It is said that when a woman has a baby her DNA changes with the creation blooming inside her. She is forever shifted and connected primordially to this new soul. I was 42 when I had my first, and only son. Nothing has gone as planned.
I have always wanted to be a mom but did not think it would happen for me. I married at 38, and we were not sure if a child was an option or if we even wanted to be parents. My mind was already damaged from all the years of social work. I knew exactly what was going on in the world and was unsure I wanted to bring a life into that energy.
We watched our friends’ families begin, and it was an amazing experience to see growth from the people I love. We knew it would be difficult because I was older and not in the best of health with obesity and some managed health issues. We began our attempts, which lasted about six months before we gave up and I accepted that it was not meant to be for us.
My husband and I decided to plan our future with travel and adventure so we booked our first trip into the woods for our anniversary in June. We would eat, drink, stay naked all day, create, and hang with mother nature to toast to our newly defined future.
I found out that I was pregnant a month before we were to embark on our woodsy celebration of being childfree creatives. When I told my husband, he could not speak and probably saw his, or my death, flash before his eyes. He was speechless, and unnerved. I was not afraid.
I have always wanted to accept life as it was presented to me, and to strive for blessings in whatever situation I found myself in, even if it meant not getting what I wanted or causing strife and challenge to the journey.
For us, our son Vincent, was simply meant to be.
Pregnancy came easy for me aside from some changes in my palate. I was monitored relentlessly for the high risks of being an older mother. For the first time in my life, I felt the feeling of not being alone in the most symbiotic way. This baby relied on me for everything and I spoke to him often — a constant dialogue that continues now that he’s 12. I shared my fears that I was too old to give him the energy needed for motherhood, and shared my excitement over who he would become. We were both evolving into a new world that was a family.
My scheduled and induced delivery was set and turned into the most unnatural experience of my life. I just wanted both of us to survive. I labored for three days, had different doctors probing around my nether regions, strange devices inserted that meant to force dilation, and chemicals to induce progression for natural delivery. I came to the solution that my cervix was petrified with age as I never progressed beyond four centimeters. It was a nightmare, and my doctor was leaving for vacation to Australia. It was evident that he had already left in his mind.
My husband was reaching critical mass on day three, ready to slam the doctor into the wall for the neglect, but the physician was already on a plane.
Vincent’s heartbeat weakened and a whole team of people rushed in, rolling me around like bread dough to get the heartbeat back. At that point, I’d had enough, did what I’ve had to do all of my life — without fail — and stood up for myself. I demanded to speak to the legal department about why the medical staff was not moving forward with surgery. My politeness left my soul. I found myself in a queue of women also waiting for their surgeries. I distinctly remember thinking this was like waiting at Jiffy Lube for an oil change.
Finally, Vincent came via emergency cesarean by an OB/GYN I’d never met.
The only voice I heard throughout was the anesthesiologist. He got me past all the fears that I was not numb enough, and stayed with me through the surgery. I do not remember seeing my husband’s face but I had seen many births before and knew he would be forever changed by the experience.
After the tiger cub scream that told the world a new soul was here, Vincent was shown to me like a puppet from behind the sheet separating my head from my body, and then whisked off for all the usual tests and documentation.
I knew at that moment something was going wrong inside me. I felt like I was suffocating. I shared my fears and the voice of the anesthesiologist continued to keep me calm. The countdown for stitches and instrument accountability filled the room. They were in a hurry and I wanted to get off that table and hold my baby.
After some time in recovery, I got my wish. I looked into his squinty eyes and laid him on my chest to make sure he remembered the body that housed him. I could feel myself change as I began healing and bonding with this new little person. My body, forever changed from the experience, was entering another, more perilous journey. This was just the tip of the iceberg. •