Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In retrospect...

I told my parents I was expecting in May of last year. It was an early Mother's and Father's Day present to them both. We knew we were pregnant, about 5 weeks, but had no clue we were having twins.

Some know I don't have a relationship with my mom anymore, but at the time I was trying to convince her that my desire for a home birth was perfectly safe (I can see the hospital from my back yard, in the event of an emergency). In my lifetime of knowing her, this shouldn't have been met with hostility, but it was. A couple of weeks later I found out I was having twins. A home birth, or even midwife birth, would be out of the question.

I was so excited though (twins!), and totally dumbfounded. I never considered the possibility, and I know my husband hadn't either. People truly believed we were kidding until we showed them the ultrasound photo, including my family!

I had a ridiculously handled pregnancy. Undiagnosed anemia, nearly constant fainting, bedrest, the complete inability to eat or drink which landed me in the hospital days before I gave birth, insomnia that would last for days. Nothing was "beautiful" and I wasn't "glowing." I was prescribed so many medications that I became concerned. Where was this natural experience I had hoped for? Instead I had an invasive pregnancy. I was being stretched to my limit physically and mentally, and the only real "medical care" I was given was in the form of prescription bottles of medications that never worked. My obstetrician was away. A lot. The office staff wasn't helpful. Ever. In the end I was told that I wasn't capable of going through labor, although the babies were positioned properly, and I was already in the beginning stages. But I blindly followed the hospital's directions, polite and obliging so as not to be labeled a "failure to comply" on yet another thing, and I now have a nice big scar to prove it.

This experience left my husband and I very cut off from the possibility of ever having another child. Not because we didn't want more babies, but because we didn't see how we could possibly ever go through that again. For him, he was stuck in limbo for nine months. It must have been like living with someone who had a perpetual flu. I was stuck in bed, watching NetFlix, sipping water, slowly losing my desire and ability to do anything. I definitely wasn't the pregnant woman most people envision, decorating and nesting, holding, singing, and reading to her belly. In truth, I felt like I was dying.

So in a big way, when we came home from the hospital, especially because it was without the babies at first (they were in NICU), we both felt like we had lost something. And it took a hell of a long time to get it back. We've talked on and off about the possibility of trying again at some point, and I think the option is on the table, but it will be a very difficult decision for us to make. All anyone was focused on was "Oh but you have TWO healthy babies!" and it's not like that didn't matter, but no one was focused on how healthy I was. How healthy he was. I was sick. Physically. Mentally. And I know it took a big toll on him as well.

We have worked so hard this past year to mend the things that seemed lost and broken. My health, all of the things that fall under health. His as well. I have spent countless hours researching and talking to other women about what went wrong during my pregnancy, what I allowed or agreed to that I didn't have to (but so many new moms do), where my doctor fell short and how those shortcomings affected the entire outcome, may very well be the reason my boys were born early.

It wasn't a fairytale. It wasn't the way we planned it to be, or even wanted it to be. But it is the way it was. Because of it I am much more educated, informed, and ready for any future kiddos, as well as what's going on with the twins. I believe it's made me the mom I am. It's made me concerned with other moms and being able to help them and their families. It's helped me to connect with moms literally all over the world. And for that I am grateful. In the end, yes, I have two very healthy and happy baby boys. But if I could do it over knowing what I know now, I know those babies would have cooked a little longer, and I wouldn't allow the treatment I was given, especially from the hospital.

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