Each and every birth is a unique and beautiful experience, and I think that this story is nothing short of just that.
I feel so lucky to have been able to endure this birth, and even more lucky still to be able to share my tale of the birth of my wonderful daughter, Luna Elizabeth.
To start this story, I’ll have to bring you back a little bit further though, to the day nearly three years ago when my first child, my son Rowan, was born.
I was living in San Francisco at the time and was attending a big fancy hospital, so I thought that the doctors taking care of me would make the best choice for my body and my mind. Unfortunately, it felt as if in the end they made the best choice for their timeline instead. I had a breech baby, and rather than let me go a little bit further into my pregnancy, or perhaps even overdue, when I could have continued attempting to turn Rowan head-down, they pushed me into a c-section that I desperately didn’t want, due mainly in part to scheduling conflicts. In the end, all that truly mattered was the fact that my perfect 7lb 10oz son came out healthy and more wonderful than I had ever dreamed.
Unfortunately for me, the aftermath of said surgery left me in more pain than I had anticipated, and I faced a pretty rough bout of postpartum depression on top of it all.
Recovery was long and hard, dark and heavy, and left me with some emotional scars to match The Big One, strewn across my bikini line. So when the time came to have my second baby, our daughter Luna, I knew that it was incredibly important to me to at least attempt a vaginal delivery.
So fast-forward to now, and we live back in Sheridan, our hometown.
The only downside to being back in this beautiful place is that our sweet little small town hospital doesn’t do VBACs (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean). So we chose to travel to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings, Montana to deliver at a more high-tech hospital with an adequate surgical staff, in the case of uterine rupture at the sight of my previous incision.
Due to the distance and the fact that we were rapidly approaching winter (we had our first snow the evening of the day we came home from the hospital) coupled with my blood pressure beginning to rise, our OB decided it was a good idea to induce at 39 weeks.
I was originally terrified of inducing, and given the chance I would have jumped at the opportunity to birth at home completely naturally, so an induction wasn’t initially something that I would have chosen. However, when it became apparent that it was my best chance to have my vaginal delivery safely, we got on board.
We traveled to Billings the day before our scheduled induction on October 19th, and arrived at the hospital bright and early the morning of the 20th.
At 9 am, we began a slow and low dose of Pitocin in my IV drip, until around 11 am when I was dilated just enough (to one centimeter) to insert a Foley bulb catheter.
Whew, this part was rough!
Once I finally reached this point, my OB came in and broke my water in the hopes that it would speed things up.
As silly as it sounds, I just remember how excited (and terrified) I had gotten as the pain reached its highest points, because it meant that progress was finally happening and I would get to meet my little girl soon!
I fully support every mom enduring their labor in whichever way she wishes to deliver and which ever birth plan fits her individually, but I personally had really hoped to have avoided an epidural.
When I woke, my incredible nurse Emily came in and checked my cervix for development.
So when she looked at me with bright eyes and, quite possibly, the most excited smile that I’ve ever seen, and told me to guess how far I had dilated, literally no part of me expected her to respond to my disbelief with, “9.5 centimeters, it’s about time!”
Pushing was so different than what I had expected.
I could feel my pelvis stretching open which was amazing, empowering, terrifying, and excruciating all at once.
I pushed for 30 minutes longer until she was fully crowned, and then everything just zoomed by.
No part of me expected to feel her when I reached my shaking, weak arms down to her – let alone to have reached down, grabbed her by her arm pits, and pulled her out of me and right up to my chest like it was my second nature, my mother’s instinct.
After a whopping 31 hours of labor, which felt long and hard and slow through the entire process, all of a sudden there she was and I somehow felt as if the whole ordeal had lasted no longer than the blink of an eye.
My perfect, beautiful, magical, angel of a daughter was there on my chest, covered in vernix and staring up into my eyes like she could see my soul.
The only aspect of the birth of my beautiful baby girl that saddens me is that until she was actually in my arms, I truly didn’t believe that I could do this.
We all as mothers and, quite frankly as warriors, should never waver in our belief of ourselves, our abilities, and the powerful love that we have for our children.
Yesterday my sweet girl turned three weeks old, and I can’t even begin to describe how different my postpartum life is this time around in comparison to when I recovered from the birth of my son.
I feel stronger and more powerful in my own skin than I ever have in my life, as if I will forever believe in myself from this point forward, in all aspects of my existence.
A big part of my desire to share my story is my hope that should another mama who has gone through an unwanted c-section like I did hope for something different with her next birth, maybe my story will give her a little bit of faith that she is capable of getting the delivery that she wants, the delivery that she may have been told is impossible.
-Tahseana Fisher, Mama of Rowan George, 2-years-old; and Luna Elizabeth, 3-weeks-old