It took me about a year and a half to get over the birth of my first daughter. Not because anything went particularly wrong that day. My daughter was, and still is thankfully, a healthy and beautiful little girl. I was mad at my body for not doing what it was meant to do. And I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hold a grudge against my doctor.
I spent nine months preparing for the birth of my first child. Realistically, I had probably mentally been preparing for years. But I’ll only count the time when I was actually physically doing things to prepare for the baby’s arrival. Like going to childbirth classes. We took THREE of them. A hospital tour, a six week natural childbirth class called the Bradley method, and an afternoon childbirth class at our local hospital. I had decided early on that I would forego all the drugs and bring this baby into the world Au Natural.
During those childbirth classes, I always glazed over the c-section part. Afterall, that was never going to happen to me, during my ‘natural’ birth, so why focus on something that was wasted space in my brain? As a pregnant mama, I was already struggling with “mommy brain” and could hardly remember where I left my shoes let alone make space for learning about something I didn’t need to know.
I went into labor on the eve of the day that my doctor was going to induce me. She was three days past her due date. The first 6 hours were tough, but I worked through them by taking baths, walking the hallways, singing songs and even drinking Gatorade and eating oranges. The next 6 hours were grueling. By the end of those 12 hours without any drugs whatsoever, I was clinging to the side of the bed in agonizing pain and relentless labor pains. I was exhausted, hungry, thirsty and unfocused. And when the doctor told me that I hadn’t progressed past a 4, it was as if I had just played my best game in the world and still lost the Super Bowl. It was then that I decided to accept drugs.
Right after the epidural was administered, my blood pressure dropped to dangerous levels. Then came the oxygen, and more drugs to bring my blood pressure back up. Soon thereafter, my baby went into distress. Her heart rate dropped to a slow thump-thump (2 seconds) thump-thump. I had never seen nurses running so fast. Now numb from the epidural, they moved my bed this way and that until they found the position that my daughter was apparently the most comfortable – I was upside-down in bed. But, her heart rate was back to normal. Another 5 hours of laying there upside down went by, until I registered a whopping 9. When my doctor examined me, she said that the baby was much bigger than she had realized and that the baby might be stuck. I should start considering a c-section.
I didn’t really hear those words the first time she said them. Afterall, I was a 9lb. 8 oz. baby and my mother delivered me the normal way. Something would change and the doctor would see that she was wrong. My body, my faithful body, would come through and do what it was meant to do.
An hour later the baby’s heartrate dropped again signaling that she was in distress. It was then that the doctor told me that the waiting was over, it had been 18 hours, and that she had to do a c-section.
I immediately burst into tears. If I were a balloon, I would have burst right then and there. All of my hopes, dreams, aspirations, of having my baby placed into my lap right after birth and gaze forever into each other’s eyes were shattered.
The doctor said she was leaving the room and that I had 2 minutes to get myself together before they wheeled me in for surgery.
About 15 minutes later, I heard her glorious wail. Every ounce of fear, trepidation and nightmare left my body. And I couldn’t stop staring into the beautiful blue eyes of my baby girl, all 9 pounds, 8.5 ounces of her.
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