I’ve seen this trend on TikTok. It starts off with a woman and her child. The woman narrating says, “I love you but.. I miss her.” Then, images of the woman before she had her child come up on screen. I find this trend heartbreaking because of how true it is. To maintain who you are/were before you had a child takes so much work. I just had my baby only a little over a month ago and I’m not the same person I was before. I feel a wide range of emotions; blessed, frustrated, completely drained, happy, sad, and guilty for feeling all of these emotions. I knew motherhood wouldn’t be easy but I completely underestimated how hard it would be.
While I was pregnant, I had a birth plan and was really excited to be having the birth I had envisioned, a water birth. I took classes at a birthing center and was under the amazing care of midwives and doulas. I felt incredibly secure. When I passed the 41 week mark, I began to get a little nervous. You can only have a birth center birth before 42 weeks. A day before my 42nd week of pregnancy, my birth center broke the news that I would probably need to go to the hospital. I just started crying. I hate publicly crying but I couldn’t stop. My water had broke but I had not gone into labor. This posed a risk for my baby, so I ended up having to go to the hospital.
There’s a lot of reasons why I didn’t want to go to the hospital. My mom and husband were with me and in the birthing center, you could have up to three people in the room. I wasn’t sure what the hospital rules would be. Another reason was I would not be able to have a water birth or anything I had planned. But regardless of my plans, this is what was happening, this is what had to happen. I went into the hospital feeling scared and completely helpless. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been admitted to a hospital. When we got there, we were welcomed warmly and luckily they allowed two visitors and a licensed doula. My birthing center sent over a doula. I felt more secure again.
They had to check my cervix multiple times to see how dilated I was. If you’ve ever had that done before, the process is extremely unpleasant and you don’t get desensitized to it. Another added bonus for me, apparently my cervix is really hard to reach and they really had to dig for it, sometimes unsuccessfully. We were in the hospital for 2 days before the actual delivery and had three doulas with 12 hour shifts each come to assist, trying to get me to go into labor. The doulas were absolutely incredible and having my mother and husband there, was amazing and necessary. It breaks my heart that some people aren’t able to have the support they need right now. I had two rounds of Pitocin and each time I would reach the strength of 20, the baby would go into distress. The first time this happened, everyone rushed in the room. They strapped an oxygen mask on me and I had literally no idea what was going on. I legitimately thought I was going to die. They came in so fast no one had time to explain to me why. I had to search my husband and mother’s expressions for some indication as to what was going on. They seemed concerned but calm and although my body was shaking uncontrollably because of the hormones, I was only calm because of them. They later admitted, they only stayed calm for me.
After that, the nurse who was attending me, came in and checked my cervix again. I was only at 4cm(To give birth you need to be at 10cm). I hadn’t progressed since arriving at the hospital a day and half before and basically she gave me the option of doing the Pitocin again to try to go for a natural birth (which was my plan), or have a C section. She recommended the C section. I was worried that if I had the Pitocin again the same thing would happen and because my water had been broken for two days at that point, the risk of infection for my baby was a big concern. I cried publicly again and made the decision that it would be best for the baby to have a C section. One of my first questions was, could I wear my underwear? Everyone thought, what a ridiculous question. I mean at least that was the look on their faces. I’ve been a never nude for most of my life. Most people think I’m joking when I say that but, I’m not. The answer was, I would have to be completely naked in a room full of strangers. In the past, that would’ve been so terrifying to me but now, I couldn’t even focus on my own discomfort. The only thing running through my mind was my baby who was struggling every time the Pitocin was introduced.
After I made the decision, I waited. My baby had stabilized and there were women who were higher risk that needed a C section more urgently than I did. This was making me even more anxious about the procedure. Finally, it was my turn. They wheeled me in. I was too tired to even focus. I was wondering if I would even have the energy to stay awake. The procedure started. My husband, all the doctors and nurses were the only ones in the room. I had an epidural prior to the C section so I didn’t feel any pain, just pressure. I was holding my husband's hand and closing my eyes. I was falling asleep and in disbelief that this was happening, in the way that it was. I felt sad at that moment. I was unsure whether my baby would be okay and I was extremely uncomfortable. Then, I heard her cry. It sounded a little gurgled and after I heard her, I immediately felt energetic and happy in a way I can’t explain. It was like everything melted away and all I could focus on was her. They put her on my chest and at that moment, I became a mother.
We spent a few more days in the hospital which despite the staff being amazing, was a nightmare. I hate hospitals. My mom, husband, and baby were so uncomfortable and I hated seeing them that way. The food was delicious, which was surprising. I was the only one that liked the food. However, after my first shower there, I was ready to go.
We ended up going home two or three days after the C section. I pushed myself to hit all the milestones that would allow me to leave. When we were all home, we felt so much more at ease. The baby is a little over a month now. Do I feel like myself yet? Absolutely not. It was really hard at first being so sleep deprived and trying to read the baby’s mind. I’m getting better at it everyday. The hardest part is not having time to do the things you once enjoyed or the little self care things that make you feel like a human. People ask about my labor and delivery only to push aside my feelings of disappointment, anxiety, and sadness. What they will usually say is, at least you have a healthy baby that’s all that matters. That is definitely the most important thing but that is not the only thing. We are asked so often to push aside parts of our emotions because of how that sounds. Oh, you’re sad about your labor and delivery? You must not be grateful. That isn’t the case. I’m capable of multiple emotions like most people are. I would simply request if you ask about someone’s emotions, to just listen. There’s nothing you really have to add to it. You can listen without judgement. It’s hard enough to be a mother. With that being said, now knowing firsthand how much goes into motherhood. I look at my mother with even more love and admiration. She is an absolute queen and hero to me. I hope I can be even half as good a mother and person, as she is.