Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ready for another baby

I said I would explain this in another post and here it is. During the seven years it took me to have my daughter, I always thought that if I ever did get pregnant, I would be thrilled if I got pregnant again quickly after my first. Many people say that once you have one the rest can come easier. As we know this is neither truth nor fact. It is something that can happen but doesn't mean that it will.

With my daughter, I had a fairly easy pregnancy. No complication to speak of and it all went really well up until about a week and a half before she was born. At one of my doctor appointments I had my membranes stripped because I was ready to have my daughter and to be a mom. I had been told that it can help speed up the process. What I didn't know was that it put me into false labor. I lost count of how many times I thought that I might be going into labor but every time after about 4 hours of contractions, my contractions would stop. After about a week of this the contraction pulled a muscle in my back causing the contractions to be almost unbearable. I knew I couldn't wait for my next appointment to figure out what was going on. So on my daughters due date, I called the doctors office to see if they could check me and see if I was even close to being ready to go into labor.

Once the Midwife checked me, she told me I would probably be having my baby that day especially if she stripped the membranes again. At that point I was ready to try anything to go into labor. 4 hours later I was checked into the hospital. It was all progressing wonderfully until I got stuck at being 7 cm dilated for 5 plus hours. This started my experience of the worst pain of my entire existence. This pain was unfathomable. A few years before I got pregnant I had experienced the pain of a massive cysts rupturing and I remember thinking, if I can handle this, I can handle labor, no problem. Little did I know at that time how extremely wrong I was.

The pain is one thing, but its the psychological side that adds a whole different dimension to labor that isn't talked about as much as the pain. While my pain was beyond description, the fact that my baby's life hung in the balance of what was happening to me, this precious life that I had prayed so fervently for, added another level of pain to the situation. Relief from this pain finally came once the midwife told me I needed to get an epidural or have a C-section. I opted for epidural.

After my daughter was born, she was beautiful, prefect and everything I could have hoped for. They say that your child is your heart walking around on the outside of your body and the day that she was born, I felt like I had given birth to my heart as well. 

I was so in love with my daughter and it felt that love grew more and more every day until one day it was all different. I remember a couple weeks after all the family had left and it was just me and her at home, I was sitting on the couch listening to her cooing and making little noises, and I burst into tears of sadness and guilt. I couldn't stop crying. I didn't understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling. I shouldn't be sad, instead I should be extremely grateful for the opportunity to be this child's mother. I had prayed many years for this exact moment. Why was I crying? Why was I sad? I kept thinking of all the women I knew that would love to be in my situation and wouldn't be sad at all. I felt so guilty for feeling sad. I had heard of the baby blues and never thought it could happened to me.

Soon after I started feeling this way, I started feeling sick and it felt like all the energy I once had, had been completely drained from my body. I was having a hard time even getting off of the couch! I felt like a failure. I had prayed to be a mother, I had prayed for this opportunity and now I was having a hard time taking care of my self let alone my three month old baby. The guilt at times was almost crushing. I finally decided it was time to see the doctor about what was going on. I wish I was strong enough to have admitted my feeling about being sad but I was too proud and felt like I could blame the way I was feeling on my other health issues. The doctor was very kind and helped me figure out what was going on. I was in the middle of a hormonal imbalance. I was producing too much thyroid hormone and it was the root of my health problems. This issue was actually due to giving birth and it is something that I will have to watch out for again if I do get pregnant.

Once I started to feel better physically I knew I needed to work on my emotions. Through talking with some amazing friends, I knew I wasn't alone in the way I was feeling. I started to process all the raw emotions that had surfaced. I first realized that I felt guilty because I had used an epidural during labor. I had felt that I hadn't done enough for my baby and that I must have done something wrong to have had to use an epidural. I was secretly glad when I heard of other mothers who had used an epidural because I felt that I wasn't the only failure and then I would feel guilty for feeling that way. I have since coped with these feelings and understand where I erred. There is absolutely NO SHAME in needing and epidural. It would be nice if all of our bodies felt pain the same and if labor was just like a bad period, but that is not how it goes and I am grateful for the modern technology that is provided for us to find relief and in case like mine, bring that relief at the right time to help mother and in turn it does help the baby.

I understand that each pregnancy story is different and you can have a woman that has had 8 children and each labor could be drastically different as well. If I'm able to get pregnant again I understand that my second pregnancy and labor could and probably will be completely different then the first and I'm ok with that. I would still like to try it without an epidural but the next time around there wont be any shame involved if I choose to use an epidural. I will know I did my best and that is all that can be expected out of me.

Next I needed to deal with the guilt of feeling sad. Through lots of prayer and study, I came to peace with the fact that it was ok for me to feel a bit blue after my daughter was born. Just because I had prayed for this blessing and it was one of the deepest desires of my heart, didn't mean I had to be exempt from feeling the way that any mother could feel after having a baby. The desires of my heart had nothing to do with the chemical imbalance going on in my head. This one was a little harder for me to deal with and I couldn't do it alone. I had to reach out for help from my husband, my friends and my savor. Although the days of feeling sad are gone, I do have to remind myself from time to time that it doesn't matter how this child came into my family, I am a mother and I can have the same moments of frustration, happiness, tired and joy that any other mother is entitled to. I am not exempt because of my infertility.

Today I am sitting her writing this because although, my husband and I haven't used contraceptives of any kind, once my cycle started again, I was secretly afraid of getting pregnant again. Every doctor kept telling me that I could get pregnant again and when my period started 7 months after giving birth, I wasn't emotionally ready. Then came the guilt again. I knew I wanted to get pregnant again at some point but not yet. Before the birth of my daughter I had always said that we wouldn't use birth control because it took us 7 years to get her and I didn't want to wait another 7 years for the next one. I felt selfish for feeling like I wasn't ready to be pregnant when 2 years earlier I would have killed to be in the position I was currently in. As I worked through this new emotion it dawned on me, I knew how to handle being infertile and I didn't know how to be fertile. I knew I had to put it in the lords hands and that what ever happens we would grateful.

My daughter is now a year old and the desire to give her a sibling is starting to burn with in my heart again. The emotions of the past year have strengthened me, helped me to grow and have made me a better wife, mother, and woman. Am I fertile or infertile? That is a good question because I don't know where I fit and only time will tell. But what I know now is that come what may, I'm ready.  

1 comment:

  1. There is no shame in getting an epidural. I planned on going naturally with Andrew, but it just wasn't going to happen. With Ethan, I didn't even have a choice as soon as my water broke. He was possible way for me to have a VBAC.

    I, luckily, have no experienced PPD, but it's definitely more common that people like to admit. Good for you for getting help. Some people don't ask for help and end up battling it for months and months.

    You watch the beautiful side of pregnancy from other people, but the hardships are rarely made public. Being pregnant is difficult. Being a mom is difficult. Worth it? Absolutely! But difficult all the same. I hope you're able to have more children.

    Congratulations, again, we are so excited that you've been able to expand your family. No greater blessing.