The Day My Son Was Born Wasn't the Best Day of My Life - And That's Okay - Life as Mrs. Wilson

03 April, 2017

The Day My Son Was Born Wasn't the Best Day of My Life - And That's Okay

 Throughout my entire pregnancy, I heard over and over how the day my son was born would be the best day of my life. I was told that my life would change for the better the moment they laid him on my chest. The thing is though, the day my son was born was not the best day of my life. In fact, it was one of the most traumatic days I have ever faced. It has taken me almost 6 months to write Conrad's birth story, mainly because it has taken this long to really even let myself think about that day at all. While Conrad is the greatest joy in my life, the day he was born was far from joyful to me.

The beginning stages of labor lasted over two weeks with constant contractions that got intense enough that I went to the hospital twice and was sent home both times with some lortab and a 'you're so close to active labor, just not quite there yet'. 4 days after Conrad's due date, we went to the hospital and finally got to stay. I had plans to go epidural free but after such a long labor, I decided to go ahead and get the epi because the IV meds just weren't cutting it anymore. I completely regret even trying the IV medicine because I genuinely feel that it negatively affected me and caused me to be really 'out of it'. The epidural was absolutely the best decision I made regarding childbirth!

I still have a difficult time recounting everything that happened during childbirth, but basically, I was in active labor for about 16 hours, 3 of which were spent pushing. At one point, the doctors had to put me on oxygen because I was losing energy fast and they needed me to stay calm. About an hour before Conrad was finally born, the epidural medicine started wearing off and wasn't refilled, so I felt pretty much everything at that point. I genuinely thought I was dying. The pain I felt was beyond anything I can even describe and I had never felt so depleted of energy - physically and mentally - in my life. During each push, I would start to black out and began to believe that the next push would be too much. I was mentally preparing myself for death and prayed that my husband would be able to handle being a widowed father. During this time, I heard the doctor mention a C-section and something in me just fired up. I dug deep and pushed with everything I had, and on October 11, 2016 at 7:16 AM, Conrad James Wilson was born - 8 lb 11 oz of absolute heaven.

I don't remember much after this. I am forever grateful for all of the pictures that were taken because that is the only reason I think I have been able to get some memories back. I vaguely remember holding Conrad as they stitched me up. "You may feel a little tug" ha. WAY more than a little tug. I felt it all. I have one blur of a memory of seeing Jake walk around the room with Conrad in his arms. I was happy, but overcome with complete despair from the traumatizing experience I had.

I don't know how or when I ended up in the recovery room upstairs, but I do know that we had some kind visitors and was thankful for that. At one point in the day, I was laying with Conrad on my chest and remember thinking he was breathing kind of funny. A few minutes later, a nurse came in and checked his heart rate. She said it was almost to 300 but figured something was wrong with the monitor. She said she was going to take him down to the NICU to double check and that it should only take a few minutes. I didn't see her for a few hours. I knew something was wrong.

A group of doctors came up to our room and told us that Conrad's heart rate really had neared 300. They essentially had to try and restart his heart - twice. We were told that he would be in the NICU for at least a few days and was undergoing some tests to figure out what was wrong. Everything went numb and became such a blur for me. It is still really hard for me to write about what I experienced in that moment as it was such a raw and emotional time, but eventually, I was able to go down to the NICU to see Conrad.

I was devastated. He was in this little box with needles and tubes everywhere. I wanted so desperately to just hold my son and comfort him but all I could do was put my hand on his head through a hole. I felt so helpless. I felt excruciating guilt without even knowing why. I just felt that it was my fault that my son was struggling. We learned that Conrad had an episode of Supra Ventricular Tachycardia due to the distress of delivery. I was assured that his tachycardia was not genetically inherited from me (I have Postural Tachycardia) and that it wasn't my fault. I still felt it was, and still sometimes feel guilt even though I logically know it wasn't my fault.

The days in the hospital were so painfully long. I would go down to the NICU every 2-3 hours to see him and try to nurse him once his feeding tube was out. I felt horrible guilt when I wasn't there with him. I didn't sleep much, and when I did I would have nightmares of the delivery. I would hear my own screams echo in my head and was terrified. I would lay awake and listen to babies crying in rooms nearby, completely jealous that those parents were awake because they got to take care of their baby, and I was awake longing to hold mine. I was bitter. SO bitter. I got angry. Angry at myself, at the experience, at God. I was just bitter, and angry, and depressed beyond belief. My son brought me joy, but I was so deep in despair that I lost sight of that.

5 long days later, we got to take Conrad home. It was such a happy moment! It was some of the greatest joy I have ever felt. I felt so complete, finally able to start a normal life with my little family of three. When we got home, I was offered much help but felt that I would be seen as a bad mom if I couldn't handle everything on my own. I now recognize that this was wrongful thinking, especially because it prolonged my physical recovery and was very bad for my mental health.

 The despair came in crushing waves. I would feel okay for one moment and the next I was swallowed up in the most horrific depression and despair I have ever known. It is nothing like I had ever experienced, and was even more intense than moments in the past when I've been suicidal. The flashbacks were horrible. They would come out of nowhere and it genuinely felt like I was reliving my birthing experience. There were moments I couldn't differentiate the flashbacks from reality. The waves of depression lasted for about a month and a half and thankfully went away completely. The flashbacks have gotten less severe, but I do still have them from time to time.

I wasn't myself, to say the least. My love for Conrad was never absent, but I wasn't able to be completely there for him for a while. But now, as my son is nearing 6 months old, I LOVE being a mom. I am the happiest I have been in my life. I feel more fulfilled than I ever have and truly feel that I am fulfilling my purpose here on earth. NOW, my life feels changed for the better. NOW, I have the best days of my life. I love my son so fiercely and love him more than I can even comprehend.

But the day my son was born? No, it was not the best day of my life - and that's okay. Not all birth stories are beautiful and happy - mine certainly wasn't. But I think there's value in sharing our experiences with each other. I felt compelled to share my story because out of all the birth stories I read, I never found one like mine, and I don't want any other mom to feel the way I did - alone.

Maybe I am alone in this and maybe I am the only mom that didn't have a wonderful experience with childbirth, but if there is even one mom out there that is feeling the way I did, I just want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that it's going to be okay. It's okay that the day your child was born wasn't the best day of your life. It's okay if you didn't love the newborn stage like everyone says you're supposed to. And it's okay if you get sad when you think of your birth story. It's taken me a while to get to a point where I can even let myself think about it, and it's taken me even longer to get to a point where I understand that it doesn't make me a bad mom or less of a mom because of that.

Despite how difficult it was to get Conrad here, there is no doubt that I would do it all over again if it meant I could be his mom. I absolutely love being a mom and am still in awe that I was able to even give birth at all. I am so amazed that my body was capable of carrying life, and will forever be thankful for that.

At times, finding joy in motherhood can be so hard. It's hard not to get caught up in being the 'perfect' mom and it's hard to even be a mom at all some days. It's really hard for me not to compare my birth story to others and to avoid jealousy, but I'm working on it. And I think that's enough.

Of all the things I've done in my life, becoming a mom will forever be my greatest accomplishment. It has been my dream to be a mom ever since I understood the meaning of the word. This is what I'm here to do and I wouldn't trade it for the world, even though the day my son was born wasn't the best day of my life.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I recently am a mom to a 3 month old and my birth sounds so similar to yours. It was far from perfect, and I still can't bring myself to think about it fully, so I thank you for sharing yours! I love my baby more than anything and I'm so greatful to our Father in Heaven for giving allowing me to be his mom. Here is a (((HUG))) from one mom trying to make it through each day to another!!

    A quote I read daily that helped me: Jeffery R Holland. "To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle, I say, "BE PEACEFUL believe in god and yourself, you are doing better than you think you are."