My Leap List

Monday, June 6, 2011

Coming Alive

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


     When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to be older.  Every birthday would take me closer to that magical number when life would happen.  Turning 8 and getting baptized...double digits...being a teenager...sweet 16...18...21... I finally gave up waiting for life to happen in 1995.  
     That summer I was thrilled to be pregnant with my first child.  My doctor was so sure that this pregnancy would be easy, he jokingly told me he should pay me for the delivery.  I began patiently waiting for life to happen with a new baby.  
     A few weeks later, I was deathly sick with morning sickness.  Nothing helped - not even an IV, home nurse, or medication.  I knew it would pass by the 3rd month...the first trimester...the second trimester...okay, really?  Even after I had the baby???  So much for waiting.
     I was getting impatient for the baby to come.  My body must have been sending her messages to come early because I went into labor 3 weeks early.  I was so excited - until I saw my doctor's face.  "You have an IUGR baby.  The placenta is disintegrating, and she isn't getting enough nutrients to grow.  She will die if the placenta disintegrates from the uterine wall , but she may die if we take her early.  She is so small, her lungs may not be developed enough to live."   
     For 22 days I waited on bed rest- not sure what I wanted from time.  22 days with nothing to do but wait for life.  
     Finally the doctor decided we were out of time and induced labor.  I spent the day waiting for something to happen, but nothing ever did.  That night he did an emergency c-section and delivered a 51/2 pound bundle of joy, but life couldn't quite begin yet.  
     Her weight continued to drop and the doctor warned me that he wouldn't let her leave the hospital if she fell below 5 pounds.  The nurse put her on the scale and I watched the scale drop down to 5 and hold steady.  I promised to bring her back for daily weight checks if they would just let us go home.    
     When we got home and she fell asleep, I counted out 100 days on the calendar.  I knew if she made it through 100 days, we would be fine.  I marked off every day, faithfully waiting for that magical day to arrive.  When it finally did, I began to live.  
     In a few more weeks, my baby will turn Sweet 16 and it will be a day like no other.  Being a patient and wise soul, she will remind me that every day is like no other.  Life is what happens when you are waiting to live, so let's go live.   

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