They say that there are only 3 trimesters and 9 months required to sacrifice your body in order to have a baby. They act like it all ends with a rainbow and pot of gold on the first day of the 40th week. Somehow, you're supposed to walk away from your hospital room with a shiny new doll and all the pregnancy aches and pains behind you. It's not like that.
Let me start by sharing my birth story - the short version. I had these grand plans of laboring at home on my due date, then I'd waddle into the hospital when I couldn't take the pain anymore. They'd tell me that I'm dilated to 6 or 7cm, promptly get an epidural and smooth sail the last few hours into an easy delivery.
The truth: 40weeks and 4 days - I labored at home until I couldn't take the pain anymore. I was contracting every 2-3 minutes, dry-heaving and feeling faint from the pain. It was 3am and we knew I would be pretty far along. Waiting to hear that I was nearing 7 or 8cm, she told me that I was 1cm - yes, ONE. Despite contracting every minute, I was no further along than I was one week before that. I mumbled something obscene to her and managed to walk the halls while simultaneously searching for the nearest trash can. After an hour of swearing that I'll yell at them if they try to send me home, I managed to dilate to 2cm (barely) and they let me stay. Within 1 hour of arriving into the delivery room, I had my epidural and began to smile.
To be honest, I felt like a failure. I knew pain - I liked pain. I've smiled at the pain I felt when running marathons and triathlons. I thought for sure, that I'd be able to handle the pain of labor better than most. I felt weak. So many women I know rock out labor and delivery with no pain meds. Everyone's labor is different and some lucky people wake up to their water breaking, barely feel contractions and walk into the hospital dilated to 10 (I seriously know someone like that - so lucky).
By 5:30 that evening, after pushing a quick 15 minutes, they plopped a cheesy, brown-haired little girl onto my chest. Her eyes were wide open and ready to take on the world.
The First 2 Weeks...
Now, when people say "they've never felt a love so immediate when they first saw their child", I thought - oh, I can't wait for that feeling! When they placed her on my chest, I thought "holy crap - there really was a human inside of me" and "ok, now I have to take care of her, forever..". Then came all the questioning... I felt guilty at first. How could I be a good mom when I didn't fall in love with her at first sight like everyone else seems to do? Am I cut out for this? Can I do this?! The truth is, the next two weeks were HARD. I didn't realize how hard it would be. Sure, I knew I wouldn't sleep, but between the hormone changes, lack of sleep, physically trying to heal and learning that it's all on you (and your partner) to not only keep this human alive, but to make sure she's a positive light in this world. It's a lot to take in at the beginning. They call it "baby blues" and I felt it, for sure. Luckily, it only lasted an exhausting fourteen days. Postpartum depression affects up to 20% of new moms every year. A statistic that surprised me given how little it's talked about. Slowly, I felt better and soon I couldn't stop staring at my baby girl, I was getting used to sleeping in short bursts and I was looking forward to her tiny little milestones.
They forget to tell you about that ever-changing and exhausting fourth trimester. Be good to yourself and give yourself a lot of time to heal physically, emotionally and mentally. It's a huge (wonderful, but still huge) task you're undertaking. It's ok if you feel overwhelmed or scared or nervous about what's happening all at once. We all come out at the end with the same outlook - in love with our baby and so positive about the future, we all just get there in our own way.
Everlie Blum Crews | October 3, 2016 | 6lbs 9oz