10 years

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Ten years ago today it was a hot day, the sun was bright. My family was outside lounging in the summer weather, I was pulling up weeds in the flower beds. My pregnancy had been surprisingly easy to this point. I was 32 weeks doing my typical regiment of medications and prayer. Noah was 1.5 years old living the typical two-parent suburban life with a smile.

I stood up from pulling a weed and blood began to pour out of me. I made my way into the bathroom, dizzy. Frantic that I was loosing my baby, my husband called for an ambulance. I was bracing the walls, startling the toilet, my body felt like it was one large cramp and I everything was coming out of me at once. I fell to the floor, sure that my baby was gone. I pulled the roll of toilet paper off to wipe my tears. I couldn’t stand to think that I had lost another son. It was unbearable.

Moments passed until the ambulance arrived. My bleeding had slowed down slightly. By the time I got to the hospital it was almost completely stopped. I was explaining to the triage doctor that I had lost ALOT of blood. When I say ALOT, I’m talking a Super Sip from Speedway. They checked the baby, he was still going strong, I wasn’t. We got settled into a room, they were going to keep me the night for observation. Then it started again.

The doctor looked at me and said, “We’re taking your baby out, now.” The memories after that are very sparse. I was being wheeled to the ER. I had tubes, masks and a feeling of nausea. Was my son going to die? Was I?


I woke up. No one was around, the nurse popped into my site. She explained my emergency c-section and that my son was down the hall in the ICU. They crudely stitched me up.

It was over a day before I could see him. I called him TT (tiny toes) before we decided on a name. He weighed five pounds and had the smallest fingers and toes I had ever seen. He actually had the smallest everything. He was on oxygen and on a feeding tube for about a week. They were monitoring his heart rate. He had some problems breathing. He was too early.

Eight weeks before he was due my body failed to carry him longer and his time was cut short. June 9th is his new birthday.

It was a very disconnected birth experience. It was days after he was born before I got to hold him and when I did I was afraid that I was going to do something wrong. I tried to pump my milk, I tried to feel happy that he was here, I tried to love but found that the fear was in the way. I wish it could have been something else for him. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember, the memories are my own. He spent three weeks in the hospital. Much of the three weeks was a blur, filled with stress and anxiety.

This type of birth gave me no time to adjust to the new person. It’s survival and we did.

Today Braeden is 10 years old. I wish I had a better birth story to share with him. I wish I remembered when he was delivered. Celebrating him today means so much more than I could have thought. He reminds me everyday that human life is hard, that we have to fight our way through the world all the while trying to take in the moments to keep us going.

He’s taught me so much about love, acceptance and patience. He’s given me the space to accept that we are all different and that should be treasured. When he reaches out to scratch my back or gives me kisses, I’m reminded how fortunate we are to be here right now with each other. I would do it all again.

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Yesterday we had a swim party for B with some of his friends. We’re fortunate to have such a great group of friends to celebrate with.

Daniel (the creepy looking guy in the background) has raised B with me for the past ten years (You do that math:). B adores him and so do I. He’s a great father and friend.

There you have it, one of my birth stories. There are many memories that fill the gaps, treasured times that I hold close. I’m really f$*&ing lucky.

(Yes, I’m going to end my birthday post cursing, that’s how we roll around here.)

2/5

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I was traveling at about 80 mph on the 275 loop that runs around Cincinnati when suddenly I notice a Saturn sedan swerving between lanes, then braking, then pulled over. I saw the car in my rearview mirror on the side of the road and decide I’m clear and continue on to work. Suddenly I’m slammed into on my rear passenger side, my car does a few 360s and stops in the middle of this 3 lane highway. Stunned, I manage to stumble out of my car, people run up to my car asking me if I’m okay. A guy points out that the driver spun off the road and is resting in a ditch. He took her keys because she was trying to start the car.  After a moment, I grabbed my phone, my hands trembling I called my husband.

“I’m okay, I’m eight weeks pregnant.” I can’t recall but thought there was an ambulance, a conformation from the medics that I was in fact “going to be okay”. The police arrived, took the drunk driver into custody and I drove home.

It was a few days later, I was driving to work munching on my bagel when I felt the warm flow between my legs. I was in my rental car, reached between my legs to confirm it was blood. My hand was covered. I pulled over to the hotel on the corner. Parked and ran in. “I’m having a miscarriage, can you please call 911?” The young girl froze. “Where’s your restroom?” She points me down the hall.

I removed my clothes, sat on the toilet holding my abdomen, letting the blood flow. I felt death waiting for me, reaching out a hand for me. Moments later the knock on the door was the ambulance. I don’t recall how I managed to get to the ER of the local hospital. I don’t recall the calming words of the paramedics. Those memories are gone.

After a couple of hours of resting I woke. The nurse shortly came in and “checked” my stats. “You’re having a miscarriage.” She stated. “We gave you something for the pain, you’ll need to take these medicines for the next week, but you’ll be going home today.” I glanced at my husband. He sat helpless near the bed. I wanted him to tell me it was okay. I needed him to leave his logic behind and just love.

The nurses were able to collect a small group of cells. It was a boy, no identified genetic issues. We called him Jordan.

I was 21 years old and not sure what brought about my second failed attempt of motherhood. Was it the wreck? Was it vengeance for being a rebellious teenager? Had I sinned too often or not confessed my transgressions properly?

I’m sharing this story for all the women who have experienced miscarriage. I carry shame from these events. I carry doubt in myself. I was a lone. We have to process our fears. Don’t be afraid to talk.

1/5

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This post proved more difficult to compile that I had thought it would be. When I was of the rip age of 21 I was pregnant with my first child, Nicholas was his given name. Twenty weeks into the pregnancy I began to bleed and from the advice of the nursing staff of my OB/GYN I should remain on bed rest. After two weeks of spotting, one afternoon I began to feel pain low in my front abdomen. I suspected a UI. After the pain continued to increase we drove me to the ER. I heard that I was dilated beyond the point they could delay my delivery. I heard that I should push when I felt the need. I heard them all dutifully sighing and feeling bad for me.  This dark night, was the staging ground for many difficult years to follow. I delivered Nicholas, 15 ounces, he breathed for a moment before going limp, into my world of shame and fear.  

Over a decade has passed since I lay in that hospital full of guilt and shame. This birth made clear to me that I needed connection with women, it was the opening of myself to the mercy that we need to give each other. Nicholas has shown me, as all my children have, that women need each other. I need them. 

You may ask what about your mother? Do you have any sisters? At the time in my life when I needed a mother to show me love, she was lost only to herself where she remains and my sister is 10 years old. I want to be someone’s woman friend and support, I want to give them what I have never felt.