I’m thrilled to be guest posting today for the lovely Shell at Things I Can’t Say. She has an awesome blog that I’ve been following for a long time. Please click over and check it out!
Today, I’m linking up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday.
One week ago, I had an appointment at my OBGYN for a typical pregnancy checkup. If the ultrasound technician was available, they would also check for the baby’s gender since Baby Deuce’s legs were crossed during the 20-week ultrasound. Going into the appointment, I didn’t know if the technician would be available and, even if she was, if Baby Deuce would cooperate.
I wasn’t going to get my hopes up again. Last month, I was so excited only to be crushed that we weren’t able to find out what we were having. I also very much wanted a boy at that point, but the month of forced patience caused that desire to wane. Now I just wanted to know what we were having and I thought I would be happy either way.
When the technician told me last week that it’s a girl, I cried a little. At first I was happy because we had already picked out our name for a girl. Baby Deuce would now have a name. That fleeting happiness was followed quickly by an almost mournful feeling. I would never have another boy.
Despite my desire to have three or four children, Hubster and I decided that this will need to be our last pregnancy. I honestly don’t think I could survive another HG pregnancy. The first one was horrible and this second one has been, at times, near torture. I think that no matter what the gender of Baby Deuce was, I would have reacted the same way because I have always dreamed I would have more than one child of each gender.
I wanted to have a brother for C. I also wanted him to have a sister.
I’m so grateful for the excitement and love showered upon our announcement by family and friends. I wish I could share in it. I think I first need to go through this mourning period while my idea of what my family would look like changes into the reality of what my family will look like. I am happy to be having this girl, and I will love her just as much as I love C. It’s just hard to come to terms with the fact that this will be our last baby. There’s a finality to it that saddens me.
After C was born, it didn’t cross my mind right away that I had experienced a traumatic delivery. I think I was in shock from it all, and just relieved that it was over. While I generally don’t think about his birth and the events that led to my emergency cesarean, there are certain triggers that bring it up for me.
Whenever someone I know has a baby, particularly via vaginal delivery, I’m hit with feelings of envy and jealousy. This is not to say that I am not happy for them. I would never wish my experience on anyone; I simply would have liked to experience a healthy vaginal delivery myself. Or even have the option of a future VBAC.
I still have feelings of inadequacy over my emergency cesarean.
After experiencing labor for three days, I was finally admitted to the hospital and given pitocin. I slowly progressed over 13 hours and then pushed for 2.5 hours. The on-call OBGYN came in to evaluate and said that I was at about 9.5cm and not completely dilated. He considered it a failure to progress. C was stuck. He ordered an emergency cesarean.
Then they capped off my epidural to prepare to move me to the operating room.
The epidural wore off well before I was moved to the OR. I was literally blinded by the pain. Nurses came and went, someone poked me with a needle, someone shaved whatever I hadn’t had the ability to see at 40+ weeks pregnant, consent forms were shoved at me and somehow, between the screams and inability to see, I signed them. I yelled out in pain, over and over again. Nurses reassured me that we were moving to the OR. Hang in there. Don’t push. Ok, maybe you can push if you need to. You’re okay. More screaming. So much pain. Do I push or not? They brought Hubster two shirt scrubs, no pants. He asked for pants.
Finally, I was wheeled to the OR. They hooked me up to another epidural. Only one side of my body went numb. Oh my dear Lord, I’m going to feel everything on the other side. They strapped me down. They tipped me on the table to help get the medicine to the other side. I thought I was going to fall off the table. They put the curtain up.
Finally, I was numb.
So cold, shivering. Shaking. Could barely keep my eyes open or focus on anything anymore, my vision blurred from exhaustion and pain. Hubster appeared next to me. I could not stop shaking.
Beeping monitors, machines, voices of busy nurses and doctors. So many nurses and doctors. I was completely exposed on the table, having my insides cut open. You’re going to feel some pressure. They pulled and prodded at my insides to get C out.
Ouch, so much pressure. The vaginal canal is definitely one place that the epidural did not reach.
C cried. Congratulations! You have a baby boy!
He aspirated meconium in the womb. A flurry of activity. They show him to me briefly, but I can’t focus my eyes on him. All that, and all I could make out with my blurry vision was the outline of my child. I noticed his cone-shaped head from being stuck in the birth canal.
They whisked him off to the NICU. Hubster went with him.
It’s so cold. I feel pressure. They’re cleaning out my womb. Stitching up my broken body. I’m being wheeled to recovery.
My medicine is wearing off again.
I need pain medication. Where is some pain medication? I feel everything. It’s okay, we’re ordering some morphine for you. The nurse is on the phone trying to get me morphine. They’re not bringing it. I feel everything. How is it so difficult to get morphine in a hospital next to the L&D OR?!
It hurts. Oh God, it hurts.
An excruciating hour later, I get my morphine. Hubster wheels C into the room and they place him on my chest. I finally get to see my boy. I wish I could hold him. I’m so sad that I can’t hold my child, but I have to lie there.
The rest of our hospital stay is kind of a blur. It was less eventful, less traumatic. Looking back on my experience, I don’t have complaints about the care I received. The nurses were fantastic; the doctor was an excellent surgeon. Despite the trauma, postpartum depression and anxiety, my body healed well.
They should have handled my medication better.
After my surgery, the doctor that performed the cesarean told me that it was absolutely necessary. He discovered that my pelvis was too small for my child to fit through. Even if I had dilated that last half centimeter. Even if I had pushed for another hour. It never would have happened.
I will never be able to birth a child without medical intervention. The feelings of inadequacy nag me. I think that is where the jealousy and envy stems from whenever a friend or family member births a child. I think there is this deep-rooted culture that being able to have a vaginal birth, particularly without drugs, makes you some kind of super mother, able to perform the task that your body was designed to do.
I don’t know why that culture has influenced me to make me feel inadequate. It’s a constant struggle to believe what I know to be true. That is, if it weren’t for modern medicine, my son and I would not be here. That’s a powerful thought. My physical scar is a battle scar, but it is also a testament to the love I have for my child. I do not love him any less, nor am I any less of a mother, because he entered this world via cesarean. I am a mother. I love my child. I would do anything for him, and did. I, too, am a warrior mom.
Today, I’m linking up with Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday.
If you’ve hung out here before, you know that I still struggle sometimes with the effects of domestic violence from six years ago. My ex stalked and harassed me; and after two attempts at a restraining order, the justice system failed me too.
A lot has changed since then. I’ve had a new phone number for many years. I’ve had two different cars since that time. I moved to a different state for two years. I have a different last name. Yet, sometimes I’ll see a face that resembles his and it’ll stop me in my tracks. I don’t feel terror anymore when that happens, but I carefully scrutinize the person before moving forward.
Last weekend on my way to the bachelorette party, I had to drive through my ex’s hometown. It had been two years since I’ve had to drive through that town, and I didn’t know if it would have any effect on me anymore. In fact, I didn’t even think about it at all until I got there.
Then it hit me. That feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. Terror. I hadn’t experienced it in a while, but in a terrible way, it was familiar.
My hands gripped the steering wheel tighter. I glanced at every car on the road, certain that he would be in it. My mind raced. What would I do if I saw him? Would he recognize me?
I wonder how many more years the terror will linger. Will it ever subside? Will I ever stop seeing him in the face of a stranger?