Not According to Plan: My Labor and Delivery Story

Imagine this you meet the perfect mate and it’s time for your first date. You have everything planned perfectly. You’ve arranged for a meal at their favorite restaurant, have an after-dinner activity scheduled and you are so eager you already start planning the next date. What if things didn’t go according to plan. Maybe their palette changed and the restaurant you chose no longer suited their needs. Better yet maybe they just weren’t that into you. Life never goes according to plan which means we have to learn to adapt. Adapt to change, and be open for things to be rearranged. That is exactly what my labor and delivery day was like. Let me tell you it was definitely not as easy as planning a date.

IMG_0754I had a very healthy pregnancy with no major complications. The only complaint I had was severe morning sickness that lasted until my fifth month, but once that concluded I was over the miserable hump. Besides that, my pregnancy was also filled with a whirlwind of emotions. Partially due to hormones and grief after losing my grandparents. I compartmentalized my emotions until I reached my second trimester. Bottling up all my emotions inside led to the start of perinatal anxiety in my second trimester.  I began having negative intrusive thoughts about delivering my baby. I was so paralyzed with fear about everything that could go wrong during labor and delivery. With that in mind, I worked with my OB and a counselor to deal with my anxiety before my delivery date. Moving towards my third trimester I was more and more excited to be a mother. I no longer feared the idea of delivering my baby, I just wanted to meet her.

On July 14th at 3:30 am I popped out of my sleep frantically waking my husband up because my water had finally broken. We were prepared, bags were packed and we were on our way to the hospital. We were one step closer to meeting our bundle of joy. Once, we were in our room, I got settled and was ready to really experience the gift of motherhood. Given my history with anxiety, I wanted my room to be filled with positive energy. That said I had essential oils near my bed, the support of my husband and doula. We wanted to labor privately before inviting loved ones in. After five hours of natural labor, I began having coupling contractions. Unlike normal contractions, coupling contractions continued with little to no breaks in between. Desperate for relief I opted for an epidural which was not in my birth plan. As mentioned earlier sometimes plans change. Although I got an epidural I still knew I’d get to deliver my baby vaginally.  It was at nine hours of labor that things started to take a turn.

Let’s just say fear set in and I started to panic. Doctors and nurses ran into my calm, serene room changing the atmosphere to one that was filled with uncertainty. My baby was in distress and not responding well to labor. Eyes filled with tears the thought of walking out of the hospital empty-handed was gut-wrenching. In the midst of all the commotion, it was as if time stood still, everything I worried about was happening. The doctors looked at my husband and had him suit up because we were headed to the OR. Oxygen mask on my face, husband by my side we headed into what I thought was the impossible. As the baby’s heart rate began to drop they prepped me for my c section. Trying to remain calm I stared into the reassuring eyes of my husband and felt peace. Even though I was thinking the worse, feeling the unconditional love he had for me made it feel like everything would be okay. Everything after that moment was a blur until I heard the cries of Adele, my dear daughter. She was here safe and sound. The first thing my husband proclaimed was “she’s gorgeous”. He was the first to lay eyes on her. Seeing his bliss made my heart happy, our dream finally came true. Taking his gaze off her, he watched as they stitched me up. All I could think was I did it!

IMG_1196 (1).jpgMy labor and delivery were not at all according to my plan. It was a traumatic experience, but in the midst of all the panic, I learned to trust the process. For the last three years, my optimistic outlook was overshadowed by fear. Fear to live, fear to move forward, fear of what was next. However, at that moment I had to learn how to trust in the beauty of life all over again. I’m glad I did because in the midst of life’s uncertainty lied my tranquility. So, at times it’s okay if your first plan goes awry. Just remind yourself there are 26 letters in the alphabet so just know you have 26 chances for your next plan to go right.

A Letter to Adele Marie

Since my last post, there have been a few major changes in my life. As you know toward the end of last year I lost my grandfather and the beginning of this year I lost my great grandmother. When I began this blog I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and used this platform as an avenue to share my story with the hope of helping others. Little did I know this blog would open doors for me to help others dealing with mental illness. I said all that to say that after my last excerpt  “The Essence of Time” I have some exciting news to announce to my readers.

_MG_6046 (2)On July 14th my husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. She came at the perfect time in my life, just when I was beginning to wonder what exactly my purpose in life was. For the past three years, since being diagnosed with anxiety, I’ve had my share of lows. When I found out I was expecting I was mixed with emotions, it came so unexpectedly that I didn’t think with all the trauma I went through that I’d be fit to be a mother.

In short, October 2015 started an emotional spiral for me after burying four friends from a tragic car accident, then months later burying a close aunt, from there a grandfather and shortly after that a friend that took her life by suicide. Going through all those things I wasn’t sure how I’d cope. In addition to all the loss, there were other casualties I experienced. My faith was tested and after months of panic, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety. There were days I’d lie in hospital beds ridden with fear from panic attacks wondering why I existed. I turned away from my relationship with Christ and turned to other remedies to cope with my pain. Remedies that consisted of trying to find answers to my anxiety via Google, shopping and excessive spending, not going to church and wallowing in misery.

For those of you that are new to my blog please check out my first post to get more detail on the last few years of my experience with anxiety. Fast forward back to the birth of my daughter and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. For the past few years, I’ve experienced so much pain and now I know it was apart of my purpose. Being a mother has given me something else to live for and for my daughter I am forever grateful.  While there is so much to catch you all up on, which I will do in future posts, I want to take the time to share a letter I wrote to my daughter.

Dear Adele Marie, 

As I write this letter I am in awe of your presence. I couldn’t have timed your arrival in your dad and I’s lives for a better time. Since you’ve been born being your mother has been one of the best roles I’ve ever had in my life. I want you to know that you have given my life so much more meaning. Not only am I overwhelming filled with joy, I also have so much peace in my heart. For years there was a void in my heart waiting to be filled and your life has filled every crack and crevice that needed repair. Part of my life’s purpose is being a mother to you. I can’t wait to watch you grow and blossom into a beautiful young woman. Meeting you showed me God’s unconditional love for me. He saw fit to bless me with you. More importantly He placed you in my life in His timing and as always the timing was perfect. You are everything I’ve been praying for. You’ve reminded me to trust God in ways that I forgot how to and now I can rest assure His promises for me are coming to pass. I love everything that you are and want you to know you mean so much to me!

I just want to thank you all for your continued support and for reading my writing. I can’t wait to share with you all more about my pregnancy experience and my journey as a new mom so, stay tuned!