What To Expect: Birth, Baby & Postpartum Recovery


You can plan and have plan A, B, and C and you may end up with none of those. We thought that some people just don’t plan and we were going to be careful, we would be responsible and plan way in advance. Well let me tell you, there is no such thing when it comes to a delivery and everything working out as planned.


We had decided on a vaginal birth even stressed it to my doctor so that she understood, no c-section here unless it was necessary. That was the plan, I envisioned it, hubby believed it to be and the doctor did everything to make that happen.

Long story short, our baby was a week late. They wanted to induce, I said no. There were worries about our baby, several ultrasounds later and we began to panic. The last thing was getting a special ultrasound to find out the size of the baby and we found out he was not so tiny. A c-section was agreed upon due to his size. I did not want to endure horrible pain, require to have my lady parts put back together or risk the health of my baby or my own. A c-section was being scheduled for later that week, the baby had other plans. That same day contraction began with no real warning. Back to back with very little time between. An emergency c-section was needed. More on that later.



Since this was not the plan we pretty much addressed the situation as we went. We had discussed the possibility of a c-section, but never an emergency one or one where hubby would be panicked out of his mind thinking something was happening to his wife and child. I didn’t go completely under so he could be in the room. But I might as well have been, I was so out of it and shaking, I thought I was having a seizure. Later the hubby would admit he was worried about me.

Our little one, which is just sweet words, was born on the bigger side. Meaning when people said I was all baby, it was literal. As with preemies, large babies also have risks and they are rushed to NICU. I was only able to capture a glimpse of my newborn and he was taken away. Hubby was by his side though as we had discussed prior during our planning sessions. I just remember hearing his first cry and being filled with love, just like that I became a mother.

Since we didn’t think or even imagine this could happen I had no idea that I wouldn’t be with my baby. I wish somehow we would have known this so that we could have been prepared.



To me the surgery happened in a blink of an eye, maybe it was because my mind kept wanting to shut off. I remember the anesthesiologist rubbing my head several times to wake me up. I’m assuming these are side effects of the epidural, which I couldn’t be without.

Then I was whisked away to the recovery ward, where I barely remember being in. I just remember the hubby coming in to give me information about our little one and his recovery. Off to la la land I went. I would open my eyes and it was him or a nurse telling me something. I thought it was a continuous thing and later hubby would tell me that I kept falling asleep.


I would be taken to my room, which I thought happened rather quickly, I don’t know anymore. I was basing everything on the fact I had yet to see my baby, so I assumed only a short time had passed since the surgery. In my room, I was stressed to start pumping, so that my baby could get milk in NICU. That was the most I could make myself do, it was for my baby, yet unsuccessful. I was being pressed on, touched and my incision had to be examined several times. All this while I was in and out. Never did I imagine that I would be that out of it that I couldn’t react, get up, that I would be that numb from the drugs or slap myself to get better.

The next morning, I just remember finally getting up with the help of a nurse, and I finally snapped into reality. I kept asking about my baby. So my baby was brought to me shortly after. With the NICU babies, there is a procedure, he had to show signs he was better before being taken to the nursery. I think once they brought him to me, I pushed through to get better that much faster.


Like I said once my baby was brought to me, I pushed through. I walked, got out of bed often, went to the bathroom with no help, showered on my own, in pain of course but I pushed through. I wanted to bond and be there for my baby. The hardest part of recovery was getting off of the epidural because you feel it all at once. The key is to push through and move. We came home on a Thursday night, by that weekend I was up and about on my own and not taking my pain meds on a regular basis.

I knew I wasn’t going to rest at the hospital. There are so many people coming in and out of the room. Of course your nurses, your doctor, then the baby nurses, then the million and one lactation specialists and let’s not forget the pediatricians. But that is a story for another day. Home is where I wanted to be and I told my doctor so. I felt so much better physically and emotionally when I was in my home, my bed and trying to learn all things baby and focusing on getting myself better.


I know that all this was something we could not have planned for, yet I wish we would have thought of worst case scenarios. Why? Because I would have planned better. I tell my husband now that he should have made me wake up, snap me out of it, get me out of bed to be right next to my baby in that NICU room with him. I might have endured more pain and only stayed with the epidural, rather than the other drugs I had in me. I know they were all for the pain I was in but I don’t like that I was not in control of myself. I had looked forward to the golden hour or bonding time that they discuss with you what happens after you give birth. Of course, ours didn’t happen until much later. I’m doing a lot of making up with my precious one.

Don’t forget that every single pregnancy is different, every delivery is different and all experiences are different. A c-section is not all those horrible things I was told that terrified me. There was a pain but not the scary pain I had imagined. We women are tough, nothing that we can’t handle.



Leslie M. Guzmán is a Guatemalan artist best known for her creative explorations of world cultures. Her works capture the untold stories of people, objects and the places from which they come.


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