The last time I looked at writing this blog it was May 16, 2019, and little did I know the worst was yet to come. Even now, as I’m 5 months postpartum it’s hard for me to read these words, but it is time. I need to reflect on what happened but most importantly, I feel there are only *Instagram worthy* birth stories shared which is why I’m putting my story out there. This is my unfiltered, unedited birth story written on May 16, 2019, exactly one week after the baby was born.
It’s been a little over a week since baby Yaffa made one hell of an entrance into this world. No matter how many YouTube videos of births I watched over the entire pregnancy and made revisions to my birth plan - absolutely nothing prepares you for that exact moment.
After going through my own birth experience I think it’s important to share because what I am confident about is I did remain calm and that was due to other women who were comfortable enough to share their stories with the world.
Before giving birth I was hella confident I would not go past my due date - which I didn’t. The day my water broke was the most glorious day of my entire pregnancy. I slept the entire night without any back pain, woke up to find Michael Strahan was back on Good Morning America, the sun was shining and I walked the 3.4 miles home from work. Then around midnight I felt the gush...it was time...I thought baby Yaffa was going to come out like a rocket!
Nearly 20 hours later, no rocket. It all began with that gush and the doctors confirming I was only 1cm dilated so it was time to start Pitocin. I called my doula and she and Ilya helped me labor naturally for eight hours. It was as my husband held my hands and watched me take painful poops while having contractions that I knew he’d do anything for me (yes, pooping while having a contraction is awful and a real thing). They each took turns getting as little shut-eye as I would let them and Maya made sure I was always sniffing sweet orange essential oil and had everything I needed every second.
Hours later my mom arrives from Cleveland and there is still no real change, I’m only dilated 1cm, and the baby’s heartbeat begins to fluctuate. The doctor confirms Yaffa is not showing up until very late this evening - I get an epidural.
Everything from this point on is completely unexpected. Over the course of hours, nurses and doctors rush in because the heartbeat drops and the baby is in distress. They pump me with fluids, I suck on popsicles, am peeing through a catheter and am vomiting nonstop. Twice I am urgently turned on all fours and a doctor does the quickest cervical exam to check on the baby. These were horrifying moments and I will never forget. I felt so violated as my mom, husband and doula watched it happen, yet it was so necessary for the health of the baby.
Around 8:45 PM the OBGYN comes in and says there has been no change and it is getting dangerous. I throw up again. By 9:08 PM I’m on an operating table turned to my side throwing up into my hair and doctors are performing a c-section. I lay there waiting for my baby to arrive unable to stop vomiting and crying. This was not how I pictured meeting my baby girl. I begged the doctors to wait and let me finish getting sick but we were running out of time. I thought over and over to myself how can I take care of her when I’m in this condition. At 9:22 PM my husband tells me she was born. I was in and out of what he said was a deep sleep. I barely remember looking at her for the first time.
I’m not sure how much time went by, but I wake up in triage with Ilya holding the baby. They put her to my breast and I’m expected to feed her. My mom walks in, my doula walks in but everything is still a blur. The nurse hands me syringes and says to pump colostrum into them to feed the baby. I have no idea what is going on.
Eventually, we get moved into the mother-baby unit. I pass out again from it all. At some point in the night baby Yaffa wakes up and I begin to feed her, nothing feels real.
Is this really motherhood?