Those of you with children know the struggle of the post partum life. You worked to grow a baby & your body feels foreign the entire time- then the baby arrives & you try to figure out how to “feel like yourself again”. Physically, emotionally- a giant mess! Your body feels like it’s made of bread dough, & your mind is so scattered it’s hard to breathe some times. My favorite as a breast feeding mom is how often I wake up & think I had been holding her- I search the bed covers frantically before realizing she is safely in her bassinet.
My journey through pregnancy was tough- not a single thing went as I had hoped besides the very end result of a healthy happy beautiful girl coming into the world. I can’t talk about her birth without crying. It will forever be a source of such intense fear- I thought I was going to lose her forever. I considered myself very healthy before pregnancy- I learned quickly that means jack shit during pregnancy- your body has a mind of its own, it’s run by hormones & a placenta that don’t know your plans or your life before. At 19 weeks, I was put on a week of bed rest for an infection that left me in unbearable pain. At 20 weeks? I ended up with gestational diabetes. I sobbed- what did I do wrong? How do I control this? Relatively easily it turns out! Unless you count in pregnancy cravings- which no one ever does. My blood sugar was picture perfect the entire pregnancy. I started contractions from another infection around 30 weeks- and that’s when they started noticing my blood pressure rising. That’s what got me on the induction train. Choo choo! No more water birth I had hoped for and all the weekly monitoring no one wants. I started labor at 37 weeks but didn’t dilate enough- I was sent home to hope my body would push itself all the way into labor. I tried everything, all the old wives tales. I couldn’t work. I could barely take a daily walk or sleep for that matter. At 38 weeks it was go time. Full induction. We were to arrive at the hospital at 7am and get the ball rolling the rest of the way. If you have been lucky enough to have a vaginal birth that kick started on its own, you have no idea the torture devices that exist to try to open a woman’s cervix! My poor husband had to watch the dr dig around up there so many times and hold my hand while I tried to be brave as relative strangers shoved their arms in up to their elbow. At around 10pm we were on a roll, I was dilated to 5! They decided to reach up there with a glorified crochet hook & see if they could get my water to break and move this show a little further along. By midnight- My water had broken, I was in horrible pain & exhausted. I started being monitored a little more closely- through every complication my baby girl had never faultered- her heartbeat remain a steady source of comfort for me, no matter what, I wasn’t a failure because she was fine. And then she wasn’t. All the sudden the nurses started prepping me for surgery as my dr said I’m sorry, I know this is so far from your plan but we are losing her. She has to come out now, if we wait…. Why would I wait? Why would we even chance that we wouldn’t get to keep her in this world? 15 mins later, I had a beautiful baby next to my head as I cried- is she ok? Please tell me she is ok! My poor poor husband. He repeated it as many times as my drug induced self needed to hear. She was better than ok. She was perfect. Tiny at just 5lb 9oz- but perfect. They found that her cord had been too small, that’s why she wasn’t growing more, why I felt so sick near the end, and why we started to lose her after the cushion of the amniotic fluid was gone.
In recovery, my husband helped me to breast feed. Laying there covered in tubes after they had to put me out completely to stop my shaking long enough to close my csection…. I couldn’t get her to latch on my own. I’ve never loved my husband more, or had something mean so much to me. Finally, something I planned had worked! I could do this! My body fought me on being pregnant, but I was born to be a mom. I quickly found that I was able to move much better than most after a csection. My blood pressure stayed high- with all the visits from Drs & nurses, I couldn’t rest. I convinced them to let me go home only about 48 hrs after her birth. My blood pressure on release was around 145/94. I went to the dr the very next day for both of us to be checked, it was down to 122/79. I was a new girl!
Fast forward a week and my incision was infected. I couldn’t feel it so I was doing too much. I didn’t want to nap, I didn’t want to ask for help- my body could do so much, I wasn’t in pain. After an er visit, and a week of 4x a day antibiotics, and being told to cool it, I was back on track. Right? Wrong. Fast forward another week or so to so much more blood being lost & my incision looking infected again, I went back to the surgeon. Not an infection he says! You’re allergic to the dissolvable stitches and your body is trying to show them out of your belly. He likened it to a zit. Nothing to do but keep it clean and let it happen he said. Thank the lord I could stop the antibiotics that were killing my stomach. But at 6 weeks post partum I was told to only walk. My incision was still so inflamed, my bleeding still so heavy- I needed to heal physically before I could try to get stronger- or to me, heal mentally.
So much of my identity as a trainer & instuctor is in my body. It’s abilities, its strength- my confidence. It’s 7 weeks now. Rowan June is more beautiful every day. And I feel more hideous. Less like myself mentally & physically than I’ve ver been. We walk every day. My weight is less than it was when I got pregnant. But my figure….. Is awful. I know it will come back. I know I need to be healthy first. But my frustration in being in a body that is not my own has never been higher. I know this is temporary. I have time to get stronger before I go back to work, and can continue after. But for now? I am struggling. My focus stays on my health & on my joy- my beautiful girl.