two hours had passed and the end was in sight. My body was done, I was done. Justin could see the baby's head and kept telling me how close I was. I gave it more than I had and I don't know how it was possible but it was. 20 hours in and our baby boy arrived, covered in meconium and the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. They laid him on my chest for about 60 seconds. I sobbed and sobbed I couldn't believe he was here, he was beautiful. He made his grand entrance by pooping all over me. Respiratory therapy was standing by the whole two hours, so he was not able to stay with me. He was pretty pale and needed to be suctioned, they did what they could in the room and then took him away. I so badly wanted to be able to do skin to skin with him, but I had to wait. I felt like I was slowly coming back to reality and the room was starting to slow down and stop spinning. I noticed the blood on my midwifes face, and the blood splattered all over the wall behind her. We waited for the placenta to make its appearance and she showed it to me... explaining its parts and functions. They cleaned me up the best they could at the time. It was over. I survived birthing a big 8 pound 14 ounce baby boy. 

Waylon was okay, they brought him back a couple hours later. He was pinking up and really quite perfect. There is this lie that many people say about birth. They say when you hold your baby in your arms all the pain goes away and you forget about the traumatic experience that just occurred. He was perfect, he was my heart, and holding him was the best thing I had ever experienced in my life. But, in NO WAY did that make what just happened vanish from my memory. I will never ever forget that and I never ever want to do it again. 

My time is the hospital was okay, the staff was busy and there was very loud construction going on. This whole time we were in an overflow room that no one had delivered in for years. Despite all of those challenges the staff was great. When my stay approached it's end I was very ready to go home and get my journey as a mommy started. But, I really had NO idea how hard it was going to be...