A radiating sharp pain engulfed my back and moved into my neck. A cramp in my spine surfaced. Surprisingly I could feel everything. I thought to myself, “the irony of it all.” For the majority of my life, I had been denied the pleasure of sensation in over a third of my body, and now, immense pain, like no pain I had felt before.
The contractions started low in my abdomen and traveled across to my lower back. The contractions continued and were two minutes apart and progressively grew stronger. The anesthesiologist rolled me over to my side and asked my husband and mother to leave the hospital room. “Can’t someone stay with me?” I asked. “I need someone with me.” Tears surfaced in my eyes. I gripped tightly to the hospital bed rail and bit my lower lip with discomfort. The next contraction seemed to consume my entire being. The pain began as a slow irritation and instantly grew to unbearable anguish. How would I ever make it through this? The baby was on the way regardless if I was ready or not.
During the unshakable contractions, a small scar on my left knee caught my attention. A reminder of a time and a far, distant place. For a moment my thoughts traveled back there.
I recall, when I fell that day, my small knee cap caught the rough pavement. I was resilient and I was a four year old toddler. My grandmother was there to mend my wound. With a handkerchief on my knee, she leaned in and kissed me on my forehead.
This memory was my last time I could recall sensation in my knees. Now, nothing, no sensation in my legs at all, except in the present, while I was in full labor it seemed as if every cell in my body had been awakened.
This was my first child. Everything that was happening was unfamiliar and terrifying. Yet, there were emotions of great anticipation to finally see the preciousness of life. My nurse that day was Dorothy. I found a special sense of security in her name alone. Dorothy was my grandmother’s name. The grandmother that had held my bruised knee, more than 25 years prior, the grandmother that had passed the same day I was paralyzed. And the day I was giving birth, a memory of her and her name commenced.
The cesarean section only took minutes. And at 4:04pm, March 13, 2000, my first son entered this world. My life would never be the same again. My son was four weeks early. The physician wanted to observe him for the first few hours. The surgical team provided me with great care and my nurse, Dorothy, continued to supply me with a sense of peace.
My heart was flooded with emotions that are indescribable. Only a mother can understand this sentiment.