Birth Trauma Survivor and Maternal Health Advocate

"There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. There’s only us. There’s only this. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today." Jonathan Larson, Rent

There is no future, there is no past.

I live this moment as my last. There’s only us. There’s only this.

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss. No other road. No other way. No day but today.

I can’t control my destiny. I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be.

There’s only now, there’s only here. Give into love, or live in fear.

No other course, no other way.

“No Day But  Today”
― Jonathan Larson, Rent

 

I remember seeing the elevator doors open up into an area outside of the operating room.

Every vein in my arms had a tube attached to them. There were liquids flowing into my body because I had lost so much blood. They were preparing me for another transfusion.

A nurse I didn’t recognize was attempting to attach a needle for yet another IV. Even my veins were tired.  Even worse, she couldn’t get the needle into my arm. She jabbed and jabbed. Her incompetence was frustrating. My mother is a nurse and she is a damn good one. I bet she has never had a problem getting a needle into a patient’s arm.

Our relationship wasn’t perfect, but she is a near perfect nurse.  Incompetence was never an option for her. If she had seen this woman fail at several attempts to place a needle into my vein, she probably would have cussed her out. But, my mother wasn’t there. It was just me and Bobby. Bobby was angry watching the nurse do this to me. He had seen way too much. I had been through way too much. Enough was enough! It was just the beginning.

The nurse was still jabbing away at my veins when someone else brought paperwork for us to sign. I could barely hold up my right arm. My fingers were limp. Bobby read the paperwork out loud to me and we both signed my life away.

Bobby was not allowed in the operating room and so we had to part ways in the hallway. I don’t like goodbyes. I have had to say goodbye too often to too many people and to too many things I have loved.  Bobby hugged me and held my hand. I tried to not let my mind go there, but I wondered if it would be the last time I would see his big brown eyes and long eye lashes. I memorized his entire being in my mind, a final portrait to carry with me on the next leg of this journey. I told him I would see him later.

We never said goodbye, just “See you soon.”

I watched him get back in the elevator. He tried to hide his fear with an encouraging smile, but as the doors closed I saw him looking downward.

The operating room was ice cold and all white–my favorite color. Dr. Richmond  and Dr. B were in there ordering people around. Nurse JoAnna was there too. She was working over time.

“I don’t want to leave you. I am going to stay with you as long as I can.” she said.

I was stripped down to my birthday suit for the world to see. I was on display. I thought about the bad wax job, the pedicure and how my life had suddenly turned into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I saw people gathered in a room, some in scrubs, some in suits. All of them watching from behind a long glass window. All eyes on me.  I was the talk of the hospital. What a story! Woman comes in to give birth and after twenty-seven hours of labor, she had a healthy baby girl who weighs seven pounds and eleven ounces, and twenty-two inches in length.  Woman then starts hemorrhaging and needs emergency surgery during which, she might die.

I was given another blood transfusion and I don’t remember how many cc’s of Demerol and a local anesthesia on my nether regions.

Dr. Richmond explained to me that he would need me to be awake for the entire surgery. Awesome. He will need me to let him know when I feel any pain or discomfort. He will need me to tell him when I feel like I am going to vomit again or feel weak.

I felt all of those things and the surgery hadn’t even begun.

I looked up and there was a monitor overhead. On it, I could see Dr. Richmond’s hands working inside of my body. God, please bless his hands today. I could see him cutting, plugging, stitching, sewing and trying to save my insides.  Every now and then he would ask me if I could feel something. The only thing I felt was anger that I was laying here naked–away from Bobby and Miss J. Angry that I was laying there fighting to stay alive. Angry that I was dependent on all of those strangers.

I looked at my arm and it was covered in white. I still had vernix, the thick white substance that babies are covered in when they are born, all over my left hand and arm from holding Miss J. I stared at it. Tears began to flow from my eyes. She was with me. We were still connected. I was not alone.  Hang in there mommy, you can do it.

I had hit rock bottom.

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