Hi and thanks for checking out GlowMama! I didn’t really know where to start with an inaugural blog, so I decided to start at the beginning: the birth of my son in August of 2016.
I had it all planned out (as most mothers-to-be do). I was going to have a low or no intervention birth with the help of my doula. Though in a hospital, I knew it could be achieved. We would do skin-to-skin right away. It would be the greatest most joyful moment of my life. It would deserve a moving, acoustic soundtrack that would be youtube viral-worthy. I was nervous but so excited. Then at 34 weeks, I got the news from my OB that he was still head up. Breech. We tried everything. Chiropractic, acupuncture, moxibustion, breech tilt for hours a day, diving into a pool… “have you looked at the spinning babies website?”… girl, please. I know it by heart. Weeks passed. 36. 38. I cried almost every night, I was devastated. By 39 weeks I reluctantly agreed to a C-section, but was determined to allow labor to progress on its own. So I went in for my 39 week appointment and yet another development: there was no measurable fluid. I had to go in for surgery that evening. Now let me just say that although the health and well-being of my baby was the top priority, this was not a happy surprise. I had never had surgery before, not even minor, and I was TERRIFIED. I knew this was something that happened all the time (in fact, around 1 in 3 women in the US give birth by C-section), but those numbers didn’t give me any more comfort. So after I signed an AMA (against medical advice) to go home, take a shower, grab my bag and feed my cat (my mother was piiiiiiiiiised about that one!), I found myself some 8 hours later on an operating table with my husband’s face 2 inches away from mine, doing the one thing I knew was still in my control. Throughout this entire ordeal, after the weeks of tears, fears and changing expectations, I still had my breath. Deep slow breaths to keep me grounded through this. And so I breathed. Breath after breath. Looking into my husband’s eyes. Wondering what was taking so long? I asked my doula, “when are they gonna start?” To which she replied “sweetie, you’re going to meet your baby in just a couple minutes.” And sure enough, not 90 seconds later the medical team told me “you’re going to feel a little pressure”, and I did. And then I heard it. The strangest, most life-changing sound in this world. The cry of my child. I was too freaked out to be moved. I needed to see this creature that had lived in my body for close to a year. They were taking too long, cleaning him up, I sent my husband over to see him- it must have been about two minutes, but it felt like a lifetime. I called out, “OK! Enough! Bring him to me!” Finally the moment I saw his face and. I was confused. I didn’t feel the overwhelming rush of joy I had heard about. I saw a scrunchy little worm-faced creature bundled up like a too-tight burrito. I didn’t recognize him as the growing human inside me. He felt…. foreign. I had my husband hold his face to mine and I kissed him, trying to allow my heart to crack open, to feel something…
And that was the beginning.
It was a rocky start and there is so much story after that made up of not only grief, tears, confusion, a TOUGH physical recovery and challenges with breastfeeding, but also, thankfully, a little opening up of my heart everyday. I am blessed, it’s true. I am thankful for a healthy baby, an eventual physical recovery and the most supportive partner I could have ever imagined possible. Many women don’t get to have any or all three and our society doesn’t give those women nearly enough support or resources. However, I’ve given myself permission to come to terms with the good and the bad. To not feel like I owe a smiling face to be pasted onto that strange transitional time in our lives. I’ve grown with my son as he’s grown with me, and I love him more than I ever thought possible, especially compared to those early days. Motherhood can be so many things, but it also changes every day, and all I can do today is grant myself some grace and know that I’m doing the best I can. And even on the worst of days, I do it with a heart that is (finally) full.