Thursday, November 29, 2012

Confessions of a Mama Looking Back at Birth

2012 Anonymous by request.

This mama shares the confusing in between place of feeling happy about her son, of perhaps having avoided any of the consequences or trauma of routine interventions, but at the same time, looking back, she sees what else might have been. In these cases, we might not feel regret, and indeed, regret might not even be appropriate. But we still acknowledge the contrasts of what was then and what is now.

"My son is a little over 18 months but this is the first time I've written his birth story. I have pictures in his baby book, but I never wrote a story. And now I feel as if I don’t even know how to begin. It was one of the best days of my life, of course. But looking at all the new things I've learned since that day, I feel as if it should have been a better day, a more special day. Please keep this anonymous for now.

So do I write the birth story with all the hearts and rainbows, or do I write it with the blunt truth that makes me wish everyone would plan for a natural birth? Maybe a little bit of both? Either way, hopefully my story will encourage someone to become educated on all the options available.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was 21, about to be 22 in a couple of months. I was taking college classes, not married, and living with my boyfriend. I was too scared to tell any of my family members so most of them either got an email or a text. And even though I was concerned about what they would say, I made sure they knew that my boyfriend and I had made the decision see the journey as an exciting one and we were also going to make sure that our child was born into a loving world surrounded by supportive people.

If anyone acted negative about the situation, they were no longer welcome in our lives. (Luckily everyone decided to make it an exciting journey). There were no complications during my pregnancy. I went in for all of my check ups and all of my ultra sounds. I also did an extra one because I was “small” so they wanted to make sure baby was still growing well.

I did everything the doctors said to do while pregnant. That’s how I was raised and that’s how my boyfriend was raised. Oh, and I found out the baby was a boy in the ER with a very painful bladder infection, that I didn't recognize as such.

Still, it was an exciting time like we wanted. (I totally knew he was a boy!) Although I’m one of those rare people that didn’t enjoy being pregnant, it was still such a joy bonding with my son for those months. I went in for one of my last checkups and my doctor decided we’d wait another week and then I’d go in to be induced. I can’t quite remember the exact date or how many weeks I was at that point, but the estimated due date was May 24.

By the way, the whole pregnancy, I never considered not getting an epidural. I’m scared of pain, I don’t deal with it well, and I knew the epidural would prevent the pain, so I went with that. Anyways, I continued about my week until one afternoon, Wednesday, May 18, 2011, I started having contractions. I called the doctor and she told me to go in to get checked. I did and they sent me home but the contractions didn’t stop and progressively got worse throughout the night.

The entire night of my horrible pain, my boyfriend was peacefully sleeping. I finally woke him up around 5am and told him I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Once we were both dressed and in the car, he asked me if he could go make some coffee real quick. (Really? Who could think about coffee right now??) “NO!! You can NOT go make coffee! This hurts!” He went back inside to make coffee anyways! (We still joke about it.)

We drove the 45 minutes from our house to the hospital with my boyfriend speeding the entire time, I knew it was pointless but he did it anyways. We got to the hospital, the nurse checked me and I was only 1 cm dilated! She suggested I walk around for an hour and they’d check me again. I walked around for almost an hour before the pain was just too uncomfortable and I went back to the room to lay down for the rest of the hour. She checked me again and I was 1.5 cm dilated!

I started crying because I wanted the whole thing to be over, including the pain, and to hold my baby. The nurse called my doctor and she said they could go ahead and give me an epidural and then some pitocin. It was about mid morning at this point and my boyfriend’s mom was on her way from Austin to make the 3 hour drive to Houston.

At some point before my epidural, I do remember throwing up, a sign of transition. I waited impatiently for the anesthesiologist to arrive to give me my epidural. I was absolutely terrified but also in a lot of pain. It turned out not to be so bad. They hooked me up to the pitocin and inserted a catheter since I wouldn’t be able to get up and walk to the restroom. Once that was done and my boyfriend’s mom got there, we just hung out and watched TV the rest of the day waiting on baby boy. I was completely pain free and couldn’t feel a thing. In the evening my doctor came in to check me again and was shocked to see the baby was ready to come out. I had no idea. I couldn’t feel a thing.

I panicked at that moment because my doctor and the nurses started rushing around. Honestly, it was kind of uncomfortable with so many people in the room, including my boyfriend’s mom. I pushed when the doctor and nurse told me I was having contractions and I can’t even remember how many pushes it took, but it wasn’t very long. At 6:10 pm, out came my 7 pounds 7 ounces little boy at 20.5 inches long. When the nurse laid him on my chest, it was a wonderful moment I will never forget.

In between contractions, my doctor and nurse kept playing with baby boy’s hair commenting on how much there was and how dark it was. Most people think that’s gross when I tell them but it still makes me smile and it’s another cute part of the story for me. My boyfriend cut the cord when the doctor said too and after a minute or so of baby boy on my chest, he was taken away for all the standard routine newborn care in a hospital.

It was almost hard to be excited when all of that was going on because I was laying in bed getting stitched up while the nurses took care of my baby during his first moments into the world. I don’t really even know where to end this birth story. The day I got to hold my son when he first made his entrance was one of the happiest days of my life. A head full of soft, dark hair just like mine when I was born. Family came to visit. It truly was a happy and joyful time. Nonetheless, I can not wait until we decide to have baby number 2 so I can plan for a water birth without the interruption and interventions from others."

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