When Calvin was born, by emergency cesarean, the anesthesiologist had put me under. Just prior to his delivery I had had to undergo a pheresis to extract my platelets in case Calvin needed them, as there had been some evidence suggesting that he might. So many of my platelets were taken that I couldn’t undergo an epidural without risking a bleed into my spinal cord. Thus, sadly, neither Michael nor I saw our son Calvin emerge into the world.

My six-inch scar has healed well and now is barely discernible. However, my belly is numb below my navel to just above my pelvic bone. The nerves that were severed by the surgeon’s incision must not have healed as well as the scar itself.

This numbness serves as a constant reminder, an emotional scar of sorts, of events that happened nearly seven years ago. Sometimes I feel as if the numbness is my body’s way of trying to forget the trauma, though this lack of sensation only makes my mind remember. But I want to remember, I must remember. The events of the past—the stress, grief, fear, excitement and joy—inform my thoughts and feelings of today, of the here and now. My scars, both emotional and physical, metaphorical and literal, are a part of me; they have shaped me into who I am. I become a slightly different person—with each nick and scrape, each burn, each piercing of my heart and gaping wound healed over—than I would have been if I were unscathed. I embrace my imperfect self. It is the only self I know.

photo by Michael Kolster

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