Guest writer: Katie Clinton
I had no idea what to expect when I had my first baby. I was very surprised when I immediately had to try to pump at the hospital. Honestly, it was so awkward, and I felt like a cow. The lactation consultants meant well, but a new momma isn’t feeling great anyway, so this was hard. I knew that going forward, I would definitely be more prepared the next time I had a baby.
I was facing postpartum for the second time. I knew what to expect. I brought my nursing bras. I brought new cozy jammies to make me feel prettier in the hospital. I was so pumped to be able to take that shower that I knew would come the day after my C-section.
I knew I would have a C-section my second time around because I had a high-risk pregnancy with mono-di twins. I didn’t fear the C-section; I had done it before. Unfortunately, though, 24 hours after giving birth, I had a pulmonary edema. This landed me in the ICU and extended my hospital stay. It also kept me from seeing my babies for 3 full days.
Expectations can wreck you.
The three days I spent away from my babies and dealing with medical issues were the worst of my life. I’m still working through the trauma from it. I’ve learned that you can’t go into giving birth with expectations; it will leave you disappointed.
Now obviously, not everybody who gives birth winds up in the ICU. I don’t want to freak people out because my situation isn’t normal. But I do know that we all go into the hospital with a list of desires:
-who will be in the delivery room
-What kind of birth is wanted
-meds or no meds
We all have these things we want to happen with the birth of our children, but the reality is that we are not in control. It can be SO frustrating, but sharing my story is important because you never know what might happen. If you’re stressing today about whether or not to let your mother-in-law in the delivery room or struggling with any other decisions, please let that go. You are causing yourself unnecessary stress, and in all actuality, those details don’t matter. What does matter is that precious child that you are about to meet.
When plans don’t go the way you want, look at your baby. You worked so hard to get them here; they are all that matters.
The only way that I got through my traumatic situation was faith. 15 months later, I am still processing everything and working through it. I have been blessed with healthy babies and a successful heart procedure following my hospital stay.
Months after the babies were born, I struggled with frustration at how things transpired. Why did I have this heart condition? Why did I have to go through those excruciating days of being apart from my babies? Why does everybody else seem to have normal deliveries and post-partum situations? I have wrestled with these questions and ultimately had to shut down. Was this time in my life challenging? Yes! But can I change anything about it? No. This has led me to accept that something crummy happened, but now I get to enjoy my children for as long as God lets me.
If you are in a trying situation today (and as a mama of young ones, I know that we constantly have trying situations), hug your babies and take a deep breath. Life is difficult, but things will get better. You are here. Your babies are here. Life is still good.