Happy Sunday. This week we get to meet Sam and her beautiful little bundle J. As with many of us Sam experienced early pregnancy losses that left her broken and hopeless in her journey to motherhood.
Settle in, grab your coffee and of cause your fav MUMMA Organic Knitted Blanket and join us as we walk you through Sam's story.
A lesson in letting go.
By Sam Eley
Getting pregnant seemed easy for us at first. We ‘tried’ for just two months before getting our first positive pregnancy test. Not long after that first positive, I would quickly learn the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy, and then another after that. We tried for seven more months, and got nothing but negative results over and over. When things seemed less than hopeful, we very suddenly lost our sweet dog, Beau. He and our cat, Ruby, were our only babies back then. It was a deeply sad time for Tanner and I, and I think that’s why a part of me will always believe that our son swooped in to rescue us from all of the heartbreak that we’d been facing. He has continued to be a shining light in our world since then.
I remember taking a pregnancy test on the morning of March 6th, and when the positive result finally appeared, I was hesitant to be excited. I’m sure that many mothers before me who have lost pregnancies can share in that sentiment. Losing a pregnancy takes away that first-time excitedness, and leaves a cloud of worry and doubt in its place. Over the passing days and weeks, and after having that first good-news scan, things became a little less ominous, a little less clouded. I was about five months along when I could finally feel myself leaning into joy, and allowing myself space to be excited for this next chapter.
Pregnancy truly was a rollercoaster for me... I read articles and books about natural labour, I used the pregnancy apps that tell you your baby’s size each week in the form of a vegetable.
Pregnancy truly was a rollercoaster for me. I struggled off and on with insomnia and acid reflux; now, couple that with working 12 hour shifts as a nurse. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement. But, through the fog of sleep deprivation and fiery hot burps, I was still so amazed and in awe of what my body was capable of. I gained a new respect and admiration for myself, which even extending past pregnancy, has led to a sense of confidence that I didn’t have before. I feel so grateful for my body’s ability to stretch and adjust to accommodate new life. Fast-forward to the last two months of pregnancy; I start to mentally prepare for the birth of baby J. As new moms, and mothers in general, I think we tend to set the bar extremely high for ourselves – sometimes at an unattainable level. I read articles and books about natural labour, I used the pregnancy apps that tell you your baby’s size each week in the form of a vegetable. And man, I was hell-bent on having an out-of-hospital, all-natural water birth at the midwives clinic. I was terrified of being induced – all I had ever heard about inductions were horror stories. I convinced myself that I didn’t want an epidural, I think I was trying to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. After all, my body was made to do this, right? I had all of these big plans, to the extent that I didn’t even want to consider alternative birthing plans. I was sure that because I was putting so much effort into the prep, everything would more-or-less go as planned. How could it not? I paid $600.00 dollars for a private online hypnobirthing class, so of course that’s what I would use to ensure that I followed through with a natural, drug-free birth. In my mind, that’s what I had to do to consider myself a ‘good mother’. Don’t worry, my naïve little bubble is about to get popped LOL.
Pregnancy Photoshoot by Powless and Co Photography
It was Sunday morning, I woke up and did my usual puttering around the house. I had started experiencing Braxton hicks off and on during the final weeks of my pregnancy, so when I started cramping that morning, it didn’t really phase me too much. I was sitting on my exercise ball, working on a mural in the nursery, and I noticed my belly feeling tight, but not in a painful way. This sensation was coming on for brief periods of about 10 or 15 seconds, maybe once an hour or so. I went about my day, and during one of many trips to the bathroom, that lovely mucous plug (that term still grosses me out) flung out during a wipe and landed right on the bathroom floor. Sorry for the visual, but just beware that it can happen LOL. Of course I’d read about the mucous plug, and I had also read that labour sometimes took days afterward to actually get going. Later that day, I was talking with my mom on the phone, and told her what was going on. She very confidently said “yeah, you’re going into labour”. In hindsight, I think I was in denial, because I completely shut that down and told her that it wasn’t labour, and not to get excited. About five minutes later, I get a text from my younger brother. “Mom says you’re in labour!”. I immediately texted him back to say that our mom was getting ahead of herself, and that I was NOT in labour. Spoiler alert, I was definitely in the early stages of labour.
That night, Tanner and I went to his moms house for dinner, and by that time, I was noticing that the cramping hadn’t really gone away over the course of the day. But, of course, it still wasn’t labour. It was just a bit of extra pressure, my muscles and joints were probably just tired. So we ate stroganoff (which, by the way, is a terrible meal to throw up during labour) and headed back home for a movie night. Around 6 or 7, I started timing the cramps that were ‘probably not labour’, and sure enough, they were routinely about 12 minutes apart. I texted my midwife to let her know, and within an hour, they were about 7 minutes apart.
I was still only at 8cm dilated, and felt that my labour was stalled... I think this is where fear really creeped up on me.
I don’t want to make it seem like the pain just stopped once he was out, because I was definitely sore, but the sense of calm after such prolonged intensity was pure bliss. Once I saw that little sweet face looking up at me, everything else just seemed to fade into the background. All of a sudden, it didn’t matter that I was in the hospital. It didn’t matter that I had to be induced, and I didn’t really give a crap that I opted for an epidural. All that matter was that our baby was here, and we were together as a family. J’s birth helped me come to the realization that my ability to be a good mother wasn’t defined by how I birthed, or how much I prepared. My decision to let go of my initial birth plan when things changed didn’t make me a better or worse mother. All that mattered was the amount of love I felt for this tiny little boy, and our new family. Through J’s birth, I was able to let go of the fear and worry that I wouldn’t be good enough, and the idea that these decisions would somehow determine my abilities to be a parent. To anyone reading this who might be questioning themselves, or holding themselves to an impossible standard, please know that there are a million ways to be a good mother, and none of those ways have anything to do with the way your baby decides to enter this world. We are the best mothers for our babies, and man, am I grateful that J chose me to be his.