A Not-So Fairy Tale Ending

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Face.book tends to make me ragey.

I hated logging on to see my friends and acquaintances (because lets be real, how close are we really to the other 200 people on our friend lists?) getting engaged.

The engagements turned to weddings.

Not a fun thing to see when I was living with my Hubby in a condo we bought together, waiting for him to propose, then thinking it just wasn’t ever going to happen.

Then I got engaged! And married! All was right with the world.

During this time, a lot of those friends who were married before me were pregnant. And having babies. But this wasn’t a huge deal. Hubby and I were planning on trying as soon as we said “I do.” I was happy and had no problem liking photos of pregnant bellies and cute babies. I was fairly certain I would be part of that group too. Eventually.

But then we lost our first baby to a miscarriage. Those bellies. Those babies. I hated them. I hated status updates on pregnancy symptoms. I despised the pregnancy announcements. I was angry, jealous, and sad. I assumed these friends had no problem getting pregnant and having babies. An assumption I knew could be wrong. But an assumption I couldn’t help but make because no one discusses family building and pregnancy struggles on Facebook. So it seemed like everyone was having an easy time except for me.

Every time I saw an announcement of a pregnancy or birth I wanted to throw my computer out the window. Every time. I did throw my phone across the room on numerous occasions. I wanted to write a status update letting everyone know that, as a grieving mother, I didn’t appreciate seeing multiple photos of their kids posted within an hour. Your kid is cute. I get it. But I don’t need you to rub it in…

I wanted to (and should have, in hindsight) chew out the acquaintance who posted a positive pregnancy test only to take it back a few hours later with, “April Fools!”

When I got pregnant I was scared of posting my news online. I was scared of anyone other than Hubby knowing. Because the last time I let a large group of people know, we lost her. I was scared I would jinx myself.

I also couldn’t do what I hated everyone else was doing; make my Facebook page all about pregnancy and baby related pictures. I didn’t know who was on the other side suffering in silence.

I got my rainbow. We got through it without major complications. And there was plenty that could have gone wrong. G came home healthy and strong. So all should be well, right?

Except it isn’t. While I am okay with how I brought G into the world, despite it not being the way I wanted, I am not okay with everything else that happened once I was admitted to the hospital. I’m having a problem with the lack of communication and information that happened that day and the day after. Between me and my doctor. Between me and the labor nurses. Between the labor nursed themselves.

I should have been a better advocate for myself, and once G was in the NICU, for him. Asked questions to know what was happening and why certain things were being done. But I didn’t. I had never been in labor before and didn’t know, and was too tired to think of, what to ask. After G was born I felt too tired to care about anything other than learning how to breastfeed.

I spent more than nine months imagining what it would be like once G was born. I’d cry happy tears. We’d get our first family photo. I’d cuddle and admire him. I’d feel happiness and relief.

I think the only happy thing I remember is G crawling to my breast to nurse for the first time. He’d done it all himself. No help from me. It was amazing.

I felt bad asking for G to be taken to the nursery that first night because I was just too exhausted to enjoy him. This baby, who I wanted to bond with so badly, but couldn’t. Not even the next day, after I had gotten a little bit of rest.

A couple of months ago, Hubby showed me pictures on his phone of G in my arms a couple hours after his birth. Pictures I didn’t know existed until then. Pictures I don’t remember even being taken. My family has started telling me stories of things that happened when they visited the next day. Things I don’t remember happening.

Pictures were taken of G. But not of me and G (the ones Hubby took showed just my arms). Not with Hubby and G. None of us as a family. The only family pictures taken those few hours and day after G was born were of Hubby’s mother and father with G. Because she insisted on it. No one offered to document the first moments and day of me and my little family. Thinking of this makes me burst into tears.

As much as I want to say I was filled with joy at having a baby in my arms, I can’t.

As much as I want to say I couldn’t wait to tell the world (Face.book) how happy I was to announce the birth of our child, I can’t.

As much as I want to say I was excited to show off my little guy to family the next day, I can’t.

For the record, I am happy it all worked out. My OB said the cord was wrapped around G’s neck twice and I was lucky to deliver when I did. I developed a fever during labor and I had a lot of bleeding. G had to be tested for infection since I had a fever. He was found to be jaundiced and septic and had to go to the NICU for four days. I was discharged before he was. I left, for the second time in 13 months, having gone into a hospital pregnant and leaving with nothing to show for it. I didn’t think I would ever have to leave my baby on discharge day.

These situations I found myself in had not played out in my head as I daydreamed of my baby’s birthday and first 24 hours of life.

And when G was finally home I was still so tired. Baby blues turned into post partum depression and I continuted to find myself in awe, but not very overjoyed about my baby and motherhood.

On maternity leave I thought that I would be going for walks, showing off my little guy to visitors, taking numerous pictures of him Anne Geddes style with the camera I had bought especially for the new addition to our family. Overall being a very proud and happy mother.

Theses are things I expected to happen after G was born. But they didn’t. I was too too tired (and scared) to hold him first. Too tired to ask for pictures of me and the baby I wanted to meet so badly. When I finally felt ready, I wasn’t allowed to cuddle him when I wanted to because he was in the NICU. I spent my days and nights crying. Second guessing myself. Dreading going back to work, but not too thrilled about taking care of a baby 24/7 like I thought I wanted either. Feeling trapped.

And once again Face.book is here to show me what I missed. Friends are still having babies. Only now I am acutely aware that they are posting family pictures with baby and parents. Of mom and baby. Dad and baby. They are posting how grateful they are that everyone made it through safely. They are posting about how they haven’t loved anything so much. How they love being a parent already.

This makes my heart hurt and fill with guilt.

Guilt because I just couldn’t feel these happy, wonderful things until I was put on medicine. Guilt because I can’t go back in time and keep G in my room that first night. Guilt because I am, 5 months later, just starting to enjoy my rainbow baby. Guilt because I feel like I was robbed of, and I robbed G of, a million precious moments because of my lack of enthusiasm. Moments I won’t ever get back.

I feel like I am back where I was about 10 months ago. Wanting to update my status to let people know that, just like pregnancy, motherhood doesn’t come so easy to everyone and to stop rubbing it in my face already.

Because I am on the other side again. Grieving. Over the fairy tale ending of G’s birth that didn’t happen. Over those special moments I can’t get back.

8 thoughts on “A Not-So Fairy Tale Ending

  1. Oh hun, this post made me teary. We all have such different birth experiences and different experiences once home with baby. You hear about all the magical moments on places like Facebook because that is what people choose to share but there are so many other moms out there who had similar experiences to you and will continue to. Motherhood isn't this magical fairytale that we are often made to think it will be. You are an amazing mom and I know there will definitely be times that you will look back and wish things had happened differently but I hope most of the time you focus on the years of amazing memories you will have ahead with Baby G. *hugs*

  2. Oh wow. Sweetie, I'm so sorry! I can't imagine how hard. Facebook is the devil. Period. Also, I think that most people just gloss over the nasty stuff, everyone wants to show the world the happy face, nobody wants to admit it. I think all of us struggle with FB a little bit. I was/am very straightforward on there about my IF and loss history. And when I posted the pregnancy announcement it was with a nod to IF/loss. I had several friends "come out of the closet" as it were, and message me that they've been struggling with it as well. And it just breaks my heart. PPD is no joke either. I'm glad that you at least got some treatment for it and took it seriously. It's so hard to feel like you missed out on so many milestones. IF robs us of so many "normal" things, that to have anything else lost is just unbearable. Thinking of you. *hugs*

  3. Those first 8 paragraphs resonated so much with me. I'm glad I'm not the only one who ever felt like this. Even if it wasn't the way you always pictured, imagined or even wanted, but love your rainbow baby with all your might, and enjoy the moments you can. *hugs*

  4. Thank you all so much! It was good to get this out. It has been brewing in my head for about a month now! I had read and been told so many stories of women who didn't get the birth experience they pictured…I figured I'd be having issues with that instead!

  5. After all we've been through, one would think one thing would go normally for us…birth story or first moments at home….And yet we as IFers apparently haven't suffered enough. Thank you for sharing what so many go through but don't have what it takes to admit it. Not everyone gets the fairy tale….My hope is you are able to savor the moments to come….

  6. Oh, girl. I DID say something VERY pointed to the girl on my FB who did the April Fool's ultrasound. And then I unfriended her. And a few months later, I deleted FB. The people you know, you know how to keep in touch with them. Deleting FB was a breathe of fresh air!!!And Emma – I want to tell you that I relate so much to everything you wrote about after the birth. There are no pics of the three of us either, and I grieve that. But mostly, I want to share that I had a terrible bout of PPD, and I felt so much shame and guilt. I couldn't truly bond with HGB until he was about 4 months old. So, if you ever need someone to talk with about this stuff, you know where to find me.

  7. I'm so sorry that you are grieving part of your birth experience. It's a hard pill to swallow – this idea that something didn't go right with a moment that you can never get back. I, too, struggle with much of what happened during the birth of my daughter. It wasn't a dramatic birth in many ways, but there are things that happened that I'm not comfortable with and things that will keep me from returning to that same OB should I ever be lucky enough to get pregnant again… it's not easy. I hope that it improves with time. Hugs.

  8. I've read this post so many times, Emma, and I'm still not sure what to write. I just wanted you to know that I'm here, and I'm reading, and I'm sorry you've had to deal with an uncommunicative hospital staff and PPD and everything that goes with that. Powerful post.

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