Back in August, Ashley shared her son’s birth story with me…now she is sharing another side of it….
When you anticipate the birth of your first child, so many emotions run through your mind. Excitement, anticipation, joy, anxiety, maybe a little fear. Sadness is not one of them. I never imagined that I would be grieving my first real loss just days after welcoming my son. This is why I would like to share the “other side” of my birth story.
It was March 17th.. the day before my due date. I spent most of the day in bed with Braxton Hicks contractions, secretly hoping for a St. Patrick’s Day Baby. My mom had called me that afternoon to tell me that my grandma was just taken to the hospital. My grandmother had been in the hospital, then to rehab, then back home on and off for the past two years.. so I really wasn’t very surprised to hear she was going back again. In the back of my head, I just figured everything would be fine.
My son’s birth story starts far before the birth. One day before my 31st birthday, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Even before taking the test, I knew I was pregnant. I felt it. I wanted to make sure my birthday festivities (aka drinking) could be altered if my gut feeling was right. I had my positive test before I even had a missed period. My birthday was extra special, as my husband and I celebrated our news. I felt great.
At around 6 weeks pregnant, I started spotting. I felt no pain, but there was blood. I called the doctor. It was mostly brown… good. Pretty light… good. No pain… good. Just in case, my doctor scheduled a blood test. Results came back quick, I was definitely pregnant with extremely high levels.
No matter how easy the pregnancy, carrying your first child is completely nerve-racking. I don’t think people say that enough, but it needs to be said. We suddenly become a vessel for another LIFE for goodness sakes. It’s no small feat.
When we found out we were having twins I was shocked and overjoyed, but then I realized this vessel had just turned into a minivan, and I’d better slow down and keep two hands on the wheel.
My water broke at 35 weeks, although my c-section was scheduled for week 38. It was the day before Thanksgiving which meant, PERFECT! My doctor was out of town. So was the backup doctor.
My first born, Mikey, arrived when I was 33. A whirlwind pregnancy that seemed to stall at childbirth. He decided he was comfy where he was and had no intentions of joining us out in the world. A few days after my due date, we were induced. Mikey joined us after 25 hours of labor with 4 hours of pushing. It was not a pleasant experience. I did not feel strong enough to actually deliver him and my doctor wasn’t the most supportive. Emotionally drained and physically depleted, I awaited that first glimpse of Mikey.
Recovering from Postpartum Depression/Anxiety and the Light at the End of the Tunnel
Meet Gary (She’s one of my closest friends and this is her nickname)….
July 12, 2018 Journal Entry:
“Every night I pray for strength. I ask God and anyone listening to please continue helping me in my journey to full recovery. I write this now with some apprehension. Part of me does not wish to revisit this most painful time in my life, but the other part of me feels I should document this to remind myself of my strength. My refusal to give up. My refusal to give in to this monster that has its hands wrapped tightly around my neck- taking my breath, taking my mind- all without my permission- all when I woke up on Day 2 of my son’s birth. My beautiful first baby boy….All love and innocence…my creation…all my love in one little boy. I just wish I could feel it the same way as everyone else.”
Today is August 10, 2018. 57 days after my son’s birth. 55 days after waking up with a mental illness. 53 days after seeking treatment and being diagnosed with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. 52 days after receiving medication management intervention.
As my 39th week approached, I felt as though I could breathe a sigh of relief. I was full term! The nursery was set, house was cleaned, bags packed, towel on the seat of my car (just incase). I would get to meet my baby boy any day now.
The inspiration for Our Beautiful Hope came from this passage:
“When an oyster is hit with trauma – a foreign body that invades the sheltered life it lives in its safe shell, it takes action. It builds upon that painful intrusion in its life, adding layer upon layer of iridescence, until it creates a pearl. An object valued for its depth of beauty, the pearl is the beautiful hope born out of the oyster’s pain. Just like the pearl, we can be inspired to take action in our own lives to create beauty and hope out of times that are traumatic and painful. We can create something strong that will be admired by all we let see it, for the depth of its many layers, and the beauty of its strength. Whether it is illness, loss, pain, or trauma, we can transform what life brings us and use it to move forward with wisdom and grace.” – Strength of Heart, by Judy Fredette
They (whoever “they” is) say in order to keep mankind going mothers will forget the pain and exhaustion associated with childbirth so that we continue to reproduce. What “they” don’t tell you is this amnesia doesn’t happen overnight. It took a good few months until the sugarcoating of my memory took over. But, hey, now we are itching for baby #2 so I guess it really does work.