In the midst of all the craziness a home with three children under four can bring, I seriously cannot find the words to tell you how happy I am to not be pregnant. No, really. I have sat down at least five times to write this post and every time it results in a sentence or two, and then I delete it. My brain is broken.
It is not as bad as it sounds. The baby is doing fabulous, the older babies ADORE their new brother, we are proud parents, and I healed up quite well. The one advantage the pregnancy had over having Frankie boy here in my arms, napping as I type, is that I would be napping right now if I was still carrying him. While I do miss sleep, I’m just going to say it: This last pregnancy was bat sh*t crazy.
I have given out the details before (see here and here) so I will not go into them again. In all my efforts to make an informed decision, there was nothing more empowering and emotionally vindicating than choosing a repeat c-section for my third child’s birth.
I went through the intense labor with my first, ended up exhausted with a c-section, and none of it mattered as soon as I saw that beautiful child that made me a mom. He came home from the hospital sleeping six hours a night and he was just an easy kid! With my daughter, I was overwhelmed with a cross-country move and the news that the new state was not very VBAC friendly. I cried. Hard. For weeks, I was a bawling mess upon hearing I had to have surgery again with my second child. Then, I sucked it up, called my mommy to come and hang out with us so that my husband could be fully present. I was really scared. There was a two-hour delay before the surgery: I sat there is panic mode for the duration. It took the anesthesiologist thirty minutes to administer the drugs. There was pressure from the nursing staff and one of the weekend doctors to give me a blood transfusion. I was homesick, and terrified of being alone with my two children. I had to get over that quickly as my husband had to be out of town for a few days in the first few weeks my daughter was home. We struggled with nursing for a few weeks. Recovery took some time. I truly did not realize how difficult the birth of my daughter had been for me, until a few weeks ago.
From the second I decided to go back with my regular OBGYN, I felt a billion times better. I gave myself a break from the overly-analytical worrying about every single decision I made. I stopped having nightmares about drowning in amniotic fluid and not being able to remember the birth of my child. I remembered to pray, ask for strength, and to trust my instincts. When I felt the occasional contraction, I did not panic, I just paid attention. As I was being prepared for the surgery, I had to explain to the nursing staff what the h was going on with my records from the previous practice. They were as confused as I was. Then they delivered the Icing on the Cake kind of news: one of the nurses carefully informed me that even though I had consented to sterilization after the surgery (WHAT?!) my physician did not perform sterilizations so I would have to make other arrangements. Anger flashed across my husband’s face, and my mom teared up. I laughed. It was purely confirmation for me that leaving that practice was the best decision I could have possibly made, not only for my child’s health, but for my health AND future fertility. We had never had a conversation about sterilization at the other practice. I was never even given an exam at the other practice. My intake paperwork very clearly stated (in multiple ways) that I was pro-life and not interested in birth control, abortions, or sterilizations.
The anesthetic went easy this time. Though the room was cold, so did the surgery. I was genuinely surprised to find out the newest addition to our family was a beautiful baby boy. They gave him to me almost immediately. Laying eyes on your child for the first time is just the most wonderful thing in this world. My husband went with him to be weighed, etc. and I laid in a puddle of elated tears as they got me ready to head to my room. I met my mom and the kids in the hall way and we watched my husband with the new baby and we were all smiling bigger than we had in months!
I felt the difference almost immediately. I was not as tired or emotional as I had been the last time. I did not dread getting up to walk around, and it was not as hard to breathe. Pain meds were nice, but I took them less often. I am not capable of going a day without showering, so I showered the next morning with all three c-sections, but this time I felt perkier. I also was discharged a day sooner, and it was wonderful.
I think I am starting to realize that every pregnancy and birth really is different. I am grateful for the bonding moments that my husband has with our children on the day they were born. I love seeing the photos he takes during the moments before I am out of the operating room. He has time to bond with his children that I do not experience. I certainly do not feel like less of a mother, or less of a woman because of how my children came into this world. This birth really left me with a sense of empowerment that I did not know I was capable of feeling. I feel as though I completely conquered the challenge. I might still be running on pure adrenaline (Frankie boy is still figuring out a schedule so solid sleep is elusive) but our home just feels happy and joyous right now, and truly, God is good.
(Note: Pope Francis totally was looking at our baby name list before he chose his name, but we are happy to share. I was also seriously concerned about the Patron Saint for the Cathofeminism project this year, but it seems rather serendipitous to me now!)
So, there it is: the closest thing to a birth story as I am going to be able to get out in writing. I am truly blessed.