By Karelys Beltran
Grace Noe tells her story of motherhood in her blog.
I wanted to share it with you because her style of writing is interesting in that she gives us a biology lesson, goes on to explain an obscure illness in a manner that is easy to grasp and digest, right in the middle of a very heartfelt story about motherhood, all without losing the tension and rhythm. And of course, I am always up to listen to a birth story. Before children, I never even knew there was an entire genre of story telling and the fact that birth stories would never get old.
Ms. Noe is an artist. I've been following her Instagram since she came on my radar last year during a catalog photoshoot that Thayne Jongeward did for the brand Wildjay. She is fresh, young, funny, and deeply talented. She is also about to marry the love of her life; a handsome man that parents her daughter as his own.
It is exciting to watch women rise and morph from young girls to that solid and graceful aura that womanhood brings when they have earned it through the trials life brings. Grace, true to her name, has transmuted pain into something beautiful to look at and experience. She comes across as grateful to life and humble. Which makes me want to be friends.
I hope you enjoy her story as much as I have. And I hope that soon we get to enjoy more of her art available to the public.
The Day I Became a Mother
November 22nd, 2014 was probably the craziest day of my life so far. It was insane to me that even nine months of waiting for this baby girl to enter my life still wasn’t long enough for me to be mentally prepared. It was and still is an incredibly overwhelming thought that one day I walked into the hospital and walked out with a baby the next. I was only 19 years old, accidentally pregnant with my boyfriend of 2 years, and had only been in college for one year. I was terrified.
I was nine days over due and miserably uncomfortable. I went into the hospital at 5 am on November 22nd. My water broke at 9 am. I was told my doctor was on vacation and wouldn’t make it to my delivery and they had reassigned me to a different doctor. I panicked for a little bit because this new assigned doctor probably had no idea of my health history. I have a blood condition called ITP which is short for “immune thrombocytopenia purpura”. It basically means my blood doesn’t clot so if I have an injury or bleed at all, it won’t stop bleeding. Long story short- when I was 15 years old I contracted mono from one of my cross country team mates by sharing an ice cream cone with her. Shortly after I had mono I noticed a lot of changes in my body. I was extremely tired, weak, and didn’t feel anything like I had before. After numerous visits with a hematologist I found out I had ITP. From what my doctor told me, and to my understanding; my body tried to fight the mono virus but in turn my white blood cells attacked my platelet cells. Oops right? Wish I could fire all of my white blood cells and hire new ones to do the job properly.
My doctor expressed concern regarding getting an epidural. She thought my platelet cells may be too low and my only options would be to give natural birth or be put under local anesthetic. I’d rather suffer through the pain of natural birth and to be the one to hold my baby girl first rather than wake up after her birth to see her beautiful face. A normal person has up to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. Previously I had a steady count of 75,000 platelets and still do to this day. I believe they were even lower during my pregnancy but can’t remember the exact number. Luckily when they tested my blood that day, I had just enough to get the epidural. The doctor said I was close to where they usually cut it off though. My guardian angel was looking out for me.
At 6 pm, I was told to push. Suddenly my doctor rushed into my room and said she had flown back from her vacation just to deliver my baby. She was wearing a north face jacket and nice leather boots but she put scrubs on over it and immediately instructed me what to do. I was so relived. I pushed for what seemed like forever. I remember a nurse looked down at me saying that I had to “actually push”. I was trying my hardest and was so frustrated that she would act like I wasn’t. My twin sister and mother were in the room with me. When my daughter was finally born at 6:35 pm, everyone, including the nurse, were extremely shocked at how chubby my baby turned out to be. 8 pounds and 13 ounces. The nurse looked at me and said “Oh wow. You really were pushing as hard as you could”. Duh. I held my baby close to my chest and cried. Instant love at first sight. The feeling is unexplainable. A rush of emotions and love. It was almost too much for my heart to bear. I was a mother.
Suddenly the lights kept turning on and off, so I thought. My baby was taken away from me and at least five nurses rushed into the small delivery room. Family members hushed and I frantically looked around the room to find my baby. She was safe in her fathers arms in the corner of the room behind the crowd of nurses but he was ghost white and looked terrifed. Every single time the “lights” would turn off- I was unconscious and when the “lights” turned on, I saw more and more blood and more nurses. My doctor was below me working quietly but quickly. I had numerous injections being put into each of my thighs. They were attempting to clot my blood. One after another and they made me sick. I threw up everywhere while my poor mother tried to catch it all in those tiny blue throw up bags the hospital provides. My doctor was absolutely covered in my blood. Head to toe. I looked at my mom and asked her if I was dying. She said “Oh no honey. You’re doing just fine”. Then she whispered to my doctor, but I heard “Is she going to die?” And I could hear the panic in her voice. My doctor didn’t answer and kept quickly working on me. I remember praying to myself. I weighed 120 pounds when I got pregnant and weighed 144 at the end. My baby was so big for how tiny I was that she had ripped my uterus in two places. After most deliveries the mother’s body will contract and naturally close any arteries and stop the bleeding. Mine did not. My doctor was physically using her hands in an attempt to close my arteries and hold my uterus’s shape long enough to stop me from hemmoraging and from dying.
After what seemed like hours, the doctor ended up putting what they call a “balloon” inside my uterus to support my uterus walls from falling in and bleeding. I stayed in the hospital with my newborn for three nights recovering. They wanted me to stay longer but I just wanted to be home with my baby (and to get that frick'n catheter out!) I felt like I had been hit by a bus and honestly would’ve cried for weeks afterwards from the pain but looking at my sleeping baby and feeling that love made it so much easier to recover. I iced frequently for the pain which helped. Today I can’t remember exactly how bad the pain was, but I do remember every inch of my daughters face, every movement, and every little noise she made. I would do it again and again and again for this outcome. I’m now a mother to a beautiful three year old little girl and she makes me smile every single day. Aurora Smith, the most perfect human being in my eyes.
Thank you so much Grace for sharing your gorgeous story.
We wish you everything good under the stars for this giant new chapter in life.
Happy Mother's Day!