I have a beautiful 3 week old little squishy of beautiful girl and to be honest, I’m still on a mental high from her birth. it was so different from my first birth experience. It’s kind of crazy to retell your daughter’s birth story to raised eyebrows and slack jaws almost every time. Most everyone’s reaction is “You vaginally birthed an ELEVEN pound baby? How can you walk? ARE YOU OKAY?”. I kind of shrug my shoulders and say, well I’ve never birthed a smaller baby so I don’t know if it’s more difficult or the same, but I’m fine. It all went really well. Then some find out more details and drop their jaws some more even more, VBAC, IVF, no pain meds, etc, and some people say that I must have been crazy. But honestly, I had no idea I was carrying around an 11.5 pound baby. My last ultrasound was at 19 weeks. My fundal height was measuring right on track, though both my doc and I had assumed I’d have another big baby, maybe in the 9.5 to low 10 pound range so yes, I was shocked she was as big as she was, but it all went fine and she fit.
During my hospital were the most feather-fluffing, nurses were just seriously amazed by my whole tale. Each new nurse I had in mother and baby would comment at just how big my baby was, how amazing it was that I got her out, and that my bum looked as good as it did. Each nurse would check my bum for swelling, etc and comment that everything looked great down there and you’d have no idea I gave birth to such a big baby. One nurse even told me I was made to bear children, which is you know all kinds of hilarious seeing as I am infertile and had a c-section the first time around.
It’s such a weird place to be, to be reeling from a wonderful birth experience after the first didn’t go well at all. I remember feeling so much anger and regret after Leopold’s birth, so it’s kind of incredible to look back on my daughter’s birthday and just be in awe of the experience, grateful for all the supportive people that I had surrounding me that day and the days leading up to it, and amazed by what my body was able to accomplish. What a truly healing experience it was and I’m so lucky and grateful to have had it. It feels like the perfect last chapter, happy ending to our journey in baby making. Then again it leaves me wanting to try for it all again, to have another VBAC without the fear of my body not going into labor because now I certainly know that it is capable. (But that whole getting pregnant thing, it’s certainly an um, issue as is the funds and energy for a 3rd child. We shall see, but we have a frosty that we will transfer at some point…)
I also don’t feel much regret any more about how things went for Leopold’s birth. Without it, I never would have been motivated enough to search out a better doctor and a doula the second time around. He is here and he is healthy, it is our story. It’s nice not to have any regrets about how it all went down now, after feeling weighed down by it for 2.5 years. Should I have fought more, been more informed, yes, but now I know and learned my lesson from that experience. I am now a great example that inductions aren’t the way to go, to fight for what you want and question your doctors more, and have faith in your body. oh and also, don’t be too scared of baby’s size – vaginally birthing an 11 pound plus baby is possible. I have two very different birth stories and I own both of them. I felt dehumanized, taken advantage of, and scarred from one and empowered from the second. I am lucky to have experienced them both and I have lot of lessons learned.
It’s kind of funny that I got the easy, unassisted pregnancy the first time and a c-section, then IVF and a vaginal birth the second time. This whole journey through infertility, loss, pregnancy, and birth presented me with so many unexpected twists and turns. I’m so lucky that it’s led my to my beautiful son and amazing daughter. I can’t help but think that all has gone just as it should over the past 5 years, I really couldn’t ask for more. (except for perhaps my nasty hemorrhoid to go away. that would be nice…) Yes, it wasn’t always easy and I’ve had to fight every step of the way, but it is our story and it’s a beautiful one.