Five months ago I had my third baby boy, and it’s completely changed my whole life. Since I already had two boys, I had no idea that Number 3 would be a life-altering experience. What could be different about adding a third to the mix, right?
But my worldview began to change considerably while I was awaiting my darling’s arrival. When I was twenty-eight weeks along I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which scared the living daylights out of me. Scary words like STILLBIRTH and MACROSOMIA were lobbed at me, and on top of it all, for the first time in my life, I felt like my body was failing me. My pancreas had apparently decided, after three pregnancies in three years, that it wasn’t going to work anymore and that I could deal with the whole insulin thing myself.
I went to the endocrinologist, on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and while they were reassuring, the facts were the facts. I had two previous pregnancies, and those children were only twenty-one months apart. My second child was six months old when the third one was conceived, which placed additional stress on my barely recovered body. And I was thirty this time, not twenty-six like I was when my first one was on the way.
It was honestly the first time that I had really had to deal with the fact that I was aging.
My body had been pushed too hard and too far, and while I hadn’t tried to get pregnant, the fact remained that I was, and I had to do everything I possibly could to get this little boy safely into the world. And having gestational diabetes, I had to confront a great deal of my fears: Despite me controlling my condition with my diet, he was measuring very large, and having had two vaginal births (one completely unmedicated before), there was a very ugly scenario playing itself out in my mind…
…and then one day, two days before I was scheduled to be induced, I woke up, inexplicably bleeding, which got me an ultrasound that told me my baby had gotten to the point where they weren’t sure I could push him out safely.
I had tried so hard. I had followed my diet to a T. I had only gained 23 pounds the entire pregnancy.
But there was a chance that something could go terribly wrong if I was induced.
And I just couldn’t take that chance.
So then I had to face one of my biggest fears—having a c-section. Because I knew I couldn’t let anything happen to my precious little boy. As a chronic anemic, I knew there were higher risks to me in having the procedure. But that didn’t matter, because no matter what, I needed him to be safe.
A c-section is a quick procedure, often twenty minutes from start to finish. So even though I was woozy from the pain meds, once I heard my doctor say, “Hello, Nathan,” to my little man, my ears perked up, and I eagerly awaited that first cry.
And it didn’t come immediately.
“Why isn’t he crying?” I implored, managing to be demanding with my stomach cut open.
“What’s going on?” I frantically asked my husband.
“He just needs a little help learning to breathe,” my doctor soothed me.
He needed help learning to breathe? What did that even mean? I couldn’t even begin to process that. What have I done? Oh, I shouldn’t have done the c-section, I should have just had a vaginal birth, and he’s not crying, and that’s not good, and I can’t live without him, I can’t have done this for nothing–
And then I heard it. It wasn’t strong, but it was definitely my son.
And life made sense for the first time in nine months.
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net