The Birth That Almost Killed Me - The story of my daughter's birth

Part 1

After much reflection, I've decided that I would like to share the story of Vivi's birth with you all.  

This story is filled with anticipation and joy, fear and anxiety, some gore and a true near-death experience.  

I share this story not for pity, nor for condolence, or even awareness of a certain mishap during birth.  What happened to me during Vivi's birth was extremely rare, so you'll hear no campaign of awareness from this girl.  

So why am I sharing?  

My entire life turned upside down the day Vivi was born and not just in the obvious and happy ways.  I went through and came out of trauma and the ensuing aftermath over the course of her first year that I wish on no woman.  But I came out of it.  I survived.  And not only did I survive, but now, I am thriving.  

I am pretty proud of what I have done to pull myself from the darkness, and a big part of that healing came from my ability to write my story down [and lots of therapy].  It took me two years before I could get it on paper, but I finally did and now, I might as well share it.  

If you are pregnant and reading this series, please know that what I went through was incredibly rare.  The likelihood of you having the same experience is very, very, very small.  Like I mentioned before, this series is not a PSA or community awareness campaign.  It is simply my story.  

Please be warned - I spare no detail of my experience, including what happened in the hospital and the surgery room.  If this series of posts is not for you, I totally understand.  No hard feelings, friends.  

Pregnancy + my Freedom trip to the beach

Drew and I found out we were pregnant with Vivi on December 1st, 2011.  We were lucky in that we had only been trying for a month, and, lo and behold, we were pregnant.  We were bowled over with both fear and excitement. 

My pregnancy was complication-free, just filled with the usual nausea, back-aches, grumpy hormonal attitude, swollen breasts, stretch marks on the tummy, hips and thighs and, well, you get the picture. 

We attended birthing classes and went to Babies R Us more times than I can count.  We discussed our birthing plan [we would be delivering in the hospital] and even created a “labor/birthing room” playlist on our phones just for the occasion.  You can’t have a “welcome to this world” birthday without music, right?

So the week of her due date arrives and I am at home, bored out of my mind, officially on leave from my job at the winery. 

I went from a go-go-go, don’t walk, RUN! atmosphere with tons of coworkers and customers to being A-LONE.  It was a hard fall, but there are worse things in life. 

So, feeling bored, lonely and completely cooped up, I think to myself “the only person who’s got you on boredom lockdown is you!”.  So, August 9, 2012, two days before her due date, I decide to drive an hour and a half to the beach. 

Don’t worry, I was smart and waited to call both Drew and my mom until I was out of town so they couldn’t scare/guilt-trip me, in that respective order, into turning around.

OK, I know you’d love for me to wrap up this story with me giving birth to my baby surrounded by strangers on the beach of Half Moon Bay, but this did not happen. 

I had a lovely day photographing the shoreline, eating a delicious fish and chips lunch, and leisurely strolling through the quaint shopping district of Half Moon Bay.  I pondered what the future days would bring, reflected on my pregnancy, and daydreamed of Vivi’s little face. 

While I was standing in a children’s boutique, I suddenly felt something pop?  move?  shift?  inside me.  It’s hard to explain, but whatever it was, it made me immediately drop the baby outfit I was ogling and head to my car. 

5 minutes later, I was on the highway, heading back to Oakland feeling relieved.  

Crisis #1, averted.  

That evening we met up with an old high school friend of Drew’s who was in town on business for dinner at Cesar’s on Piedmont Avenue.  All laughing about the story of my day, Drew’s friend insists that he is the great bringer-of-change in people's lives and if I go into labor that night we have to name our first-born son after him [though I believe he said he’d be ok if we changed Vivi’s name too].  

I had my first contraction the next morning at 3 am. 

Crisis #2, averted [sorry Dan]. 

I was always so scared that I wouldn’t recognize a contraction when I had it, but was I ever wrong.  From a dead sleep, I shot right up in bed and said out loud “that’s a contraction!”.  Needed to state the obvious, I guess.

I love that my last day as a childless woman was spent on a spontaneous trip to the ocean.  A final farewell to life as I knew it.  A sweet parting with the current size of my heart [I swear having a child doubles the capacity of your heart]. 

I grew up spending summers in Mexico Beach, Florida with my grandparents and the water has always been a place of solace for me. 

Little did I know, this reflection, this check-in with myself was critical in helping me cope with the days to come.  

You can find the entire four-part series here.

This post appeared first on Everyday Enthusiastic.  All ideas in this post are of my own opinions including any mention of companies and/or affiliate sites.  No sponsorships were involved in the creation of this post.  Photographs taken by Meredith Wheeler and family using a DSLR Canon Rebel T3.