I could go on and on and on and on and on about how I imagined starting this post. The expectations and fantasy of it were laughable now that I realize I’m not the mom I imagined I would be. I’m not the worst mom, but I am not the mom the pregnant me dreamed about being (or the mom others imagined I’d be.) I’m a lukewarm cup of cheap coffee kinda mom. A “C’s get degrees” on the newborn mom spectrum. I’m an “okay-ish” mom.
Let’s start with childbirth. Holy, holy is the Lord God almighty; what the hell just happened to my body? I’ll tell you what happened: 8 pounds came soaring out of my flower followed by another 1,000 pounds of placenta (if you’re a dude, it’s an organ in the body that I double dog dare you to Google Image search). Let us all gather around to point and laugh at pregnant Angel for striving for an all natural birth. Thank you internet and documentaries for setting me up for failure. Women have expressed concerns about how non-natural births can alter or erase your memory of giving birth, cause complications, etc. “God designed your body to do this” or “don’t be too posh to push” were the two pillars I held onto waiting for my water to break… except, it never did.
If you live in the states, you’ve heard the name Irma too many times this month. Hurricane Irma decided to visit our city in Florida, projected to be a Category 4 by the time it hit our house… 2-3 days before my due date. Miss-Natural-Birth-Pregnant-Angel did not prepare to share the spotlight with a natural disaster and Miss-Natural-Birth-Pregnant-Angel did not research what happens when your water doesn’t break. Being induced sucked. I’m not going to sugar coat it or pretend to be a majestically warrior that I’m not. I went into my 39 week check up looking for an approval to “go on vacation” out of state (AKA mandatory evacuation) with a shaky voice and high blood pressure, and was asked to be induced right then. “Let’s have a baby today!” are the words from the doctor who’s face I will never forget. My biggest fear went from giving birth in the middle of traffic while evacuating, to how I could swim and use my body as a shelter to save my baby, two dogs, and my husband if stranded on a rooftop with rising waters… Good thing my blood pressure wasn’t checked in that exact moments.
Again, I repeat: being induced sucked. Leaving the OB office, I asked my husband to make a pit stop at home so we can get our hospital bags… because I’m an okay-ish mom who removed them from the car the day before. We drive home, I munch on some avocado toast while recording our house’s interior and exterior for insurance, and paste the dog’s shot records to the door for a friend to rescue them had the birth not “gone well…” you know, casual pre-induction things. On our way to the hospital, my husband said, “we’re about to have our baby” and I just cried. This is not how I imagined bringing life into the world. Forced into chaos and probably homeless, but I also couldn’t live with myself if we left and, ya know… have things not “go well.”
So I braced myself for the induction… they were probably going to probe my legs open and shove a fork up there to pop me, right? Nope! It was this innocent, tiny pill they inserted every few hours, and I was like OH THIS IS CAKE! Why do people complain about this? Until my water broke… and the pain came all at once. This is where I imagined I’d embrace the pain and just be so in love with my baby and refuse all the drugs… but I blacked out, fainted multiple times, and I honestly don’t remember any of it. All I have of those three semi-natural hours, are the second hand stories from my husband, which is why pregnant Angel would slap mom Angel for saying: Praise Jesus for drugs. The epidural was my saving grace in all of this. From the moment I got the epidural, I remember everything and felt not an ounce of pain. Now being open to hearing other’s experiences with epidurals, it is not always like that. This was my lucky birth, the gold participation sticker for being okay-ish, and it was amazing. The list of men I now love in my life go from #1 being Jesus to #2 being tied between my husband, son, and the epidural doctor.
Again, I repeat: praise Jesus for drugs. My husband and I laughed our way into bringing Anakin into the world, without pain and a perfectly clear mind to remember every beautiful second of it. The first time I cried was the second they placed him on my chest… once I could get the tears out of my eyes, my first question to the doctor was “did I poop on you?” followed by, “did I rip to my bootyhole?” Both answered with beautiful “no’s,” finally some wins for pre-mom Angel. Recovery was a breeze, even with the epidural fading off, the heavens opened up with every 800 mg Motrin and a Dermoplast fresh lady pad. Praise the living lamb.
Our two day hospital was nothing like I imagined and everything I didn’t know I needed. Our time consisted of staring at our sleeping newborn, learning how to breastfeed, and enjoying each other in the fullest… since we did not have a single visitor. I imagined those days being shared with our moms, and local friends, but the airports were closed down and the one mom that just landed was stuck in another city to hunker down in their hotel. Our friends were either out of state already, or on their way out. Now that I think about it, had my husband been deployed, that would have been my biggest fear about giving birth. But the timing of this past deployment and getting to soak in this new life was one of the biggest blessings. The raw conversations and learning together has made our marriage so much stronger and fears about parenting less loud. There was no one to entertain or sharing the same stories over and over again with every visitor. It was just us three… unless we checked our phones. That was another “LOL” at Angel moment.
The PLAN was to keep the birth, photos, and our home private. I wasn’t going to share ANYTHING about Anakin until he was over a month old for many reasons. In fact, I was already willing to never forgive anyone who shared any information or photos of him… but with the storm, terrified family members and friends across the country, the day after he was born, I looked over at my husband, and said “I think we should share him.” We needed to hear something good instead of hearing about how much we would lose over the next couple of days. These expectations of being natural or private are still desires I’d have for future children, but there was the darkness that attacked me in keeping him a secret during such a devastating time. Down to simply leaving the hospital; you expect to bring this newborn home to a room you’ve been preparing for months. His clothes are washed, his toys are sanitized, and when we came home from the hospital, we had exactly an hour to pack whatever we wanted to keep: our bibles, the camera, dog leashes, water, a great-grandma-made baby blanket, and the pack’n’play I planned on exchanging “for things we need more.” My husband lifted our sofa and the baby crib a couple feet off the ground, in hopes that it didn’t flood much more. I rocked our newborn on the counter in his carseat, silently praying, trying to not show my husband I was terrified. Maybe it was hormones, but while I was thankful for God for bringing our baby home safe, I was even more angry at Satan for using Anakin’s safety against me. Before leaving, my husband asked for me to be with him to pray over our house, and I just wept. We just surrendered everything we worked for the past few years to the Lord and trusted Him with it.
You expect to be driven home and pampered to by loved ones. You expect to go home and stay there for weeks while the world revolves around your baby, not to load up your car and drive yourself to safety the same day you get discharged, while your husband drives the animals you vowed to protect. But God’s in the business of squashing expectations, providing abundantly, and restoring what is broken. I had a broken view of motherhood. It was picture perfect, sanitized, and calculated. My expectations of motherhood did not include packing baby clothes right next to dog food, or giving him formula in fear of not trusting my body to provide in the middle of the night. When every pediatrician’s office windows have boards nailed to protect them, do yourself a favor and trust God when he sends you formula samples in the mail. All the breastfeeding blogs I had been reading did not prepare me for what to do during a hurricane, so sue me! Anakin has been formula free for a few days now, but if my boobs fail me now, thank you Jesus for formula.
The storm eventually passed, and to our amazement was downgraded to a category 1. Anakin and I peacefully slept through it. A few broken branches were the extent of damage to our tiny home on the coast; a roof and interior left in the condition we prayed over and nursery I will never take for granted.
So. Over two weeks later, and I can finally talk about our little induced, epiduralled, formula-supplemented, hurricane refugee baby.
Every cell of his 7 pound and 13 ounces, 21 & 3/4 inches body is loved fiercely.
And this perfect, sleepy little baby has the world’s okay-ish mom, and that’s okay.
Shout out to all the other “okay-ish” mom’s. Your “C-” day is amazing, keep doing what you’re doing and love that baby.