I went into labour with my first born “knowing” 3 things: I wasn’t going to get induced; I wasn’t going to have an epidural and I definitely was not going to have a c-section. I thought that I would be in control of my labour.
My (4 litres) of water broke at 11pm and by the time I got to the hospital I was 4 centimetres dilated. “This was going to be a breeze!”, I thought. But after about 8 hours of labour I had stopped dilating completely. I don’t think that I naturally dilated anymore than 6 centimetres. The nurses also discovered that my son was turned sideways which isn’t good because the baby can’t fit it’s head through the pelvis that way. The nurses tried everything to turn him naturally and nothing worked. In turn, I was induced to help dilate and to make me contract more often and harder which could force the baby to turn around. The induction caused intense contractions yet I still was very slow to dilate which led to me wanting an epidural.
Ladies. Epidurals? AMAZING. A lot of people don’t realize that when you get an epidural the needle stays in your spine so that you can push a button to release more freezing medication whenever you need more.
After about 16 hours of labour and 3 hours of pushing, my baby still hadn’t turned and he wasn’t descending whatsoever. Then his heart rate started dropping pretty low and they had to stick a monitor up me and clamp it to his poor little head. Finally, the doctor recommended that I have a c-section because we weren’t making any progress at all and it was getting dangerous for the baby.
The healing from the c-section was brutal. I felt like I needed to re-learn how to walk. I couldn’t laugh or cough because of the burning pain in my womb. I couldn’t do basic motherly things like stand up and hold my baby, change a diaper or breastfeed yet. My milk didn’t really come in until almost 2 weeks after my son was born and we had to formula feed via a tube-taped-to-my-boob so that it still felt like he was nursing. I remember thinking that once that formula touched his lips that he would be tainted forever. “Great, now his gut flora will be off. He is going to get SIDS. His immune system wont be up to par. He isn’t getting ‘liquid gold’! I’m harming him! Breast is best, right!?”
It was crazy.
Why am I telling you this long story? Because the guilt I felt from having a c-section and the fact that I couldn’t breastfeed at first ate me alive. I felt like a complete failure as a mother and as a woman.
I didn’t even birth my child. I didn’t get to experience that rush of emotions that most women feel when they birth their child vaginally.
I didn’t even cry.
Not only did I feel guilty about the way my son was extracted from me, but once I could breastfeed I loathed it. (I go into this more at the end of my Baby Tips That Have Helped Us. Big Time post.)
All these things added up (including complete lack of sleep) made me extremely depressed. I would call my mom and just cry. What did I get myself into? My husband was so great and did so much. But the first 10 months were super hard and we fought a lot. I was jealous about how free he could be. Drinking a glass of wine whenever he wanted. Going to the bathroom in peace. Not having to wake up 3-8 times a night to breastfeed. Even though he did so much for me and for the baby, I was resentful.
Okay, now are you wondering “Why the F are you telling me all of this? Who in their right mind would want a child after reading this?”. Well, the reason is because it gets so much better. So much better in fact that we ended up wanting and having another child. So much better that we could never imagine our lives without these two little miraculous monsters. So much better that my husband and I feel like our lives truly began once we had our children.
Sometimes babies CANNOT be born vaginally. That’s why c-sections were started. (It took me around 2 years to get over the fact that I had a c-section with our son and it shouldn’t have.)
Sometimes babies or their mothers CANNOT breastfeed. That’s why formula was invented.
Also, breastfeeding my son got much easier for me as time went on. I got some ointment and the pain eventually went away. We ended up formula feeding sometimes which was nice for my husband because he felt good that he could feed our baby, too. I ended up breastfeeding for 13 months and that was enough for both my baby and I.
The bottom line is: If you’re pregnant just do things your way. Do what is best for you and the baby. Don’t overload on classes, books or articles like I did. Everyone has a different experience.
It’s YOUR experience.
Sometimes……not so much. It doesn’t make you less of a woman or less of a mom.
There needs to be less mom shaming and mom guilt in the world and more parents supporting one another because let’s face it, none of us know what the hell we are doing.
As a whole, parenthood is a beautiful thing. Seeing a little human that you created learn how to do things for the first time on a daily basis is the most amazing thing ever. There is a special kind of love that having a child makes you feel.
It’s not a cliche.
I will never again let any other person, article or book ever make me feel like I am doing anything “wrong” when it comes to being a parent.
No one else should EVER feel that way either.
Unless you’re allowing your kids to grow up watching the Star Wars prequels and edited originals then…stop.