Welcome to our series: Real Motherhood. Here, we share first-person stories from our community on various topics we all go through in our motherhood journey. We created this series because no two motherhood experiences are the same and everyone arrives at motherhood in their own way. And we think that's beautiful. The Real Motherhood series elevates different perspectives and experiences on motherhood to foster conversation, connection and to celebrate the sisterhood of motherhood.
Today's topic: birth stories.
"My birth experience with my first child did not go the way I had always anticipated. Because I waited to know the gender at birth, it was a moment that I thought about every day for months and months. I considered myself very lucky as I had a very easygoing and symptom-free pregnancy, so naively I expected that the birth would be the same.
At 39 weeks I went to my OB because I wasn’t feeling as much movement and after performing a non-stress test she told me that I needed to go to the hospital right away. I was going to be induced for fetal distress. At the hospital, they inserted a Foley bulb to induce dilation and I spent the night in severe pain. At 4 am the balloon fell out and I was finally relieved with an epidural. The night nurse checked me at this time and said I was 8 cm dilated and that I may have the baby before the end of her shift. A short while later, my OB came in to see me and said I was actually only at 6 cm—not the news I was hoping for.
Hours went by and my baby’s heart rate continued to be high. They tried giving me oxygen, moved me around in different positions and yet nothing seemed to help take the stress off of the baby. My doctor finally came and saw that I hadn’t been progressing in my labor. She said to me, “Stephanie, your baby is now my baby and in my heart I know it’s time to get him or her out safely with a cesarean."
At this point, I had been in labor for 19 hours and although I trusted my doctor completely and gave the final okay to go ahead with an emergency C-section, I was emotional and devastated. Although I knew there was always a possibility of a cesarean, it never resonated within me that this may be the case for my birth story. But, I knew it had to be done and all I cared about was a healthy baby. And it wasn't long before we found out that we had a healthy baby girl.
Even though I never had a written “birth plan," my birth didn’t end up the way I had anticipated it to go and it took me a while postpartum to cope and let go of that expectation I had always envisioned."
“I had such a fear of having to have a c-section. I had never had a surgery in my life and had never been hospitalized. There was no reason other than the surgery and the recovery that freaked me out. Well, at 36 weeks I had to schedule a c-section. My baby was breech and not moving. I tried everything to get her to move: warm and cold compresses, weird yoga poses, acupuncture, a chiropractic massage, and even an in-hospital procedure where they physically try to move the baby by pressing so hard on your belly, which I would never recommend. Nothing worked, so a c-section was my only option. I loved my doctor but I was so afraid of a c-section that I even attempted to do a last minute switch to the only doctor in LA who would deliver a breech baby vaginally. Kind of nutty looking back. I will never forget the morning leading up to my c-section. My husband was in the best mood, excited to have a baby. And I was so freaked out about the delivery that I spent 30 minutes crying in the bathroom rather than basking in the excitement. We got to the hospital and all of the nurses were amazing and helped put me at ease. The c-section was so much easier than I anticipated and I really psyched myself out for no reason. I'm from New Jersey and the doctor had Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen playing the whole time. He called it ‘the birthday party.’ And as soon as I saw my girl, everything was right in the world.”
“I've been lucky enough to have two healthy pregnancies with two healthy babies, but two very different deliveries. I think when new moms create a birth plan, it's wonderful but not always realistic. It's something a vet mom may even give a little side eye to. I'm so type A that it would be very ‘me’ to make one, but of all of the things I had organized and planned this was not on the list. Giving birth is so humbling for many reasons. But one of them is that it's simply not controllable. Whether you go into labor on your own (my first baby) or go the induction route (my second), there are going to be surprises along the way. Some will be good, some may be upsetting at times, but I found it to be more peaceful to go into both knowing that it's all going to happen as it needed to in order to keep me and my baby safe.
Following the delivery of my second baby, I faced complications which were quite terrifying to keep it 100 percent real. I experienced a substantial postpartum hemorrhage, which kept me pretty incapacitated for the first day or so following my delivery. I hate sharing the story with moms-to-be because I don't like instilling any fear, but I do think being aware of each other's stories and complications can also be helpful so that if you're faced with a problem or something doesn't feel right, you know you can and should be asking questions to get clarification if you don't quite understand an issue. Be your biggest advocate going in and out of the delivery room.”
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