The definition of the word heartstring is "the deepest emotions or affections" - Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I wrote and rewrote dozens of drafts of my poem "Heartstring" for years. This final version was completed in 2014 and it is my best attempt at expressing how I felt the moment I met my son. I gave birth to him February 10th, 2009. His birth moment was captured on film and video but I struggled for years to find the most accurate words to describe that very moment. I felt compelled to capture it in words because the subsequent moments and years were filled with a physical and emotional recovery that I was not prepared to handle. In the split second when our eyes first met is where I lost myself and found myself. Regardless of how I struggled the following years, I had undoubtedly had the most amazing experience of my lifetime. I will never ever forget how deeply my son's eyes looked into mine. We felt each other's spirit in that moment. We embraced a new love that would inevitably inspire me to hold on and endure what would be the most physically demanding years of my life.
I had planned this pregnancy but the pregnancy did not go as planned. I wanted to continue working full time through the entire 9 months and I also wanted a natural child birth. About 7 months into the pregnancy my body went into preterm labor. I was admitted to the hospital immediately. Magnesium sulfate was administered and the labor stopped. I was ordered to complete the remaining months on 100% bed rest. The due day came and went. My labor was induced and in just a few hours the heart rate monitor strapped around my belly had detected a drastic drop in my son's heart rate. A cesarean section was ordered and within seconds I was in an operating room getting prepped for the birth. I truly had no idea that a c-section was in the realm of possibilities. I was stunned. My husband was stunned. The next thing I knew, I was looking into the eyes of my beautiful baby boy.
I was discharged from the hospital 5 or 6 days after the birth. I struggled for a year with pain surrounding the abdominal area where the cesarean section incision is located. The pain was so bad that I limped when I walked. I was very busy that first year back at work and taking care of my newborn but my usual physical activity plummeted to an all time low due to the pain. Walking was the limit of my physical activity and because of the pain I could never walk for very long. Throughout that year I sought out the help of several different doctor's before one of them finally gave me an answer and offered a fix. I had been suffering from an incisional hernia. "An incisional hernia happens when a weakness in the muscle of the abdomen allows the tissues of the abdomen to protrude through the muscle." - VeryWell.com.
Within a few weeks of the diagnosis I was back in an operating room getting the incisional hernia repaired. The doctor recommended that my repair be suture closed. For the following year the pain would slowly return. I thought I was just having normal recovery pain but it turned out that the suture close re opened and the incisional hernia reappeared. I was back in the operating room and this time the doctor would repair my hernia with a mesh graft used to cover the hole. The mesh is permanent and prevents the hernia from returning, even though the defect remains open. It is now 5 years since that last surgery and I've been pain free ever since. The mesh was a success.
What I thought would only be a nine month sacrifice of my body turned into a 9 month and two year sacrifice. My body took a beating. This whole experience is what I believe lead me to this blog. Little by little I made small changes in my daily physical activity to regain overall body strength and energy. By the time all of the surgeries were done with, my son was an active two year old running circles around me. In the past 5 years I have moved from walking to now being able to train in the martial arts. I have rediscovered physical wellness at a very different time in my life. I'm older now and in the end it has inspired me to help others as well. It has been a long road that has come with a lot of tears. I am grateful for the life I have now with my family. I am grateful for the body I have reclaimed. I am grateful most of all for that first tug of my mommy heartstring.
-Dedicated to my son Owen.