I Gave Birth, And Found A Woman I Didn’t Know Existed

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“My last shower. Every next part of your life will demand a different you. A pivotal moment of change is usually shaped by some sort of awakening, trauma, loss, gain, or deeply rooted emotion. For me, this was that moment. My ‘next you’ moment. My ‘next part of life I didn’t know of before’ moment. Something we do every single day – a shower. That was my ‘different you’ moment.

Postpartum mom takes a photo of her last shower after giving birth to her last child
Courtesy of Veronica Hoover

I stepped into that shower exhausted, bloody, cut open (literally and figuratively), and weak. I stood there holding onto the support bars, letting the scalding hot water run over me. The shower head is too low, the water pressure is terrible, the shampoo I was provided is for a baby, and it hasn’t been updated in 100 years, but I am eternally and forever grateful for this hospital shower. I let it wash the trauma away from the last 4 days. I let it ground me to where I am in my journey as a mother and as a woman. I stayed there until I was pruny and red, hardly able to hold myself up but doing it anyway to regain my strength.

I came into the hospital on July 23rd, thinking I’d be induced and shortly later deliver naturally and easily like I did with my other 2 kids. I expected to be in and out and to soon be home with my little fam. What I didn’t take into account is I was severely preeclamptic and my body and baby was not ready to deliver. After 2 very very long days of a Pitocin drip and incredibly painful contractions, my body wasn’t making the changes it needed to in order to birth my son. This alone was emotionally frustrating after being in labor so long.

I was then taken for an urgent C-section. Something millions of women have done before me and something millions of women will do after me. Still scary nonetheless. You have all of 10 minutes to mentally prepare for this and to take in all the information the medical team is telling you as they put on your compression socks, throw your husband a sanitary uniform to put on, and wheel you over to the OR. But, it must be done. So, you sign away on the consents and next thing you know, you are being sliced open to get your baby out of utero. Terrifying yet exciting because FINALLY – every moment for the last 9 months has been leading up to this.

Woman battling preeclampsia looks at her newborn baby after an emergency C-section
Courtesy of Veronica Hoover

The following day was the worst day. A magnesium drip, spinal headache, narcotics being pumped into me, struggling to breastfeed my baby, blood clots coming out of my nose, my blood pressure trying to be stabilized and loads of swelling to get rid of – I was emotionally spent. I’ll spare you all the gory details of all the in-between stuff but let’s just say: it isn’t pretty and it doesn’t smell like peaches. I thank God for my nurses who were on that day because they not only took care of me physically but they cried with me when I couldn’t hold it together. These are the nurses I will remember for life because of their kindness. And my sweet husband for never leaving my side and being there every single step of the way. And my support team waiting outside, taking care of my girls, and ready to support me when I get home. My home team.

Mom takes selfie while trying to breastfeed her newborn in the hospital
Courtesy of Veronica Hoover

But I woke up today determined to get better. To decide how I was going to handle the day in front of me rather than letting it handle me. This is a journey many have been on. But let’s not downplay it just because of that, okay? If you have been here – wow, I am so proud of you. You are so strong and you deserve to acknowledge what you went through without feeling weak for saying it.

Pregnancy. Labor and delivery. It doesn’t matter what you think you know… it doesn’t matter if you have done it before… it doesn’t matter if you have a plan. It will go the way it is supposed to go and no one has control of it except God. The pain is necessary to change our hearts. It isn’t to be feared! But to be celebrated because WOW, women are so strong. We were built intricately and threaded together so finely to withstand what we think we can’t! Just because it has been done before doesn’t make it any less hard. It is HARD, but what is important about that is what you choose what it will make out of you.

Mom snaps photo of her newborn baby sleeping on her chest after breastfeeding
Courtesy of Veronica Hoover

I never thought I could stand face to face with what I just stood face to face with in the last 4 days. It was emotionally taxing. But guess what? I did. But more importantly, I stood face to face with myself. I found a woman in there I didn’t know existed. Yes, I brought a beautiful new baby into the world and I love him beyond measure. But I also brought a new woman into the world and I am proud of her. I stepped into that shower a little tore down and hunched over, but I stepped out standing up right and stronger than ever – being held up by the strength of God and all the women before me – and that is so empowering.

I’m ready now. Ready for whoever this woman is in this new postpartum body, holding my last baby I’ll ever have. Whatever YOUR hard is that you are facing – I promise you’ll love the person that comes through the other side if you allow it.”

Mom takes photo of her newborn baby swaddled in a white blanket and wearing a green and white knit beanie
Courtesy of Veronica Hoover

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Veronica Hoover. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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