I found this website before I ever even got pregnant, and I have checked back on an almost daily basis ever since, to read new posts. I think the concept is fantastic, and have been waiting for months until I could do my own post. Now, at three weeks postpartum, I think I’ve waited long enough!
My pregnancy was planned, long-awaited, and relatively simple. I had horrible nausea that set in at 4 ½ weeks, but I never actually threw up. Aside from two bleeding scares (at 6 and 28 weeks), I had no complications up until the very end. I told my husband that I felt like I kind of missed the memo on being pregnant, because I didn’t experience the “normal” swelling, mood swings, elevated body temperature or extreme clumsiness that you always read about.
I have a long torso, so my belly never got really big. An early delivery and daily application of cocoa butter kept me from getting any stretch marks on my stomach, but I did get them all over my thighs, butt and lower back. For some reason that doesn’t bother me as much as the thought of having them on my stomach. They’re small, not very dark, and should fade well. I went from 142 pounds at my 8 week appointment to 176 the morning I delivered, and at 3 weeks postpartum I’m already down to 155—no complaints there. I have some flab on my belly (that I know I can get rid of once I’m allowed to exercise—I’m SO TIRED of being out of shape!), and I don’t know if my butt will ever fit into my old pants again, but again—that doesn’t really bother me. My pants didn’t fit all that well to begin with, so I’m okay with having to buy new ones. I went from a 32F pre-pregnancy to an unbelievable 34H with nursing, and I can already tell that my breasts will sag after I wean my daughter. My husband doesn’t seem to mind, he just enjoys the fact that they’re so big! I still have a great overall shape, and that’s what matters to me.
I was planning on a totally natural birth, partly because I’ve wanted to give birth ever since I was a little girl, and partly because I’m terrified of epidurals. At my 34 week appointment, my doctor discovered that my baby was breech. Two weeks later, an ultrasound not only confirmed the breech presentation, but showed that my amniotic fluid levels were “borderline”. Five “restful” days later, they had dropped to “low”, and I was put in the hospital so I could have IV fluids. Three days after that they hadn’t increased, and I had to have a C-section (epidural included) at 36 weeks and 6 days. I was devastated. I went from wanting the most natural birth possible to getting the most unnatural. Instead of being in the hospital for 2-3 days, I spent a whole week there, most of it very uncomfortably.
The first week or two postpartum were hard. I felt like I had failed. I somehow felt like less of a woman because I didn’t get to participate in the birth of my own child. I was not allowed to wait to go into labor because the fluid was too low, so I have a child and still have no idea what a contraction feels like. I feel like I got cheated out of an experience I’ve been waiting my whole life for. I wanted somebody or something to blame for the whole experience (most of my frustration got taken out on my job, which caused an inordinate amount of stress during the last few months. I don’t plan on returning to the same job). My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to have ANY of my children naturally now, just because the first one was a cesarean. And it seems like nobody really understands how I feel. Nobody can understand why I WANT to go through labor, and the response I always get is “well at least the baby is safe.” I don’t begrudge the fact that my daughter is here and healthy, but I can still lament the fact that she had to arrive in the way she did. I have yet to find anybody (other than my husband) that can appreciate that those are two different feelings. The reactions of others make me feel like I’m selfish for having wanted to be able to give birth on my own, like I was putting my own desires above the well-being of my child. I’ve come more to grips with the cesarean the more time has passed (I’ve stopped crying for hours at a time every time I think about it), but there’s still that lurking fear of a repeat, and the feeling that I missed out on something big.
The pictures are 9 weeks pregnant (the closest I have to pre-pregnancy), 36 weeks and two days pregnant (the last ones I took of my whole body before she was born), two weeks postpartum (I haven’t taken any new ones since then), and my beautiful little girl.
My age: 25 years old
Number of pregnancies and births: one
How far postpartum: 3 weeks