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Aiden's Birth Story

Everything about pregnancy, labor, and birth was unknown to me. There was no real guidance from my healthcare providers, and I walked this journey blind. Even my parents discussed so very little. The only thing they advised me on was encouraging vaccinations and circumcision…which is a reflection for another day. I was a teen mom; seventeen - scared and clueless. They bounced my due date all over the place. My first child’s arrival was a mystery we were all just waiting to meet him. At 36 weeks on May fourteenth, 2004 - I was scheduled for a prenatal at 9am and I was SO tired. The entire night before I was awoken every hour needing to use the restroom, which wasn’t typical. Once I was with the OB, they performed the dreaded vaginal exam - “just to see if your cervix is doing anything”. To our surprise, I was 6cm. I had not experienced any pain or contractions the night before and had no idea that I had been having them all morning either. They decided they were going to send me down the hall and prepare for labor. 

Once I settled into the room there were so many people. Doctors, nurses, students, my mother, father and stepfather, and my son’s father and his mother. It was a whole party full of distractions. They informed me they were going to hook me up to Pitocin and break my water. I had no idea that both of those things were unnecessary so I accepted it as fact and we got the show on the road. The pitocin was so strong. I went from laughing and not even feeling my contractions to sick and sweating almost immediately. I was crying and hyperventilating, and eventually started vomiting. I hadn’t wanted the epidural because I had read it could cause a sleepy baby and disrupt nursing but, just like that, I was tapping out. I BEGGED for that medication. So, they stopped the pitocin long enough for the anesthesiologist to get there and place it. Needles have always been a terrifying experience for me. The first time they attempted to place it I jumped straight off the bed the second I felt it touch my back. I was reprimanded and held down by several hospital staff through my next contraction and in it went. Then, they turned the pitocin back on. Almost immediately I lost my legs. My mental clarity disappeared. I couldn’t feel anything, but I couldn’t think about anything either. I laughed and giggled through the rest of my labor - even while being forced to push my baby out. Coached pushing took place for about fifteen minutes but I was completely unable to do most of the work on my own. Both of my boy’s grandmothers helped hold me up while his father and another nurse shoved my knees up to my chest. The whole labor in the hospital - from start to finish - lasted exactly two hours and fifteen minutes.

I tore terribly. I remember seeing in the mirror after watching my son come earthside a sight that terrified me. Then the dreaded stitches talk. The OB began laughing and joking with my son’s father about throwing a few extra ones in there for his “pleasure”. A husband stitch. Several of them. Many of them. So many of them. Stitches that were so tight they pulled and strained whenever I tried to use the restroom, sit upright, even just walking around and not keeping my knees turned inward. Stitches that didn’t dissolve like they should have and caused irritation and infection. I dealt with the consequences of those husband stitches for many years afterward every time I was intimate and it was a regular reminder that my body had been mutilated without my consent for the “benefit” of someone else using my body for their pleasure.

Those weren’t the end of the consequences for me though. Twenty years later, I still find myself with lower back pain, twinges, and numbness in my legs if I’ve been driving too long. They assured me it was temporary. Temporary sure does feel like forever though…

After going in for my last postpartum checkup trying to ask questions about my healing and stitches, requesting an IUD, and being blown off and refused birth control. I was told I was too young to make those kinds of decisions and I needed to talk it over with my son’s father to be sure that he was okay with something like that. I was floored. I couldn’t understand why I had no say or control over my reproductive health and body. 

I got a beautiful baby boy out of that experience and was constantly reminded that everything I suffered through was worth it. That it was just all part of “normal birth”. All that mattered was my “healthy baby”. He was, in fact, very healthy at first. Twenty-one and a half inches long and weighing in at eight pounds eleven ounces of miracle. However, being gaslit about my feelings and experience caused an additional layer of uncertainty for me and it tainted my postpartum experience greatly. I had severe postpartum anxiety that went unchecked and I doubted every bit of my intuition in all aspects of mothering because I was made to believe that little ole’ seventeen year old me was clueless in every way. So much of my relationship and nurturing was manipulated and negatively affected for many years.

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