I just celebrated my son’s 17th birthday and my daughter’s 15th birthday. It gets me to reminisce on their birth stories. I am going to tell you that none of my births went as I had planned. We may have an idea of what our “birth plan” is, but we have no idea what is in store for us. I wish had known that. I wish I had been more educated. I wish more moms would have warned me. That is why I am writing this. I watched a woman’s birth story on you tube and I felt so understood. She is the inspiration behind this blog. If she helped me, it’s time for me to pay it forward and help others.

When I became pregnant with our first child, I was over the moon excited. I thought the first time we tried that I would get pregnant, and I was very wrong. My chiropractor is a hero in my life. I have talked to him every step of the way since I was 7 years old. That was 40 years ago, the first time I talked to him. I told him I was trying to get pregnant. He told me my uterus was tipped. He fixed it and I got pregnant right away. I can’t say enough about how much I love and respect chiropractic care for pregnant women, newborns, kids, teenagers, adults, the elderly, etc.

The pregnancy went smoothly. When I went to the doctor and asked what I was feeling, she told me that Max was head butting me. Knowing Max for 17 years now, that totally makes sense to me. He was flipping around and very active while I was pregnant.

My wonderful doctors kept asking me if I needed to be written out of work. I kept saying no and telling myself to work until the end. I didn’t want to sit home bored. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I tend to push myself too much. I probably should have been home for a little while before I gave birth, but I pushed myself like I usually do. I advise that if you can, be kinder to yourself than I was.

I will never forget my last doctor’s appointment. I got a doctor who didn’t know me well (they rotate so that you see all the doctors), and I told her my back was in too much pain and that I needed to be signed out of work. She told me there was nothing going on showing the start of birth and that I should go back to work. I told her I wasn’t going back to work, and I went home in major back pain. My friend at worked called me a sissy. Guess what? I was in labor! Follow your instincts ladies. I knew I was in too much pain and couldn’t go back to work. I went home and that night I went into obvious labor.

We headed to the hospital that night. 25 hours after we went to the hospital Max was born by an emergency c section. After three hours of pushing, the forceps and the vacuum, Max was in distress. I could see his head and I couldn’t push him out. I tried so very hard to push Max out. They got him out as quickly as they could in an emergency c section. They had to put me out to work fast for him. I am so very thankful that we are both okay. That didn’t go like I had planned. I thought I would easily push him out. I thought he was a girl! Seth and I didn’t find out what we were having the first time. I hated that (I did it for Seth) and found out the next two times. I am not the type of person who wants to be surprised. I think that I need to feel prepared, and I need to have time to wrap my mind around it. Being surprised didn’t work for me.

I woke up in so much pain and totally disoriented. I couldn’t believe I had a boy! I couldn’t believe they put me out. I couldn’t believe that I had a c section. I was so upset.

If I could go back to that moment, I wish I could talk to myself and change the next three months. I was so upset and disappointed. I felt like a total failure for not being able to push Max out. My head was so messed up because my birth went totally differently than what I had planned. I wish I could tell myself that all that mattered was that Max and I were okay. I wish that I could go back and tell myself that I was a rock star not a failure.

I asked for Max at about 4 am. Seth and the grandparents had met him hours ago. Seth’s parents left before I even woke up, but my parents and Seth were there as I woke up. I finally got to meet and hold Max and I totally fell in love with my son. I didn’t feel the magic when I was pregnant. I felt magic when I finally got to hold him.

I wish I could tell you that holding Max healed me. It took me a few months to come out of the baby blues. I think my blues were because of two things: my hormones and my birth going nothing like I had been attached to in my head. I cried a lot (hormones). I beat myself up a lot. I hope I can save you from being hard on yourself. I hope you will give yourself praise and appreciation for what your body just performed. I had made and birthed a human being.

I was nursing him around the clock. Baby blues and postpartum depression are a real thing. Don’t ever be embarrassed to reach out for help. The only person I wanted through this was my mom. She helped me through this in a way that I will never forget. She came over almost every day to help me. I was not in a good place emotionally, and I needed her. 30 years old and I needed my mom. We always need our moms!

Let’s talk about nursing before we move onto my second birth. You are going to see a pattern when I say that I was so hard on myself when I nursed my son. It didn’t go smoothly. I bled many times. I got mastitis. When my sister-in-law looked at Max’s tongue a few years ago, she told me he is tongue tied. That is probably why he had trouble nursing and had to have speech therapy. I wish I had his tongue clipped but I didn’t know about this back then. If your baby is struggling to nurse, have their tongue checked. Also, I had to use nipple shields to get a good latch. Another piece of information that I want to pass on to you.

After three months I came out of my clouds. Max and I thrived, and he has grown into quite the 17-year-old. When Max was approaching 1.5 years old, Seth was pushing for baby number two. “You have your mama’s boy, it’s time for my daddy’s girl,” he told me. Max was my wish upon a star and Ella was Seth’s wish. I was more than ready to have kids when I asked for Max many, many times! I wasn’t ready for baby number two when Seth asked. Max was running all over the place and I was trying to keep up with him. I still try to keep up with him! My warning here is to be careful about getting pregnant quickly! My body knew how to get pregnant now, and I got pregnant with Ella super quickly. I had planned that I would have her in May, and she was born in March! You see that things don’t go as planned! None of my births happened in the months I had planned!

I got pregnant with Ella easily and then was nauseous and puking for months and months. I didn’t gain much weight with Ella. I told the doctor that this pregnancy couldn’t be more different and that it better be a girl. She predicted that it was a girl! When they did the sonogram and told me that it was a girl I didn’t believe them. We wanted a girl so badly and couldn’t have been happier. While Max was super active in the womb, Ella felt like a butterfly fluttering around.

Ella’s pregnancy was very stressful. She took her sweet old time developing inside of me. Ella takes her time. She took her time to develop. She took her time to walk. Max was doing everything ahead of schedule and Ella was showing me that she was going to take her sweet time.

Almost 6 weeks before my due date, my water broke. I went to the hospital, and they asked me if I wanted to try a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean section). I looked at the worried look on Seth’s face and we both opted for a c section. I remember feeling really nauseous during the c section. Tell them how you are feeling! They have medicine to help you with nausea!

Ella was born and they showed her to me and whisked her to the NICU to be evaluated. There I was again in tears in the hospital. This time it wasn’t my hormones. My body seemed to know how to handle this the second time around. The c section was easier, my hormones felt easier, and the recovery was easier. However, my baby was in the NICU and wasn’t with me and I was a mess. Another birth that didn’t go as planned!

After teaching Ella how to eat, fixing her sugar levels and her jaundice, she could finally come home. I think Ella was in the NICU for six days. It was the longest six days of my life. Some of you are reading this thinking that your baby was in the NICU for months and that six days is nothing. I just wanted her with me. I cried a lot, and my mom told me to enjoy the down time in the hospital. She told me two kids was going to be crazy busy and she couldn’t have been righter.

Adjusting from one child to two children was hard for me. I had to learn how to share myself. Max kept asking me to put the baby down. The good news is that nursing Ella was easy. She latched on easily and I got to see how nursing was supposed to be. It isn’t supposed to hurt!

My first birth was an emergency c section and didn’t go as planned.

My second birth was almost six weeks early and Ella went to the NICU. Two things I didn’t plan.

I asked Seth for a third baby. He was very content with a boy and a girl and felt complete. I did not. I told Seth I wanted three or four kids. He told me he wanted two. I told him that three children were a compromise. I told him that I needed this third child to heal me. I needed a normal birth story. Is there a normal birth story? All that mattered was that we were all okay, but that wasn’t how I saw it 12 years ago.

As we discussed having a third child, I got pregnant with Lillie. I was again planning for a May baby and Lillie was born in October. You see how my plans go. 7 months before I had planned but it all happened exactly how it was supposed to.

The pregnancy with Lillie was easy and smooth. She developed right on target, and she was super active. She was so active that I thought she was a boy. I guessed wrong for all my pregnancies. They told me she was a girl, and I didn’t believe them (again). I didn’t believe them with Ella either.

Max was born two weeks before his due date. Ella was born almost six weeks before her due date. Lillie was born three weeks before her due date. Seth was very strict with me during the pregnancy with Lillie. We were traumatized from our last experience, and he wanted me to rest. He kept telling me to sit down. He kept telling me to rest. When I got to full term, he felt like all his work paid off. He was right. All his work to get me to slow down paid off and Lillie was born healthy and full term.

Lillie’s c section was easy and smooth. They showed me my girl and then brought her with me to my room. I got to be awake for her birth (and Ella’s birth). I got to have her with me in the hospital room. Lillie healed me. She gave me exactly what I asked for. A non-eventful pregnancy and birth. Nursing Lillie was easy. Lillie was an easy baby. Lillie learned quickly that she needed to go with the flow because three kids keep me super busy. Adjusting from one to two children was hard for me. Adjusting from two to three children was easy for me. My mental state was good. My hormones were good. My recovery was easy. Lillie was easy. Thank you, Lillie, for healing me and giving me the non-eventful birth story that I craved. Thank you, Seth, for giving me the third child that I begged for. Our children are the greatest gifts he could give me besides himself.

My advice is to make a plan but to be flexible. You may need a c section. That wasn’t even in my thoughts at all. I wish someone would have told me that. I wish I had been easier on myself. I wish I never called myself a failure. I am anything but a failure. I wish that I realized that all that matters is that my babies and I were okay. I hope my birth stories help you. I would love to hear yours! Women are rock stars!!! Special thank you to Seth and my mom for being my rocks through all of this.

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R


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