Writer Reflects on Long Journey to a Very Special Mother’s Day | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

Writer Reflects on Long Journey to a Very Special Mother's Day

Love flowers and appreciation should flow freely this weekend as sons and daughters honor their mothers. But this weekend should also work both ways with women thinking about the impact that having children or not having them have had on their lives. A year ago, we heard local writer Susan Bisno Massel discuss her five-year struggle to conceive.

One year ago, I sat in this studio and recorded an essay about letting go--letting go of the desire to have a child after five years of trying. It was time to grow up and face reality.

A year later I'm here to say this: I lied. I didn't accept it and even as I read those words I was undergoing one final fertility treatment. On the day that essay aired just before Mother's Day last year, I learned I was pregnant. I was so happy I could barely contain myself. As the months passed, all the tests showed my husband and me that our baby, our son, was doing well. I couldn't wait to hold our boy, feed him, look into his eyes.

By the 36th week of my pregnancy, my doctor thought I had preeclampsia. My whole body was bloated and I threw up more then than I had in the beginning of my pregnancy. My doctor sent me to the hospital.

As I walked out of the elevator in the parking garage at my doctor's office, the elevator door opened too soon--the elevator didn't come flush with the ground. That created a step that I couldn't see due to my pregnant belly. I tripped. As I felt myself falling forward, falling on the boy we'd already decided to call Nathan, I kept thinking: I can't fall on the baby. So, instead, I slammed into the wall in front of me. Blood was coming from my nose and it was everywhere. And, I was alone.

I was transported by ambulance to the hospital with two broken wrists, a laceration on my nose and a badly bruised leg. One wrist required surgery while I was pregnant and the other wrist was put in a cast. Thankfully, our baby was OK but I had no use of my hands and wrists. I gave birth a week later but I couldn't pick up my son, as my wrists were not even close to healed. I couldn't breastfeed—really impossible without wrists—couldn't change a diaper, couldn't give him a bath. Heck, it would be weeks before I could bathe myself again! It was awful.

We finally had our healthy son, but I was a spectator, watching as others cared for him. I felt like a guest in my own home as we needed so much help.

Only then, did I grow up and face reality.

I was always in the room when he was changed and fed. I did a ton of “skin on skin” with him on my chest and I made sure, above all else, that he knew my voice and the touch of my fingertips. My first day alone with him, when I could really hold him and care for him, was one of the best days of my life.

My hands and wrists still ache and I'm not sure I'll ever be that person again who walked onto that elevator that day. Nathan is 4 months old and I feel like a superhero every time I pick him up. This Mother's Day we'll be celebrating and I'll be holding on to my baby with both hands!

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