My birth experience was nothing short of traumatic, and miraculous at the same time. Here are the lessons I’ve learned in going through the pain and trauma…
On February 23rd at 7:14pm, I gave birth to my darling daughter Avery.
She came 2 weeks earlier than the expected due date – and before my body was ready.
As a result, my labor was long, and traumatic, to say the least. But miraculously, everything came together perfectly in the end…
It all started on Sunday morning, February 22nd. When I woke up that morning, I noticed an unusually heavy amount of fluid leaking from my vaginal area.
Suspecting that my water might have broken, I called my OB/GYN. She suggested I go to the hospital (Santa Monica Birth Place) to have it checked out.
At that time, I had no idea that this visit would last four days…
As it turned out, my water did break. But my cervix hadn’t thinned out and I had shown no signs of contraction yet.
Consequently, the doctor and nurse had to use synthetic prostaglandin and oxytocin to help me induce labor.
After 30 hours of excruciating pain, my cervix had only opened 1.0-1.5 centimeters. By this time I was exhausted and had nearly reached a point of despair. And my baby’s heartbeat was fluctuating dramatically, showing signs of distress.
I was almost certain that I had to have a C-section in order to get the baby out. But miraculously, in the next 5 hours my cervix became fully dilated (to 10 centimeters). And I gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl, vaginally.
Before that day, I always knew that labor could be painful and difficult. But I had no idea that it’d be such a traumatic experience for me.
It tested my strength and faith, and took my understanding of pain to a level that I’d never experienced before.
Lessons from My Traumatic Birth Experience
Every trauma carries a lesson and gives meaning.
To me, it was the initiation into the motherhood – preparing me for many more trials and challenges ahead.
It showed me what’s possible in the face of impossibility.
It taught me to have faith in the unknown, and the courage and strength to forge ahead in spite of fear, doubt, and physical exhaustion.
And it made me stronger and bigger by breaking me down, physically, mentally, and emotionally…
Here are a few things I learned from this traumatic experience:
1. Things don’t always go according to plan.
Before my labor, I tried to prepare myself as much as possible. I researched various birthing options, took birthing classes, talked to friends about their experiences, and visualized my ideal birthing scenario.
But the unexpected water break threw everything off. I had to go with the flow of events that were outside of my planning and control. And I had to accept and surrender to “what is,” not “what I want it to be.”
2. Change doesn’t happen in a linear fashion.
I broke down and cried when the doctor told me that my cervix had only opened to 1.0-1.5 centimeters after 30 long hours of agonizing pain.
In my mind I thought it’d take another few days for my cervix to fully dilate – time I did not have because I only had a window of 24-48 hours to get the baby out once my water broke.
But even though my mind thought in a linear fashion, things didn’t work that way – and thank God for it!
My friend, if you’re making a change and don’t see the desired result yet, don’t give up and don’t despair.
Change is happening even when you’re filled with doubt and unable to see signs of visible progress.
It’s true that after the darkest hours there is a dawn, and at the end of the tunnel there is light!
3. Stay present in the moment.
What got me through the pain was focusing on my breathing – and taking one moment, and one contraction, at a time.
More than ever, I believe that regulated breathing is the most powerful tool we can use to deal with our physical and emotional challenges. For this, I’m deeply grateful for my regular yoga and meditation practices. They paid off – big time!
4. It makes a difference to have an experienced guide and strong support.
The miracle that happened to me and my baby that night would not have been possible without the skill, strength and compassion of my OB/GYN Dr. Tristin Bickman and RN Leah Ahroni.
They believed in the possibility even when my own faith was shaken. And they saved me from my weary self!
I’m also very grateful for my husband Dean who is always there for me, lending me his strong shoulders to lean on, in the delivery room and in life…
My labor experience was not what I had expected. It was intense, traumatic and magical at the same time. It stretched my understanding about pain, life, love, and myself. And it showed me the great capacity we women have – to endure pain, to sacrifice ourselves for another, to contain and give life, and to love unconditionally…
With this experience, I’m initiated into the next stage of my life – being a mother.
How about you? Have you ever had trauma? How do these traumas shape you? And what lessons have you learned from your experiences?
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Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler
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