I was so unprepared for motherhood. Nothing prepares you. Sure you can read the books, go to the classes and seek advice from veteran mommas. But until you are holding your baby for the first time, dealing with the sleepless nights, milk supply issues, first ear infection, overwhelming love and all of the other milestones in between, you will never be ready.
I remember the exact moment I became a mother. August 27, 2016 at 4:17pm. 7 pounds, 10 ounces, 20.5 inches long. Her first cry made me cry. She was and still is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on and the definition of love at first sight. Her birth wasn’t easy. A cesarean after 4 unproductive hours of pushing and 2 terrifying moments of distress for her. Nonetheless, her and her birth story are forever engraved in my mind and heart with great love.
I also remember clearly the moment when I was told I could potentially lose my ability to have more children. September 27, 2016 sometime around 2pm. I was being prepped for my second dilation and curettage (D &C) after having been in the hospital two other times and already having a blood transfusion. My OBGYN was explaining the options she had to stop my postpartum hemorrhage. She said once I was in surgery if the bleeding didn’t let up a laparotomy to find the source of the bleeding was the next best solution but if she felt like at any time my life was in danger she would perform a hysterectomy.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
I knew my situation was serious but a hysterectomy at 27 years old? What a hard thought to swallow. I never imagined myself having a gaggle of children but to be done after one? Was that my path? Was I okay with that? At that point and time, I didn’t have an option to not be okay with that. It was either accept the possibility of waking up from surgery without a uterus or bleed out and never see my daughter again. I had already spent a week and half away from her in the hospital and I didn’t want to lose any more precious time with my sweet baby girl.
My second D & C went well, no hysterectomy needed but my thoughts were overcome with what ifs and darkness. What if this happened again? What if next time the bleeding doesn’t stop? What if they really do have to perform a hysterectomy? I had been in and out of the hospital for the past month. Does my infant daughter still remember me? Or when I finally get to come home will she prefer to be held and cuddled by someone else in the family? Does my husband still want me if I’m broken and scarred? What if I can’t have anymore babies?
To say I was a wreck would be the understatement of the year.
After discharging from the hospital, I rejoined my beautiful family at home, finally able to heal in peace. Or so I thought. The first two days home all I could do was cry and worry. I felt so defeated. I was scared of going to sleep and waking up to the next day with a chance of the hemorrhage returning. I was afraid to leave the house. The fear and anxiety had taken over. I tried to bury it but the smallest thing would make it bubble back up to the surface. It was then I knew I had to make a choice. Either continue to live in this dark place asking ‘why me’ or make steps to move forward saying ‘Thank God. I made it.’
I later learned that the reason for my postpartum hemorrhage was due to retained product of conception. I also learned that my ability to get pregnant again may still be a struggle. Due to the excessive trauma my uterus had to undergo during the D & C’s, there is a chance to develop scar tissue which would prevent a fertilized egg from attaching. It’s hard to think that my family could be done growing but I also have to remember I have one perfect and beautiful tiny human on this planet that I thought I may never see again.
There are still days when I look back and wonder if something could have been done differently, but then I remember that even if it could, I can’t change it. I’m here now. I made it. I’m healthy and stronger because of what I’ve been through. I will never get those days back I lost with my daughter and family, but I’m so thankful to wake up every day with the ability to kiss them and be a part of their lives. It’s so easy to live in the past and let something this traumatic control your life, but I make a choice every day to be present and appreciate the time I have with the ones I love. Here’s to moving past fear and anxiety. Here’s to family, love and health. Here’s to loving motherhood for all of the parts that no one prepares you for.