The worst day of my life. If asked, what would you say constitutes the worst day of your life? The day you got fired? The day a pet or loved one died? For me, it’s the day my son was born. I know most of you will assume that he didn’t survive or something like that, but he did. It’s so much more than that.
I had a high risk pregnancy because, my son wasn’t developing the way he should. He was too small and his brain had too much fluid in the ventricles. He also had developed a heart murmur, and eventually stopped growing completely. I was told he wouldn’t make it and that since I was only eighteen years old, that I should just abort and not deal with such a “burden.” I decided that I would not abort, and that I would continue the pregnancy. After making the decision to continue the pregnancy it just continually went downhill, as more issues and more concerns came up. His brain was no longer developing at all and his heart murmur was getting worse. I saw specialists for all sorts of things, some of whom I was unaware of what they specialized in. They tested for all sorts of conditions and diseases but never found anything more than the symptoms. We had blood tests, an MRI, ultrasounds every week, and two amniocentesis done. The doctors described the amniocentesis as a “pinch”, but it was one of the most painful things I have ever gone through. After all of the testing we still didn’t have a diagnosis. We actually still don’t have a diagnosis to this day, but that’s a blog for another day.
At thirty-three and a half weeks pregnant the specialists decided they did not like how my son was doing and considered it “failure to thrive in utero”, and sent me down to the labor and delivery (L & D) department to be induced. Failure to thrive, in my case, meant that my son hadn’t grown in size in over two weeks and was at risk of being stillborn. The doctors were afraid my placenta was no longer providing nutrients. When we got to L &D they were hooking up monitors and all sorts of contraptions, but the nurse that was supposed to be putting on the fetal heartbeat monitor just started getting a concerned look on her face. “That’s odd,” she says as she moves the thing around on my stomach. I ask her what’s odd, but she doesn’t answer me. She leaves the room and comes back with another nurse who looks even more concerned. This nurse seems to be having trouble too. I ask what’s going on. No one answers me. I know my heart rate starts to go up because, I can hear it on the monitor. As I am about to ask what’s going on I hear, “Code C Room 216”, over the loudspeaker. Wait, I am in room 216. I asked the nurse what “code C” means, while she was placing a mask on my face. She does not answer my question, only tells me to breathe in the gas deeply. Panic starts to truly set in when the nurse tells me to relax before I kill my baby. That’s the last thing I remember before waking up several hours later.
I woke up in a recovery room, alone. I start to scream because, I have no idea what’s going on. The same nurse comes in and tells me if I don’t stop they are going to sedate me. I can hear a baby in the recovery stall next to me with its mother, and I realize I’m not pregnant anymore. I asked the nurse where my baby was and she told me that the doctor would come talk to me soon. The only thing I could think about was that my baby had died and I didn’t get to meet him. For thirty minutes I was alone, scared, and devastated because I thought my baby was dead. The hospital staff finally let my husband in, who tells me that our baby is in the NICU and is stable. I didn’t get to meet my son for over twenty-four hours after the C-section.
My son has special needs but is better than any doctor ever guessed he would be. I was told he would never walk or talk and would essentially be an infant for the rest of his life. He has some clear developmental delays and is still small in size, but he took his first steps on his third birthday and is working on his words and ability to communicate.
When I tell people that the worst day of my life was his birth, or when people hear I have PTSD from his birth they all make the same comments. “You should be happy that he survived. “At least he is doing better than they thought.” “Some moms have it so much worse than you. “Just be glad you could have a kid.” I am thankful he survived and that I had the ability to have him, but that doesn’t make that day any better. I have had several losses and several really bad days since then but, my son’s birthday still gives me shudders. I still hate to think about it. It was seriously the worst day of my life, and that’s okay. I think sometimes we forget that even events that should be happy, can be traumatizing, just like my son’s birthday.