Eight years ago today, I was sitting with my feet up, praying it would help my blood pressure finally go down, praying a breech baby would finally flip for god’s sake, praying an inevitable induction would work, praying I wouldn’t have to go through a c-section knowing that the risks were greatly starting to outweigh the rewards.
Sometimes we pray to God to answer our prayers, forgetting that sometimes the answer is “no”. And you question “why?” and don’t understand and you imagine your worry taking on a whole level you couldn’t even dream of.
But then comes the moment of truth …. your blood pressure numbers are freaking out the residents, the induction doesn’t work, your baby decides to welcome you into motherhood feet first letting you know already that she’ll be calling the shots, and that c-section you dreaded has become a reality. All of a sudden your labor and delivery room has 20 people in it (none of them your family), telling you a million things, asking you to sign forms left and right, prepping you for surgery. You think you’d be a frenzied mess.
I was as calm as I had ever been in my life.
One nurse was the one who stood by the most and kept me focused in all the mayhem that ensued. My one request? To be able to walk into that surgical suite on my own two feet. I didn’t want to be on a gurney being wheeled in. I didn’t realize at the time that my OB/GYN was outside talking to Art and my parents about how risky this was going to be, but everything would be ok.
Art went to get ready, everyone left and I was alone with my doc. He was slumped in a chair, scratching his forehead, looking at me drifting off in thought. Our eyes locked and he looked at me and said, “What?” I said, “You know what. We’ve talked about this before.” What everyone else outside didn’t know was that I had made my declaration to him there in that moment that if anything were to go wrong and there was a choice to be made, his #1 priority was to save our baby, not me. He looked me square in the eye and completely convinced me that there would be two of us coming out of that surgery.
He was right.
There are no photos of me and MJ in the operating room, only she and Art. And I think everyone else got to hold her before I ever got her in my arms. But that’s ok. I got that one family photo I had waited my whole life for the next day. And I think it’s safe to say, she has had a literal and figurative hold on my heart ever since.
My baby turns 8 years old tomorrow, and I have no idea where the time is going. I do know that for all the praying and all the worrying, I’d do it again in a heartbeat for that love and sunshine that has filled my world because of her.
Mary Iodice Stapletonis a member of the Special Moms Network