It’s not easy for me to share personal things. I have a hard time finding the words. Having ADHD is like having a storm in your head sometimes. Certain topics seem to trigger those storms for me. Sharing personal stuff seems to do just that. Have you ever been in one of the wind machines? Imagine details are swirling around you and you grasp at one thing after another. You can grab bits and pieces but as a whole, the story escapes you.
I am going to try my best to describe one of the most amazing moments in my life to you. Some of the details shared may be a bit personal, because this is the story of the birth of my second child, Elijah Allen Barton.
Grayson’s Birth Story Let me start by telling you a bit about Grayson’s birth. I was in labor for 26 hours. Roughly 24 of those hours was without pain medication of any sort. But as Grayson’s arrival got closer a huge turn happened, he got stuck in the birth canal and I frantically begged for help with the pain. I gratefully and tearfully accepted an epidural. For a while I beat myself up over this because it wasn’t part of the birth plan. (Ladies, make a birth plan, but be willing to bend whenever needed. Real life is messy and adaptation is crucial.) I remember fading into a dark place with the people talking around me being the only thing keeping me connected to this world. In that moment, I truly believed I was dying. So after 26 hours of labor, my first son was born via an emergency c-section. He was perfectly healthy and the most amazing thing I had seen in my life.
But the c-section made me feel broken. I struggled tremendously with PPD. It’s hard to explain, but I felt that I was less of a woman for not being able to deliver him naturally. (I know there is no truth to how I felt, but at the time I believed I was worthless.) Let me take this chance to say that if you are struggling with PPD, talk to someone about it. It’s hard to talk about, so email me anonymously if you need to. Please don’t let this take you from your loved ones. At one point, I was convinced that Cody and Grayson would be better off without me.
Feeling broken and terrified from the traumatic birth, I was set on not having any more children through me being pregnant. (I always have and still adore the thought of adoption. One day I pray God sees fit to put me in a position to give someone a loving home and stable family.)
B u t t h e n G o d . . .
Surprise I wish I could tell you that I celebrated. That I jumped for joy with the news. But the truth is… I was horrified and distraught. No not at the thought of having another beautiful baby in my arms. I wanted more children, but I did not want to be pregnant again. When the blue line showed up the first thing that popped into my head was that I would not survive another birth. Being paralyzed with fear, my sister came over to help comfort me. Her and Cody were so excited. They could tell I was scared but I doubt they knew to what extent. I couldn’t see my future past the new ones birth. In my head, the new baby would come home without me and Grayson would have to live without me. I realize this belief was fueled by trauma and fear, but guess what “FEAR IS A LIAR.”
Eli’s Birth Story We arrived at the hospital on August 10th, a day before our scheduled c-section, to attempt an induced VBAC (this is via the birth canal after a previous c-section), which was a goal of mine from the moment I found out I was pregnant. Remember I felt broken because I had been unsuccessful in a natural delivery of my first child. Actually if I am being transparent, I had been researching VBAC for a couple years because the thought of wanting more children had crossed my mind, but I couldn’t push past the fear.
There would be one more intense moment of panic before we started the induction. The fear of not going home to my Grayson overwhelmed me. My whole pregnancy I had dreaded not returning to him, and that morning I had given him what I thought was the last kiss I would give him on this earth. With help through strength from the Lord, the fear would slowly fade as I began to focus more on getting the new baby here safely.
Cue the Pitocin (evil stuff)… The dose was started out small and minor contractions started. The contractions grew as did the Pitocin dose. Cody held me through many painful contractions as we labored with our second child. We reached a point where I would again ask for an epidural, only this time I was much more kind to myself. This didn’t mean I was less of a woman. Birth is painful and I was anticipating needing another emergency c-section. The epidural was successful. Before I knew it I was at full dilation and it was time to push. My little sister/best friend stood at the ready to experience her 2nd nephew’s birth and to capture it.
Elijah Allen Barton was born via a successful VBAC at 3:10pm on August 10th. The OBGYN placed him on my chest (something I didn’t get to do with Grayson) and all of it was worth it. Eli is our surprise baby, but our family needed him, and he will probably never understand how he aided in my healing process. I no longer feel broken, and I now realize it was a lie the entire time.
. . . g a v e m e a b e a u t i f u l g i f t .
It took me a few months to write this because I wrestled with what to say. In the end, I wanted you to see the not so pretty side of things because I hope this can somehow help another woman.
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I am a Charlotte wedding photographer who appreciates telling your love story by creating pure and intentional images filled with emotion. I photograph engagement sessions, weddings, elopements, and more.