“Strong moms give birth naturally with no epidural.” I’ve heard it over and over again. When did c-sections get dubbed as “the easy way out”? Let me tell you that there was nothing easy about it. I also want to say that yes, strong moms do give birth with no epidural. However, strong moms also give birth with meds, strong moms give birth by c-section, strong moms can choose surrogacy, etc.
I was about 25 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. I had literally no idea how severe it was. I had to have my blood pressure monitored frequently and I had to buy a home BP machine and check it often at home, as well. It was pretty high but nothing concerning the first few weeks following my diagnosis. However, I went in for a routine check-up at 32 weeks and was told I was being hospitalized because my BP was so high and they could not get it under control.
I checked in to the hospital and my husband met me there. We had no idea what was going on. Was I about to deliver my baby at 32 weeks? I got all hooked up to the monitors and was told I would need to spend the night being monitored. Well, fast forward two weeks and I was still in the hospital. I was 34 weeks at this point. I still had six weeks to go and was told that I would most likely be in the hospital until I delivered…hopefully around my due date. It was the longest two weeks of my life. I was not sure how I would make it another six weeks. I had no idea what was about to happen.
On the morning of December 20, my nurse came in to take my BP and it was a little elevated more than it had been in the past two weeks. The doctor came in and said he felt comfortable with just waiting and checking it throughout the day. At 7:00 pm my husband walked into the room from work. At 7:01 my nurse came in to check my BP again. Without missing a beat, she ran out of the room and seconds later my room was full of nurses and doctors.
My BP was in seizure/stroke/death range. It was time to get the baby out ASAP in order for us both to live. This is the moment when I realized the severity of pre-eclampsia. They hooked me up to a sonogram machine to check my baby one last time. I was frantically trying to call my mom and tell her. My husband was calling all of our other family members. It was happening all so fast and I felt so out of control. So overwhelmed. And if I’m being honest, I was feeling a huge amount of guilt. Like I somehow caused myself to get pre-eclampsia. Like it was my fault that my BP shot up. Like it was my fault my baby would not make it to term.
Talk about mom guilt before the baby was even born.
I had to have an emergency c-section ASAP. It was 7:01 pm when my nurse took my BP and I was in recovery by 9:00 pm. My life changed in the most amazing way in those two hours. That was when I become a mom to a healthy baby girl. (She spent 7 days in the NICU…and again, hello mom-guilt because I felt like it was my fault she had to go to the NICU.)
Was that my birth plan? I honestly did not have a birth plan. I told my OB from the time I met her: just get my baby here safe. I would have loved to experience a natural birth. That just was not the case in my situation. C-section, meds, no meds, natural birth, home birth, surrogacy, etc. are all wonderful ways to bring a baby into this world. It doesn’t mean that you are any less of a mother and it does not mean that you are not as strong as other mamas. It means that you chose what was best for your baby and THAT makes you a wonderful mother.
My c-section saved my life…twice. I went through the same thing with my son due to pre-eclampsia. I also learned that there is no way to prevent this. It was nothing I did or didn’t do. It was just how my body reacted to pregnancy. I am so thankful for two healthy babies. I am thankful for the doctors who made all of the right calls. I am thankful for the amazing NICU nurses who are literally sent from Heaven. I am thankful for the tools and resources for the doctors to perform such intricate surgery. I am thankful for technology so the doctors really knew what was going on.
I’ll say it again: All moms are strong moms. Biological, adoptive, foster, bonus mom, etc. YOU are strong.