Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
When pregnant with my first, life was a breeze. Weight gain didn’t occur until the last trimester, there was no morning sickness, no swelling, no achy boobs, nothing. Most people wouldn’t have known I was pregnant had I not told them.
My doctor was amazing and would cheerfully measure my belly, check my weight, give me the monthly/weekly low-down, and then send me on my way. Several times she told me how I was blessed to be experiencing the perfect pregnancy and that I was making her job way too easy.
The last trimester I gained 25 pounds and my stomach swelled — that was the extent of my pregnancy side effects. Even then I remember thinking how pregnancy was EASY, and if this is what it’s like then I’m having 10 babies.
I wanted to deliver naturally, without drugs. My doctor questioned me about my choice to skip the epidural but applauded my decision to do so. Further into my pregnancy, when it looked more and more like I was going to deliver a 10 pound baby, she brought up pain management again and I stood with my decision to skip the juice. My choice wasn’t based on anything other than my Mom didn’t have one, neither did my Grammy, so what the hell. Why would I?
For ideal as my pregnancy was, my labor was anything but. I went from starting labor to having delivered in less than four hours. My water breaking is when all hell broke lose. I begged and pleaded with the doctor and nurses to give me something, anything to make the pain stop. I punched my husband in the face while he was telling me how beautiful I was. I told my Mom she was a lying bitch for telling me that it wouldn’t hurt.
The only part about the actual delivery that I remember is my husband saying, “oh my God,” the doctor telling the nurse to get help, and me screaming like a lunatic as I experienced the worse pain you could ever imagine as every bit of me that can tear in my nether regions tore. And what didn’t tear, the doctor cut. Next thing I knew, I was looking at a baby.
I ended up with a fourth degree episiotomy. It traumatized me. I have nightmares about going through that delivery again, waking up screaming, and it’s been over five years ago. Honestly, I don’t know if you can have your vagina and anus cut/torn apart while being completely aware of what’s going on without becoming traumatized.
When we left the hospital my husband had to pick me up and put me in our car. He had to carry me in the house to our bed and then, thank God, for four weeks I didn’t leave unless I had too. When he had to go back to work my Mom came to stay with us. I cried every time I had to move or go to the bathroom. The idea of walking made me hysterical. It was six months before we could have sex without me bawling.
Fast forward four years and I was pregnant again. My first conversation with the OB went like this:
Her: “Congratulations! You’re definitely expecting!”
Me: “I want the drugs.”
Her: “Ok, we will need to start seeing you regularly…”
Me: “As many drugs as you can give me.”
Her: “Um… ok, so the nurse will talk to you through when to schedule…”
Me: “I didn’t see you write that down, you need to write that down, I want all the drugs. I don’t want to feel it, I don’t want to remember it, and you knock me the shit out when I go into labor.”
I spent the first three months of my pregnancy terrified of going into labor. Every day I’d count down until when I’d have to go through labor again, panicking every morning that it was getting closer. And then around month four I was struck with every side effect of pregnancy you can imagine.
I instantly swelled up to a ridiculous size. My feet were so large that I wore bathroom slippers to work; they were the only thing that would fit. My hips displaced so I could barely walk without crying. All someone had to do was say the word “chicken” and I would projectile vomit like you’ve never seen. I woke up with a headache somewhere around month five that didn’t go away until after I’d delivered. I was constipated and I had hemorrhoids. I would sweat for no reason. I developed pregnancy carpal tunnel. I had the worst acne I’d ever seen. And through it all I told myself it’d be worth it if I had a little girl.
At week 22, I found out I was having a boy.
My first pregnancy was so easy, and this one made me swear off ever having another child. I spent the entire time concentrating on trying to not feel like complete crap and being terrified of going into labor and experiencing another episiotomy.
Two weeks before my due date I went in for a checkup and because, at this point, I felt like crap and thought I was dying. Turns out that my blood pressure had shot through the roof and I was sent home with strict instructions to get into bed and stay there until the morning so I could check in at the hospital and be induced the following morning. Once again, that’s when shit got real. I spent the next 24 hours in bed bawling and panicking and begging my husband to take me anywhere but the hospital in the morning, because I still had 14 days left. I wasn’t ready for this.
When we got to the hospital, I was petrified. They induced me, and things went great. I couldn’t believe it. I was so calm and life was good. Then the contractions picked up and it was time. That wonderful man from anesthesiology showed up with the good stuff. I got my epidural. And it didn’t work.
So I went through the process again. And it didn’t work.
I had two failed epidurals. And the anesthesiologist gave me the saddest look ever and told me that for some women, it won’t work. I was going into labor, again, without drugs.
I freaked the fuck out.
I tried to rip out my IV. I screamed at the nurses and tried to climb out of the delivery bed. I spent my entire labor scared to death of the tray covered in tools and screaming at the doctor not to cut me. When it was suddenly time to push, I did and my baby boy was born five hours after being induced at nine lbs. 10 oz. and 26 inches long, without an episiotomy.
When I went back to the doctor for my check up, I asked her how someone could have two so completely different experiences. The answer I got is that it’s different every single time for every woman.
I spent my second pregnancy so absolutely terrified of labor that I’m pretty sure I ruined my chances of enjoying something I won’t be going through again.
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(photo: sean dreilinger)