Childbirth, Trauma, and Rebirth

I have decided that I am ready to discuss my pregnancy and the birth of my daughter. I think it is a huge part of healing. Putting all emotional thoughts pertaining to my daughter aside, it was truly one of the worst experiences of my life. I am no longer ashamed to admit it and I am fully confident in my love and admiration for the child that came from it and the man I made the journey with. 

I told my husband Father’s Day weekend that I was never afraid of who I was having the baby with. I never took a step back and thought to myself “Is this the right decision?” He seemed to appreciate that very much. Besides my confidence in him, I don’t remember much else. I remember making very silly life-altering decisions, like moving back to NY with no money and acquiescing to live with my family in my mid-twenties with a husband and a baby. I remember being unable to walk towards the end, experiencing worse pain, I think, than the actual pain of labor. On the other hand, I remember the love and anticipation of meeting my little girl and I do remember the strange excitement when I, who had wanted a boy, discovered it was a girl. At least that made it more adventurous. Now that I have her, I am so thrilled that I had a girl, and would be completely content if I had another one…

…if I have another one. You see, sadly, if your remove the end result, which was a beautiful and healthy baby girl, ultimately I would never do that again. I tell everyone that. I am content with Scarlett and focusing on her and her alone for the rest of my life. The whole experience leading up to her is a truckload of PTSD that exploded all over the road in a fatal crash, the fatality being the celebration of my fertility.  

The birth itself was horrifying. I couldn’t walk so I needed to be induced. I attribute the loss of my walking ability to the stagnant nature of my life after I moved. Had I stayed in PA, I would have at least been working until the end of my pregnancy and had kept my mind busy. Instead, I was terribly bored and anxious for the rest of the ride. And that culminated in induction, led by 12 hours of extreme, unnatural labor, sprinkled with botched epidural after botched epidural, and ultimately being sliced in half to pull my daughter out and watch as she was ushered out the door and away from me. All of the things I was afraid of the most and they all happened. Then I laid there, could not breast feed right away, and wasted away the first hour of my child’s life being sewn back together. The bitch nurse who looked like she worked there all of two days would not let me sit up and see my child in the recovery room. I was awake for almost 24 hours at that point and my brain felt scrambled by morphine and trauma. I just wanted to hold my daughter because I had not even done that yet. 

I love Scarlett and I was never afraid of having her or caring for her. I was happy that she was coming into the world and now that I have her I could never imagine my life being without her. She truly is my heart. Her personality, her loving nature, her brilliant and curious mind were worth it all. But the experience has forever shaped how I look at pregnancy and childbirth.

I never want to have a child in the hospital again, I never will trust an OB again, and that all rests on whether or not I ever decide to take the risks again. Especially since V-BACs are frowned upon. Sure, I could find someone who advocated for it, but would my insurance cover it? It is a sick, sad world we live in when childbirth is treated like a disease, with doctors and hospitals turning it into money by convincing women that it is a fragile medical state. You aren’t sick, you are pregnant. Tell the women one thousand years ago in a damn field, pregnant, farming for the village and going home to cook and care for their families with no issue that they were sick. You would probably be punched in the face. 

People know that hormonal changes and the initial worries of being pregnant can alter the way you think. I know, I allowed myself to be manipulated by a lot of things. And it was so strange that as soon as she was out, I sat in the hospital bed, looked around and panicked at the decisions I had allowed myself to make the past ten months, regarding my health, my living situations, and my interactions with others. Who the hell was that person? That person was not me. That person was extremely weak. That person gave into fear. That is not the person I want raising my daughter EVER. 

And maybe that is why I am afraid to have another. I don’t ever want Scarlett to meet the mother I was when I was pregnant. There is a lot of strength that I need to build before I could ever even consider another child. The strength to defy all the prescribed notions of what to do and how to handle a pregnancy. I know that I am a stronger person now for having gone through that experience, which could help in how I proceed. In a way, the weakness helped to build a stronger mother for when I need to be one. For right now, though, Scarlett is all I need to remind me of how strong I have become and what love truly is. 

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