Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

I was on the fence about posting my son’s birth story.  It’s not as fast-paced or sweet as my daughter’s.  In fact, all 16 hours were entirely uneventful as far as labor goes.  Textbook delivery.

It was after he was born that shit got hectic.  But I never want to put that on him.  He carries enough weight on his tiny shoulders.

So this is not his birth story.  This is my story and the lessons we can both take away from that day.

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Dear baby boy,

We checked into the hospital early on a unseasonably warm Friday in February, nine days after the first time they told me I would be induced.  I resisted as long as I could.  I knew you weren’t quite ready (even if I was!).  But as my due date passed and my fluid level decreased to alarming levels, I could no longer demand more time.

After 16 hours of pitocin induced labor and 4 hours of pushing, you arrived.   3:46am on Saturday.

Immediately I began to hemorrhage.

355am.  I lose consciousness.  Daddy tells me my eyes roll back in my head and I go limp.  With some oxygen they revive me as they call for the crash cart.  Your nana, who is with you in the nursery, hears the code blue call to maternity but cannot imagine that it is her baby that might be dying.

4am.  They wheel me to an operating room.  I am crying and confused but mostly terrified.  Your daddy’s face is white even though his voice is strong.  He is willing me to stay with him.

408am.  The doctor is trying to explain.  The placenta.  They can’t deliver the placenta.  It has grown into the uterus.  She needs to perform a D&C.  Here, sign these forms.  We may have to remove your uterus entirely.  Yes, I was asked to consent to a hysterectomy twenty seven minutes after giving birth for the first time.  “Hope you enjoyed that experience because it will probably be your last,” the universe taunted.

411am.  Your nana left you in the nursery to come check on me.  When she enters the delivery room it is empty of people but covered in blood.  What looks like buckets and buckets of blood.

418am.  My doctor is working.  Working to save my life.  There are no less than eight nurses and doctors around me.  The room is full but I feel so alone.  No one is talking to me.  Staring up at the glaring white lights I bark questions into the air.  No one answers.  So I listen.  We need blood.  What’s her count?  2 units.  Look at her tongue.  It’s white.  Four units.  Carinn, you are going to need a transfusion.

420am.  I am crying.   What is going on?  Everything is a blur.  Suddenly I realize you are not there.  “I miss my baby.  I want to see my baby.  When can I see my baby?”  My pleas are ignored.

422am.  They won’t let daddy in the OR.  He receives the cold shoulder from the nurses going in and out of the room.  At best, a vague update.  “We are doing everything we can.”

5am.  The D&C was successful and the blood transfusion complete.  I am wheeled to a recovery room.  I STILL HAVE NOT HELD YOU.  Thankfully it is only me that is deprived.  Your daddy and your nana are loving you every second that I am gone.  And they are making damned sure you don’t get a bottle.  The doctor agrees.  You can wait.

6am.  After my incessant begging, they bring you to me.  With a warning.  “Do not sit up, do not stand, do not feed.  You may hold him and nothing else.”

As I hold you for the first time I am starry eyed and breathless.  You return the look.  What has this experience been little smoosh?

We meet again

Three years later you are a serious and sensitive soul.  You are reserved.  You take your time and you don’t like change.  You are deliberate.  Everything needs to make sense to you.  You ask a lot of questions.  You soak up the answers like a solar panel, stored, to be used later.

You seem to carry the weight of the world.

I wonder if the way you came into this world made you that way or whether it was you who dictated the way you were born.  Either way, my lessons to you will always be about letting go.  They are my lessons as well.

When I checked into the hospital, I had my birth plan printed and in tow.  It involved my feelings on epidurals (no), episiotomy (no), immediate physical contact upon delivery (yes), breastfeeding (yes).  I scored 50% on the plan that applied.  I scored a zero on the rest of the days events.  Because my birth plan never contemplated most of what actually happened.

Life is not perfect.  It surely does not always go according to plan.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make plans.  You should make plans.  Big ones, small ones, practical ones, grand ones.  But don’t lose it when life gets in the way.  Just roll with it.

In the mess that life can make of your plans, it’s your job to find the beauty.  Not to try to make sense of it all or to try to make it perfect.  Instead, it’s your job to find the humor (like when I tried in earnest to convince everyone that I didn’t need surgery, that a little oxygen would do just fine).  To find the good (like how you stayed strong through the trauma of 4 hours of travel down the birth canal, how your heart rate never even so much as dipped with the stress).    To find the positive aspects of the outcome (like the fact that you were born completely healthy, with a perfect APGAR score no less!).

In the mess of a mother I am at times, I always see the beauty in you.

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Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It’s getting better and better

Snuggle time - February 2009

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Snuggle time - February 2012

Before you cross the street
Take my hand


Life is what happens to you
While you’re busy making other plans

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

-John Lennon

25 thoughts on “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

  1. Great story! Think I will tell our birth stories soon on my site. This includes two, four year olds in the room after the best laid plans failed. One of our twins pulls the curtain and screams, “You gotta see dis Mitchell, it’s so BEsgusting!” as their little brother came into the world.

  2. I’m sitting in the doctor’s office with my baby girl reading your blog. This birth story is amazing. I’m crying!

  3. Oh my gosh, I did not expect to be crying this morning after reading your blog – haha! This was so beautifully written, one of my favorite lines: “In the mess that life can make of your plans, it’s your job to find the beauty. Not to try to make sense of it all or to try to make it perfect.” So very true, even though it’s not always easy. I’m so sorry for what you went through and so happy that you both made it through healthy and safe. The pictures of you both sleeping are so sweet! Awesome post – thank you for sharing this story!

    • You are telling me! That lesson has taken me 30 something years to even be able to put it into words – even tougher to put into action at all times.

      It was a scary experience but I would do it a million times over knowing the love I feel for my baby boy.

    • Ha! I had actually wondered if it was too much for a Monday :) I should have posted it last Monday (my son’s birthday) but it felt too close to the post of my daughter’s birth. The curse of having children days apart (well, years and then days. Actually days short of years. Whatever. I’m still sleep deprived) in February.

  4. Brilliant. Really. I, too, had the birth plan thrown out the window. So I very much enjoyed reading your take on plans, based on what you know now.

  5. This post took my breath away for more than one reason. Our boys were born with twin to twin transfusion, and the silence I heard the moment they were born was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard. I think it does stick with everyone who was a part of it – our children will be stronger because of it. You’re two miracles.

    P.S. Birth plans should be called something different, shouldn’t they? Birth drafts, maybe? 😉

    • Yes! Birth drafts! That’s the best you can hope for really.

      The funny part in hindsight is the way I wrote mine. So resolute. So sure. I had ideas and they *would!* be implemented. The universe really laughed at me!

  6. How strong you are and he is too. Im always thinking about how motherhood is so profound and yet so simple at the same time. What a profound, life-changing experience you went through and how simple it is to know how much you live him.

  7. I am sitting at my desk at work crying big tears after reading this post. I don’t like crying at work, and I don’t like raccoon eyes, but I do love your words. Truly, beautiful, terrifying account of your little boy’s first day. Your birth experiences are seriously intense- I still firmly stand by my sentiment on your daughter’s story that you are a real badass, and I mean that in the most flattering, strong-lady, warrior mom way.

    • People want me to have a third just for the drama (near death, total life affirmation, what’s next??).

      You know I am a big fan of your writing style so to hear that I have been able to touch you with my words feels great. Thanks for the comment!

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  11. I’ve read this before, but reading it again today and crying for the second time :) You have such a gorgeous way of telling stories, and your courage is amazing. The power of motherhood allows us to do the craziest, bravest things!

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