*TRIGGER WARNING*

Part Two:

My birth story with Boston compared to Bradon’s is night and day. I woke up in the middle of the night with cramping and some bleeding. Nothing that would cause much concern. My bleeding was addressed weeks before and some cramping is expected with a growing uterus, especially with scar tissue present from a prior C-section. Over a few hours, the cramping worsened as I tried to justify the normalcy behind it all. But I was unsuccessful. My husband reassured me that everything was probably fine but reminded me that I am the only one who knows my body. 

I immediately had a flashback to my illness with Bradon. Doctors were telling me I was fine but my body was telling me otherwise. I ignored my body until finally I gave into it and had no choice but to listen. So here I was, laboring for a few hours, knowing that something wasn’t right. So I trusted my body and went to the ER. 

On the way to the ER, I could feel the bleeding increase and I felt a pop. I thought to myself, I’m too late. I waited too long. Why? Why? Why? Something isn’t right. The contractions grew stronger but the baby looked fine on the sonogram. I couldn’t decide if I should be worried or not. Clearly, this was labor, but maybe it will stop, maybe they will stop it. But it didn’t and they wouldn’t this early in pregnancy. I was loosing too much blood, the contractions kept on coming with no sign of slowing down. They became stronger and closer together. I got to a point where the pain took over and that’s all I could think about. 

About 5 hours later they sent me to the OB floor. I’m thriving in pain looking for someone to help me. I changed my mind, I didn’t want a natural birth anymore. But my body had made up its mind. Still in too much pain to actually think about losing my baby, I beg for relief. I was denied and told I would only be given Tylenol. I screamed, I begged…and finally the only person that seemed to be trying to help, my nurse, gave me some pain medicine. It took the edge off for a bit but I wanted the pain gone.

My OB arrived around 1:30 PM and checked my dilation so she could try and figure out what my body was doing laboring at 18 weeks gestation. So early, too early. And sure enough I was dilating and it was confirmed my baby was coming. The news was unwelcome. However, my pain was much too great to be able to have emotions about such terrible news. The news that I’m having a baby that cannot survive outside my womb. 

I was then offered the epidural after 10 hours of labor. Finally, relief. Yes, please get me an epidural. This natural birth stuff is for the birds. I didn’t need to be strong anymore. For what? To prove what? My baby wasn’t going to survive. Thankfully, because I got the epidural, it gave my body a chance to relax and let the baby come quicker. Had I not, it would have just been a much longer, more traumatic experience than it already was going to be. So about 30 minutes later my angel Boston Christopher was born at 2:35 PM on March 17, 2018. 

No, he wasn’t born into heaven. His little heartbeat for 3 short minutes. I was scared but numb. I needed to hold him but he was so tiny, I was afraid. But the pain was finally gone and I could focus on what actually just happened and spend time with my now, deceased son.

My son whom I will never watch grow up. My son, whom I will never hold again, never comfort him, never hear his first cry. My heart is broken. 

I always thought I desired this natural birth, something I wanted so badly with Bradon but was unattainable. And there I was, had experienced what labor feels like not feeling like a superhero like some women may describe after birth. I felt quite the opposite. I felt broken. Maybe I would have felt differently if I was birthing a full term, healthy baby. Maybe if I had that big reward at the end of the road, I would have felt accomplished. 

Instead, I was left feeling angry and bitter. This wasn’t the birth I had imagined, and the pain was not productive, so to speak. My body betrayed me and let my baby come too soon to even have a fighting chance.

Someday I hope to have another child successfully. But I have no plans to return to a natural birth. It’s a place I don’t think I could return to. A place of such trauma. A place of such pain. A place of brokenness. Thankfully I have the ability to opt for a c-section with future births, and I fully intend to. That takes me back to place of comfort and bliss. It takes me back to feeling that relief and reward at the end. Your healthy baby. 

My birth experience was for him only, right where it always should stay. My birth with Boston was full of trauma and heartache. A place no mother should ever have to go. But I had no choice. My body gave me no choice. And it’s not a place I plan to return to and relive, even with a full term, healthy baby. 

So I end it with this… I don’t feel like a superhero. I don’t feel any different of a woman than I did before I experienced labor. I felt like I needed this experience in my life and I didn’t. What a hard lesson learned. But, it happened and my baby will always be loved and remembered as I am forced to walk this journey of grief for the rest of my existence. ”

Birth Story by Ashley Daugherty