Even before I should have even been thinking about babies I always knew I would have trouble having children. That it might not happen for me. I’m talking little, elementary school Aileen somehow knowing this, feeling it in her heart. When Blaine and I started trying, I chose to call it “not trying not to” have a baby. I talked about adopting. I reminded myself that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I couldn’t get pregnant. I went as far as thinking I didn’t need kids, but if it happened I’d be happy. I did everything I could to prepare my heart for the possibility that I might never be able to have a baby.
When I saw that positive test back in October, I actually muttered out loud “I was just kidding…”. I had honestly taken the test to clear my mind. After two and a half years of paying too much attention to any little change in my body that might be a pregnancy symptom, the easiest thing to do was take a test and let the negative break my heart, but allow me move on with my life until the next cycle. But this time it was positive. I had been so accustomed to negatives that I was sure I was making up the symptoms and I was in total shock.
The shock continued when my first 24 hours of motherhood included two different doctors at two different hospitals brushing me off, laboring at home all through the night thinking it was “just a bladder infection”, giving birth in the car driving down the freeway, watching our son dying in our arms, my husband giving our tiny 2lb blue baby CPR and then having him driven away by ambulance to a waiting helicopter while I rode to the hospital alone in my own ambulance wondering if that was the first and last time I would see my son alive. Plus the pain, the fear, the helplessness and all the other negative feelings that come with an experience like that.
I am a mother now and I’m realizing that motherhood is different for everyone. My entire experience with being a mother has been living at the hospital, unable to care for my own child, terrified of what his future will hold from being born so early and wondering if that tiny cough or sneeze I just heard was the start of an infection that would keep him there for longer. I’ve spent hours pumping alone in the dark and in tears (at first) because I should be nursing my baby, not uncomfortably strapped up to a machine pulling milk out of me so that I can bottle it, label it and give it to a nurse to give to him through a feeding tube.
On March 23rd, 2015 I became a mother and while I would never wish the way it happened or the last few weeks on anyone, I am lucky to be Atlas’ mother and that’s all that’s important from here on out.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially my own. I always looked at this day as a day to celebrate the women who cared for us, loved us, cleaned up after us, taught us and sacrificed for us. But I never knew that on top of all that we watched them do for us, there were also the internal struggles, pride and a million other emotional aspects that I never knew existed. Until now.