I always knew that becoming a mom would be as rewarding as it was full of challenges. And the planner that I was would be thrown out the window, replaced by a woman who has the embrace the mentality of “living in the moment.”

What I didn’t realize was quite how early in the motherhood journey that change would be forced upon me. But my experience with a traumatic birth taught me the beauty in life happens between the planning.

I spent the final hours before my delivery planting flowers with my husband—beautiful blue blooms for boy. I marched up and down the steps willing my water to break. When it soon did—and not in the middle of a big client meeting like I feared—we did all the things you’re supposed to do: call the doctor, shower, pack your bags and head the hospital.

I recall an eerie sense of calm as we drove the two short miles to the hospital. I believed everything would go as planned, because I had a plan.

My labor was everything I had planned. Ocean waves playing in the background, lavender essential oils, birth balls, a pure meditative state is where I remained for almost 12 hours. I pushed for three hours and felt like the superhero I was. Our son was healthy, big and beautiful. Labor went like I hoped and planned.

Until, in a split second, it wasn’t what I planned.

I was hemorrhaging. The entire labor and delivery staff was in my room. My son was whisked away. I was rushed to the operating room for an emergency D&C for my retained placenta.

It wasn’t what I planned.

I knew I had a long physical recovery ahead. But I was a super woman, who declined a blood transfusion, because I thought I could manage with diet. The next month was hard. Really hard. I was a shell of myself, not that strong woman who had given birth a few short weeks earlier.

It wasn’t what I planned.

My son was perfect, but it was me who needed repair. I was scheduled for another D&C to remove the placenta that was not properly removed the first time. The second time was a relative success, but still left me feeling like a failure because the medication meant I couldn’t breastfeed my sweet little boy.

I was told “the end” of my struggle was in sight. But months passed—too many months—and my period didn’t return. I knew that wasn’t right.

It wasn’t what I planned.

I’m not one to call in favors, but I did. A dear friend’s father, a prominent OBGYN, put me in contact with a specialist. My husband and I drove nearly three hours in one direction to his office for a consultation. After an examination, the doctor concluded I had “Asherman Syndrome.”

I turned the new term over in my head as the doctor explained I would need corrective surgery to repair my uterus, which was scarred from the botched first operation.

The doctor had a plan and I trusted him, even as he said I would have to stay overnight for the operation. More time away from my newborn, “taking care of me” instead of him.

It wasn’t what I planned.

The surgery was successful. Finally, finally, the doctor restored me to the superwoman I was. A true angel on earth who gave me back my fertility, my life, my hope. I finally felt I could be the mom I always wanted to be to my son.

I spent the next year free of doctors by choice. I didn’t even want to go to the dentist. I wanted my body back—no more poking and prodding, no more blood draws, no more sterile rooms. I just wanted to be surrounded by love, snuggles and all things beautiful that I felt I had missed out on over the year prior.

As a mama, you would give anything to have the “bad stuff” happen to you, not your baby. These feelings taught me that despite the shortcomings I may have felt, my sweet little boy didn’t know the difference.

I used to think joy came from carefully executed plans. But now I know it can also be discovered in small moments of revelation during those peaceful snuggles—Wow, I can endure more than I ever thought possible.

To my son, all he knows from that first year is that I was there, doing the best I could.

As for me—the one more prone to guilt—it helps to remember I can handle whatever life throws my way. I am strong. I am a superhero.

And, most importantly, I am pregnant again.