Many of my brides and friends will often ask, “do I really need a second shooter?” Essentially, the answer is no, but there are many benefits to having a second shooter.
Drew & Savanah couldn’t be any sweeter. Drew is an Air Force pilot and Savanah is an Air Force Public Affairs officer.
I’m sharing all of my thoughts and feelings regarding my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
It seems like as soon as you have one, it’s not long before people are asking you when you’ll have the next baby. It’s a question I actually dread and I’m very quick to say I don’t want another. My repulsive replies are mainly due to the guilt I’ve had since having Eleanor. I’m not talking about the guilt you feel when you bought something too expensive. This guilt has had many different layers and been like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
The guilt started shortly after Eleanor was born. Prior to getting pregnant, I researched several midwives and birthing centers in our area. I had planned to have a home birth. I was healthy and there were no indications that I wouldn’t have a normal delivery & healthy baby. The thing about hiring a midwife or birthing center is that most are out-of-network and are not covered by insurance. They also typically require you to pay in full before the baby arrives. For us, our insurance had actually approved my midwife’s services and it would be filed as in-network. This was great! We expected to receive a majority of our money back once everything was filed. Except, if you know anything about my birth story, you know I had to have an emergency c-section 3 weeks early.
So, now we’re getting billed by the hospital. If you’ve ever had a baby or any surgery, you know that multiple bills are sent to you from different doctors. I was fine when the first few showed up. They weren’t too bad because insurance still paid their portion. But then they kept coming, even months after Eleanor was born. I would open them and I would just cry.
Since my midwife did not deliver the baby, they were only able to bill our insurance for my prenatal and postpartum care. Therefore, we received a much smaller refund. Knowing that we paid all of that money out of pocket and were still receiving bills, I felt like a financial burden. If I had just been “normal” and began my pregnancy with the hospital, we wouldn’t have spent more money than necessary. I felt so much guilt because I was basically the reason we spent so much extra money.
But then came the guilt of all guilts. Here I was holding a tiny little baby–“the miracle of life,” as they say–and yet, I felt so much guilt. We were lucky. Blessed. We conceived on our first try. I should have been thrilled, but instead guilt swept in like a thief in the night. All I could think about were the people I knew that so desperately wanted a little baby of their own in their arms.
It didn’t seem fair that people I knew who were absolutely great with children and basically born to become a mother had not yet been given that title. I’m aware that there are other ways to become a mother and I’m cheering for those friends no matter how they choose to define motherhood.
I constantly battled with whether I should share photos and videos of Eleanor. Would this make them sad? Jealous? Mad? Would my season of motherhood make them feel less than? I love my friends & I didn’t want my joy to overshadow their sufferings.
I think another hard part about everything was feeling like I couldn’t talk about my birth in a way that was negative. While I’m completely grateful for a healthy baby, there’s just something about planning a home birth and finding yourself on an operating table 3 weeks before your due date. We knew a C-section was very plausible, considering Eleanor was breech. However, I expected at least another two weeks to have time to tour the hospital, pack a decent hospital bag, purchase a “going home” outfit, and come to terms with a cesarean.
My water had broke early–it was actually a tear so I leaked fluid periodically. My midwives ran some tests and believed it wasn’t amniotic fluid so I went on with my days. Two days later, they tried manually flipping Eleanor with no success. As a precaution, we were sent to the radiologist. Eleanor wasn’t showing any signs of movement and so that’s when we were told to check-in at the hospital. I put random things in a bag to take to the hospital. I didn’t have time to google what you should pack, so it was all very chaotic. The next several hours went very fast. Once the hospital actually confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid, I was rushed off to the operating room.
I think the emotions I felt after the emergency c-section are fairly common for women in my situation. We had taken all of these birthing classes, I read books, we had everything ready in our home to have a homebirth. Yet, there I was being cut open. I didn’t experience any labor. I didn’t have that, “wow, I did it” feeling. Instead, I was bawling my eyes out while my baby was being taken from my body and old men were talking about Ricky Martin. I didn’t even see my daughter for several minutes after she was born. It wasn’t the serene environment I had visioned nor did I feel like I had just become a mother.
My emotions were a mess for quite some time as I was dealing with all of these different types of guilt. The worst feeling was just thinking I couldn’t voice all of my struggles because I had the blessing of a child. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so selfish. While I realize my story probably isn’t as traumatic as others, it’s my story. Today, I’m grateful for a loving husband who was there for all of my tear-filled nights. I’m grateful for a healthy daughter who makes me laugh until my belly hurts. I can finally say I accept my story for what it is & no matter how big or small you think your story may be, it matters, too. There’s no reason to feel shame in the feelings that overwhelm you. Us women need to be there for each other in any circumstance.