The Journey of Motherhood Can Begin in Many Different Ways
By Ashley Schafer Karcher
I love to hear childbirth stories. I love how every story is different and unique.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought I had a good idea of what my son’s birth would be like. I felt sure I’d get an epidural and then would have an easy delivery after two, maybe three hours of labor. I filled my hospital bag with a monogrammed robe and slippers for me, and several outfits for the baby.
My water broke at 38 weeks and I was in labor for 12 painful hours. My son had the umbilical cord wrapped around his tiny neck and he was blue-ish in color. He was immediately scooped up by a nurse and whisked away without me even seeing him.
Two hours later, I was finally able to hold my firstborn, who was breathing on his own and crying loudly; he was healthy and strong. I proudly walked the halls in my monogrammed robe and slippers for the two nights I was in the hospital. The day we were discharged, I dressed my son in a fancy outfit and headed home to figure out how to care for a newborn baby.
Two years later, during my second pregnancy, I was placed on bedrest at 30 weeks. I was swollen and was having severe back pain. I was induced at 39 weeks and delivered a healthy and happy baby girl after four hours of labor.
Later, I easily walked the hospital halls in my monogrammed robe and slippers.
The day we were discharged, the newborn gown did not fit my 10-pound baby, so I dressed her in a gown from the hospital gift shop. We headed home to figure out how to care for a newborn baby and an active two-year-old.
Twenty-eight months after my daughter was born, I sat in my OBGYN’s office. I was 32-weeks pregnant with twin boys. My doctor told me that “Baby A” was lying breech and unless he turned, I would have to have a C-section.
At 38-weeks, I was in the operating room having a C-section because “Baby A” never turned. I remember suddenly having two babies placed on my chest, and being in awe of the quickness and pain-free ease of the C-section. Later that night I could barely move, however, and wondered if perhaps the doctor forgot to put my stomach muscles back in place.
I never wore my monogrammed robe or slippers, because dressing and moving were just too painful.
The day we were discharged, my mother dressed the baby boys in their “going home” outfits. She did it for me because I couldn’t bend over. We headed home to figure out how I’d care for two newborn babies, an active four-year-old, and an active two-year -old while barely being able to walk.
Childbirth is unpredictable and hard, yet beautiful. My three very different births were a preview of my four very different children.
It is all part of the unpredictable, yet beautiful journey that is motherhood.
Ashley Schafer Karcher lives in Ocean Springs with her husband and four children.