Friday, October 25, 2013

Birth and Infertility

The Pail blog prompt this month is to write about our experience with birth. Our actual birth story is posted on my previous blog so I won't rewrite it here. In summary we'd planned a homebirth, but decided to induce as we approached 43 weeks. Labor was beyond intense, with contractions that took over my entire body. After nearly 24 hours I was still only 1 cm dilated. As my birth team began considering a section delivery, I was begging for a stronger epidural. It turns out that in less than an hour I'd fully dilated and had a baby descending the birth canal. 

Mr. Fox and I were talking just the other night about the things that stand out in our memories. He said that he remembers being grateful that we were at the hospital and not at home - the mess was much more than he expected! I remember the point at which I looked into his eyes and asked for help after which I think I may have blacked out from the intensity of the pain because I don't have any memory again until well after the epidural was working.  I remember so well the feeling that I'd been run over by a train, the feeling that lasted for months after the actual birth. 

There were a few things that I didn't expect. That surprised me then, and continue to catch me off-guard today. Everyone talks about love at first sight, and that is what I expected. Instead of love, I felt confused and shocked that a baby was actually in my arms. I really think that I had convinced myself that we would never become parents. I think that the journey through infertility had scarred me so deeply, that it prevented me form believing that I had actually given birth, that our baby was really truly here. I was anxious during the pregnancy, kind of just going through the motions, but on some level just waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the bad news to come. It was what I was used to, what we had experienced at nearly every step of our journey to become parents. I was braced for it to continue. 

In fact even after we were home, in bed with our little fox, I dreamt that we were just waiting to find out if we could keep him, if he was really ours. I had this feeling for weeks that someone was going to show up at our door and tell me that there had been a mistake and take him away, and therefore I had to wait before I really got attached. 

I have no doubt that the grief and pain of infertility impacted our birth and bonding experience. 

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