If you know anything about me, you know I am deeply and completely in love with my two sons, Paul and Lucas... and my husband, their father, Paul.
Only those closest to me know the extreme pain levels I live with since getting pregnant with my first son.
This blog is to set the record straight on an often not approached topic -- how hard it is on a woman's body to conceive, carry a baby to term, deliver and care for a child.
Granted, some women have an easy time getting pregnant, carrying a baby to term and delivering that beautiful human into this world. Some women have no trouble with their baby's sleeping or eating habits. I am genuinely happy for those women.
But, some women -- like me -- have trouble with some or all of the above... and more. Why are we so shy to talk about these difficulties? Why do we so often feel guilty to mention even the slightest complication from conceiving a child to caring for a tiny infant?
My two boys are literally the greatest gift (after my salvation through Christ and my husband, Paul) that I've ever been given! I love them so much it hurts... and my heart is now walking outside of my body since they arrived into my world with their adorable, cute, fun, beautiful, handsome, sweet and funny selves.
I don't pretend to be an expert on the human body. I am not a doctor. I have however experienced first-hand that this process of conceiving, carrying, delivering and caring for another human -- well, it can wreak havoc on your (physical and spiritual) body. Yes, having these two precious babies is the most empowering, spiritually enlightening and -- dare I say -- most fulfilling thing I've ever done. It has also been the most difficult and painful thing I have ever done.
Is anyone with me? Are there any women anywhere who are experiencing the excruciating pain in various parts of their body that they never even knew could exist? Are there any men who have had to watch their significant others suffer through conception, carrying a baby, delivery and recovery?
Well, I'll share with you a bit of our journey, and maybe, just maybe, it will help you be bold enough to share yours... to your friends, family and the generation of women who we are truly responsible to educate on this process... until this side of this topic is no longer taboo in conversations.
We actually had a relatively easy time conceiving both of our boys. Many women do not. I have seen countless friends and family go through the agonizing process of trying to conceive. Do you know that about 10% of women have difficulty getting and/or staying pregnant? That is millions of women, folks. It is pretty much guaranteed that you know or love a woman who has difficulty conceiving a baby or carrying a baby to term.
I had a relatively uncomplicated first pregnancy... until the end! I was in agony my last month; many women are in that agony.
I had a very complicated delivery. I went through the all-natural birthing classes, talked to my many friends and family that had delivered their babies in a variety of ways... I wanted to deliver naturally and sans medication. After 12 hours of the most excruciating pain that you can literally ever imagine, I "caved" (why is it called caving, I mean modern medicine is here for a reason, right??) and got an epidural. The epidural relaxed me enough to sleep for three blissful hours, after which I woke up in pain again.
Additionally, some of my family members who I should never have allowed past the hospital doors, entered my sacred birthing room space, and added stress and pain to my heart and body. Their entrance, in fact, stopped my labor process at many points. By their nature, they are mean people, but because they were important to me, I allowed them in mine, my husband and our baby's sacred space. They added such agony and stress to me, and my process. Why do we allow other people or peers to dictate who is in that most intimate and precious space?
Twenty one hours into my labor, my water would not break; at this point, my body felt so weak that I thought I was going to completely give out. But, I summoned my last vestiges of strength, because I knew that it was me that was going to get my baby and me to the other side of this. My husband and my God were there; but, really it was me who had to step up to the plate -- and, I did.
My Pastor's (Pastor Dominic) wife has a God-given gift... Our God, well, He sends Pastor Amira into prayerful turmoil when He has a child that He wants her to specifically pray for. It is unreal and unlike anything that you've ever seen - well, that day, she went into complete and total prayerful turmoil for me. She called Pastor Dominic and sent him to the hospital, telling him to pray over me. He walked in and sent everyone but my husband, Paul, out of our room. He and Paul began praying over me, singing beautiful worshipful songs to God on behalf of our yet unborn baby and me. Because of all the prayers over me at that point, my water finally broke.
Within a couple of hours, my baby, Paulie, was born.
After he was born, I began to bleed... in excess... because my uterus didn't contract back after the long delivery. Blood was gushing out of my body. I drifted in and out of consciousness. The doctor looked me deep in the eyes and said to me, "You are bleeding out, we need to handle this now or we will lose you," Paul, ripped his shirt off and began skin to skin with our baby... as the doctor began to work on me. Paul was praying out loud over me. The doctor stopped the blood from flowing out of my body; I was still fading in and out of consciousness... I dropped to below a 5 hemoglobin level and had to take several transfusions of blood during my after birth hospital stay.
The doctor saved my life that day.
My husband and God... and my mother in love along with true family and friends did the rest.
It took me 90 days to even be able to fully walk across from my family room to my kitchen without labored breathing or exhaustion.
Our baby Paulie was the most precious, adorable, cute and beautiful baby.
We had a difficult time with the nursing; I had plenty of milk production, but my breasts kept getting infected, bleeding, and more.
Paulie was a big eater and comfort eater so he was on my breasts a lot.
Sleep was elusive those first... 18 months! Paulie finally slept through the night around 18 months old. By then, I had been pregnant with and delivered my second born son, Lucas.
Right from the start, my second pregnancy was different than the first. By then, I was back to work and caring for an active almost one year old.
My baby weight hadn't fallen off (as I was told it would with breastfeeding)... I was finally getting the strength to do some working out, but not enough to take any weight off.
My back, hip and pelvic floor area pain was intense pretty much right from the start of this second pregnancy. My pain level was constantly at a high number. I tried chiropractic care, yoga, stretching, physical therapy and other things (including being practically bed-ridden) to help my pregnancy pains. Nothing seemed to work.
I even, regrettably now, stopped holding Paulie as much during that time, thinking that holding him was just adding to my health and physical issues. That move tore through my relationship with my first born... it is thankfully repaired now, but it was a tough few months for us.
Lucas' delivery on the other hand was the total opposite of Paulie's -- smooth, quick and literally painless. Less pain than the whole of my pregnancy! However, the recovery was just as difficult. I mistakenly got right back to normal life, not giving my body the time to rest at all. I began working (house work, and career), and ignored many of the signs my body was giving me that I was overdoing it all.
I tried all the healing processes again after a couple of months... and quickly realized the time I would have to devote to truly healing my body was more than I could handle, as I was caring for two babies under two, and keeping up with my home and career responsibilities.
Yesterday, I decided to take the bull by the horns so to speak and put aside all the pain and put my full self into working out.
I did more than fabulous... during the exercise session. About an hour later, my body began to scream at me. My pelvic floor area hurt so badly I could not move and I had to resort to prescribed medication to even begin to dim my pain. Today, a full day later, I am still in more pain than I can even describe.
Is this too much negativity for anyone? I've only told you some of this side of the story. And why am I even telling you this?
You need only to look at any of my social media pages, or walk into my home to see the pure positivity and joy with which my husband and I live our lives! I am in no way attempting to be negative and in no way do I ever regret having babies. I am more in love with these two humans than you could possibly even imagine. I adore my babies and I am proud of the woman I was, the woman I am and the woman I have become. I am proud of my husband and all he has put up with and done. I am proud of the father and husband that he is. I am proud of my sons, I am literally "that mom" who is always talking about her boys and the milestones they've already achieved. I am in awe of how beautiful and handsome and smart they both are, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
I am literally just tired... tired of the way so many minimize the incredible human feat it is to conceive, carry, deliver and care for a child/children... I'm trying to be forthright with my own experience to hopefully give voice to other women who have had similar or different experiences. I am trying to give voice to a topic that so many of us brush under the rug. Let's not do that anymore. Let's begin an honest dialogue, with integrity and heart. Let's discuss these things... to help each other, and the generation of women who are looking to us for wisdom, hope and help.