“My body failed me during my first pregnancy. Why again?”
“I take care of myself … why me?”
I struggled during my pregnancy with my twins who were born at 30.1 weeks, but before that I also struggled with the birth of my first-born son. I asked tons of questions, not just those two.
My first son was born on time, head down and I did not have to be wheeled back for an emergency c-section like my twins (two years later). The only problem? My epidural did not work, and I felt everything. I felt the contractions, the sharp pain, the “ring of fire” and my episiotomy because my son would not come out. I felt everything. When my doctor was cutting me, she said “You shouldn’t have felt that.” But I did. I got to hold my baby for skin-to-skin almost immediately and cried after the nurses left the room because he was perfect. I was still angry and sad. I never planned for a natural childbirth.
Fast forward 22 months later, I also did not plan for major sickness, my anxiety disorder to take a major toll, and an early childbirth of my twins. I was majorly sick for twins up until 14 weeks gestation. At 14 weeks, my family and I took a cruise. I never had issues traveling but my agoraphobia kicked in, and I hated every second of the trip. From 14 weeks out until my twins were born, anxiety became my every day. I had to start seeing a therapist & psychiatrist specifically specialized in the perinatal and postpartum. There are only two psychiatrists specialized in that field in Baton Rouge, so I was on a wait list that seemed like forever. Any mother who has had PTSD from giving birth probably deals with the panic attacks of giving birth again. I would cling on to the kitchen counter 20 weeks into pregnancy crying my eyes out because I could not stop my attacks. I was prescribed a pregnancy-safe medicine because I was told “a mentally healthy mom outweighs the risks.”
All my girl friends love being pregnant, so I felt like the elephant in the room being someone who hated being pregnant. My first pregnancy I could not breathe towards the end, and my second pregnancy went like the story I just told you.
“We are sorry that happened,” said my anesthesiologist at the hospital when I was about to be given an epidural to birth my twins. I bawled like a baby when he told me that. I was finally getting reassurance that my horrible experience of my childbirth was valid. I also met with a social worker as well right before my c-section of my twins to calm me down. Every thought of my first childbirth was rushing back, but I knew what I had to do. I had to be strong for my babies (with a working epidural this time; thank goodness).
My twins, born early, were in the NICU for over 70 days. I can still hear the beeps of the machines to this day. Not only did both births not go the way I would have hoped, but I was left with the emotional trauma … still.
It took me about 1 ½ years to stop being hard on myself. I felt like I was failing as a mother. Why did I have to have such horrible pregnancies and births? I quickly found out during my postpartum journey that many other moms struggle with this same topic. Why don’t we talk about it though? Not every mom has this wonderful pregnancy and birth like we see on movies and TV. Instead of enjoying mimosas with our newborns at a local restaurant (which is fun!), sometimes we need to bring over the box of tissues to another mom and make this conversation… real… because it is.