Warning: This is potentially triggering to other mommas who had traumatic birth experiences
This past weekend my husband said to me “Hey Michelle, can we get rid of these pills?” At first I had no idea what he was talking about because I’m not taking any medication and then when I saw the pill bottle I knew. He found some leftover anti-anxiety pills that I had to take after having my daughter. You know, that time I had a very traumatic birth experience that lead me down a spiral of uncontrollable anxiety and resulted in a trip in the ER after being home from the hospital only 2 days. (Here’s part one and part two of that story and here’s a link to more information about postpartum anxiety)
Now that there’s been almost 2 years of distance between that point in my life and where I am now, I don’t think about what happened as often as I used to. But is the trauma still there? Yes. Just seeing that pill bottle brought up the memories and some of the anxiety I felt when dealing with my own post-birth mental health crisis.
I still wonder why I couldn’t have the smooth, vaginal birth I wanted. The last thing I wanted was a c-section. Was it necessary in my situation? Probably, considering that my daughter scored scarily low on the apgar test and was unresponsive when she was eventually taken out of my body. I will never forget the fear I felt when I didn’t hear her crying. In every birth scene you see in a movie the baby starts crying immediately when born but I heard absolute silence. I saw her whisked away from me and remember begging the doctors to tell me what happened. WHY WASN’T SHE CRYING? Why wouldn’t anyone tell me what was going on? The look on my husbands face when he had to choose between staying with me for the rest of the surgery or going with our distressed newborn and leaving me alone – that fucking kills me. Kills me.
Deep breaths. Even just writing this now is causing tears to stream down my face. Almost 2 years later and yet when I let myself really think about what happened, it feels like yesterday. Sometimes when I’m alone in the shower and my hand brushes over the scar on my lower abdomen, I have to do everything in my power to not let the memories flood in.
While I’ve healed physically and have done a lot of emotional healing, I am afraid to have another child because of what happened. I say in a silly tone to people that my husband and I are “one and done” but deep down, there’s really not anything funny about it. Deep down the idea of birth, the possibility of having to once again lay on that metal table and be cut open, causes me emotional pain and fear. I’ve always wanted at least two kids but I don’t think I can do it. Despite how awesome my daughter is, I can’t go back to that place.