Carrying and giving birth to my first child was a beautiful disaster.
The beautiful was knowing that God entrusted me to care and house a growing baby. It's truly an amazing process - one that I'll be forever grateful for. It is the only time in life that I may ever be able to assist God in a miracle, and that alone is beautiful.
The disaster, however is something that most people don't want to discuss. Have you ever vomited, peed, and lactated on yourself all at the same time? I have. And that was my life for 10 months. It gave me a newfound respect for all women. It taught me a lot about myself and gave me a new perspective on the human body and how amazing it truly is. Pregnancy was everything but easy, yet still a beautiful disaster.
Throughout the entirety of pregnancy, my husband and I decided to keep the gender a surprise. Finally on Saturday May 21st at 5:50 pm, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy. Nothing about his arrival went the way I planned. In fact, the things I feared the most and prayed not to happen did happen. I received a Scripture to my phone that Friday morning that read, "Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." Little did I know the extent of how much I would suffer those next few days.
I planned an all natural water birth only to find that all the tubs were occupied and my plans had to drastically change. I was stabbed anywhere from 12-15 times for my I.V. and when they finally got the needle in, my vein was infiltrated. Worst of all, my midwife was busy so a nurse checked me for dilation. She told me I was at nine centimeters. I remember crying and thanking God thinking, "You can do this, Larissa. You got this." After celebrating this small victory, I learned that the nurse was terribly wrong. I wasn't dilated to nine centimeters. I was only at six. I have never felt more mentally and physically defeated as I did in that moment.
After 31 hours of natural labor, I was told that my body was too fatigued to continue. Even though my contractions were intense, they weren't progressing me anymore. Under the circumstances, I made a decision to take an epidural as well as Oxytocin to allow my body to rest and to speed up the process. I felt like such a failure. Nothing was going the way I had planned. Little did I know that I was in for another nine hours of a completely different pain.
After all the tears, exhaustion, throwing up during contractions, feelings of failure and defeat, passing out, and 40 hours of labor, I got to meet my biggest blessing. My big, baby boy, Malakai Josiah Reynolds, weighing in at nine pounds three ounces and 20 inches long. I've never seen anything so beautiful. He made every second of pain worth it. I thought I knew what love was until I met him. I have to thank my husband, Nate, for giving me the greatest gift of all. Every time I look at our son, I’m reminded of what true love is. God has given me an incomprehensible joy. To my son, you'll never live one day questioning if you are loved. My greatest purpose in life is making sure you discover yours. You were created for greatness, Kai, and some day you will change the world.
In addition to the expected recovery after having a nine pound three ounce baby naturally, I was fighting the problems that occur from suffering with stitches and "critically low" hemoglobin levels. I am currently four weeks postpartum and although the recovery process has been harder than I initially thought, I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I'm still not where I want to be, but I am getting stronger every day and look forward to returning to the gym soon both personally and professionally. Regardless of how hard pregnancy, labor, delivery, and now recovery has been, Malakai has been happy and healthy throughout it all, and that's all that really matters.