I recently carried my nephew as a surrogate, and about a month before my due date found out that he his size and positioning were less than ideal for a natural delivery. After consulting with my doctor, the parents, and doing countless hours of research, we decided that a scheduled c-section was the safest option for me and baby.
There is no such thing as an easy way to give birth, but at least I had a game plan going into it which gave me a huge sense of peace. With my twins, my water broke randomly six weeks early, I found out I had severe pre-eclampsia right before delivery, one flipped breech after her sister’s exit and was pulled out feet first, and I blacked out for hours after their birth. It was an exciting start to motherhood! This time around, the thought of avoiding that kind of shock was so welcome. I did as much research as I could, reading up on tips for recovery and learning the ins and outs of what to expect from my consultant, Dr. Google. I felt totally prepared walking into the hospital.
The one thing I had failed to prepare for, however, was that I would be completely out of control during recovery. I’ve been described as bossy for as long as I can remember – I probably came out of the womb barking out orders. What can I say? I know what I like! I’ve also suffered from some degree of anxiety for just as long, and in a sense, having things done my way or doing everything myself helps keep the anxious feelings at bay. I had wrapped myself up in preparing for the physical aspect of the process, but I hadn’t connected the dots that recovering from abdominal surgery meant that I wouldn’t be able to do anything besides sit down and let my connective tissues heal. With only three weeks before returning to work, that healing had to happen quickly.
That little forgotten detail meant I had to trust other people to do everything that I usually handle – which was a huge deal for me. For example, my husband looked at me like I had snakes growing from my head when I tried to walk him through the steps of how I wanted the laundry done. He disregarded all instructions and ended up just putting everything in the washer and dryer and pushing start; no setting the water to cold, pre-treating or air drying certain items, or anything of the sort. I about lost it. The stains on the kid’s clothes will get set in! The colors will all bleed and fade in the warm water! The clothes will SHRINK!!!
In the end, much of that did happen, but the world did not come to an end. Many things did not go my way, and it turns out, *gasp* that’s OKAY! The few times I tried to sneakily handle things myself and push too hard too quickly, I paid for dearly in terms of pain. It took having my stomach cut open and stitched up for me to learn to tame my inner control freak. I realized that other people are fully capable of taking care of things, and more than that, it was a big reminder of how fortunate I am to have people in my life willing to help and take care of said things. The whole experience was a humbling lesson learned that my way is not the only way. In the words of our favorite Ice Queen, I had to learn to “let it go!”