It was April 2014. And I was across the entire world in Sydney, Australia. I had never traveled that far and I had never been pregnant before and I had never been that scared in my life. To this day, I remember the contractions and sitting in the airplane, simply praying that all would go well. Everlong was the song I was listening to in that moment and it took me years until I could finally listen to it without starting to cry immediately.
In the moment then and there I starting realizing that I am a mother. And that I have never loved anyone or anything else more in my life before.
Why did it take me over 20 weeks to realize that? My midwife and my gynecologists told me for weeks to slow down. They told me that I have contractions and that I will end up in the delivery room moths before my due date, if I don’t listen.
I did not listen, because I was only half way through my PhD and I wanted to finish it on time. I could not fall behind, everything was planned. The conference talk in Sydney. The Wedding. Moving house. All of it.
Once I returned from my trip to Australia the contractions got even worse and I had to stop working completely. From one day to the next I only focused on you, because I was a mom now and did not care anymore about the PhD or anything else but you.
The coming weeks were really hard and full of checkups and hospital visits. I was exhausted both mentally and physically and in so much pain every day. But I knew I had to keep going for you and was grateful for every day and every week you would stay with me.
I was isolated for weeks from friends and colleagues and I spent most of these weeks lying down, because everything caused more contractions. The pain got worse and I really thought that I cannot take this anymore for weeks to come. Then I completely broke down and told my midwife I could not handle the situation anymore. The fear, the pain, everything. There was not much that could be done, but we scheduled an appointment for an early induction. I felt like a total failure for giving up after sixteen weeks of isolation, pain, contractions and fear.
Almost like a miracle you decided yourself it was time. I went into labor naturally that night and in the morning of the next day you were born. Everyone around me was happy.
I did not understand what was happening and how was it possible that I had given birth to a child? Everything was too much.
They said you might have an infection and took you away from me. I could not even hold you and I did not even really see your face. They brought you to the neonatology station and you were lying in this box with these cables. All these babies were lying there and I asked my husband: “Who is our son? Who is Ben?”. I was crying, because I did not even know who my baby was.
The coming days were nothing but traumatic. The injections they gave you. I am lost for words to describe that time in the hospital, but I feel every moment of this again. No mother should go through this. At least I was not alone. We were three now and we would manage somehow.
Finally, we could go home and I wanted to care for you all day and all night. You were crying a lot and it was tough, but not for one second was there any regret or one tear. I was there for you, no matter what. I spent hours every night holding you, because you kept screaming from the pain or vomiting. I was so exhausted, which I had never experienced before. But I did not care and I kept going every day and every night.
Ben, you will turn seven this year and I could not be more proud of the kind, curious, caring boy you have become. You made me a mom and I love you more than any words will ever say. Everlong.
by Anna Schueth