“You have great birthing hips!”
“Excuse me? What am I, a cow? Nevermind. What would you like to order?”
No, this was not an exchange of words between my doctor and I, but between me, as a 17-year-old waitress, and one of my male customers. I took it as a weirdo come on and decided to shoot it down firmly. (With a line like that, no wonder he was eating alone.)
Although this odd fellow seemed to think I would have no problem birthing children, for some strange reason I always believed that I would not be able to have children. So, when my husband and I decided to try to conceive, it didn’t come as a surprise when it didn’t happen.
I rarely had periods. I attributed this to the fact that I was very active. I worked out constantly and competed in Track and Field all through high school and college. After college, I took up long distance running. Previously, five miles had been a struggle but all of a sudden, I found myself training for longer distances – half marathons and eventually a full marathon. Needless to say, when the body is otherwise strained and only has a period every 4 – 6 months, timing is everything.
I purchased a book that came across my desk called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. This book, ladies, was amazing! I literally learned so many things that I never knew. What I loved about this book is that it not only explains that every woman has a completely different cycle but what to expect during each day of the cycle. Apparently, women are most fertile on their “Peak Day,” so knowing that day is golden. (Maybe you know this, but I was super naive.) I always thought my body was different and warped in some way but this book helped me understand that it was completely normal…different, but normal.
Two years later
After two years of hoping I was pregnant but seeing a negative sign on the little pee stick, I decided to focus on other things. The emotional roller coaster was too draining. I distracted myself by focusing on others. I’ve always loved kids and would do anything to support them. I soon combined my love for running with kids and began running with Team in Training in honor of a boy named Mitchell.
Although I had never dreamed of running a marathon, pushing my body past it’s known limits in order to raise money to save a child’s life pressed me towards the goal. It also gave me a great time of reflection and time to pray for others. Long runs of 10-18 miles definitely provides time. I found myself becoming more at peace the more I focused on serving others.
It also provided a great deal of humility and fun. I ended up hurting my knee a few weeks before the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon and ended up gimping my way through the entire race. I was passed by a pregnant lady, a juggler and a guy running backwards, but I did finish! I was proud of raising awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as for Mitchell and many others who have suffered with cancer.
A New Chapter
The day after the marathon, my husband and I closed on a new house and a fresh chapter of our lives began. We didn’t know what was in store for us but we were ready for whatever God put in our path.
Once again, the urge to serve took over. My husband and I began preparing for a mission trip to Ecuador. Two weeks before the trip, we ran the Midnight Streak. One of the vendors at the race was a chiropractor, who was offering a special for runners. Although, I wasn’t interested, my husband was, so we scheduled an appointment. That appointment changed our lives…literally.
When filling out the paperwork, I came to the question of when my last period occurred. After thinking about it, I realized my periods had been more erratic than ever. They seemed to be more frequent but shorter. I hadn’t had what I considered a normal period so I decided to see what the pee stick had to say. On that Wednesday, I called my OB and told him I needed verification. By that Friday, it was confirmed. I was pregnant! BUT the placenta was also torn, which explained the bleeding. As of that moment, the baby was fine but I had to be extra careful. Flying was out of the question. It was truly a miracle that I even came to check to see if I was pregnant because as my doctor explained to me, the medication that was recommended to take before entering Ecuador would have aborted my child. My tears of joy for God’s hand of protection over me and my child were great. I seriously, could not believe the timing. In three days, had I not been asked a simple question, I would have been in a foreign country and would have lost a child I never knew I carried.
Nothing Happened As I Expected
I had many scares throughout my pregnancy. I was very thankful to have my family and friends close, holding my hand as I feared I would lose my child and rejoicing at the same time that I was pregnant. I really appreciated my friends who were part of the medical community and could explain what was happening and what to expect.
I wanted to have a completely natural birth and planned on using HypnoBirthing techniques, but was warned that it may not be possible. Because my placenta had torn and continued to bleed through my 5th month, my doctor and specialist became very concerned for my daughter. They said that if the placenta had healed during the first trimester, then it would have regenerated and would have been able to feed her adequately in the third trimester, but it did not heal and would not continue to grow. Therefore, whatever nutrients were provided to her would go to her brain first and then whatever was left to the rest of her body. They scheduled stress tests twice a week from 28 weeks on to make sure she was doing well and prepared me for an early arrival. They were hoping she would stay in until 32 weeks, and were ready to take her after that. However, they would not let her stay inside the womb past 37 weeks because she would not receive enough nutrients.
I was determined to have what I considered the best birth possible for my child, but no amount of reflexology or red raspberry tea would kick start labor. So, on a Wednesday morning, I found myself being prepped for a C-section.
Some may argue the point of natural versus induced versus C-section. I know the points well but honestly, when I was holding my precious daughter, full of life and amazing lung power, all I could do was be thankful that she was born healthy and strong. The method was a moot point. Yes, my birthing hips never got the chance to shine, but it didn’t matter because I was holding a little miracle!