Giving birth was easy. As someone put it: “This pregnancy may have brought you to your knees but you crawled on your knees across the finish line.”
That’s because getting and staying pregnant was the hard part. So hard in fact, that for months I disappeared inside a shell of my former self.
I didn’t write.
I didn’t see friends.
I just waited.
And waited some more.
I lay in bed, coping with pain and sicker than I ever thought possible,
I watched the seasons pass as the green leaves on the tree outside my window unfurled, grew green and lush, then became tinged with red and gold hues.
My belly swelled, but despite the baby’s growth, I was so sick that I failed to gain much weight. Movement involved crawling up and down stairs on my hands and knees on those few occasions when I mustered up enough strength to change rooms.
My husband took on the job of caring night and day for a rambunctious toddler and sick wife.
We were both exhausted and in desperate need of relief.
There were happy moments though.
My young daughter came to see the twice weekly trips for mommy’s IV’s as my special checkup time. She loved watching cartoons on the special “wall tv” as she called it in the hospital. The hospital also meant she got to eat chicken fingers and fries from the “restaurant” while sitting in my lap.
I learned how to come up with all sorts of games to play with her that required little movement from mommy.
Hide and seek was adapted to a game of having my kiddo snuggle under the covers while I pretended not to know where she was.
We played dragon stomp with blocks stacked on the quilts.
We read. We watched cartoons. We snuggled. And we all waited for the time when mommy would feel better.
Finally, after suffering for months with severe hyperemesis gravidarum with its slow starvation which led to gestational diabetes, the doctors decided my body just couldn’t take it anymore.
My veins were so shot from the months of IVs that nurses struggled to find anything viable to administer surgery meds. And later, just before discharge, I needed a blood transfusion (the process sent my system into shock) because my system was so depleted from months of illness.
Our son was delivered via c-section at 38 weeks during a procedure that was complicated by doctors having to cut through and work around an enormous amount of internal scarring.
Oh but when I saw him it all felt worth it. He is resting on my chest as I write this. His heart, largely healed and strong, is beating. His breathing is soft. They form the most majestic symphony I’ve ever heard.