When seven years of fertility treatments and one heart-breaking miscarriage are your story, a positive pregnancy test just seems like the beginning of another “it was just not meant to be.” I don’t think I believed this was happening to me until I started to feel my baby move. Maybe later actually. Ok, I will be honest, I lived in fear for 9 months. 3 of them lying in bed, on a side, usually my left, moving only to pee. And yet, in the midst of the deep loneliness of my marriage and the turmoil of my childhood home, spending time resting to grow my baby seemed like the best of all worlds. Oh and, of course, the non stop eating of anything my heart desired.
My hospital bag had been prepared from the moment I was confined to bed rest because … you never know … so I just dusted it off every now and again. December 27 was the last time I saw my doctor before actually giving birth and he asked if I had anything against giving birth on the 31st, when he was on call – my baby had the umbilical cord around his neck and we knew we were not going to risk a natural birth (I was mistakenly happy about this but this is another story, one which I am not to eager to revisit). It didn’t take me a second to say yes. New Year’s Eve has never been a holiday I enjoyed. I cannot fake the exuberance and I have always just spent it anxious that I will be a weirdo. Or that something bad will happen. Or both. I was happy to replace it with something beautiful.
So on the morning of 31st, as the entire country was busy doing their last shopping, buying fireworks and champagne, my baby and I woke up after a restless sleep, dusted off the bag, one last time, and got dressed – fifteen years later I still remember the clothes I wore – the only ones that fit.
Whenever I live unrepeatable moments, I feel as if I am in a trance. I can tell you exactly what I was doing, reflecting back on it now, but at the time I was transported into every action by a power greater than me. I was afraid, for myself, for my baby, for what lied ahead. I was self conscious about whether I was going to be able to actually care for this child I had wanted for such a long time – was this a good idea for someone like me (a little too late for that thought, I know). But most of all, I was looking up for the comet. There was no way I was destined to give birth to a perfectly healthy child, be well and enjoy this moment, me, of all people! A comet must be on its way to strike me. Any moment now… .
It was a cold December morning, the drive from home to the hospital was completely quiet even though there were three of us in the car. Mom was with my son’s late father and I. I remember I got out – whale size at this point – and was so worried that I was going to slip and fall – waiting for the comet, remember?
It’s funny what things we concern ourselves with in the moment when our lives are on the brink of momentous change. My hair was not ok, had I dressed properly? Oh this needle hurts! I am SOOOO hungry. OMG, 70 kilos? Me??? Did I mention I am so hungry? On January 1st, Romania was going to join the EU that year and some people were criticising me for not waiting one more day – since I had the choice anyway. Like it mattered. It’s funny what sticks with you 15 years later.
After a few long minutes of alone time – not my very best friend (it’s like they leave you alone to just be with yourself, gather your focus and might and make sure you are fully present … or they’re just very busy, not everything has to be this deep, I have learned) I stepped into the operating room. Did I step into it, was I wheeled in? I don’t remember. I do remember however seeing the table and thinking, holy shit, will it hold me? They asked me to lie down on my back and as soon as I did that I started to slowly fade, like a in a dream … like I was falling asleep. The commotion around me signaled it was not such a good thing, what was happening. Apparently, the position I was in had the baby weigh down on some important blood vessels that were starting to take a break at a very wrong time. So they tied me to the table and turned it a bit to the left. I was back. And the table held. Mind boggling.
The sensation you have when you cannot feel the most of your body but you are fully awake is eerie. Being the object of a surgery and hearing the doctors speak, in their jargon, about you and your baby, without you understanding much, is other-worldly. I remember I tried to steady myself by looking at the things on the walls. Set my eyes on a clock and an icon of Virgin Mary. In my mind it took forever. The clock begged to differ: it took twenty minutes. The doctors were actually in a rush, something was happening that day as over 30 ladies were giving birth, unexpectedly. I don’t remember the talk between the doctors and the nurses that much even though I was trying hard to understand. I guess the sound of the pounding of my heart blocked my hearing. I remember the silence … of when they took the baby out. I am grateful that I was not aware of the exact moment or I would have panicked even more.
There is a different team that is there waiting for the baby. They had formed a small huddle around my son, in a way that completely blocked my view and after an eternity (aka 1 to 3 minutes) he let out a meowing sound and the doctors quickly offered me a glimpse of him, wrapped up like a sarma. Knowing my son now, I think we had just woke him up and he was not really in the mood to talk much.
And just like that … a journey towards another myself started. Beautiful and scary at the exact same time.
Happy 15th beautiful human!