Friday, May 17, 2013

I Changed Five Years Ago. . .

I was heavily pregnant five years ago.  My son had inexplicably turned breech right at the very end of that text-book easy pregnancy.  My dream of natural, drug-free vaginal birth was in jeopardy and I was suddenly facing the possibility of a c-section.  Sure, plenty of women have had breech vaginal deliveries. . .but that wasn't what ended up happening with my delivery.

I can still remember the day that I was lying on the couch in the living room and my abdomen began to resemble that famously gross scene from the movie Alien.  I could not believe the movement that was going on inside my body.  It was creepy to watch, somewhat painful to feel, and I ended up feeling beat up on the inside.  At my next appointment, my doctor was startled to discover that my baby had found a way to turn breech.  His expression was one of pure shock and he spat out, "Is that your baby's head?!"  Why, yes, yes it was his head. . .suddenly lodged up near my breastbone.

My doctor attempted to turn the baby in his office.  I believe he truly tried to flip that baby and can say that it was very uncomfortable from a physical standpoint.  Being so very near the end of pregnancy and so full of baby in my belly. . .ugh, it really kinda sucked and I was so upset that the baby was not turning even with a grown man pushing full force on my abdomen.  I'd be 39-weeks on the weekend and he was scheduled at the hospital that Saturday so he told me to come to L & D so he could try to turn baby there.  The reasoning was that we could head directly to the OR for a c-section if anything truly distressing happened to the baby while he was attempting to flip the baby. 

On this night five years ago, I prayed fervent prayers.  I prayed for my baby to turn, for me to avoid a surgery, for all to work out according to my wishes.  Well. . .my baby did not turn, I did not avoid a surgery, but it ultimately did work out. 

My amniotic fluid was low enough at that point that attempting the version was not on the table.  My doctor said that he was there, I was there, I was at term, and the baby was breech.  He offered the c-section right then if I wanted it.  I burst out that I thought he'd flip my baby back down and I'd have a vaginal birth and that I thought my delivery would be what I wanted.  I realize now that he & my husband exchanged a look (confirmed by speaking with my husband) and I think both of them thought I knew I was walking into that hospital for a c-section that day. 

I did not know. 

I was so thrown for a loop that I actually left my shoes in that L & D room and walked off without ever finding them again.  It was many many hours before my surgery was actually performed.  Hours that I spent feeling uncomfortably hungry and thirsty.  Oh, man, I have NEVER felt so thirsty.  Starting the IV helped a little, but my mouth positively ached for liquid refreshment.

I was there for over eight hours. . .waiting for the surgery that I did not want. . .hoping that I could somehow avoid this (in my view) unnecessary surgery. . .praying that I could keep the baby in for one more week so that my mother could be near me. 

My in-laws were there nearly the entire time. . .I remember my mother-in-law sitting in that room with me, trying to keep my mind off my anxiety and fears, being a solid rock of support for me.  It's a kindness that I can never repay.

At some point I inquired if it wasn't time for my doctor to go home and if that meant I'd get to go on home too.  The L & D nurse was a treat, so very well suited to the job, and she let me know that if my doctor said he'd be there for my surgery that he absolutely would not be leaving until I was stable in recovery no matter how many more "emergency" c-sections showed up.  I still remember that nurse by name and she is one who I made sure to give a special gift to weeks later when I was up for returning to the hospital with my new babe.

I had never been admitted into a hospital prior to this birth.  I'd never had a major surgery.  I'd never delivered a baby.  To say I was anxious would be an understatement.  I was scared to death. 

It was a day of firsts.  It was a day that I held my heart - outside of my own body.  The first time that I was able to hold a child of mine.

The surgery was perfect and looking back it was as good as could be hoped for in a surgical delivery.  The recovery sucked and I didn't see my new baby for two hours as I desperately tried to move my legs enough while in recovery to be sent up to my room to be reunited with my baby.  There are only three or four post-op photos of me holding my first son while we were in the hospital.  One that painfully tugs at my heart is one where I was on the phone with my mother who was 3,000 miles away and I was crying while holding the phone and cradling my new baby for the first time.

So much has changed in these five years and I can say that it has flown by in the blink of an eye.  I can't believe that the baby who nuzzled at my awkward breast is now a five-year old who is on the cusp of Kindergarten.  I should have cherished those fleeting early baby days. . .those impossibly exhausting early baby days.  They will never return that that boy will only continue to grow and mature. 

What do I hope for my dear first son?  I hope that he keeps his kind and loving heart.  He is so sweet and empathetic.  I hope that his spirit is free when it can be, but that he learns when it's advisable to reign in his head-strong nature.  I hope that he remains a fundamentally good human being.  I hope that he finds a special someone who appreciates and admires him for who he is and that his spouse is a generously loving helper who isn't emotionally wounded.  I hope for the best for my dear boy. . .he's smart and can be so charming.  My darling son. . .I love that boy so much that words fail.

So much has changed in the last five years.  I earned a new title:  Mother.  I know there are times that I miserably fail, but I do aim to bring honor and respect to that title.  I became responsible for a human being who needs me to grow and thrive. . .who needs my guidance to learn how to thrive and succeed in society.  I really can not believe my son is now five years old.  It honestly does feel like it was only yesterday that I first held that beautiful baby with the dimpled chin.  Only yesterday that I put my nose in his hair and nearly wept over the joy of his smell.  Only yesterday that this newest chapter of my life began.  I was living before. . .but I was finally alive.

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