What an exciting time it was! I was 22 years old and pregnant with my first baby. I was naïve and didn’t ask a lot of questions. I just went with the flow. I absolutely enjoyed being pregnant and couldn’t wait to see my precious baby, due January 24th. Excited with the thoughts of motherhood and what that would look like, I never gave one thought that things would not go as planned.
It was a normal Saturday evening. Nothing out of the ordinary went on that day. I was 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant. After going to sleep around 10 pm, I was suddenly awakened. I thought I had accidently peed myself from all the pressure my baby was putting on my bladder, so I got up, took a shower, and went back to bed. At 2 am I was awakened once again. This time I thought that just maybe my water was leaking so I called my doctor and was instructed to go to the hospital to be checked.
My husband and I arrived at the hospital about 4 am, and it was confirmed that my water had indeed burst. The doctors told me that I was going to have my baby early. Well, being young and naïve about things, I was just excited that I would see my baby soon! I had no idea what was ahead of me. My doctor told me that they were going to try and keep my baby in as long as possible. So my baby and I were monitored for the next two days and besides my water breaking and just a few mild contractions, nothing was happening. My body was simply not ready to give birth.
Early Monday evening at 6 pm (I remember it like it was yesterday), a doctor popped in my room and said that my baby was in distress, and I was going to have an emergency c-section. Well, that’s certainly was not what I was expecting to hear nor was it in my plan. In that moment, fear, sadness, and confusion came over me. When she left my room, I wept as my husband held me.
In a matter of minutes, I was given an epidural and whisked away to the operating room. At 6:09 pm, I had a precious 4.14 lb. baby boy. I got to peek at him, and then the nurse and my husband took him to the NICU where he would spend the next 17 days before going home. Fortunately, I was able to pump so my baby could be fed my milk through a feeding tube and later by bottle. I didn’t even get to nurse my baby until 3 days before taking him home!
My body hurt because of the c-section, but my heart hurt because the unexpected happened. I had expected a natural, drug free birth around my due date, but instead I was 5 weeks early. I was dealing with a painful incision, a breast pump in my arms instead of my baby and leaving him behind in the NICU.
Since that day, I’ve had 3 other children, and I’m happy to report that I was able to give birth unmedicated and vaginally. I was able to have VBAC’s with all three, or a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I can also testify that none of my labors or births were alike. Through my experiences, I learned that it’s okay to have a plan, but to hold onto it loosely because the unexpected may happen. And I want you to know that it’s okay to grieve when plans go awry.
In conclusion, remember to give yourself time to heal and process what happened. However, your birth plays out, your feelings are yours and they are important and valid. Closure and acceptance may take time and your timeline is different from others. If you’re having a hard time talk to your doula or others who have been through similar circumstances, talk to a therapist or counselor and give yourself all the time you need to process through your birth journey. We are here for you!