Strange how these two different emotions could entangle themselves so deeply within me today.
My little brother became a father yesterday, of a beautiful and healthy boy. Mom is doing amazing, and they’re surrounded by our parents– extremely happy grandparents. Now, if either of us were going to be parents, it was definitely going to be Tyler. I, personally, never wanted kids. It took finding the right person before having kids was the only thing that made sense. But Tyler? Oh man. He’s always been amazing with kids. I always imagined him with a litter of children, and he being the happiest dad in the world. It took him until his mid-twenties, but he found a great woman, and yesterday they were finally handed their perfect child. Honest and true, I couldn’t be more excited for them. Of anybody, he should be a daddy. He’s going to be incredible. And Tyler’s girlfriend is wonder woman– she was dancing for HOURS trying to get her little man to appear in this world and, well, out of her lol. She went into labor, and twelve hours later, and mere minutes of pushing, she was holding their baby, and she was feeding him as naturally as it is supposed to come. And I can only imagine the gratitude and love emanating from their room.
But, then I reflect on my own children’s births, and I find myself jealous. I don’t want to be, it’s silly. Both of my boys are healthy, and smart, albeit challenging, but magnificent! Yet, I find myself jealous, and mourning the births I wish I was able to have.
Both of my pregnancies were super easy. I never got morning sickness, swollen ankles, or hair in weird places. And aside of heartburn, they both went swimmingly. I couldn’t, nor wouldn’t complain about that.
But, when I was pregnant with my oldest, I had plans, like so many first time parents do. They weren’t set in stone, I knew things could change in an instant, however, there were things I wanted. I wanted to give birth to him (simple enough, right?), with or without pain meds, it didn’t matter. If I could handle it, great, if I couldn’t, I wasn’t gonna feel guilty or bad about my decision for meds. Whatever.
The time came– finally, FINALLY!– I started feeling contractions. It was coming. He was coming, and I was as ready as any first time parent ever could be. The contractions were constant, and tolerable (my body was made for this anyhow), and for 15 hours, I labored at home until they were 5 minutes apart.
By the time we made it to the hospital (20 minute drive), they were 3 minutes apart, and I thought that it wasn’t going to be much longer before I could hold the kicking little thing inside of my belly. And ask him why, oh why did you have to use my bladder as a punching bag? Then kiss his face a million and a half times, obviously.
After another 6 hours, and no progression, I finally asked (begged?) for pain meds. And that was…… gosh.. I don’t think there’s a word to actually describe the absolute magic the meds were. And I was finally able to sleep. Sort of. Between the pretty constant checking and probing.
After yet another 9 hours, I was told that they were going to give me some meds to help further things along. I said yes, but I would also like the epidural. I regret NOTHING there. Even with the numbness, I could still feel some things, and I wasn’t a fan.
I was so tired, and in so much pain, I just wanted him out of me. I needed to be done with this.
There was more urgency in the air now. I tried pushing. Rolling from side to side (as well as any 40 week pregnant woman could). Pushing more. More pitocin. More pushing. More rolling. But his heart rate was becoming erratic…
Cesarean section. The doctor started to talk about it, and even moments after the words came out of his mouth, they became jumbled and lost. But I remember thinking that this option didn’t even seem like an option before. Like, I knew it happened, but I didn’t think it would happen to me. It was the furthest thing from my mind.
But it was time. I was in labor for 34 hours, and my little baby’s blood pressure was unstable.
In an instant, the anesthesiologist was in my room shoving a bigger needle into me, with better medication. I begged him to put me under- I had never been through surgery before, never even a broken bone! and I was terrified- but he couldn’t. I needed to be awake as they cut me open for the sake of the baby.
Fine. For him, I’ll do anything. No more questions asked.
I was wheeled into a cold room, and my husband had to stay behind for what felt like forever. But so soon, my baby will be here, and that’s all I needed to focus on.
Finally, my husband was at my head, as I was sprawled across an operating table, and the cutting and tugging started… my body swaying side to side as they cut and tore me in half (as my husband so lovingly stated).
Then there was an instant lightening, and relief as the doctor pulled my son out by his leg, and the nurse exclaimed “look at that lip!” as my son’s bottom lip jut straight out and he started to cry.
And it was so beautiful. He was on a table, and they quickly looked him over, but then he was on me, nuzzling his head on my neck, angry at this bright, cold world.
I was only able to hold him for a short moment before they took him away, and my husband with him, so they could stitch me up.
The next few days were a mix of dream and nightmare, as I was able to hold this amazing, beautiful creature that my very own body created, and attempting to breastfeed, unsucessfully. The more he cried out of hunger, the more like a failure I felt… and it was heartbreaking.
I ended up giving him formula, something I wish I would have done sooner, and not let nurses and doctors make me feel guilty about. I had to exclusively pump from then on.
With my youngest, I very badly wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and had been planning to, up until about a month before the due date.. I chickened out, and justified reasons why I would just schedule another c section.
But I was scared. Scared of failing yet another birth.
However, scheduling it brought things that I wasn’t able to experience before. Like, no contractions (YES!!), and he was placed in my gown on my chest after they pulled him out of me. He was with me the entire time, while they stitched me, and recovered in our room. But breastfeeding was still not working, and this time I gave him formula after a day and a half of trying, because, goddamnit, him being fed and happy will always be better than him screaming at me because he’s hungry, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I tried. I had every nurse working helping me, and lactation consultants try their hand at it as well, but it was just something that wasn’t in the cards for me. And that’s okay. Both of my boys are extremely healthy, and happy, and fed. And that’s all that matters.
But I still mourn for the births that I wanted. I still mourn for the ability to breastfeed my boys, without the use of a machine and bottles. And as immensely happy as I am for my brother, I am still plagued by jealousy. And I wish I wasn’t.
Really, there’s no point to this post. I’m not looking for condolences, or encouragements. Really, I don’t want it. I just needed to get these words and thoughts out. They feel like poison if I let them linger for too long.
Pictured above is my brother, and his gorgeous little man, only minutes old. Pictured below are my men a few days after we brought my youngest home.