Tori's Blog

Reflecting On Alexander’s Birth Story

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Last week I wrote about my birthday and birthdays in general and how the day of our birth evolves, over time, into two or three sentence descriptions by our mothers.

This, of course, has led me to think about my own Alexander’s birth. His actual birth was crappy. Sorry, but it was. There was no spiritual or profound experience attached to it. There was, actually, real fear for my safety and I was pretty much out of it for the last 4 hours of my labor and the  24 hours after his birth.

I was healthy, ultra fit (much more so than today), and didn’t even look pregnant from the back, and I developed severe preeclampsia in the days before he was born (we didn’t know at the time). And during labor it moved into scary, scary HELLP syndrome. It came as a complete shock and I very rapidly became extremely ill.

Today, Alexander was watching an interview I did in June, and in the middle of it he said, “I have no idea what you are talking about”. Fair enough for a 9 year old. So, we talked a little about his birth. He knows I was very sick and that is why he was born by cesarean. That is the extent of the story he will get on that unless he one day really needs the details. I don’t honestly think they matter to him.

So, a 5-day hospitalization, which involved a serious medical condition, has now been summed up in a couple of sentences. What he will tell someone in his future is that my water bag broke in the Christmas card aisle at our local drugstore and that I ran out of the store before anyone noticed, laughing and leaving a trail of fluid.

And that his dad, who was an anesthesiologist (who had attended hundreds of births) was so nervous that he was completely incapable of packing a bag for the hospital or driving a car. One of my best memories is getting into my friend, Chelan’s car (thank God she was planning to be with us) in booming labor and seeing clothes sticking out of my bag.

His story also includes that when we came home, our two dogs were terrified to come near him for 2 days. They knew he was a very important new addition to our family. And lastly, that our lab, Harley, loved to creep up to him as he laid in his bouncy seat and gently steal his binky (aka pacifier) directly from his mouth, lay down next to him and keep it in his own mouth.

Honestly, these are the parts of his own birth story that should be forefront in his memory. And, most importantly, that his safely entering the world is all that matters. ALL that matters.

People sometimes dwell on what “goes wrong” in an experience. That makes me sad. I smile every time I think of Alexander’s birth. It in no way minimizes the scary parts. I just am really aware that bad things happen in life but that ultimately life is simply vibrant and full of wonder and humor, so long as we let it be.

I want this to be Alexander’s story.

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