My birth story is a series of images with no sound. I remember staring at the face of co-workers, but not remembering their names or really what was happening. I experienced a seizure and fell off my chair resulting in shoulder and hip injuries that took almost five years to heal. The ride to the emergency department was like being adrift in the ocean, being jerked back and forth, or feeling as if I was in free fall. My blood pressure was so elevated the EMTs stayed with me in the Emergency Department until they felt I was properly triaged.
As I was examined in the ED, I lost my ability to see properly, but was able to understand some of what I was hearing. I was having a ‘girl’, something we were waiting to learn and she needed to be delivered. It’s too soon. I knew it was too soon and the choice was simply not mine to make.
My recovery from an emergency c-section and treatment for eclampsia was somewhat funny. Whenever I opened my eyes, everything was distorted and colored blue. Everyone looked like a Smurf. After years of working in the behavioral health field, I knew revealing this information would place a label on me. I was too afraid to say anything, so I responded very little and hoped at some point I would make sense of what was happening. Every once in a while a nurse would come in and congratulate me, pointing to the picture by my head. I was able to remember more often that this was our daughter. If I looked close enough I could pick out the parts of her body. She must be okay if I had a picture, right?
She was okay, I was not. In order to get better, our nurse and my wife advocated for me to visit Sage in the NICU. That was the name we picked and I was a little surprised that I missed officially naming her. What if I changed my mind? She looked like a baby bird, pink and wrinkled. If I looked close enough I could see she was breathing. When they let me hold her I could barely make out her features and I held my breath. She was tiny and I may have even said that to her. As soon as she heard my voice, she lifted her head up to stare at me. Oh my God!
That was the moment I felt the connection to the birth of my daughter. Up until that moment it was about waiting and hoping that she would be okay. It was the forward momentum I needed to start pumping, and simply let people know what I needed to get well.
Happy Birthday…Birthday Girl. I may not have spent the first one with you, but I have enjoyed every single day since!