There’s something special about birth stories. It connects moms in a way no one else can understand. Your birth story is unlike any other. Every birth is unique.
As I approach the birth of my third child, I can’t help but recollect my first two birth stories. My first boy, Charlie, came into the world right on time and with zero complications. 4 hours from start of labor until he was in my arms. My second boy, William, has quite the different story…
My sweet William’s birth story begins 2 months before he took his first breath. Looking back, it doesn’t seem real. The sequence of events is so clear in my memory yet so hard to understand.
I’m 7 months pregnant. Every second of this pregnancy has been a blessing. Just a year prior, I had lost our second baby. Now, our third baby, our rainbow baby, was growing and developing beautifully.
Then, the unimaginable happened. I took a hard fall at work. I instantly started having contractions. After rushing to OB triage, I sat on the monitors for 5 hours. Those 5 hours were the longest of my life. The contractions slowed until they stopped altogether. I was told I would be very sore, but that baby was just fine in there.
Relief doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
I spent the rest of October continuing to work while spending my evenings on the couch, resting. My body felt that fall in every muscle.
November came with a bang. And I mean a loud bang. As I was stretching on the floor to alleviate sciatic discomfort, I felt a pop, and I could no longer move. My husband helped me off the floor, but with every step I felt as if my legs were going to give out on me.
After 24 hours of excruciating pain, the OB Triage nurse line sent us to the emergency room. After seeing specialists for a few hours in the ER, it was determined that I more than likely had a ruptured or a herniated disc. Being pregnant complicated things though. They were holding off on an MRI to keep baby free from unnecessary radiation, and surgery was out of the question. They decided to hospitalize me since I was a fall risk.
One ambulance ride to Methodist Hospital, and I was on the road to recovery. I met with neurologists, OB specialists and PT while hospitalized. We decided the best course of action would be to stop working, use a walker or a cane to get around, start physical therapy and rest.
Although the course of action we chose was best, it was the hardest news to hear. Stop working? I have 19 sick days saved up! How can we afford this?! Use a walker or a cane? We live in a split level home with our very active almost 3 year old! Physical therapy was the easy part. I went 1 hour a day for November and December where they worked and worked until I could actually walk without a walker or cane. But resting was nearly impossible. It was the Christmas season, I had nothing ready for baby, and my classroom needed me.
December was much like November. PT and rest. PT and rest…
December 15th was like every other day prior to it. I did my PT exercises, I drove Charlie to daycare, and then I went about resting. This day, I was resting at my mother in laws house while she taught me to make lefse. I’d always wanted to learn this lovely Norwegian art. Throughout the day, I felt “off”. I can’t quite explain it.
That night, right as I drifted off to sleep, I felt and almost heard a “ping”. Then the water gushed…clearly, my water broke! I was 36 weeks 6 days along.
I frantically called my mom to come watch Charlie, and then Tony and I rushed around the house grabbing everything we needed. By midnight, we were in OB triage where they confirmed what we suspected. Baby was on his way!
Now if you remember, I have been tirelessly going to PT every day for weeks. I had seen some great improvement in my back, but I was far from healed completely. As labor began, it became increasingly clear that delivering this baby vaginally was going to have some clear consequences for my body. We just weren’t sure if my back would be able to withstand that kind of trauma.
At 5:32am, we made the call. To the OR I went. This baby was coming into the world via cesarean. This didn’t break my heart as I thought it may have. I just wanted my baby healthy and my body in tact. However, I have spinal fusion from having severe scoliosis. A spinal was impossible. So, general anesthesia was the only option.
William entered the world at 5:34am. There were no cries. There were no happy tears from the mom. The dad was unable to be in the OR. The nurses immediately took William and began their magic work.
About an hour later, I was half awake holding my very sleepy little boy. My husband was next to me updating our families on the morning’s events. Then, the tears flowed. I just missed the birth of our son. My husband missed the birth of our son.
William was healthy. My back was in tact. That’s what mattered. But it still stung. Every piece of that delivery stung down deep in my core. I know we made the right decision, but it doesn’t make it any easier. My husband was allowed into the OR minutes after William’s birth, and he began documenting with our camera. I couldn’t get myself to look at these pictures until William was 3 months old. When I finally allowed myself to see them, the wounds opened again. Raw sadness overcame me.
Does William’s birth story make me any less of a mom? Of course not. We all became moms in our own unique way. Maybe we are sad about how it came about, maybe we’re angry, maybe we’re happy…but in the end, we are moms. That’s what matters.