Birth Trauma Survivor and Maternal Health Advocate

"I begin to love this creature, and to anticipate her birth as a fresh twist to a knot, which I do not wish to untie." -Mary Wollstonecraft

My water broke at 12:30pm on April 18th, 2010. The night before, I had the best sleep I have ever had in my entire life. It was deep and peaceful, the kind of sleep that while you are sleeping you are somehow aware of how great of a sleep you are having. I slept until ten o’clock in the morning, later than I had in months. Little did I know at the time that I would never sleep like that again. When I woke up,  I felt so refreshed. Some of Bobby’s family came over to visit us that morning. My stomach had been twisting in painful knots every thirty minutes or so throughout the morning, but I assumed it was Braxton-Hicks. I ignored the pain and enjoyed the quality time with family members we rarely get to see. A little while after they left I had to pee really bad. And then I had to pee again. And again. I wasn’t too alarmed at the time because towards the end of pregnancy I often had to pee several times within a few minutes. Something seemed different so I yelled for Bobby to come into the bathroom. He inspected the fluid (remember, he is an expert) and said that it wasn’t pee.  My water had broken! Holy shit! It was time! I called Dr.B. The contractions were far apart but since my water had broken he told me to go to the hospital.

Our hospital bag, a gigantic suitcase, had been packed and in our car trunk for weeks. I had everything in there from disposable panties and long overnight maxi pads to ginger ale and tennis balls. But before we left, I put on more makeup–I couldn’t leave the house without my face on. I even had the nerve to throw on a few fake eyelashes. Bobby packed some fruit and made two chicken salad sandwiches for us to eat in the car on the way.  He also grabbled a large bath towel to put beneath me in the passenger seat. We had just bought a new car and he was worried that he would have to Google “how to clean amniotic fluid out of car seat fabric”.

There was an odd calmness in the air. There was no running around like two chickens with their  heads cut off like you see on TV. The reality began to sink in. I was excited and scared. This was really happening. No more Braxton-Hicks, no more false alarms. After months of preparations, studying and tests, my graduation day had come. Holy crap, I needed a minute to gather my thoughts.

I went in the bedroom alone and said a prayer:

Dear God,

I have a confession, but you probably already know what it is since you know everything. Anyway, I am scared. As you know, I like to have control over everything and I usually do (or at least I think I do). But, right now, I am scared because I know have no control over this situation. All I can ask is that you help me stay positive and give me the strength to endure this task. You have guided me through some tough days. This day is a happy one for me, but I am afraid of the unknown and of the pain. I am definitely getting an epidural. Please don’t let the anesthesiologist fuck it up. Please give me courage. I need you now more than ever. I have loved and protected this child from the moment she was conceived. I have never loved anyone more than I love this child. I have done everything I can to ensure her safety in my womb. It is hard to imagine her leaving the safety and comfort of living inside of me. I have complained about the weight and not sleeping and sore limbs, but now I cannot imagine living without all of those things. This is my “normal” What will my new “normal” be?

 

Bobby and I took one last walk around the apartment to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything. I went into the lavender- and white-themed nursery, which used to be our walk-in closet, and looked around. The crib mattress had clean soft white sheets and a pink baby blanket was draped across the railing. I opened the white armoire and ran my fingers through the brand new baby clothes.  I had washed almost everything, but a few items still had tags. I lingered in the nursery looking at all of the things we had accumulated for Miss J during the last nine months. So many great memories we had and so many more to be made.

A sharp pain shoot through my body, ruining my moment of nostalgia. It was time to go.

 

We are leaving as two and coming back as three.

 


 

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