**This post contains trigger warnings related to infertility**
A miracle happened seven years ago, dear readers. No matter what happens, nobody can take away the miracle of science from which I benefited.
For those who don’t know, I was extremely sick as a young woman, for five years. I had to undergo some major abdominal surgeries as a result, which left me infertile due to scar tissue. After three extremely trying, expensive years, through the miracle of IVF, I had to post in my “Women over 35 Trying For First Baby” group. That post we all hated to see, that made us cry tears of pain but also happiness, as we all so loved each other and shared so much pain and loss. There was no elaboration. It was not necessary, and too painful:
It’s my turn to leave the group.
They knew why. Goodbyes were said but that was all that could be managed. I understood. I joined new groups. Women Expecting First Baby 40 or Older. Advanced Maternal Age Moms.
I gestated that baby like it was a Fabergé egg. No smoked meats for me, thanks. All the vitamins. Whatever the cravings. Ok I did allow feta, because I couldn’t believe my generations of Greek ancestors REALLY didn’t have any feta while pregnant. Considering how difficult getting pregnant had been, it was a remarkably easy pregnancy.
Then that morning, May 23, 2009. It was extremely sunny and hot. We drove to the hospital for my scheduled C-section, a requirement with my high-risk status, and I was relieved to find the anesthesiologist on duty was the guy I’d talked to during tour. We went over my allergies, worked out a code word. I wanted to watch, I said. They wouldn’t let me. I watch my own anal biopsy every year, I told them, for which I have no anesthesia; I can take it. No. The nurse, an angel, promised she’d keep me up to date every second. She’d be with me start to finish. She took my vitals, started the IV. Then time for the spinal. That’s when I got scared. A surgery veteran who has been gutted like a deer and I’m worried about a spinal? But I was suddenly terrified. She held my hand. “Squeeze as hard as you want,” she said. I remember digging her wedding rings into her hand and crying while trying to bend over my very pregnant belly, thinking, she told me as hard as I want, and I have to go hard if I’m not going to move.
Minutes later, splayed out like on the cross, arms outstretched and tied down on boards, my body being moved for me, a heavy, numb thing below the drape. It was so cold. You forget how cold ORs are when you haven’t been in one awhile. I told the nurse, she got me a blanket. I was going to throw up, and said the code word. Anesthesia responded, then I was better, the sick-sweat fading.
Shoving. Hard pulling. What’s happening? Then that screaming and crying. Ten minutes in. A loud, loud voice, like my own. I heard everything they were doing, taking him to the side of the room, muttering. I gave the code word. Anesthesia leaned close. “APGAR” I whispered, pulling out the term from Child Psych class from Kent State years before. “MOM WANTS TO KNOW THE APGAR !” he yelled. “NINE!” they yelled back, and I knew that it was ok to die now, and got to the business of it.
There was a lot of yelling about blood loss. My ex was handed the baby. I remember the nurses taking pictures and him holding the kid and him trying to show the baby to me and all I could think was take good care of him, he’s perfect.
The next thing I knew, I heard the doctors talking about which golf course was better, and I knew I was going to be ok. They don’t talk golf unless the pt is going to survive. They called in a resident to do a plastics closure, because I’m allergic to both steri strips and nickel (staples). It took a long time but I didn’t care.
My flower had pushed through the dirt, and made it to my life.
He turns seven May 23rd.
I still stand outside more often than I care to admit and stare at nature and think, wow, how did I leave that one club I was in to join this one? I know so many who don’t. I think of them sometimes. I will never lose my connection to how that felt. I won’t ever forget. I know I was lucky. I only had a 40% chance of success.
I remain extremely grateful to be where I am.
“Did I Ever Touch You On The Cheek
Say That You Were Mine, Thank You For The Smile,
Did I Ever Knock Upon Your Door
And Try To Get Inside?
If I Never Did It, I Was Only Waiting
For A Better Moment That Didn’t Come.
There Never Could Be A Better Moment
Than This One, This One.”