Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maddie's Story

Yesterday while I was floating around the blogoshpere I popped onto Design Mom for a bit. For the duration of her pregnancy she has been posting readers' birthing stories. You can find them all here. I thought, "what the hell, I'll submit Maddie's birthing story." For those of you who don't know, my Maddie was not a planned pregnancy. I'm very open about it and despite the opinions of others, I feel there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Although she was a surprise (to say the least!), she was and is loved and cherished beyond measure. So here is my story:

My pregnancy happened by surprise. I was twenty-five, dating my boyfriend for a little over a year, and getting ready to finish my BA. The last thing I planned on was getting pregnant. But two little lines on a pregnancy test abruptly changed my life FOREVER. When I saw the results my heart sank, and I uttered “Oh my God…” All these thoughts came rushing at once: What do I do? My life is OVER! How do we tell our parents? We are not financially prepared for this! And then there was a thought. The thought. I could get an abortion. And yet, despite my liberal views I knew I couldn't’t do it. I knew abortion would be something I would regret my entire life. And I am so glad I chose her. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for my daughter.
Unfortunately in the last four weeks of my pregnancy I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. My doctor prescribed total bedrest and a scheduled induction at thirty-nine weeks. At that point I was so swollen, tired, and uncomfortable bed rest seemed like a three week spa vacation!
The night before my delivery her father and I could hardly sleep. All I could think was, “Tomorrow you will meet your baby! Tomorrow you are going to have an actual human come out of your body! Holy crap! Come. out. of. my. body. ACK!”
At 6AM, November 11th, 2002 I was induced. Some parts were good (hearing the gallop of her heart beat.) Some parts were not so good (the attempts to place a catheter between her head and my uterus before I got my epidural. YOWZA!) But then I got the news from my doctor, my baby was showing signs of distress. They would have to attempt the fetal catheter again to monitor her heart rate more closely. And just as they inserted the catheter it happened. Her heart rate dropped, and continued to drop. That heart beat that I found so soothing before was now bringing me to tears. It was so slow. That gallop had turned into trot. Alarms were buzzing, people rushing into my room, my doctor yanking wires out of monitors to transfer me into the operating room for an emergency c-section, and all I could do was sob and think, “I have come too far to lose my baby!” Her father stood there in shock as a nurse shoved a smock into his hands so he could join me in the OR. My mom, a nurse, tried to soothe me words of encouragement. My dad just burst into tears.
My doctor, God bless her, stayed calm through the entire ordeal. And after what seemed like forever my new daughter was pulled out from my stomach at 1:40PM. All I could think was, “Please let me hear her scream. Please let me hear her scream. If she screams it means she’s breathing.” And scream she did! The baby that was so distressed scored a ten on her APGAR. She was healthy; she was perfect. And she was a blessing. She may not have been planned, but my little Madeleine Kay was one of the best “things” to ever happen to me. For that I am thankful. Thankful for her and thankful I didn’t make a different choice.

To summarize the ending, her father and I split two years later. We weren't right for each other. Todd and I reunited a while later (we dated in high school. Makes for a great story when people ask how we met!.) Five years, one wedding, another baby, and two dogs later here we are. Maddie's father has also remarried. They are expecting their baby this fall. He and I share 50/50 custody. For me, I am blessed that Maddie was so young when Todd and I started dating. When it came time to introduce and integrate her into our relationship we took it slooooow. But all of her memories include him. In her eyes, Toddy has always been there. I love that. There was no awkward adjustment, no fears of losing Mama to a new man. We were fortunate.
I am open with this story because I want to show people unplanned pregnancies can and do have happy endings. With my pregnancy came unimaginable responsibility, but it also came with a love and a passion for another human being that I never knew existed.

And for the record, I am still a die-hard pro-choice advocate. Just because I didn't choose abortion doesn't mean I don't approve of a woman's right to choose. I feel fortunate that I had that choice available to me. It is not only a personal decision, it is also a choice based on timing and life circumstances. I had a job, I had medical insurance, I had the support of both of our families and our friends. Not everyone is so fortunate. My choice would have been dramatically different had I been an eighteen year old, unemployed college student.
Thanks for letting me share my story and my thoughts!

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