I had a baby 3 months ago. I was in back labor for 28 long hours and brought a beautiful baby girl into the world. I wanted to have a natural, unmedicated childbirth but after 16 hours I couldn’t do it anymore. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. Sitting or laying down hurt too much but my legs were shaking and weak from walking around. I tried so hard to make my childbirth as natural as I could but when I asked for my options for pain medication, it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision; I had been considering it for a while. The midwife came in, checked me and said I hadn’t progressed past 5cm and they offered me systemic pain medication so that I could get some rest. I took the pain medication, rested for a half hour and the nurse came back in and asked me if I wanted an epidural. Another woman had come in and had already requested one and she didn’t want my medication to wear off before the anesthesiologist could make it to my room. I knew I couldn’t go back to feeling the pain I had been feeling. I hadn’t had near enough rest and knew they wanted to give me pitocin so an epidural was an option I was willing to take at that point. I prayed my body would do what it needed to do and that the baby would remain stable.
After the epidural, I rested for another hour before I started feeling the contractions again on the left side of my body. They turned me over in hopes that the medication had just pooled on the right and that it would even out. It didn’t work and for the rest of my labor I felt my contractions on the left side of my body except I couldn’t walk around to cope with the pain. However, I was able to get some rest in between contractions.
Several hours later the midwife checked me and said that I was 10 cm and asked me if I wanted to push or if I wanted to “labor down” to reduce the pushing time. I opted trying to push for half an hour and if there was little progress I would labor down. After a half hour and little progress, I labored down for another couple of hours until I couldn’t do it anymore and requested trying to push again. I’m not sure how long I pushed for but at 3:07am my little girl came into the world. They put her on my chest and she was breathing but it was really mucousy so my husband cut her cord and they took her away to clear her airway. I was so exhausted at this point that I could barely keep my eyes open. I remember hearing her cry and my midwife telling me I didn’t need any stitches. I remember that I was bleeding a little more than they liked but that my midwife was able to get the bleeding stopped. I remember them putting her back on my chest and that she pooped all over me. I remember my husband watching the nurse give her a bath. I remember them wheeling me up to the recovery room and having to be helped to go to the bathroom the first couple of times because my right leg was useless. I remember the nurse telling me that my birth was the longest she had attended that ended in a vaginal delivery.
The reason I’m posting my birth story here is because it was an exhausting one and I think it contributed to the development of my postpartum depression. I didn’t have the birth experience that I wanted to have. I thought I had the expectation that anything could happen and I went with the flow very well but there are still times where I look back and think about what I could have done differently.
I also had high expectations for breastfeeding. I knew I had a flat nipple on one side and would have some difficulty but I never anticipated how much trouble I would have and that I would eventually choose to exclusively pump and how it would feel like a weight had lifted off my shoulders when I finally did make that decision. It’s amazing how many people there are out there who will try to make a woman feel as though they are “less than” because they “gave up”. Even professionals have tried to persuade me into breastfeeding again because it’s so much more enriching to “nurse a baby rather than a pump”.
Although I didn’t have severe PPD, I still suffer from down days. I find it’s worse when I am especially sleep deprived and haven’t gotten up and around.
My life has changed so my interests are slightly different as well. So I would like my readers (if you are still here) to expect more posts about PPD, babies, and motherhood. I think PPD is largely underestimated and not as well-known as it should be so I want to bring more attention to it and also talk about my journey through it and how I cope without using medication.
I hope this doesn’t scare all of you off as I am still interested in holistic health and happiness, which is why I didn’t start a whole new blog.