It’s a Wonderful Life – Part II   Leave a comment

Every now and then when I meet a new mother who has had a cesarean, or in early September which is the same time of year at which these events occurred, I remember.  I remember the feeling of shock that fall was already on its way–when I thought I was having a summer baby.  I had a due date of August 9th.  But he didn’t come until the 24th.  Then I didn’t get home from the hospital til the 27th.  Then before I knew it Labor Day was at hand.

The yellowing and wilting landscape personified my inner state.

Everything in my world felt like it was spiraling to an end.

I was sleeping again, which was an improvement and an escape.

Eating had started getting a bit better.

So I was functioning on some very basic level, but while the body was healing, the mind definitely wasn’t.

I wasn’t able to define it until several years later, but I was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder brought on by an unexpected cesarean at the end of a 30 hour labor with my son.

I had planned the birth of my first baby very carefully and thought I had the best care providers I could find.  All was well until I went past the time limits they were comfortable with.  Then my nurse midwives began to tell me I was too tired to go on, and their support for my natural birth went out the window.

I ended up in the ER an hour later, with a general anesthesia, for what they called an emergency cesarean.

That is not a good start for any major life transition, and it completely rocked my world.

I won’t define post traumatic stress in this post, but there is plenty of good information about what it is and what causes it on the net.  Suffice it to say, between new motherhood, the changes in hormones, a traumatic birth, the physical recovery from that birth, and wanting to generate positive feelings for my new son, and not having them–I was a big mess.

I really thought the world had come to an end.

It’s been twenty years now, and I’m happy to say that I was wrong.

It had not.

The reasons it did not come to an end were several: my husband, my parents, and some friends.  They were worth more than their weight in gold.  They were much more helpful than the counselor I saw for a month or two.  They were more important even than the medication I was given that let me finally sleep after a week with no sleep, and of course, that’s saying a lot.

These people were the reason because they kept on loving me and telling me the truth–that I would get better and that reality as I saw it was not reality.  Some of these friends took time every single week for months to call me.  They asked how I was doing, listened to and helped carry my despair, but kept encouraging me.

My husband put up with all my junk and kept on taking care of me, and of our baby, encouraging me to do normal things like go for walks, make dinner, go to church, with the assumption that one day, things would snap back to the reality I was actually living in, which was that everything was OK, even if I didn’t currently think it was.

So–

I have a life now, 20 more years of it, that I wouldn’t have lived if I had had my way and put an end to it.

Thank God for his indescribable gift.  It really is a wonderful life.

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