Last year, we welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world and our home. Now we’re approaching the big one year (SOS), and it just seems so unreal how quickly time has been passing. Not only will we be celebrating L’s first birthday, but it will also have been a year that since one of my biggest and most difficult growth spurts as a mother, wife, and well – As a human.
Almost seven months ago, I was strolling into the hospital hand in hand with Chris and my birth plan firmly in place. Except for a few hours later, when it was all but shredded and tossed out the window once my water was broken and a domino effect of events took place that lead to an experience I will never, ever forget.
Read: My Birth Plan Was Tossed Out The Window. They say hindsight is 20/20 and looking back, as harsh as it sounds, I feel like I kind of had it coming. Not that I deserved to go through any additional pain or complications, but I completely ignored the warnings of several people and if I’m being honest, after IVF, I became a bit prideful of how I thought my delivery would be. I looked down on c-sections in a sense, even though I knew that they are usually medically necessary, and thought that having a natural birth somehow made me better. I still wonder if maybe my c-section was God helping me off of my high horse.
My doctor, family members, and even strangers told me to not bother with a birth plan because it wouldn’t play out – Expect the unexpected, they said! I was even labeled high risk due to some other relatively minor complications, but I rebuked it all and stood my ground. I was naive, at best.
After a few uneventful hours of breathing through some contractions, my water was broken and I lost so much amniotic fluid so quickly that it put Layla in distress. I was confined to the bed and put on oxygen. A few more hours passed and right around the twelve hour mark, when my doctor told me it was time to push, there was a baby bum where there should have been a head. A last minute ultrasound confirmed that she had flipped breech sometime while I was in labor. My doctor (who was incredible) sincerely apologized and made the call to rush me into the OR because delivering breech would be too much of a risk for both Layla and me.
Real talk – I have not always been known for keeping my cool under stressful circumstances. You would think this situation wouldn’t be any different and that a little bit of panic would be understandable, all things considered. I actually felt so calm and so at peace with everything that I know it wasn’t my own, but from Jesus and it was exactly what I needed. Freaking out wouldn’t have helped my baby, who was already under stress, and it wouldn’t have helped the doctors and nurses be any more efficient in taking care of us. It was then that I recognized that my delivery was out of my hands so I just took a deep breath, said a prayer, and went with the flow.
That beautiful peace lasted for about a day. Not that Jesus didn’t think I needed it anymore, but the hormones started to kick in and the anesthetic had worn off. I was in a lot of pain and the only thing I was able to do was lay in a hospital bed and process the events of the past 24 hours. Everything hit me so hard and I didn’t know how to emotionally cope with the reality of what had happened. I was overjoyed that our daughter was finally here with us, I was sad she was born under stress, I was mad at my body for not doing “what it was supposed to”, I was aggravated that I was yet again confined to a bed with a million wires and tubes hooked up to me, and I was exhausted.
I felt like I had failed myself. I had one job – To push past the pain (literally) and enjoy the delivery of my daughter, but that didn’t happen. I felt like I had been robbed of my choice and that I missed out on a possible once in a lifetime experience. The baby blues were a thing I became well acquainted with for the first three weeks afterwards.
Like all difficult seasons, this one came to an end. A quick rebound wasn’t what made my recovery amazing, but the journey it turned out to be. For the first week, I barely left my bed and by the second week, I barely left the couch. I cried every morning and I was still in a lot of pain, but with every passing day I could feel a piece of “me” snap back into place, even if was a super tiny piece.
By the time I truly felt myself again, I was a new woman. I now had a heart for women who shared my experience and more than anything, I had a heart for myself. Looking back at everything my body did to heal and recover from the trauma it had been through, I realized it didn’t fail me for a second! My recovery wasn’t just a physical one, but one that left me with a new confidence and a new peace for myself and the beginning of my journey of motherhood.
Having a c-section, especially one that was unplanned, is hard so if you’re reading this because you’re struggling in some way, let me tell you that you’re doing a bang-up job and everything is going to be okay. Some women heal more quickly than others, some are fine with having a cesarean and would prefer go that route again, some women take more time – Isn’t it beautiful how different yet connected we all are?
My advise? Be strong, but don’t be a hero. Ask for help and graciously accept it when it’s offered. Be disciplined, but also be compassionate towards yourself. Love and celebrate your body’s hard work!
Finding mothers to relate to when you’re recovering from your surgical delivery and trying to figure out this mom thing makes coping a bit easier. I found the Scary Mommy Blog a very relatable (and hilarious) resource for my postpartum thoughts, especially these two articles that you’ll definitely wan’t to check out if you’ve had a c-section. Warning: You will absolutely laugh and laughing hurts so have a pillow ready.