December 27, 2011 by Carin
This isn’t easy to write about. I have had 2.5 years to think about this post and after having my second child, realized what having a child is suppose to feel like in those first few hours, day and weeks. With my first though, it wasn’t at all what I expected or thought and that was the hard part.
First off I will give you a little background into the birth of my first child Grace. Grace was a week past due and at the appointment of my 41st week, I still had not dilated, nor softened or any of those things that are suppose to happen as a sign that your body is getting ready to have a baby. On that night (a Thursday), I was admitted into the hospital to be induced, we were excited to say the least, we were going to finally meet this child we were so excited to have and the time had finally come. That night a cervical softener, Cervidil, was inserted inside me and I was hooked up to a fetal monitor. Within hours of the Cervidil being inserted, Grace’s heart rate started to drop. The room filled up with nurses and a doctor. I was instructed to put on an oxygen mask and roll on my side. False alarm, the baby had moved. For the remainder of the night, we were allowed to sleep and rest to prepare for what would hopefully be our baby’s birthday the following day. So Friday came, they removed the Cervidil and I was having contractions on my own, yeah! As the day turned into afternoon, the contractions petered off and I was once again, not getting any closer to meeting our child. The decision was made to put me on Pitocin to start the contractions back up. No problem. Well, as the dose was increased every half hour or so, the contractions became unbearable. My contractions started coming every other minute. This was not giving me much time to relax and regain my focus, so the decision was made to have an epidural. I was only dilated to a 2, but my nurse could see how much pain I was in and got the order put in ASAP. Well, it took the anesthesiologist an hour and a half to make it to my room to administer the epidural. At that point I thought I wasn’t going to make it the pain was unbearable and my body was gripped in agony. I was so tense my husband had to push my shoulders away from my ears to help me relax just a little before next contraction came. As I was waiting for the epidural, I had dilated to a 5 and my water had broken. Some progress. After the epidural had been inserted, I could start to feel the relief which helped me to relax and fall asleep. In the first hour after the epidural I dilated from a 5 to an 8, we thought she was going to come that night, yes! Well, once again, Grace’s heart rated started to drop and get erratic. I was put on oxygen for the rest of the night and instructed to sleep on my right side. Some rest was had. The morning came and still no baby. I was checked and found to be at a 9.5 as the doctor called it. Half of my cervix has not full dilated from having her head only push on half of it from having to lie on my right side the entire night. The doctor gave me or maybe I should say my body a few hours to get to a complete ten, otherwise I was being scheduled for a c-section. Grace’s heart rate was still being erratic at times and they were concerned. The pitocin was ramped up to get the baby’s head pushing on the entire cervix. Well a few hours later, I was dilated to a 10! The doctor checked me out and had said that they would let me go a few more hours to let the baby to some of the work by getting nice and low to make the pushing go really fast. Well, within 10 minutes of him say that, the room filled up with doctors and nurses because Grace’s heart rate started dropping with each contraction. I was instructed to start pushing with the contractions when a nurse told me I was starting to have one. Well, she was not budging fast enough. The doctor got the vacuum out and tried that twice. She did not want to come out. I was told at this point, that forceps would be used and that if she did not come out, I would be rushed into an emergency c-section. My husband watched as a scissors was pulled out and three snips were made into my hymen, OUCH. The forceps were placed around Grace’s head, I gave one good push and she was out. It was discovered during all this that Grace had passed some or all of her meconium (the black, tar like poop) and so she was immediately taken from the doctor and given to the nurses to clear out her airways before they got her crying. It was a tense few minutes and I had to ask the doctor what we had. He told me he didn’t even look, so I told Brian to get over there and find out if we had a boy or a girl. A girl it was! She was healthy and had no issues from her birth other than some abrasions on her head from the vacuum and some bruising on temples from the forceps. We were both battered and bruised, but finally together. So now that you finally have all that info, you are probably wondering what does this have to do with Confession Tuesday.
Grace’s birth was a roller coaster of emotions that I never expected to have. We were so excited to have this baby; we thought the birth would be easy considering my pregnancy was uncomplicated. The moment they laid Grace on my chest, I felt relief to finally have her, but what I didn’t feel was instant love that so many people talk about. I nursed her, held her and so badly wanted to feel that love that you are suppose to feel when you have a baby. I would look into your tiny eyes and stare at her face and nothing was there. We left the hospital 4 nights after we arrived and were so happy to finally be going home to our bed, our dog and our own quiet space. Surely I would start to feel some emotions now. Oh how I struggled. I was so beat up myself and in so much pain/discomfort that I just wanted to rest and sleep. The feedings every few hours didn’t allow for much rest. I couldn’t sit down without pain; I could’t get up from sitting or lying down without peeing a little bit. I felt like a wreak. And on top of all that I was looking at my new, beautiful baby wondering what had I done. How did I think I could be a mom because I was feeling nothing towards this little being? She wanted to be held constantly and I just wanted to set her down. She wanted to eat every two hours and I wanted my body to be mine. I was tired, in pain and thought I had made a huge mistake. This only made me feel worse and I really struggled those first few months with all my feelings at not feeling what I thought I should have felt for her. At one point I thought it would be easier to leave my husband and her because I was in no way meant to be a mom, even though I had wanted to get pregnant and start a family with my wonderful husband. But I told myself that I wanted this baby and I could not do that to him. I was not a quitter and would not quit on her. But it was a struggle. I thought I knew what to expect in terms of the sleepless nights, the feedings and everything baby. What I didn’t expect was to feel nothing. I was lost and didn’t know who to tell. So I didn’t tell anyone. I looked at her everyday looking for some sign that I was feeling something towards her. Please, don’t think I ever thought of hurting her.
The other part of all this was the feelings I was having about my delivery. I felt like I had let myself and my husband down by having such a difficult birth. All the “what ifs” were a constant loop in my head. What if we waited a few more days to have her, what if I waited to go into labor on my own, what if I wasn’t so impatient and just waited. I was disappointed that I had to have so many interventions when I just wanted to go in and have a baby, the easy way! But things have a way of not working out how you have them planned in your head and I learned that you just have to go with it. It was out of my control and I had to just “be” with it.
As my body slowly healed and my hormones started to return to something resembling normal, I slowly started to feel again. I was feeling happier; I was coping with the situation, napping some and was feeling more myself. The weather was turning into summer and it was nice to be outside. A routine started to develop and I was feeling like myself. But I was still feeling very isolated and that is when I decided to join a first time mama’s class. But that is another story for another day, but it did help me realized and cope with being a new mom. The really turning came about 6-7 weeks after Grace was born and she started to smile at me. That is when I started to feel love for her. Maybe it was the validation from her that she know I was her mom or it was the hormones, but I started to feel love for her. Even my husband was noticing a difference, when one day around this time, I said to him “Isn’t she the cutest thing you have every seen, she is so cute” and he looked at my like who are you and what happened to the woman I have been living with the last 6 weeks. I still questioned on a daily basis what I was doing, but I loved her and I really felt it in my entire being. I was her mom and I loved her. I was her protector and felt it was my job to keep her safe, not only because I was her mom, but because I loved her so much it hurt. It hurt my heart to think of anything happening to her and being without her. My life as her mom changed and I was so happy that the heaviness lifted as well. I was excited for my future as her mom, Grace’s future as our child and I was so excited for the journey we were on as a family.
Today Grace is a fantastic 2.5 year old who tells us everyday that she loves us. She is happy, healthy, vibrant and full of life. She is exactly how she is supposed to be and I wouldn’t want her to be anything different. Yes, those first 6 weeks or so were hard, but it was worth it and in the end, I got a very loving daughter.
So if I could give just one piece of advice to any woman about to become a mom, it would be that no matter how hard your delivery is or the feelings you have about it, if you don’t instantly love your baby, just give it time and it will come. Please don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t instantly infatuated with your new little one, it is okay. You have been through a lot, your body has been through a lot and eventually you will feel all the feeling you thought you would. Love can be really easy to feel, but sometimes it takes time to evolve and that isn’t anything to feel ashamed about.