I have to break away from my business self and embrace the me that is “mommy” and a human with emotions and experiences like all you!
As many of you already knew, I was expecting a baby due on Easter. Great news: He’s here and he’s healthy and he’s so very sweet and squishy and adorable!
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some of the scary things that happened during this pregnancy. The scariest was getting positive markers on my quad screen indicating high risk for genetic defects. I went to additional ultrasounds and had extra lab tests done to rule out those possibilities and thankfully they came back negative and as baby is here now, we can attest to how healthy he is!
This pregnancy was much harder on my body than I anticipated. A month before my pregnancy started, my disease diagnosis was changed in that my disease had progressed and affected more of my body than my initial diagnosis almost 4 years ago. This explains why medication I was prescribed wasn’t working and why I was having so many issues with pretty much every food out there. With my new diagnosis came new medication. Unfortunately the medication I was switched to has never been tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women so I was advised to not take it during pregnancy. This led to my body being depleted of so many things that I was sick the entire time and I’ll be recovering for months trying to get my stores back up now that baby is here. Between malabsorption and severe anemia, I got used to not feeling “normal.”
I’m glad the pregnancy ended the way it did. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience even amid the COVID-19 pandemic and all the chaos it has created. My labor and delivery experience were memorable in so many ways. At 11am on 13 April 2020 I started to have time-able pain but couldn’t feel my contractions. After a chat with my midwifery team, they told me to come to the labor and delivery ward and get checked out. By this time I’d been having what didn’t fee like but I was guessing were contractions for about an hour. They were only 3:40 apart. Most often, you’re supposed to be heading into the hospital at 5:00 apart. Because of the visitor restrictions in place, I had to get my dad to meet us there and take our three kids back home. Thankfully, my wonderful support person was allowed to be with me after I was admitted.
initially the admitting nurse acted like they might send me home. She said I was definitely having contractions but that I wasn’t dilating. After baby’s heart rate dropped twice, they admitted me. 60 minutes after I was admitted and in my gown and in the delivery room, I was at 6cm. They asked me if I wanted an epidural and I said I wanted to try to go as long as possible without but that I’d always gotten one with the other 3 because I couldn’t handle the pain. These women were so supportive they kept telling me “you got this.” I want to cry thinking about it. These are the members of the midwifery team, not doulas. They are so valuable to mental health during labor it’s ridiculous. I can’t ever thank them enough for everything they did for me. Another 30 minutes later and I was at 9cm. The midwife told me to wait another 2 contractions and I could start pushing.
I can literally tell everyone there is nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life as painful as those pushing moments. But let me tell you, if you’ve had an epidural, you’ve probably spent too much time pushing. This little squish was out in 4, lay on my side while crying pushes after just 5 hours of labor, only two of them actually spent at the hospital.
I’m so proud of myself and happy for the experience. I came in thinking I would be getting an epidural because of the “I can’t do it” mentality. I left knowing I’m so much stronger than I think I am. And to all the other mamas reading who have done multiple natural births, I tip my hat to you because those last contractions and pushes were a feeling I will never ever forget.
The hard part about this all is that this is my last for a lot of things.
My last pregnancy because, let’s be real, this is 4 kids. That’s already going to be too many teens in the house at one time and I can still drive an SUV and not need to get a van! It’s my last pregnancy because my body is too fragile to have an uncomplicated pregnancy in the future and I need to get healthy for myself so I can be around to see my children grow and thrive and become who they are meant to be. It’s my last labor. My last time waiting and counting down the days to baby. My last time nesting. Last time going to midwifery appointments. Last time getting a first ultrasound. Last time notifying family of their new niece/nephew/grandchild. Last time pushing. Last time having a new baby thrown onto my chest. Last first cry. A baby I grew and waited to meet for 9 months. Last time leaving the hospital with a new little person. Last time ordering newborn size clothes for a child of my own. Last time buying baby toys for all the stages. Last time seeing the bouncer my first born used. Last little toes and hands. Last bottles. Last first words and experiences. Last lasts.
Now that I’m crying, the lasts are definitely sad for me. It means there’s a chapter, a huge important chapter of my life, that is over and will not be revisited. What this imparts is a sense of really appreciating what I have now, including the sleepless nights, vomit, crying, temper tantrums, etc. all the things that come with a baby and a growing child into adulthood are things I now will cherish instead of resent or get frustrated with as I had before