From Worrier to Warrior
My story through Loss, Infertility, and Triumph.
My story through Loss, Infertility, and Triumph
On June 15, 1991, a star was born… Ok, maybe I’m not a star, but that’s when I came screaming into the world. All through my childhood, I knew I wanted to be a mommy. I was raised with my three sisters and we all were the best of friends. We worked in the nursery at church and babysat for family friends. Our lives were always surrounded by babies.
In middle school and high school, I was a cheerleader. That was literally the best part of my schooling years because it was fun, kept me fit, and I was GOOD at it! But every month when it was “my time,” I was always in such excruciating pain. As I grew older, the pain got worse and worse. I finally decided to stop taking “Nothing’s wrong, it’s just period cramps” for an answer and I went to a new GYN to get a second opinion. With that second opinion came my first laparoscopic surgery and BAM, Endometriosis. For those of you who have never heard of Endo, it’s basically scar tissue that grows outside your uterus and constricts your organs, causing lots of pain, LOTS of bleeding, and often times, infertility.
When I originally started trying to have a baby, I had just gotten married for the first time and we tried a year and a half with no success. Though I never imagined myself divorced, that marriage ended and it left me feeling broken because I felt like I was the reason I couldn’t get pregnant. Not long after that, I started dating my super awesome husband, Lawrence. He came into my life and brought me the most precious little curly haired, blue eyed boy. I loved that little boy, I LOVE that little boy. This precious little human chose to love me when he didn’t have to, and he chose to call me Mama. I love being his Mama but I knew that I would never be his Mommy, that piece of his heart is already taken by the precious woman that carried him. I wanted to be Mommy to someone, I always wanted that, but with what I knew about my body already, it was going to be hard.
Another laparoscopic surgery a few years later removed Endo yet again, except this time I was given Lupron shots to keep the Endo at bay for a longer period of time. That was only supposed to be a 6 month treatment, I ended up being in an induced menopause for THIRTEEN months! After I had had enough of “Just give it another” I demanded that they give me provera to start a period so I could get back to trying to have a baby. I got on provera, finally had a period, and finally started clomid (a drug to help produce more eggs). Six months of clomid, hundreds of ovulation tests, 6 months more of negative pregnancy tests and I knew we had to try something different. Month 7 we did clomid and an IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). I GOT PREGNANT! Unfortunately that ended in heartbreak on Christmas Eve 2016 when I miscarried. We tried IUI again in February and that resulted in a chemical pregnancy. We decided to try naturally for a few months before moving on to something stronger. The month before we were to start a different drug, I GOT PREGNANT AGAIN! Like, SO PREGNANT! I had never seen pregnancy tests that dark. I knew this was it. This was my baby that I get to bring home.
With this pregnancy, I was so hopeful! Then, at 7 weeks and 6 days I had my first ultrasound, heard the first heartbeat and I knew that everything was going to be alright. I sent that ultrasound picture to “The Gender Experts” and 24 hours later I got the results… “IT’S A BOY!” I didn’t put too much stock in that because “how could they really tell from a black and white picture of a gummy bear?” In my head I had been thinking that it was a girl, but then boy boy boy kept repeating in my head. At 13 weeks we had the Harmony Test done (genetic testing for chromosomal abnormalities and gender) and on October 29 we announced the gender as BOY! I had the tiniest bit of gender disappointment because I had always wanted a little girl, but then it sunk in… “I’m having a little boy.” My love for him grew and grew. We were keeping his name a secret because we wanted to do a surprise reveal once he was born, so for the entire time my Atlas Tobias was known publically as “Baby Boy.”
I knew I wanted to have a natural, unmedicated birth from the start. When I started working on my birth plan, it was literally all of the “Crunchy Mom” things like: no drugs, no Pitocin, no epidural, natural rupture of membranes, no eye goo, no bath, etc… In the back of my head, I knew there was a possibility that things wouldn’t go my way, but I would be open to any change as long as my baby boy arrived safely.
My maternity leave started two weeks early, I was having a hard time functioning at work because I had been having early labor contractions for a few weeks. The first day of my maternity leave was a Monday and I was at the hospital with another friend in labor. I ended up going to get monitored before I went home because my contractions were getting worse. I was dilated to a 1 and not effaced at all. The midwife said that I could be like that for a few more weeks, I was devastated. The next morning, I woke up (secretly hoping my water had broken in the middle of the night but to no avail) and contractions were getting even closer. They were about 5 minutes apart and it was getting harder to function normally. I was determined not to go back to the hospital until I KNEW a baby was coming! By 7 that evening, I was crying through every contraction and they were 3 minutes apart. I called my mom and told her I needed her… NOW. She already had her bag in the car and she headed my way. Once she got there she and Lawrence helped me get the rest of my things together and I hugged my sweet step son good bye, got in the car with mom, and headed to the hospital (an hour drive). Lawrence was going to wait to come to the hospital until we knew if they would be keeping me. It was a school night so the 10 year old needed to go to sleep, but didn’t want his daddy to drop him at his mom’s house and then me not end up having the baby and I come home that night. That plan backfired! About 20 minutes into the ride to the hospital, I called Lawrence and told him to go ahead and drop off little man because there was no way I was coming home without a baby and I needed him there ASAP!
We arrived at the hospital around 10, met my sister Katy at the emergency room door (she worked at the hospital) and she wheeled us up to L&D. Between 10 pm and 2 am, all still in the observation room, I went from a 1.5 and 60% effaced to a 5 and 95% effaced. At that point they decided to move me to a delivery room. I had horrible back labor so I asked for IV pain meds and they did nothing! In the delivery room, I writhed in pain, I cried, I screamed and yelled, I tried to bounce on a ball but the pain was so intense the only thing I could do it try to survive. I literally thought I was going to die. At 9 cm I was checked again and my membranes ruptured by themselves during a contraction. At this point is where it really got scary.
The nurse noticed something wasn’t quite right. My cervix had swollen up and there was no way Atlas’ head could pass through without help. My mind went immediately to my mother who had the same thing with my oldest sister and ended up with an emergency c-section. Mom and I made eye contact and she knew I was freaking out! I didn’t have an epidural! I couldn’t have an epidural because of some trauma to my back from years ago. The nurse made me flip on one side and prop my leg up trying to get the pressure off my cervix to help with the swelling. Luckily, my amazing doctor swooped in just in time. He reached inside and told me to “Push past it” as he was literally MANUALLY pushing my cervix OVER Atlas’ head so that I could deliver naturally. THAT! THAT RIGHT THERE! I knew I was going to die. I just knew it. I started full blown panic mode. Lawrence was down at the business end because he knew I needed my mom. My mom and my nurse calmed me down, honestly, they basically had to yell at me to get my attention because I was NOT with it. After the cervix fiasco, it was time for real pushing. From the first ACTUAL push until my little Atlas was born took less than 6 minutes. But in those 6 minutes, my life flashed before my eyes. The pain was excruciating, I was vomiting with each push, I felt like I was drowning. I was so scared.
Then, at 5:29 am, the most beautiful little miracle joined the world. As soon as he was out, an instant calm came over me. I was SO relieved! I didn’t actually die like I could have sworn was going to happen. My rainbow baby was here! Within just a few minutes, he latched on and nursed for hours, just telling my body “Hey, I’m here. Time to feed me now.”
Although this was the terrifying thing I have ever done, I would do it all over again as long as it brought me my Atlas. I survived, and I triumphed, I was a WARRIOR!
Blog Post by guest writer KeaMommy Kelsey Escoriaza.