What better way to kick off a blog than to get extremely vulnerable and share my own personal story? In this 3-part series, you'll learn all about my journey into motherhood, my birth story, and my postpartum adventure. My hope is that you can find solidarity through my story and get a glimpse into who I am and why I do what I do.
If you knew Dillon and I before we had Ezekiel, you would know that we wanted to wait A WHILE to have children. I was 20 years old and Dillon was 22 when we got married, so we felt like we had all the time in the world to enjoy life just the two of us. If you asked Dillon when he wanted to have kids, he would have said never. I would have said in 8 years.
So you can only imagine the way we felt when we surprisingly found out I was pregnant just a couple of weeks after our first anniversary.
Fear rushed in. Doubt flooded my heart. Greif took over.
I had always imagined this beautiful moment when you look down at the pregnancy test and see the two pink lines. I had always imagined JOY.
But instead, I sat in the WalMart bathroom on my lunch break looking at a positive pregnancy test. Paralyzed. Not exactly the glamorous moment I had always envisioned. I’ll never forget the fog I was in for the rest of the day. Everything around me was moving a million miles an hour but I felt like I was trying to swim in a pool of glue.
When I told Dillon, he had a pretty similar response. The first words out of his mouth were, “How much money do we have in our bank account?”. Romantic, huh? With the click of a button, we drained our bank account and paid off the rest of our student loans and then we sat together in our blue, thrift store recliner, scared to death of what was to come. How would we pay for this? Would we be good parents? What about the dreams for our life?
I feel like I need to tell you all that I don’t talk about this part of my story very often. It’s not easy for me. I still have a lot of shame tied to the way I felt when finding out I was pregnant. I had family members battling infertility and best friends grieving the loss of their little baby they would never meet. And here I was scared to death and selfishly grieving the loss of the life I thought I was going to have for the next eight years. I felt so guilty that I got pregnant without trying and so many people I knew were giving it their all to get a positive pregnancy test. Instead of working through the way I felt, I stuffed my emotions, ran from the pain, and put on a happy face. Each time I heard, “Oh, I thought you guys wanted to wait to have kids!”, the fear and the pain grew and I pushed it all back down, deep into my soul.
Looking back, I wish I could tell myself that my pain and grief mattered. That it was real and it was worth talking about. I wish I would have been open and honest and that I would have found the freedom in vulnerability a whole lot sooner.
As I got further along in my pregnancy, I learned a lot about freedom. I learned it was a lot about perception and it took a lot of letting go. If I'm honest with you, I'm still learning about the freedom found in vulnerability and what that looks like in every day life. So often we are the first ones to put the chains around ourselves and it takes hard work, prayer, and a lot of support to get them off and throw them away.
I am still so blown away by the amount of love and support we received throughout my pregnancy. The support helped me see that we could absolutely do this because we wouldn’t be doing it alone.
There came a point when I decided that since I was going to be doing this whole birthing a baby thing, I wanted to be educated about it. I spent most of my time researching and learning about all things birth. I watched documentaries and I read books and articles every chance I got. I was overwhelmed with how much I didn’t know about labor and birth and around every corner I was learning something new. We took an online childbirth education class that showed videos of different women’s labor and birth experiences. The class included a drug-free birth, an epidural birth, and a surgical birth. I loved getting to see the beauty in each situation and it helped me see what kind of birth I wanted have.
I decided that I wanted to aim for a natural birth for a few different reasons. As I watched the videos, I loved the way the natural birth unfolded from beginning to end. It looked like hard work, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I loved getting to see the way she had to lean on her husband physically and emotionally through out her process. I also had a personal conviction that I would be selling myself short if I didn’t try. Plus, I don’t even like to take ibuprofen when I have a headache. When I told Dillon, he was 100% on board and we started preparing for a natural childbirth.
There were many times that people would inquire about the type of birth I was planning. Most of the time, people would be really baffled that I didn’t want an epidural. They would say things like “I could never do it without the drugs! You’re crazy!” or “You are so brave for doing that!” or even, “Just wait until you go into labor. You’re going to want/need that epidural.” It would open the door to hearing horror story after horror story about childbirth for the remainder of my pregnancy. Despite the discouraging words, I had my heart set and tried to not let fear invade my heart.
(Side note: If you are reading this and you have ever told a pregnant woman a horror story about childbirth or discouraged her from having a natural childbirth in any way, please go apologize. This is the season of a woman’s life that we need to speak life into her. My hope is that our culture will change here- that we will encourage women to birth their babies however the heck they feel is best and not put fear into their hearts. Let’s build pregnant women up. Let’s show them how strong they are. Let us not be a culture marked by fear, but of love.)
After all my extensive research and some bad prenatal appointment experiences, I decided that my care provider wasn't a good fit for me anymore. At the start of my third trimester, I decided to switch to a group of midwives at a hospital here in Oklahoma City. We also decided it would be a good idea to hire a doula to support us (SHOUT OUT TO OUR GIRL CHERYL-BEST MONEY WE'VE EVER SPENT).
Everything was finally falling into place and now all we had to do was walk 3 miles a day (doula's orders!) and wait for little man to come.