Today is special for many many many reasons. It is a birthday. It is a first birthday. It is the last first birthday. We are both alive to share it.
When I was pregnant with Tank they found blood in his bowels, too much fluid in his kidneys. Symptoms of all kinds of scary birth defects, and Down syndrome. So I did genetic testing, filled out papers, had blood drawn and many ultrasounds until I gave birth. They broke my water and he’d been in my oven dry as a fish out of water for hours, his heart rate and mine quivered up and down. Tank was born healthy, lovely, three weeks early and fought to the bitter end to stay safely hidden away.
I had complained from about my sixteenth week of pregnancy of not being able to breathe. It wasn’t my anxiety. I felt like I had COPD, lung cancer. Stairs were nearly impossible to take on. My doc never listened. By the half way mark of my pregnancy I was grabbing the headboard to stretch out my torso…all in an attempt to breathe. Still, nobody would listen. I was sent to the ER for high blood pressure a few times, pain in my upper right abdomen, and my right shoulder. Nothing. All anyone told me was that ‘I was older/the more babies the harder on your body it is/you’re just fine dear.’ So when I gave birth I just knew I’d be able to breathe again. That final push was, in my mind, curing me of this terrifying suffocation. No.
Nine days, and two pain pill prescriptions later I begged to be seen by the doc. Apparently not understanding my plight they put me in a room with a nurse practitioner who, to my surprise, listened more than any of the doc’s I had seen in the last 10 months. She told me to go straight to the ER, and assumed I had a clot in my lung. No.
I was admitted after a few hours, and after blood work, scans, ultrasounds, pee-in-the-cup-tricks, and poking/prodding they realized I had fluid around my heart which was struggling to beat, and had been for some time apparently. I had fluid around my damaged liver, which caused my liver enzymes to sky rocket, and my gallbladder, which was not functioning-at all. So they started me on a diuretic, which blessed me with the super woman power of super long potty trips, which was the color of shiny new pennies, and I lost 11 lbs. of fluid in under four hours. My diagnosis was HELLP syndrome. All because I was ‘whining’. Alas the symptoms have lingered and I often feel out of breath, tired, and catch every cold that comes my way. My gallbladder is slowly healing and the fluid in my legs is receding day by day by day….so there’s that to be thankful for on my end.
I could have had so many terrible things come out of all of this, but instead I had my last baby, perfect in every way, given to me, as if I was worthy enough. I’m so blessed.
My son JJ came to me a few months ago and we had the sweetest, most telling and wise conversation I think I could ever have with him…
“Mama, I know why you are having another baby…”
“You do? And why do think I’m having this baby?”
“Because you don’t want to be lonely.”
That just cuts deep. So true. So sweet/sad.
I can’t imagine a life without Tank, or any of our kids for that matter. This birthday is more than just my last first birthday. It is my last time to BE here, with my young one, and not be lonely. This fact is so very sad for me, but also, it is one of the most revealing, and by far the larger whole of my heaven.
***Happy First Birthday Tank. You are my heart, and you keep me beating. ***