My birth, which should have been easy and natural for all the preparation taken by my mother, almost caused her death.
My mother describes how fortunate she was to be at the hospital dropping off some insurance papers needed before my due date which was over three weeks away. She was casually talking to a receptionist when she had an abrupt onset of pain, a pain so severe she described it as feeling as though life was being ripped away from her. Up to this point her pregnancy was simple and predictable without any complications or variations from the expected. It was so easy she sometimes wondered what other women complained about. She had none of the morning sickness, food cravings, back pain, or swollen ankles that she read about in the many books she bought and borrowed to help plan for my arrival. So when the inexplicable pain began she was utterly unprepared for the events that did not coincide with the normal delivery she had envisioned.
She later said she held her belly protectively and looked down sure that she would see a knife plunging in and out of her by some unseen assailant. She swears she could feel and hear something inside her rip. At that moment a large red stain appeared on her khaki maternity pants. The once chatty receptionist was quick to realize the emergency and within moments my mother was whisked away. Her clothes were cut off; she was wheeled to the operating room and anesthetized.