God Doesn’t Give Us What We Want, He Gives Us What We Need; A Birth Story

When someone asked me what my birth plan was, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a natural, non-medicated, stay at home as long as I could, glorified delivery. I wrote the whole thing down, I discussed it with my doctor, I draw it out to my husband like a football play, stamped it with ignorance and awaited my magical moment. I ignored all the mom’s who laughed in my face and I shut down any “be prepared,” advice. My experience was going to be beautiful and magical and I was indifferent to the warnings that were being thrown my way. The tormented souls of delivery’s past were trying to throw me a bone and I wasn’t taking it.

After experiencing a pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum , I should have been aware that nothing turns out the way you plan. Especially something as complicated and chaotic as child birth. Maybe my struggles with my complicated pregnancy led me to believe that God was going to shine down on me and reward me with a blissful delivery; How naive I was. God had a plan for me and it wasn’t the easy road. He looked down on me and said, “You prayed for strength, so I will present you with a battle that will make you stronger.” When asking God for an ability, instead of bestowing upon us our wish, he places us in a path that brings our prayers to life. Life has taught me that we don’t just acquire strength, we build it, like armor, in which we piece together bit by bit.

I envisioned myself sitting at home one night and out of nowhere I would experience a pain. A few moments later, another pain would follow. “Contractions,” I would exclaim and pull out my contraction calculator. My husband and I would watch the timer as the contractions got closer and closer. As the intervals approached three minutes, my husband and I would go back and forth between waiting it out and heading to the hospital. At the last minute I would decide, “we should go.” Suddenly, my water would break. My husband and I would rush out of the door, hospital bag in tow.

I would waddle my way up to the service desk in the Maternity Ward. “I’m having a baby,” I would yell. I would then be rushed off to the delivery room where I would wonder the room, freely, walking through each contraction. I would play my “Here comes baby” playlist and within a few hours, I would feel the urge to push. My doctor would return to check and state that I was 10 cm and ready to go. I would push and out would come this beautiful bundle of mush. I would hold her against my chest as the cord continued to pump nutrients to her for several more minutes. Finally, she would be cleaned and wrapped, and she would fall asleep on my chest. “You did great,” my husband would say, and I would feel like a warrior. I can hear all my fellow Mama’s out there laughing hysterically.

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Thinking about how different my delivery was from my expectations still stings. In reality, it was chaotic, it was messy, and it was debilitating. My anxiety escalated, my ability to remain calm went right out the window, and I was extremely emotional. Giving birth is painful, it’s scary, and it’s overwhelming; that’s the reality of it. I didn’t have a magical delivery and did not come out the other end feeling glorified. I felt vulnerable, I felt weak and I felt robbed of this amazing experience I would one day be able to share with my daughter. Instead, I’m left with the reality that nothing goes the way that we plan. It’s common sense. I was ashamed of my birth story and I did not feel a sense of pride talking about it.

I was given inducement medication because I was overdue, and it failed miserably. I spent 30 plus hours waiting for my body to take over and it refused. The pain was intense and my “natural birth plan” crashed and burned when I made the decision to get an epidural which stopped working effectively after about ten hours. When I hit the thirty-something mark, my temperature spiked, and my doctor was concerned about a possible infection that would spread to my baby. He uttered the words I had refused to listen to my entire pregnancy; C-Section I broke out into a sobbing mess as they wheeled me into the OR.

I’m going to save you the gory details, but my c-section escapade was unpleasant, and I struggled with managing the pain after the surgery. The truth is though, I survived. I made it through the toughest physical experience of my life and I’m a stronger person because of it. No, I did not feel very strong in the midst of it all, but I made it to the finish line. In the end, I still got to hold my beautiful bundle of mush. She battled a few struggles of her own, but we both have recovered vigorously. Six months into my post-partum recovery and I can finally laugh at myself. My chaotic mess of a delivery experience is a distant memory, my battle scar is healing beautifully, and I’m a little more humble when it comes to expectations vs realities. I’m even considering a possible baby number two in the future; well, maybe. Definitely not in the near future.

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NICU Awareness Month

If you are a parent, then you understand the anxieties and concerns we experience as mothers and fathers when it comes to our children. Just the idea of something dreadful happening to them can cause us to grasp our chests in panic. I can not even begin to count the number of times I have woken up in alarm and found myself heading to my own child’s bedside, for no apparent reason other than to extinguish frantic thoughts. As a new mom, time away from her isn’t exactly met with relieve and aspirations of freedom. Instead, I tend to be nervous about the potential for disaster that could occur while I am away. It is certainly not a pleasant experience.

Imagine the pain a parent must feel, after finally meeting their adorable bundle of joy on their day of birth, only to find something is devastatingly wrong. Maybe, instead of excitement about meeting their little one for the first time, the parents are met with the anguish that their unborn child is in immense danger. No words could openly describe the feeling a parent experiences during these moments of chaos and confusion.

Newborn babies can be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for several reasons that include being born premature, respiratory concerns, life threatening conditions, serious infections, and abnormalities that require intensive care. Babies who are admitted to the NICU are separated from their parents for long periods of time and are surrounded by machines, tubes, IV’s, ventilators, and monitors. The baby may or may not be placed in an incubator which stabilizes the environment for newborn babies.

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Watching helplessly as your infant is poked, prodded, and turned into a human science experiment is heart wrenching and it’s psychologically painful. It amplifies the battles your baby is fighting, and you have no control over it. It’s a waiting game as you watch this tiny little being you already love so much, overcome such a tremendous obstacle. All you can do is hope that all the scary boxes, tubes, needles, and ventilators do their job effectively. The whole experience is overwhelming for any parent.

I cannot claim to understand what it must feel like to sit helplessly beside your baby, who may lay in a plastic box, unable to touch them or hold them close. Just imaging my little one wrapped in tubes and IV’s sends an intense pain through my chest. I do, however, understand, to some level, what it’s like to be helpless and scared for the little life I created. Our story begins before she was born and thankfully it ends in happily ever after.

I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) at 7 weeks pregnant. Thanks to prenatal care and medication, HG has become less fatal. My body was trying to rid itself of my unborn child; at just 7 weeks gestation, my baby was already fighting for her life. Babies whose mothers are diagnosed with HG can suffer from malnourishment or be born prematurely. A fear that hung over my head for the next seven months. Thankfully, my stubborn little girl made it to 42 weeks before making her first appearance, but our troubles weren’t over. We were just defeating our first battle when we we’re plunged into our next one.

After 32 hours of labor, my body began to shut down. My temperature spiked, and my doctor was concerned about a potential infection that could affect the baby. So, I was wheeled into the Operation Room to undergo an emergency Cesarean Section. At 12:30 am, my little soldier was born at a wonderful 7lbs, 9oz. My husband and I were amongst the lucky ones, who had the ability to bond with our newborn child and for that we are thankful. It wasn’t until the later hours of the morning, after our little bundle was whisked away for testing, did we discover something was wrong.

My husband had left to give our dog her medication, so when they brought my little girl back in with an IV strapped to her head and swaddled around a phototherapy blanket, I was completely alone to drown in my own thoughts. I watched painfully, as my still child lay silently in her glowing cocoon with a mask shielding her eyes and a tube sticking out of her head. I barely listened as the nurse went over her medical complications. I tried to focus on the details, but the words just mushed together in a mess as I tried to comprehend the severity of her condition.

Thankfully, jaundice is common and easily treatable, and the infection that my baby contracted disappeared within a few days. Although extremely concerning, her conditions were not life threatening and we were able to bring our baby home when I was discharged. She conquered her battles and walked, (realistically, was carried) away with a only a scar left behind by the IV catheter.

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Some parents are not this lucky. Some parents are forced to leave the hospital and enter an empty home, one not filled with newborn cries. Bassinets remain empty, newborn outfits are left hanging in the closet, and there is no sweet snuggles. A realization that no parent wants to think about, let alone experience.

The NICU is responsible for caring for and treating babies who need extra medical support. Thanks to the nurses, practitioners, and doctors who work around the clock, caring for the babies who are admitted, many newborns can eventually make their way home. All the scary machines and medical devices are there to treat the infant and help improve their condition. Tiny little beings, overcome tremendous obstacles with the help of some very important people and the unconditional love from their parents, standing by their sides every step of the way.

September is NICU awareness month, which was created to bring attention to the important care given to premature or ill newborns. It also honors the families who relied on the care. If you would like to find out more information, or get involved, please visit https://www.nicuawareness.org/.

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Surviving a C-Section

I’ve never experienced major surgery, my biggest fear before having a kid was being tortured, and I have a very, very, VERY low tolerance to pain. I cry when I stub my toe and menstrual cramps make me throw up. So, you could imagine my “excitement” when my doctor told me I was going to need an emergency c-section.

After 30 hours of active labor, and it was clear that the inducement drugs were not working successfully, my poor little body had enough. Almost 35ish hours after I had arrived at the hospital for my inducement, I still had not exceeded seven centimeters. The medicine was trying to speed along my birthing process and my body was not having it. So, emergency c-section was the only option.

After an hour-long panic attack, here is how I survived my c-section:

Support
I had both my mom and my husband with me and they were both very much aware of the personal nightmare I was heading into. They used lots of words of encouragement, and my husband stood right by my side.
I was blessed to have an amazing doctor who talked me through the whole process, understood my concerns and allowed my mother to be in the room right up until the surgery started. The nurses and anesthesiologist were all extremely supportive.

Pain Medication
I’m a huge baby when it comes to pain and I’m not afraid to admit it. I won’t take cold medications because I don’t like to put chemicals in my body, but you better believe I am popping some Ibuprofen if I get a pounding headache.

Once I realized that I was not making it of the delivery alive without the epidural, I was not afraid to reap all the benefits. As soon as the pain medication was available, I was hitting that button. So, during surgery I made that loud and clear to the anesthesiologist.

My husband and the Nurses
Although the pain was horrendous, not being able to bond with my baby immediately after hurt the most. But my husband and the nurses did a great job of helping me handle my baby and took great care of her when I was having a hard time managing the pain. I could not get out of bed for two days and having someone available to help was important to me.

The Belly Band
After the surgery, my core was completely different. I felt as if my insides would just fall out and onto the floor. Standing up was a challenge and it was extremely uncomfortable. I used a Velcro belly band that wrapped tight around my stomach and helped support my weak core. I was grateful for this and defiantly recommend it.

Loose clothing
Don’t plan on leaving the hospital in your cute yoga pants or your pre-pregnancy jeans, especially if you’ve had a c-section. You’re probably still going to have a small baby belly and you most defiantly wont want anything pressing against your incision. I wore my husband’s clothes for two weeks after delivery. I looked like a mess without the hot! It was terrible, and I didn’t go out into public those first two weeks.

Mesh Underwear
Whether you delivered by C-Section or not, the hospital will probably give you mesh underwear. If you delivered vaginally it’s going to be an absolute mess down there and you’re going to want the loose and airy mesh underwear. If you had a c-section, it’s still going to get messy and, your incision will probably bleed so it will be nice to be able to throw the undies away after use. Your incision is going to be pretty sensitive and not to mention, painful so the mesh will be breathable and light.

Time
Give yourself plenty of time to recover. If you can take pain like a champ and your body is a weird science fiction vessel of unnatural healing, then all the power to you. If not, plan to relax and take it easy. You don’t have to jump right in to working out and you shouldn’t. Not only did you build and carry a human for nine months, but you also had major surgery. Your body has been through a lot. It’s been almost 6 months for me and I am still recovering. My scar is still sensitive and still hurts at times. During the surgery your organs are moved around and may possibly be removed temporarily so they can feel sensitive and painful too.

Advice
If you are like me, and you’re skipping over this article because you are so deathly afraid of having a c-section that you are refusing to accept that it could happen, DON’T. I refused to listen to any advice because I was too afraid. I was so scared of having a c-section that I refused to talk about it or even prepare for it. I was not prepared and therefor I was not ready for it and it was extremely overwhelming for me. Much more overwhelming than it had to be, so take the advice, even if the word c-section makes you pass out on the exam table in your OBGYN’s office, (yea that really happened) and ask questions.

Help
If you are having a hard time managing your pain, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s as simple as needing a rest, then ask your husband to take the baby for a little bit, or if its severe call your doctor.

I’m taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out

*This work, along with it’s images, as well as other posts published by Messy Mama, are protected by Copyright laws.