Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A day of awe

Okay, I've been on about this a little lately, here and there, but the day has arrived and I can't let it go without comment.

My daughter is 13 today. When did that happen? I'm astounded. I talked to Ranger about her this morning, and he said, "You know, she really is a great kid." I almost cried because I'm so in awe of her as a human being. She's a spectacular individual, who tries so hard to always do the right thing and be her own person. Her name means "tower of strength," and she shows me that daily.

And she still calls me "Mommy." My heart just swells each time I hear it. I know....I'm a complete sap.

So, I've been remembering how she came into this world. She wasn't supposed to happen. She wasn't supposed to be possible. I had certain "female problems" and my then-husband had his own issues, which combined to make the doctors shake their heads and tell us to consider adoption.

One day, we did. My sister decided being a single parent wasn't in the cards for her and asked us to adopt my nephew. A week later, I was a mommy. We adopted my son when he was 18 months old.

A year later, in 2004, we started considering adopting again, through the Church social services. We went to the temple in Salt Lake City and prayed our hearts out. We prayed for my health, which was wonky at the time. We prayed to know what to do about having more children. We left with the strong impression that I needed to examine all the medications I was on and that yes, we should have another child.

So, I re-evaluated my medical situation. I was able to improve my health and get off a lot of the medications I was on (which had been interacting with each other for bad results). I was feeling a lot better that year. We bought a NordicTrack. I loved that thing (but my ex later got rid of it because he kept falling off of it).

We also started the long red-tape process of adoption. We knew we should have another child, so we thought adoption was our only choice. We got the wheels turning and let our friends know they'd be contacted by social services to give references for us soon.

And then it happened. Or rather, it didn't happen. I missed a period.

Now, my periods were brutal and irregular. But to be so late was unusual. My tiny little optimistic voice in my head spoke to me, and I headed to the store. The checker at Wal-mart gave me the most confused look. I was buying pads, tampons, and a pregnancy test. I didn't care to explain. I was nervous.

I did my little pee-on-the-stick thing, and waited. I'm not good at waiting, but I had a three-year-old in the house, so that sure helps.

All the little lines I wanted to see appeared on the test. I sat down and just about cried. But I squashed the little optimistic voice, though, and knew I had to go to the doctor to confirm this. I packed up my son and went to the urgent care place around the corner. To me, this was urgent!

The doctor came back in the room and said, "Congratulations!" I started to cry.

"You don't know what a big deal this is," I said. "I'm not supposed to be able to do this."

The doctor threw a confused glance at my son, playing obliviously on the floor. I whispered my explanation, about my son's adoption. Realization dawned on the doctor's face, and by the time I left, the entire place was congratulating me.

Of course, my then-husband was overjoyed! We had to contact our friends and tell them not to write those letters of reference. We had to tell social services to take us off the list. I had to call my regular doctor's office and tell them the news. As I waited for the doctor on the line, office workers were picking up the extensions and saying, "Are you serious?!"

I worried a little. Everyone says morning sickness is a good sign. I didn't have it. At all. Later, I'd get nauseous if a had a waistband on me, but no morning sickness. My sister announced she was pregnant about two months later, and was absolutely miserable with morning sickness. She hates me for that to this day!

I saw the doctor when I was about 10 weeks along. I got my first ultrasound look at my little one. She looked like a peanut. Things were going smoothly, except for being quite tired. To be expected, the doctor said. After all, I was chasing an active three-year-old, too.

But the weariness got worse. I'd never felt such profound exhaustion. It was all I could do to get my son's breakfast, turn on PBS, and get out his flip-track train toys. After that, my energy was done. As he built complicated transportation systems on the den floor, and watched Thomas the Tank Engine, I laid on the couch and slept. He'd wake me to show me things and when he was hungry. I'd push myself some days to take him to the zoo or to play at friends' houses. But it took all I had.

At about 26 or 27 weeks, they test for gestational diabetes. That's when the alarms went off. I went on insulin and a new diet immediately. I had to eat tiny meals all day. Ironically, it seemed all I did was eat. And take shots. I discovered that it's really difficult to make your own hand hurt yourself. It grossed out my then-husband, so he'd have to leave the room when I gave myself shots. Wienie.

They took frequent ultrasounds, checking my baby's size. They were having trouble getting my blood sugar under control, so she was growing too fast. It explained why I felt movement from her way early. Now, she was big enough to wedge herself against my bladder. Oh, that's lovely. But I also remember watching the outline of her tiny foot track across my belly. I was in awe, even then.

It was summer, in Texas. Hot. I had two friends who were pregnant with me. People laughed when they saw us together at church, sitting together and fanning ourselves. Oh, it was a miserable summer! I wanted snow cones in the worst way. But they have sugar. "If there were sugar-free flavors, I'd get them for you," my then-husband told me. He was in foodservice sales, so he would know if sugar-free snow cone syrup existed. It apparently didn't. So, I lived with my craving.

One day, the endocrinologist said to me, "If this baby gets over 8 pounds, 10 ounces, I don't want you laboring with her." And he launched into all the terrible things that could happen to me and to her, if I tried to deliver her normally at that size. Scared the crap out of me.

About a month before my due date, she hit that mark. It would be a C-section for me. I actually felt relieved, believe it or not. I didn't worry about her getting hurt now.

Two weeks later, on July 4th, 2005, I started having contractions. That scared me. My blood sugars were still not under control. I went to the hospital, but they sent me home. Not time yet.

The next day, I still was having contractions. My then-husband called the doctor. The doctor said, "Let's let her labor and see what happens." Then-husband relayed that news to me.

What happened next scared the man. I lost it. I freaked. I remembered all the warnings. How could this doctor say to risk it? (I learned later that he was about to go on vacation.) Then-husband turned back to the phone, "Uhm....I don't think that's a very good idea."

"How about early Saturday, then?" the doctor asked. Much better idea.

My folks came to take care of my son Friday night. Saturday morning, I kissed him goodbye as he slept, and we drove to the hospital. I loved walking up to the desk and saying, "I have an appointment to have a baby." As cool as that.

The next couple of hours were a blur. Hospital gown, IV, warm blankets, cold delivery room, epidural. Oh, the epidural. Then-husband went wienie on me there, too. He was trying to soothe me while panicking, so the doctor stepped in and did the soothing for him. Dang, that thing hurt, but it did it's job well.

They took good care of me. I felt the tug of her entering the cold room, entering the world. She was pissed about it, too. She hadn't moved much yet that early morning, so she was probably asleep when she was rudely awakened by the doctor's hands. From warm Mommy to cold world. She made her disapproval known!

The nurse said, "Look at the hair!"

I said, "Is it red?"

"No," she said. "Jet black."

My little one's skin was very dark red. My tactful then-husband turned to the Hispanic doctor and said, "Hey, she looks like she could be yours!" Oh good golly. What an ass.

They weighed her. The diabetes had taken it's toll. Two weeks early, nine and a half pounds.

They bundled her up and handed her to her father, who headed to the nursery with her. "Whoa," I hollered. "Can I see her?" He'd forgotten about me.

So, I finally saw her. She had lots of black, curly hair. I said her name. I said I loved her very much. And then she was taken to the nursery. Where she continued to scream for a long, long time.

On the other side of the nursery window was my son, in his "I'm the Big Brother" t-shirt. My dad was filming him watching his sister and said, "So, what do you think of your new little sister?"

Without missing a beat, he said, "She looks funny. Just like Daddy."

They gave me a large room, with a couch that folded out to a bed. Later that day, I held my baby and watched my son playing on the floor with his new cowboys and indians playset, that I'd bought just for this occasion. See, I have two miracles. The miracle that I got to be my son's mother when I wanted to be so desperately. For 18 months, I felt like his mother, but he wasn't mine. The day I was allowed to me was a miracle day to me. And I have the miracle of having this little baby girl.

Now, she's a young woman. She mature, beautiful, unique. Still with all that curly black hair, too. The last 13 years have not been easy. The beginning of the end of my marriage had already started, but today isn't a time for thinking of that. It's for celebrating her.

And that's what we'll do. So I sign off for today, because I have a lunch date with a really fantastic young lady, who still fills me with awe.


Mike said...

You know, you're supposed to post a billion pictures on these little memory trips to show off your child to the world.

You're not a very good "mommy" blogger.

Which is probably why I enjoyed this post.

great work.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your little girl and Happy Birthing Day to you, Momma! What a beautiful post and a wonderful way to honor your daughter. I hope you both had a lovely lunch!

Blogget Jones said...

LOL Mike! Since I try to be somewhat anonymous here, I don't put personal pics :o) That hasn't stopped some calls, saying, "You're Blogget Jones, aren't you?" but oh well...

I'm glad you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane!

:o) BJ

Walker said...

What a beautiful post.
Your daughter is you miracle.
Happy Birthday to her.
It's these memories that over shadow the ones of our kids driving us nuts.

Beofre I scoot off, ummm never tell Greg being called Mommy turns you into a Sap.
You think you got headacks with him now ha ha ha

Have a nice day

Blogget Jones said...

Fishsticks: Thank you from both os us, and yes, we did have a good time. She had a great day :o)

Walker: You're right about these memories! That's why I keep lots of pics around of my kids when they were little. Helps remember when they were cute :o)

And EWWWW about Greg and "Mommy"! If he called me that, I'd barf! LOL

:o) BJ