As simple as the blog topic sounds, I actually really struggled with choosing a definitive single moment. Anyway after 36hours of bouncing thoughts around I eventually settled on one moment.
The best moment of my life was: becoming a mom even though it was also a very traumatic time.
I found out I was expecting my first son in January 2010. Sitting in the living room, watching the clock and waiting for the three minutes to pass. So many thoughts going through my head. Mostly reassuring myself, that I wouldn’t be pregnant. One reason was, because when I was 13, I had appendicitis and peritonitis – quite a severe case. After my operation, the doctors had told my mom my chances of having kids were slim to none because of the damage to some of my internal organs. So I was almost pretty sure I couldn’t be pregnant. I’d never even entertained the thought of parenthood at all. Now here I am- watching the clock and waiting for what feels forever to pass so I could check my results.
Eventually its time to look – i turn the test round and straight away my eyes focus on the positive result. Staring in disbelief at the blue lines on the little window. Knowing that right there in that tiny split second, my full life had changed. I’m not sure how long I was sitting there for – but it was long enough to totally evaluate my situation. I suffered a little depression and was on quite a strong dose of antidepressants. It was only the night before I was blind drunk, and I’d just put out a cigarette. I tumbled into a minefield of thoughts. All kinds of stuff going round in my head.
For years I’d been on self destruct mode. I didn’t really care about my life then, I was angry at everyone and everything around me, and with me. I’m not sure if its selfishness, but I’d never had to really think of anyone else when I was making the decisions I was making. There’s some things from my past, that given me some bad coping mechanisms. I Dont like to talk about it a lot but I didn’t even really wanna be alive I really couldn’t care if I woke to see another day or not. How on earth was I going to bring a child into my complete and utter train wreck of a life?
The pregnancy itself wasn’t too bad- I had bad sickness the full time, but that was as bad as it got health wise. I’d stopped smoking and taking my antidepressants too as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Mentally though I was a mess. Everyone was so excited, including my partner. I was just in constant panic mode. I couldn’t imagine myself as a parent or responsible for anybody else, let alone a tiny baby. I was so pessimistic that I honestly, even in the last few weeks of my pregnancy – thought something bad would happen, that there was no way I’d ever have the baby. I remember having a conversation with my then partner, the week before I was due to be induced. I remember the look on his face when I said I didn’t believe that even at 37 weeks pregnant, I’d actually ever be a mom. I was honest for the first time and said I truly didn’t think I deserved that kind of happiness.
I was taken in for induction on the Sunday and contractions started pretty much after the first lot of gel. They wanted the labour to be as natural as possible, so I was in pain for days.. 67 hours to be precise. By this point its late on the Tuesday afternoon, the nurse doing her rounds had checked my obs and wanted me to go on the heartbeat monitor to check that everything was okay with the baby. I wasn’t on it for long the midwives were in and out constantly checking till at one point they said – he was very stressed and they were concerned about his heart rate. I was whisked round for an emergency c section.
After being in the theatre for a while – I started to notice that things weren’t right. There seemed to be a sense of almost panic coming from the doctors and midwives round about me. There was an anaesthetist standing by my left shoulder, who kept looking over the blue screen they had up in front of me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, as he looked over the screen for the hundredth time.
“Just a slight complication, nothing to worry about.” He responded while patting my shoulder.
Sounds strange but the way he tried to reassuringly pat me on the shoulder, told me there was something more than a slight complication. I remember being unable to control the shaking that cane over my whole upper body. (I couldn’t feel from the waist down). Suddenly the tugging sensation in my tummy stopped.
“He’s out.” The anaesthetist said flatly.
I lay waiting to hear a cry or any kind of anything that would confirm to me that he really was out and he was okay.. There was no cry..
“Why isn’t he crying?” I asked.
No sooner had the words left my mouth, I heard his radio, or whatever it was in my ear.
“Crash team to theatre five, crash team to theatre five.”
That was where we were – theatre five. Doors flew open, people in scrubs seem to be almost flooding the room.
After what felt an eternity we heard a cry. My son had been stuck, and his chord was wrapped round his neck twice. He was born blue (which means he wasn’t breathing). He was taken to neo natal initially, but was brought back round after a few hours.
The following day I was sore, I’d had a classic csection which means instead of one incision they had to make two. Vertically and horizontally, my son wouldn’t feed and he was jerking and shaking. They kept checking his blood sugar levels. Then eventually announced he had to go back to neonatal as his levels were too low. I still hasn’t got to hold him yet. The midwives explained it wasn’t serious, and they just had to control his feeding so would be feeding him through a nasal drip.
While in neo natal, he contracted mrsa. By the Friday morning he was covered head to toe in little blisters. We weren’t allowed in to see him there were all these people in white coats around his tiny incubator. I was being discharged that day , even though the staff in neo natal had explained that it was probably better that I didn’t leave the hospital as he was being moved to ICU. It all kind of merges into a horrible blur from that point. I still hadn’t held my son. I was going home without him. Seeing his tiny crib, changing station, and all the things I’d set out in the lead up to being taken to hospital.
I actually can’t remember ever feeling so empty. After everything and all my panicking before his birth. I couldn’t help but think for some reason I’d caused it all. He was sick because id cursed him with my negative thoughts. I’d done this.
The days that followed were long and draining, mentally and physically. He pulled through – I was told by the consultant that she had only ever seen one baby as bad as he had been, and that baby passed away 8hours after the blisters appeared.
Weeks past, I had bad post natal depression afterwards. I think everything led to it. I was scared to even hold him. I actually became very withdrawn and angry at everyone, mostly myself. I pushed everyone away. I hadn’t bonded with my little boy. The relationship between me and his dad became very strained. It broke down and he moved out when A, was a few months old.
The moment he left and the door shut it was just me and this little baby who was Dependant on me for everything. I remember standing by his crib watching him lay there staring up at me, I can’t remember properly looking at him before that second. I’d been too scared to.
I hadn’t even noticed, till that moment that I really hadn’t really paid attention before almost like I’d been on auto pilot for the few months before, numb to everything and everyone. I’d shut down, switched off because that was the only way I knew how to cope with things.
While I stood visually examining him from head to toe, noticing for the first time how perfect he was – his blue eyes, button nose and gorgeous chubby cheeks. For the first time since he was born without being forced to or made to by other people, I reached down and picked him up. For the first time I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t unsure. Cradling him in my arms and rocking him to sleep – watching his beautiful big blue eyes slowly grow heavy. In that very moment such a precious, personal moment – I became a mom.
It still makes me well up thinking about it. In that moment I realized I couldn’t shut down like that ever again. My whole focus and outlook completely changed. I wasn’t the centre of my universe anymore he was. That was the best moment of my life.
It wasn’t plain sailing from there on out, it still isn’t. I slip sometimes and almost fall back into old coping habits. Then I remember The best moment of my life, and it grounds me again. Reminds me exactly why I have to keep going .