I remember the lead-up to her birth like it was yesterday. To this day, I can still feel all the thoughts, concerns, hopes & dreams I held within me as I anticipated her arrival. To say that Claire's birth date five years prior was peaceful & beautiful would be an outright lie. I was bound and determined to make Lola's birth experience everything I wished Claire's had been... everything I was robbed from experiencing all those years ago. Yes, I knew Lola had special needs prior to her birth, unlike with Claire. I could better prepare & find peace beforehand. But if I'm being perfectly honest, there really is no preparing for the birth of your child, whether it's your first or fifth, typical or atypical. Each one is breathtaking in its own way, and I felt like I was more in control this go-around to make Lola's birth everything I so wanted & needed it to be.
The fear of the initial diagnosis was gone. The uncertainty of "Can I do this????" left me five years ago. Worries about survival and if this diagnosis was compatible with life had diminished, as Claire had already proved her strength to those asshole doctors
who can totally blow me for half a decade & was still going strong. I felt like I already knew how to parent a child with special needs, and I was positive I could handle it a second time. I was bound & determined to make Lola's birth PERFECT.
I remember constructing this elaborate birth plan when I was about 7 months pregnant. My doctor asked me all about interventions, vaccines, & even that thick, goopy Vitamin K shit they put in their eyes. We discussed epidurals, pain medicines, natural childbirth, resuscitating my baby, how far we should go to save her life, whether it was "fair" or not that I should have to experience this twice. It was emotional as fuck. I grieved and grieved until I could grieve no more when her microcephaly diagnosis was confirmed at 26 weeks gestation. I was not aware that a person could physically cry and hurt as much as I cried & hurt those first 24 hours after she was diagnosed.
But the strangest thing happened a day later... I found my strength. I remembered my purpose. I reflected back on the words I always told everyone else when times were rough: "There are no accidents. This life unfolding before you is EXACTLY as it is supposed to be. Perfection still." I finally believed that applied to me. I embraced it ALL. I loved EVERYTHING. I knew Lola was in my tummy with her tiny little head just waiting to change the world... and mostly... ME. This life inside me now felt like a gift.
Lola's day of birth WAS perfect, by the way. No one was allowed to mention anything that was "wrong." The focus was on having a typical birth experience & "normal" discussions about whose nose she had & would her eyes stay that blue & how tiny her feet were & laughing about how she swam in even the preemie sized sleepers I had so carefully picked out pre-birth. I love my doctors & nurses for giving me everything I needed, too. A tiny wound within me healed that day. Even typing those words right now makes me cry all over again (Cash just came over & licked my tears! I love this dog so much.)... to see how far we've come, to once again feel the release of seeing her & knowing she was going to be OK -- WE were going to be OK!!! -- and the realization that life would NEVER be the same again & how grateful I am for that now.
I have absolutely no regrets... just love. Just this deep, passionate, soul-shaking love that honestly is hard to even put into words. A tiny part of me wants to delete everything I just typed above because I feel like I am diminishing it all... like somehow my words don't perfectly convey how much Lola means to us, how emotional yet amazing this journey has been, how much deeper she has taught us all to love.
Eight. EIGHT! Eight months in my belly (yep, she was a month premature). Eight years in my arms. I am so lucky.
|Oh, Lola, you make me laugh EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!|
Thank you for perfectly completing our family, Lola... for making us smile, laugh, learn, and grow... for being my cuddly "Velcro baby"... for being a physical extension of my heart... for your spunkiness & sass... for keeping us on our toes... and most of all for blessing us with eight beautiful years together. I love you so much, Lola. Happy 8th Birthday, my sweet, sweet girl.