I sat there barely being able to move. My belly sat high on my rib cage, causing my breath to be short and stifled. I gazed intently at my legs, hoping they would move and walk towards the door, but they stayed there in a paralyzed state, in complete disobedience. I was home in our wooded condo, surrounded by trees and water bugs. I sat on our worn black futon barely able to move. I turned my head slowly towards the black, and white quartz clock stuck on our wooden living room wall which read 9: 00 am; I had thirty minutes to get to my appointment. My attention was brought down to my belly which made a sound evocative of Chewbacca screaming for his life. Distracted and ravenous I contemplated whether I should stop by McDonald’s or Burger King for “2nd breakfast”. My routine check-up drew near, and I knew I had to make my way to the nurse’s office.
I sat there at the nurse’s office, which was surprisingly warm and cozy for a medical facility. She hooked me up to various devices, checking the baby’s heart rate and observing my vital signs. She reminded me of an aunt of mines; jolly and slightly overweight with high-watered scrubs revealing her “kankels,” which looked eerily similar to my ankles at the time. She sat in her rolling chair, slowly removing a strange device from around my waist. She then uttered a strange phrase I will never forget, “you know you are having contractions, right?”
I shifted uncomfortably in the chair as I rubbed my sweaty hands together. A hesitant smile emerged on my face. I attempted to determine whether the nurse was joking or not. Was she serious? She couldn’t be, I was only seven months pregnant. She began to educate me on what was going on with my body. Unfortunately, I zoned out, disremembering nearly everything that was said. After I completed the appointment, I slowly emerged from the chair and went to my vehicle. I sat in my silver Jeep Cherokee and contemplated life. I was under the impression that this would be a routine checkup. I played back the words from the nurse, “You, my dear, have Toxemia! Your blood pressure is too high, and you’re retaining too much fluid in your body. Neither you nor the baby is getting enough nutrients, and the doctors will have to get the baby out as soon as possible.”
I later called my husband who, at the time, was at work driving a tractor-trailer. I informed him of what happened during the appointment and that I needed to go to the hospital immediately. There was complete silence. I knew his silence suggested he was more confused and frightened than I was. He slowly inhaled, then exhaled and with a warm calming tone he said “everything will be okay, we’ll get through this together. Call up your girl Cynthia and have her bring you to the hospital, I will meet you there. With a surge of renewed strength, I called my friend who immediately met me at my home, and helped me pack her car with my maternity items. I glanced at the black and white quartz clock, the time was now 12:30 pm. Off I go to the hospital.
How did I end up at the hospital preparing to have our baby two months early? I stared at my belly, wanting it to stay in its protruding form a little bit longer. It was too soon to see it disappear like a popped balloon. Other than my entire body being swollen like a pregnant walrus, I felt fine. I sat down in the waiting area, anticipating my meeting with the doctor. When he finally emerged, he read me the medical procedures, similar to a police officer reading me my rights. My palms were sweating, and my heart was pounding; this wasn’t the childbirth we had in mind.
Each moment began to flip before my eyes like I was a mere spectator into the world of a helpless and defeated young woman. I was brought to a cold medical room, stripped down to my most vulnerable parts, with a long sharp needle pushed into my spine. What are they getting ready to do? I was frightened but then realized there was a warm presence holding my hand; it was John, my partner, my husband who never left my side. John gave me a sweet glance and a tender smile which laid upon me like a warm silk blanket. I slowly and lightly touched my belly for the last time, never truly understanding the beauty of life until I felt its presence growing inside of me. It was now time to say goodbye to pregnancy and hello to motherhood.
I was transported to another room after being prepped, prodded and sterilized. The room was white, bright and cold. I felt like a frog in a science class, getting ready to be opened with tiny sharp objects. Soon after, the time finally came, and the medical staff prepared the area so they could comfortably cut open my body. I didn’t feel the incision, but I felt the pressure; then moments later there was tugging. They were tugging and pulling, but I saw nothing. They opened my body, moved my organs around like pieces to a chess game. Hopefully, they remember which order to put them back in. C-sections can be performed in as little as 1 minute though mine took around 10 minutes. (Johnson, 2016). The ultimate goal was to get the baby out as soon as possible because the baby’s life was possibly in danger.
The cesarean process was coming to an end, and as the doctor began pulling the baby out of my belly, I moaned and groaned with my fingers perched in my mouth. When the doctor finally pulled her out of my womb, they brought her over to the table to be cleaned and immediately placed her in the incubator. Her birth weight was 2.5lbs, and she was the size of my husband’s hand. Did they pull an entire human being from my body? I couldn’t believe it. I was so detached from the experience that I forgot to acknowledge that I just gave birth to a tiny baby girl. Time passed, my body healed, and we brought the baby home after six weeks. We walked into our home with a new life, two months earlier than expected.
Now, 11 years and four natural births later, our first child is healthy, energetic, and almost as tall as I am. I refer to my c-section, as a scar of love, and we were fortunate that the surgery went relatively smoothly, and the toxemia didn’t cause additional harm to the baby and me. I appreciate the beautiful life born from a seemingly terrifying and unplanned event. The process was completely worth it to bring forth a child that brought an immense amount of joy and happiness to our family.
Born 2006, Now 11 years old.