Elizabeth, we need to do an emergency c-section, we’re losing the heartbeat.
Suddenly the words I never wanted to hear were said to me loud and clear. They struck my heart like lightening and I could feel my lips begin to shake. There is a moment during childbirth where you no longer care what is happening the room. You’re not concerned with the gaping parts of your body or how vulnerable you feel. Your attention is solely directed at the tiny soul inside of you. The process you dreamed about for nine months suddenly becomes the kind you refused to allow yourself to think about. You experienced hours of intense breathing and pain mixed with purpose and love. You make it nine centimeters naturally, exactly how you imagined it to be, and suddenly everything changes and a storm of failure rushes through your pain filled core.
I treated labor and the ability to complete it naturally like it was some sort of victory that I needed in my life. Like it would somehow define my strength as a woman.
I remember being ran down the halls. I remember the red lights beaming above me, shining off my protruding belly, displaying to the entire hospital that something was wrong with me. I remember feeling my husband’s grip being stripped from mine. I remember a cold, bright room filled with what felt like hundreds of hospital staff. I wished I was back in my delivery room where it was warm and lit softly with light. Where everything hurt but everything was perfect. I remember them telling me to breathe. To keep breathing. I remember feeling a kind of fear like I never had before. And I remember in the middle of it all, thinking about my tiny babe, and asking God for protection and strength. And then it was dark.
Looking back on that day I see now that in the most vulnerable way, God was initiating me into the strong role that it requires to become a mother. I’m still learning a million lessons from that moment. The hours of waiting, each of the painful breaths that in some such way got me through to the next. How one second of doubt suddenly made me realize the amount of bravery that is actually inside of me. That sometimes an imperfect situation results in something so purely flawless. And how childbirth, no matter what the process is like, will never be a measure that is used to determine the amount of strength in a woman. Childbirth becomes a place in which the hard meets the holy. Where your plans unfold and where what’s happening is exactly what’s supposed to be happening even though what you might be feeling is doubt. It’s where life, the real kind, becomes tangible. Where we are honest with ourselves and our bodies and where patience gifts us with the most delicate souls touching our barest limbs and where every single disappointment and unknown all of a sudden become victories.
We come out winners, always.
Giving birth to our baby was not how I imagined it to be. It’s something I never wish for any woman. Somewhere between the lights and the noise, however, I found peace. I knew he was healthy. I knew I was healthy. And somehow the kind of childbirth I never ever wanted to experience became the best thing that’s ever happened in my life. The best kind of victories are the ones that bring warmth and love and the power to believe that God’s plan is the right one no matter what.
Always have hope my sweet friends. Miracles are coming.
I have so much gratitude for the sweet nurse who grabbed our camera in the middle of all of the chaos. Being able to look back on the moments where I couldn’t be there and the one’s where he connected with me physically for the first time are something that I will cherish forever.