My baby girl turns 9 years old tomorrow. The youngest of my children. The 3rd. The miracle. As I prepare for her party, baking strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting, and her, right beside me stirring and mixing…I’m reminded.
I remember hearing the words ‘trans-location’ and ‘fused chromosomes.’ I remember being genetically tested for the first five months of my pregnancy. I remember the worry.
I think back to the doctor who told me there was a 93% chance…abnormality, downs, leukemia…words tossed out like I was supposed to be able to wrap my head around this. Like I was supposed to understand. And at 5 months pregnant, I had already fallen in love with her. Yet, conversations started with words like abortion, and understandable. Words that rolled off their tongues without expression or emotion.
I remember walking out of the hospital vowing to never have another test. I would love this little girl no matter the percentage of abnormalities based on a ‘balanced trans-location‘ – a little girl that I’d prayed for. After 2 beautiful & healthy boys and 2 miscarriages, finding out I was pregnant with a little girl thrilled me beyond belief.
I had already imagined us together, walking the beach in sundresses and floppy hats. I pictured us holding hands, sharing an ice cream cone, reading bedtime stories and singing lullabies to. She was already in my heart. I was already her mom.
For months after that last visit I worried. I prayed. And in the weeks leading up to delivery, I was resigned to bed rest, due to complications.
On the date of delivery, after waiting four long months to see this little angel, I was told we’d need to wait. We would not be having this child today. The nurse hooked me up to monitors. Her heart rate was dropping, and it was decided to perform a c-section;my 3rd in 6 years.
When my daughter was born at 4:24 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, I waited for what felt like forever to see her face. To feel her against my skin. The neonatal unit doctors, nurses and staff surrounded her upon birth and whisked her away before I could hold her.
Suddenly, the head of the neonatal unit approached, with my daughter. She looked at me, and cast her eyes on my little girl. She placed her gently into my arms, and said simply, “She’s perfect.”
And over the past nine years, I sometimes wonder if that balanced trans-location was a gene for super sass, or perhaps a gene for super talented, super funny or super smart. Because this girl is special. She is different – just not in the way the doctors had anticipated.
My little girl is love, happiness and generosity in a 48″ package. My little girl is sarcastic & silly. She is brave and bold.
And as I watch her sprinkle the pink frosted cupcakes, dancing around the kitchen, and getting multicolored sprinkles all over the counter top – I am reminded of how badly I wanted her, how passionate I was to keep her, and how protective of her I am, still.
Happy Birthday to the fiercest girl I know.
Lila Catherine, I love you. I am blessed beyond measure, and proud to call you my daughter. I pray that you always be kind, generous and loving. I pray that you will provide strength to those who need support, courage to those who need a voice, and always have a humble heart.