Motherhood

41 Weeks In, 41 Weeks Out

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that Emme has been “out” as long as she was “in.” If I thought my pregnancy went by fast (minus those last few weeks) that’s nothing compared to how quickly the last nine months have gone by. In 11 weeks we’ll be celebrating Emme’s first birthday. How is that even possible? Slow down, time!

I didn’t think those last weeks of pregnancy were ever going to end. Between the heartburn, the overall discomfort, and the unknowing, I was beyond ready to give birth to this child. Then my due date came and went and I began to panic. And when the doctors started seriously discussing an induction, I really began to panic. Come on, girl! Get out of there! I spent those last nine days trying every trick in the book to will myself into labor. But Emme wasn’t ready and on day 10, after a failed induction, she was born via cesarean section. (You can read my entire birth story here if you’re interested in knowing more.)

I’ve thought a lot about my birthing experience and how it was the complete opposite of everything I had hoped and planned for. I wonder what would have happened if I wouldn’t have been induced. Emme would have eventually come out on her own if we waited. But would all of that extra waiting have come with a cost? While I feel like my doctors sincerely had Emme and my best interest at heart, I still feel, as a general observation, that there is too much medical interference with childbirth. But that’s a debate for another time.

I spent the first few days of my postpartum life upset that my birthing story resulted in a c-section, the one thing I was so fiercely against. Anytime Adam and I discussed our birth plan, it always ended with me saying, “And if they mention c-section, they better have a damn good reason!” The fact that Emme’s heart rate was dropping and she was in stress seems like a damn good enough reason I suppose.

But I was disappointed that I didn’t get to birth my child the “normal” way. I wanted to feel that sense of accomplishment after birthing my baby, hearing those first cries and holding her in my arms covered in birthing fluids, crying with my husband over the miracle we’d created together, a romanticized version of childbirth. Instead I was whisked into the OR, sedated and trying to quell my own fears while calming and reassuring my queasy nervous husband, and stealing a quick glance of my new baby before she was taken to the nursery for monitoring while I was stitched back together. But when I finally held that beautiful little girl for the first time, I reminded myself that it didn’t matter how she got here. All that mattered was that she was here, healthy and safe.

Even though I didn’t get the birthing experience I’d hoped for, I gained a newfound confidence in myself. I was terrified of having a c-section. The whole procedure frightened me, the recovery seemed like a nightmare, and I knew I’d be marred with a jagged scar. But the operation was flawless, I recovered and bounced back quickly, and the scar has already faded into a faint line. As far as c-sections are concerned, my experience was definitely best case scenario.

The last nine months with Emme have been such a whirlwind of new experiences. We are so thankful that despite her unexpected entry into this world, we haven’t had many surprises or issues to deal with since. She’s healthy and happy, developing like she should be, and growing, albeit on the small side. But it has been such a pleasure to watch her personality develop. She’s laid back and easy going most of the time. She already has so many emotions and opinions. She smiles, laughs, and babbles. She shows a great interest in the world around her. Every day she does something new and different to warm my heart.

As we prepare to wrap up her first year of life and start her second year in a new city, I’m excited to continue to introduce Emme to her firsts. Motherhood has been everything and nothing like I expected it to be. But even the challenging days feel like such a blessing.

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