She came to me in a dream.
Being pregnant with her was not a dream.
Ten years after having my son, my heart condition had improved enough for a high risk, but stable pregnancy. When my cardiologist gave us the green light, we tried for six months. I gave in to the craziness of calendars, body temperatures, etc. I wanted to be pregnant so badly that it hurt my feelings. I bought pregnancy tests as part of our weekly groceries and became one of those women that forced my husband to have sex based on a schedule.
We stopped trying when I was diagnosed with a tumor in my left knee. I had written off the aching in my leg as an injury until an MRI found a large suspicious mass. The surgery to remove the tumor for biopsy and subsequent recovery were more difficult than anything I had done up to this point. I spent a week in the hospital, a month on the couch, another month on crutches. I had given up on the idea of having another child. Surely after the tumor was benign, I had no right to ask for more.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was almost three months along. I was still on crutches; I had an open wound, where the stitches in my leg had torn open. I was going through tedious physical therapy and learning to walk again. I needed painkillers just to make it through the day. I was shocked at the timing….excited by how blessed we were. But more than anything else, I was secretly afraid that my body could not take much more.
After being admitted into the hospital several times for exhaustion and other complications, I went into heart failure at 33 weeks.
Wheeling me from my room to the operating room, was like a scene out of one of those horrible ER episodes, where you don’t know if you want to keep watching because the ending seems tragic. I could hear the panic in their voices as I whizzed down the hall. The urgency in the words “losing them” didn’t quite register under the bright lights. In that moment, I hated the women who gave birth in quiet dark rooms with soft music playing in the background. Why couldn’t I have that too? I could hear her heartbeat on the monitor. Loud, and slower….slower…slower.
And here’s where some people may not understand, but as the chaos whirled around me, I found the most perfect moment of peace. That moment…when you abandon your senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, and simply give in.
I put my right hand up in the air, and yanked some tubing around w/ it. The anesthesiologist pushing me the fastest said “Put your hand down.” I said “NO. “I’m giving her up to God. It won’t matter if she comes to me or not, but it matters if she goes to Him. I never felt as much faith as I did in that moment. And never have again since then.
Olive turns two today. We have been through so much since she was born, much of it is life tossing our family around. She seems to center us. The foreclosure, our blended family, our unstable job situations, the horrible economy: it’s all the same as the whizzing and the hallway lights. More often than not, the chaos of everyday life drowns out the calm.
Yet, she’s here. It’s amazing the things that faith teaches a person, and the humility that comes with that. I dreamt of her, but never of what she would teach me. From conception to birth, everything about her has been a conscious act of faith. She is a constant reminder of my simple nature and to be thankful despite the noise.
(Note: This is an edited post from one of my very first blog entries.)