Postpartum Mama: I See You

Motherhood

October 25, 2018

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by Maggie Owens

“You’re having twins.” Nothing quite prepares you for those words.

I remember lying on the exam table, staring blankly at the screen. My mind was racing. How on earth could I have twins? We already had three kids under five—how could I handle two newborns on top of the chaos I already was living in?

My water broke when I was 36 weeks pregnant, and we rushed to the hospital. I was determined to have a medication-free delivery as I had with my previous births, and I told every nurse who asked, just that.

Still, they had to explain to me what would happen in the event of an emergency: I would have to be given general anesthesia, and my husband would not be allowed in the room for the babies’ births. I heard them, but, in my mind, everything would be fine, just as it had been in my previous deliveries.

As I labored, a nurse asked me one final time about whether I’d like an epidural, and she shared with me a story about a previous twin delivery that had gone wrong. An epidural would allow an emergency surgery to take place more quickly, and sometimes every second counts. My husband and I discussed again the possible outcomes and the risks that came with a multiples delivery.

After a few minutes, despite my hopes for another medication-free birth, I had an epidural placed. On the off-chance that something would go wrong, we wanted to be prepared.

Three hours after my water had broken, I was fully dilated and wheeled into the operating room, where most hospitals require twins be delivered. It was bright, noisy, and crowded, such a stark contrast to the peaceful, quiet, dark birth environment I had wanted. I started to feel uneasy when I noticed the surgical tools lying next to my bed.

Thirty minutes later, Beau was born. He was perfect. A little lopsided from being squished for so long, but just perfect. I held him on my chest and gazed blissfully into his eyes.

Suddenly, he was taken from me, and everything became a blur.

I remember my doctor saying they couldn’t find a heartbeat for my other baby, and to prepare for a C-section. My mind was racing. I prayed. I prayed they would locate Zane’s heartbeat. I prayed he would be fine. And for a moment, it was. They found his heartbeat. But they still wanted to move me to the surgical table just to be safe.

In those few seconds, his heart rate dropped. The doctor said she was doing a C-section. I don’t remember much after that. I remember the anesthesiologist asking me what I could feel, the doctor saying she was cutting, how cold I was. I felt as if time had slowed, but everyone was moving so quickly.

Zane was born, but I didn’t have a plump, red baby. I had a limp, blue baby.

All I could think was “He’s gone”—until I finally heard that first sweet cry. It brought me instant relief.

Shortly after Zane was delivered, he aspirated on blood and needed his lungs cleared. The hospital I delivered at did not have a NICU, and unfortunately Zane required more assistance than our hospital could provide. He was transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away. I saw him for a total of thirty minutes before we had to sign the paperwork for transport.

I was heartbroken he was leaving me. And as grateful as I was for the care he was receiving, I was still angry and upset. Upset I didn’t get the birth I wanted. Upset I now had a huge scar across my stomach. Upset I couldn’t move without my insides screaming at me. Upset I only had one baby with me, not two, and I couldn’t be there to comfort Zane.

Three days later, Beau and I were discharged, and—a miracle—our sweet Zane was discharged as well. He had fought hard and improved quickly during his time in the NICU, and I will be forever amazed and grateful for that.

But I was still struggling.

My pregnancy with the twins was my most trying, both mentally and physically. I was the heaviest, largest, and most miserable I had ever been in my life. And this pregnancy left marks unlike my others—a nice scar, the dreaded C-section “shelf,” stretch marks, and loose skin.

When I saw myself for the first time after delivery, my heart dropped. All I saw were those flaws. I was a mess. I hated that scar. Honestly, I had hated it as soon as I heard the words “C-section.” Seeing it made me angry. Angry I was robbed of the delivery I wanted.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the beginning of postpartum depression tugging at my heart. I was battling my mind.

My fellow mamas, I know how it feels to see your body postpartum and have your heart drop. To see the scar and feel angry and defeated. To stand silently crying and to feel you aren’t good enough.

As I fought these battles, my sweet husband was there, keeping me afloat. He continually reminded me of all I had been through in the past six years, and how proud I should be of all of it.

And you know what? He was right. I had grown, birthed, and nurtured five tiny humans—and two of them at the same time! That’s a feat that still amazes me.

Finally, months later, I’m beginning to see my postpartum body and my scar in a positive light. At the end of the day, I am so blessed to have that ugly, lumpy scar. Because without it, we wouldn’t have Zane with us today. My tiny fighter. I see him and am forever thankful for the quick actions of my surgeon. To me, that scar is beautiful.

It’s my daily reminder of how blessed I am to have Zane.

Mamas, if you’re struggling with feelings like mine, know that you are not alone. There is an army of women out there fighting battles like yours.

Your body may not be what it once was, but it is beautiful. Those “flaws” are a physical sign of your love for your children. They’re a constant reminder of your journey, and of just how far you’ve come.

Never forget that without these “flaws” you couldn’t be the mother you are. And, mama, you are exactly the mother that your babies need.

This article was written for everydaymamas.com by Maggie Owens. 

If you are struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, it’s important to find support.

You are not alone. It can happen to any parent. Below are some resources, and if you think you might be experiencing this, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor, even if you are unsure.

 

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