Well since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I might share Ella’s birth story. She is my first baby after all, making me a mommy for the first time in my life. I write this sort of humorous, but genuine, entry in hopes that it will brighten up your day if you’re going through a tough time while pregnant, or if you’re just having a tough time period. Here’s my story on becoming a mom.
Ella’s Pre-Birth Story
To start off, Ella is 4 now and is a healthy, thriving, happy little girl who loves dresses and sparkly shoes and bows/hairbands on her head. Despite what you may think while reading the rest of this article, I love this kid to death and she has filled our lives with laughter, joy and love.
Ok, now that we got that over with. Real Talk. This baby was late. I mean laaaaa-aaaate! Friends who were due either the same time as me or a little later than me, all had their babies 1 week and a half before me! I was an angry pregnant woman when the 3rd friend texted me that she had given birth. Ok, well I mean I was happy for her of course, but angry that Ella was still in my uterus pushing up on my belly. Get. Out.
The doctor would not induce until almost 2 weeks past my due date. So, 1.5 weeks after my due date, Andrew and I go to the hospital to get the baby out! We got there at 7am, induced by 8am, epiduraled at 10am, broke the water at 11am, and 9 cm by 4pm. I was progressing well the doctor said.
Nope. Legit this baby did NOT want to come out. I was at 9 cm from 4 pm to 11pm. My doctor came in, measured and said that my cervix was getting a little swollen. He said we could wait 2 more hours and give me more pitocin (the drug that induces), OR do c-section. Andrew and I said different answers at the same time. He said we can wait and I said C-section. Who do you think won that battle?
Ella’s Birth Story
We get prepped and ready to get our C-section on at 12:00am the next day. The anesthesia they gave me – so I couldn’t feel them cut me open – was strong. I felt nothing but tugging and pressure in my stomach area. However, the side effects included uncontrollable shaking. If this happens to you ladies, do not try to suppress it. That makes the shaking worse. Just breathe through it. You can do it!
I was lucid the whole time. I heard the doctor say “Ok here we go” as they cut open my uterus. Then I heard him say “whoa! I’m sorry the first thing you see in this world is my ugly mug!” Oh, the doctor got jokes. Ok. Apparently, Ella had turned around sometime while I was waiting to deliver and was facing forward instead of the favorable facing toward the back. That’s why she didn’t come down.
The doctor then said “ok we’re going in so we can get her out.” And I felt this heavy pressure pushing up into my lungs and I couldn’t breathe for a good 10-15 seconds. They were reaching inside the uterus to get a good hold of Ella, but that created a lot of pressure upward and so I felt like my lungs couldn’t take in any air. I couldn’t breath y’all!
I then hear the doctor struggling and saying “Come on little one! Come out! She does not want to come out!” I’m telling you… he’s got jokes. Finally I feel the pressure release and I hear Ella cry. I remember a tear dropping from my left eye. Although if it’s from hearing her cry, or the drugs, or the fact that I didn’t die cuz I could breathe again, I don’t know. But I was happy it was over.
They weigh her and I hear the nurse say “9 lbs, 11 oz.” I’m 5’1 and 120 lbs pre-baby. My doctor says “9 lbs 11 oz?!?! there was no way you were going to push her out! You would’ve broken something!” Jokes. They get Andrew to come get Ella while they were sewing me back up. Andrew comes back with Ella in his arms and you can tell that it was love at first sight for him.
When I see her I think “Whose baby is that?!?!” Ella was swollen, red and hairy! Like so hairy! I remember saying “oh hi” and Andrew bringing her close to me. I smelled her. Ladies, they do not smell like babies right when they come out. I have no idea what smell that was – almost like the smell of iron, I guess maybe from the blood or placenta – but it was not the baby smell.
Ella’s Post-Birth Story
Growing up, people have always told me I’d be a great mom someday. I loved kids that’s why. Then Ella came and I have never felt like the worst mom ever than during the first couple months of her life.
She was such a large baby that her blood glucose levels were not normal and she had to go to the NICU. Because of my C-section, the milk didn’t come in fast enough, and I never had enough milk for Ella. Breastfeeding was a huge fail. I couldn’t sleep because she kept waking up screaming every hour. I would put her on my boob and she would fall asleep again and then scream again less than an hour later.
We took her to the pediatrician when she was 3 days old and she said that Ella had lost more than 10% of her body weight. I didn’t understand because she was on my boobs 24/7. When she wasn’t on my boobs, I pumped. My boobs were raw and bleeding and I cried every night because it hurt and she kept crying, but she still lost weight?!? I was so confused and angry. The pediatrician said we would have to supplement. Ok fine.
That actually helped me to hear that she didn’t have to rely solely on my boobs. I pumped instead of breastfeed so that my nips would heal. (I meant it when I said that nips deformation could happen post pregnancy here.) When they healed, Ella wanted nothing to do with my boobs so I just continued to pump instead of breastfeed. Definitely felt like I failed there. No sleep, not meeting expectations, and whack hormones did not help with the feelings of inadequacy. It would take time for me to feel like a mom.
Becoming a Mom
Before Ella, I wanted to be a stay at home mom to be with my babies 24/7. The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I would wait for Andrew to get home from work, give him Ella, and go cry in our room or just sit on the couch and space out.
The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I was just in survival mode. All I remember was that I needed to keep her alive and healthy and not go crazy when not getting any sleep. Then one day, I remember looking at Ella and thinking “Wait… you’re my daughter! I’m your mom! This is crazy!” I’m not sure what happened, but full blown mama bear mode just hit me. Everything I did from then on became purposeful. Instead of just surviving, I wanted her to thrive. I wanted all of us to thrive. I felt like I was becoming a mom for real.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a continued learning process. We still had and have tons of tough days. There are days when my patience runs out, days when I get no sleep, days when all I want to do is get the kids to bed so I can have my “me time.” But the desire for all of us to thrive has stayed. My love for Ella (and Isaac) has only grown since I first became a mom. I mean these kids are cray, but this mama got their backs no matter what.
Lastly, I just wanted to let you all know that everyone’s experiences are different. Yes, you may fall in love with your baby at first sight. But if not, don’t feel bad! Hormones make you feel all sorts of things! If you are having a rough time, ask for help! People sometimes don’t want to step on toes or cross boundaries, but they do want to help. So just ask! Parenthood is something I cannot explain. It is definitely not easy, but when my babies come up to me and give me hugs and kisses for no reason other than the fact that they love me… that, is priceless.
Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!
Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!
(all gifs from giphy.com)