I’m a planner. I was so surprised to find out I was pregnant with my second child when my oldest was 10 months old, my head was spinning. My husband was finishing up a teaching degree and was on the job search, so another baby wasn’t in the plans yet. This pregnancy brought out all the feels in me. I was thrilled to be having another child. At age 35, I had a fair amount of anxiety about my pregnancy. I work as a pediatric physical therapist, so throughout my pregnancy, I would mark my weeks not by the size of vegetable my baby was, but by the premature child I had worked with at some point in my career.
When my doctor suggested I be scheduled for induction, my beloved planner instincts rejoiced! I had a successful induction with my first son at 39 weeks and was thrilled to give birth this time in the same way. However, at 35 weeks I was placed on modified bed rest due to frequent contractions. At 37 weeks and 5 days, at 1:00 a.m., I felt something happening that woke me up out of a deep sleep. I rushed to the bathroom as I thought my water was breaking. When I arrived in the bathroom, I realized it wasn’t my water breaking – my placenta had ruptured. I yelled for my husband to grab everything for the hospital as I called my sister to make the short drive to stay with our 18 month-old son. I tried to remain calm as we gathered ourselves to make the 20 minute drive to the hospital.
I privately wondered if I was going to be planning my son’s funeral instead of hearing his first cry.
My sister called the hospital and warned them we were coming. We made our way to the front desk and hurriedly signed paperwork. The first few minutes in the delivery room were a blur. The nurses quickly established IV’s in both of my arms and my baby’s heart rate was monitored closely. I’m still a little foggy on some of the details that took place during parts of my labor. I remember feeling intense pain that the epidural didn’t touch and begging the medical staff to get my baby out of me safely. After he was born, I couldn’t wait to hear his first cries. They were strong and beautiful.
My son was assessed and given to me to do skin to skin. A few hours earlier, I was at home sleeping and now I was holding my son in my arms. I never wanted to put him down and was reluctant to let anyone hold him. In my mind, I had lost him for a few hours due to the abruption.
In that moment, a brand new overprotective, extremely anxious mother was born. It didn’t matter that I had 12 years experience working with babies, and had a baby 18 months prior – I felt the need to watch him like a hawk. He sniffled, I ran to him to suck up all the snot with the Nose Frieda. He spit up, I called the doctor for reflux medication. He looked a little cross-eyed, I made an appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist.
My fears that the other shoe would drop didn’t lessen when he became a toddler. I was convinced he had leukemia when in reality he got mono as a 2 year-old. I was quick to respond to every toddler incident, and last summer we made 3 Emergency Room visits in a 2 month span.
I often ask myself, “When am I going to trust that he is OK?”
When I look at him, I immediately return to the moments before his birth. Though his birth was extremely traumatic, it was also miraculous. When I think through the experience, I have to remind myself that my pre-schooler is healthy. I have to retrain my thoughts to remember the miracles that occurred during his birth instead of the trauma. His birth was unpredictable. Everything about his existence has been that way. He has continued to surprise me.
Everyday he calls me his beautiful girl. Everyday he tells me that he loves me. Everyday he asks for just one more hug. I’m reclaiming the day of his birth as the day that our beautiful relationship was born. Instead of an extremely anxious mom, I’m choosing to be the loving and attentive mom. Instead of rushing to the worst case scenario, I’m choosing to trust that he will continue to overcome any obstacle that he encounters.
He’s happy and safe. He’s loved beyond measure. He’s resilient.