Birth, Tears, and Fears

It’s a Mama-kind-of-Monday.  And with everything I have to do today, I wanted to take a minute and sit and relax with a cup of tea, and just think about “mom stuff” for a minute, before the day moves on to school and work and everything else.  As this upcoming birth fast approaches, I realize that I spend a lot of time flashing back to Piper’s birth, and trying to sort through my feelings and emotions.  Her birth was on the traumatic side for me, and it took me a long time to heal emotionally afterwards.  I have fears about this one that stem from her’s that I’m praying about and trying to figure out.

Some of you know Piper’s story, others don’t.  My intent by sharing parts of it here is not to join in on the one-upping each other that so many people do with labor stories- this is how mine was worse than yours… etc…  I just want to share some of my heart, and my fears, and maybe encourage some people who may have had similar circumstances.

I was sent to the hospital in an emergent state due to sudden onset sever preeclampsia, labor was induced, and 24 hours later Piper was pulled from me with forceps.  The placenta had failed, there was no amniotic fluid left, and she had ingested so much meconium that they had to suction it out of her.  My body never naturally went into labor, and nothing about the entire process ever seemed normal.  I felt like I was missing some sort of transition that comes with going into labor, and working through the process of delivery.  The medicine I had to be on to prevent seizures caused me to be so out of it that I have vague memories of the entire process, but not much is concrete.  What I do remember is not being able to see or focus on my daughter when they handed her to me for the first time.  I remember my husband crying and whispering over and over “don’t you love her so much?!”.  I felt nothing… I had heard all my friends who had babies say that holding their baby for the first time they feel this sudden rush of love and emotion like never before.  I had none of that.  And I felt horrible.  Like am-I-an-awful-mother kind of horrible.  It was all in the medicine but it defined so much of the experience for me that I still have a hard time looking back on her birth.  Because of the preeclampsia and risk of seizures, I had to stay on the same medicine for 24 hours after she was born. During that whole time I had double, blurry vision, barely any emotion, and only a few memories.  It took a very long time for me to feel like I had attached with Piper the way most moms talk about from birth on, and I don’t mean a long time as in just a few days…  Recovering from birth was painful physically, but it was a much longer and harder process recovering emotionally.  I felt like part of the experience had been taken from me, and nothing can replace those first few moments with your child.

My biggest fears this time aren’t the physical pain, but that things will be normal and I’ll look back on Piper’s birth and feel the hurt again.  Hurt that she didn’t have what this baby will, and that if things go normal this time, I’ll have fonder memories and a better time with this baby than with her.  I love her so much that it hurts to think that she and I had to miss out on that.

Everyone loves to talk about their birth stories, I want to be open about mine because if you’ve dealt with any of these emotional struggles, I want you to know it’s ok.  It’s ok to have an experience different from someone else’s.  It doesn’t mean you’re an awful mom, it just means you may have had more to work through at the beginning.  If you struggle with things like this, it means you’re a mom who loves your child so much that you still hurt that you didn’t feel that way at the beginning.  It means you’re doing things right, and it’s ok to move towards letting the past pain heal.

I struggled with depression after her birth, because I didn’t know how to deal with the emotional recovery.  Talk to someone, open up.  I didn’t, and now I’m still trying to figure out how to move onto the next birth…   Don’t compare yourself to other people’s stories and experiences.  What you have with your baby is your own.  Cherish that, and don’t try to live up to standards that don’t really exist.

We’re all working through our own kinds of pain and hurt, whether from a labor that didn’t go as planned or from something else.  My prayer for you is that you have the best support system surrounding you that you can have, and if not, please call me, I’d love to sit down with a cup of tea and cry and laugh with you.

Have a wonderful Mama-kind-of-Monday.

Much much love, Katherine

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3 Responses to “Birth, Tears, and Fears”

  1. Laura Naudus says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Katherine. I’m sorry I never realized the extent of your struggle…know that I am always here to listen!

  2. Rachelle says:

    Beauty from pain has never been better described. Beautiful story love. Keep sharing =)
    You and Piper will always have a very special bond.

  3. Sara Powers says:

    Katherine,
    I know and understand some of your pain. Both of my birth stories were unique and unplanned.

    My water broke and I went into preterm labor with my first son, Rylan, at 36 weeks. He was taken from me the moment he was born. I watched the NICU team bag his blue and lifeless body. He never cried. Once he was revived, they wrapped his limp body and held him in front of me for literally 2 seconds. They said “Look at your son!” and then took him to the NICU. I kept asking when I could see him. I was allowed to go in 4 hours later. The pitocin that they gave me when my labor stalled took its toll on my body. I tried to hold him, but was too weak and passed out when I tried to stand up. I could see him lying in the isolate. Multiple wires and IVs surrounding him. It took months for me to form an attachment. Joe and I struggled with guilt and emotions as we tried to figure out parenting. This was especially difficult for me since I had suffered years of infertility. Now, all of a sudden, I had been given this wonderful gift. I was looking for the love and joy that people talk about.

    Morgan was early also, but for slightly different reasons. It was older, more confident, and a new nurse. I hoped for a better birth experience. At 36 weeks, I recognized the signs of early labor again in my body, but I was not scared. However, my physician feared growth restriction. Although my body was already going into labor and I was 5 cm, I was told I had to be induced. I had to bear the interventions of having my water broken and given pitocin again. Even though these interventions were difficult, I did the best I could having learned the first time around. I asked one of my best friends, Cami, to help me. I was lucky enough to have Cami’s support as my L&D nurse. I insisted on getting up, sitting up, and walking around even with IV, monitor, and bloody show. I was not as scared this time and I could tell my body knew what it was doing. This time I had the joy of holding my son right from birth. Rylan had the opportunity to be a proud big brother. Being an only child, I always dreamed of having more than one child. However, life always throws you a curve ball. I experience guilt and strong emotions the second time around, but for different reasons. I was not prepared for the difficulty of 2 children. It was exponentially harder. No one seems to talk about that.

    Overall, I have learned birth is an amazing and wonderful process. It is a miracle no matter how it goes. I am not a perfect parent but I do the best I can. As mothers Katherine, we do whatever it takes to love, nurture, and protect our children from harm. This drive starts from even before our children are born and will continue on throughout our lifetime. I have had many things in life and parenting have not gone as planned. I am learning the joy of life as a journey. I try to remind myself to sit back and enjoy the ride. I treasure the similarities and differences in my children. This relates even to their births. Rylan is so outgoing, friendly, and sensitive. Morgan is introverted, emotional, and strong. Both are creative and full of life. It still saddens me a little when I think of the difficulties in their birth. But it also saddens me when anything is difficult in their life. Its natural. It is what makes me their mother.

    You are a wonderful mother to Piper. She is such a beautiful and happy baby and she loves you. You have such a strong faith and support system. I am sure the birth of your second child will be wonderful no matter what. I can’t wait to find out if it is a boy of a girl :o)

    Aunt Sara

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