WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE OR MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR PREGNANCY / BIRTH JOURNEY?
My pregnancy was a dream. I hate to even say it, but we often joke I had a unicorn pregnancy (it was seriously THAT good)! It was a surreal feeling seeing a positive on the pregnancy test, as once you are in a relationship you come up to each month praying to get your period. Then you breathe a huge sigh of relief when good old aunt flow comes! But when you decide to actually start the journey of trying to grow your family…and now you’re praying NOT to see your period? So weird!
So yeah, my pregnancy was amazing. In the first trimester, aside from taking the test, and my breasts becoming super tender, I never would have known I was pregnant otherwise! I kept waiting for morning sickness to kick in…but it never did (my apologies to all you who have to experience that, you deserve a medal)!
My birth on the other hand, was a different story. I find the entire experience was difficult /scary and out of my control. I have always been on the larger side since I can remember. And I soon found out that apparently being plus size and pregnant don’t mix so well in the medical world. You regularly go to appointments and hear things like “measuring large”, “induced”, “gestational diabetes”, and the scariest one “still birth”. I don’t know about you, but that last one stopped me dead in my tracks. It instilled so much fear in me; I didn’t hear much else of the conversation. From that moment on (between about 30- 32 weeks) I pretty much did whatever the doctor recommended (this was my first experience being pregnant and I had no idea what to expect, and was already terrified…this just intensified it x a million). As they were the experts and I was just this person who was putting my unborn child at risk because I was larger. As a result, everything decided about my delivery was around the suggestions of the doctors. They suggested I be induced at 38 weeks, as my baby was measuring so large, they were worried I wouldn’t be able to deliver her vaginally. Turns out though June is a really busy time to have a baby in Alberta, and I was sent home as there was no room for us! I was told to return the following week, same story. Finally, they said to come back on our due date. So we did, and it went down hill from there.
The induction started with a balloon catheter, that lasted two seconds, so they tried again and same thing, no go. So they inserted the gel that would kick start contractions. We got to go home and wait. We came back and I was admitted because I was a few CM’s dilated. My contractions weren’t strong enough (even though they sure as heck felt strong enough)! So they kept upping my Pitocin. I decided to get the epidural 12-15 hours into my labour as the contractions were really inconsistent and all over the place because of the Pitocin. It was amazing. Finally going into the 2nd day of labour, I stalled out at 9cm wasn’t as effaced as I needed to be and was starting to get a fever and oh so tired. They said I could try to start pushing (but given how the last 36+ hours had been going, I knew how this was going to end). So at this point we elected to have a cesarean delivery, as this way it was “on our terms” and my husband could be there, vs being rushed in for an emergency C-section. Even though this was the last thing I wanted, I felt it was our only option at this point.
Unfortunately, it was an extremely traumatic experience as since I already had the epidural they were to just “top it off”, and lets just say a mistake was made (even though I very clearly told them I could feel the “pinch” and it wasn’t just “pressure”). They assured me I was plenty frozen and went ahead. They were the experts, so I went along with it. I then felt something slice into me; tearing through my abdomen…looking up at the anesthesiologist I explained in detail every cut, tug and tear I felt. His face dropped and went white. He knew this wasn’t pressure I felt, they effed up. He didn’t know what to do. I then instinctively started trying to pull at the sheet and swat their hands away, begging and pleading with them to stop. That’s when they had to start injecting a white mercy substance into my drip, which would knock me in and out of consciousness for about 30 seconds at a time. I don’t remember this part of it, but my husband said it was the scariest thing he ever had to witness. Next thing I know I woke up in recovery 20-25 minuets later and two nurses asked if I was ready to see and hold my sweet Avery. So yeah, that was pretty awful. On the plus, my baby was healthy, alive and earth side.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO AN EXPECTING MOTHER?
Advice I would offer to new moms? Don’t be scared off by other peoples birth stories (like this one)! Trust your gut, and don’t let fear drive your decisions. Looking back, I NEVER would have let an induction happen (unless I was well over my due date and baby or me were in direct danger). I was scared and listened to the doctor’s recommendation, because they said the word still born to a larger first time momma. My baby and body were nowhere near ready to deliver a baby. I wish I had more information and confidence in myself to stick up for myself. Or I wish we had a doula, as I feel that would have been a valuable source of information, education and advocacy for what we wanted in a birth plan and was best for the baby and me. When it comes to bringing baby home, no one has any clue what he or she is doing! We are all just winging it, and you will be great. Give yourself grace, and allow yourself time to bond with this little miracle you are just getting to know on the outside! It is all going to be okay. Some days may seem like they never end, but it honestly goes by so quickly. Every hard time is just a stage, and it will eventually pass. Don’t be afraid to ask for or accept help when it is offered (from a partner, friend, in-law etc). TAKE THE HELP! And just remember one thing, you got this <3
ARE THERE ANY RESOURCES YOU WOULD RECOMMEND THAT HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY AIDED YOU IN YOUR MOTHERHOOD JOURNEY?
Some resources I have found in the last little bit; for humour definitely follow @catandnat on social media and get their book “Mom Truths”. It will provide you so much laughter, tears and uh huh’s! It is just so relatable to the new season of your life. As well as follow @januaryharshe or @birthwithoutfear on social media. It is such an amazing resource and community, especially for new mommas, who feel so utterly alone. I am currently reading January Harshe’s book “Birth Without Fear” and hoping to finally heal from this experience and find the closure I so badly need.