Sunday, September 12, 2010

The impact of September 13th 2009

One of the things in life I have always looked forward to was going into spontaneous labor. There are so few surprises in our world and not knowing when you are going into labor just seemed so cool (and it was!). I enjoyed that every time I called my family or friends right before my due date I had to answer the phone with "I am not in labor."
One year ago from today I got my moment of excitement. My due date was 5 days away and I had been walking a lot to try to get things going, naturally. It was working - I was having tons of Braxton Hicks contractions and had found out at the last several OB appointments that things were progressing. On Sunday morning, Sept 13th at about 4:45 am I woke up because my water broke. It wasn't a gush, but I had NO doubt that is what it was. It was weird to be so sure about something you have never experienced, but I was. So I got out of bed, didn't wake up Shawn, and went to the bathroom. I just took a moment for myself and had a HUGE smile on my face - this was it!!! I was soooooooo excited, I was suddenly more awake than I had ever been and kept thinking that our lives will never be the same. I walked back into the bedroom and said to Shawn "My water broke!" He wears a CPAP mask to sleep and was mumbling with the mask on. He was so out of it and so asleep and he kept talking through the mask, I finally said "you might as well take your mask off because we are having a baby!"
I remember all the details so vividly from that morning - the excitement in our voices as we showered and got ready to go to the hospital. The moments we relished before we called our family, knowing that we were the only ones that knew at that moment our son was officially on his way to make us a family of three. I remember forcing myself to eat a little breakfast on the way to the hospital because I knew they had a no eating policy (so stupid) and I also knew I needed energy. When I think back to these seemingly insignificant details I can still feel the rush of excitement and joy in all of our moves.
Though I remember the good things and the excitement, I can't help but be reminded that one year ago my precious,perfect baby boy was getting the crap beat out of him and no one knew it. With every contraction I had his face was being smashed and crushed into my pelvis. Instead of his chin being tucked against his chest and his crown presenting (coming first), his head was flexed and his forehead was coming first. And no one knew it. Malpresentations (presentations other than crown first - such as breech) occur in less than 4% of labors. And the brow presentation is the rarest of all the malpresentations. So in reality there is a 0.001 chance of having a brow presentation. As rare as it is, the consequences of brow presentation going undiagnosed can be dangerous as we soon found out. And at the same time I feel so incredibly blessed because with the way my labor was managed Fisher could have fared much, much worse.
I look at my son today who is one day shy of turning one year old and I am so impressed by him. He has taken everything in stride from even before he was born and just seems to deal with the cards he has been dealt. When the doctors and nurses told us that he wouldn't be able to eat and would most likely need a feeding tube - he proved them wrong. When the nurses explained that he probably wouldn't breastfeed after his nose surgeries - he didn't listen. When the doctors told me that he would likely be delayed on some milestones due to us having to restrict his movement the first four months - he taught us to not underestimate him.
So many factors that have been apart of this first year of Fisher's life were set for him on Sept 13th, 2009. The day before he was actually born. While Fisher will most likely have a few more surgeries in the future, I pray that his birth injuries will be completely behind him before he is old enough to really remember the surgeries. But me, I know for the rest of my life I will think back to Sept 13th 2009 and be flooded with memories - both the good and the bad. Hopefully as the years pass I can focus more and more on the good, innocent memories of walking into the hospital in labor, holding my husband's hand, feeling the cool fall air, and hearing the birds greet us, knowing that when we walked out of that hospital our lives would forever be more full and rich.


  1. Wow. Amazing story thanks for sharing. I didn't know he had brow presentation. Fisher is one amazing guy. Happy 1st Birthday Fisher!

  2. Thanks Sarah!
    He is a fighter that is for sure! He had it pretty rough at first, had 4 surgeries before he was 4 months old. Brow presentation is definitely something that should be recognized!! We are lucky his back didn't get broken.

  3. What an awesome, beautiful post Erin! As a fellow brow presentation mama, I'm totally with you on the good, the bad, and the ugly of this type of birth!
    Happy birthday Fisher - and keep surpassing everyone's expectations for many years to come!

  4. Wow. What a powerful memory. I have heard of brow presentation but I didn't know it was that rare or dangerous. He is a little fighter isn't he?? I'm glad he is faring so well after his surgeries and all he has been through. I know it must be hard on his mama too.

    Happy (early) birthday to your little Fisher. I hope you all have a wonderful day together!

  5. It's amazing the details you remember. I love that you relished the time before you told people you were in labor and had that quiet time with Shawn. It's something you'll never forget and the last moments of just the two of you. Sending much love on YOUR Labor Day!