You’re FOUR!

 

I don’t know if it’s more difficult for me to accept that you’re four years old or that I’ve been a mother for that long.

Zachary, you made me a mother. It’s the most amazing title I will ever own. I am forever grateful to you and to this beautiful, crazy, amazing world for bringing you into my heart.

It’s not the motherhood I imagined.

Because it’s better.

 

You bring love and joy to all who meet you. Tough little bullies melt when you become their friend. Boys who were just getting yelled at by your teacher then bear hug you in the hallway just minutes later, calling you Zacky. They are so excited when you enter the classroom. I know very, very few people who actually bring light to those around them the way you do already. Imagine when you’ve mastered speech and communication? We will all be incredibly blessed to feel your love in other ways.

 

I will never in all of my life forget how my heart felt the first time I saw you. An operating room is not the typical place to meet the love of your life, but there you were, those dark grey eyes meeting mine as a nurse held you. You were big and quiet and you spoke to me with those eyes.

Just a couple of days later, the twinkle in your eyes turned out to be a sign of Down Syndrome. I sat at the edge of my hospital bed that night and stared at you, brushing the top of my hand along your forehead and hair and trying to wrap my brain around the news. And then, without warning, your eyes just opened up and twinkled up at me with a half-smile. We would be OK, we would be OK, we would be OK.

And that was that.

 

You are not Down Syndrome. You are not special needs. You are not even a “special” child… you have tantrums, you are strong-willed, you sometimes don’t listen and you sometimes push your sister. You are an almost-four-year-old. My almost-four-year-old.

In recent weeks, your speech is taking off. We’re hearing two and even three-word sentences here and there; you’re responding to questions and communicating needs and wants. I don’t know how to describe what that means to us.

 

You love the waves on a beach. It’s about the only time I see you truly fearless and completely uninhibited. You hold an adult’s hands above your head and leap in the air with a shriek with each crashing wave.

 

You’re so loved at school. In a couple of weeks, we have to say goodbye to this school and these friends and part of me aches. These teachers and your classmates have embraced you so beautifully and adore you so much. Their love and your growing knowledge and confidence have cemented the fact that yes, you can achieve ANYTHING and everything.

I have been incredibly touched by the friends who have come forward in the wake of our announcing our relocation. The one thing they all keep telling me? How sad they are that their children will not have a chance to grow up so close to you and with you; to have a chance to learn about the love you bring into this world and the lessons you can teach kids and parents alike. I can’t wait until you understand what a huge and beautiful thing that is; what a light you are in this world.

 

When we were visiting relatives in Asbury last month, you kept running to a nude framed sketch in the one room and yelling, “FALL DOWN!” We were all in hysterics. You were so concerned about this woman laying down on the wall.

 

Due to your little sister’s screaming at bedtime, you’ve gotten the “Big Boy Bed” in the Playroom at bedtime. The other night, I laid next to you and you said, “Sing!”

Sunshine?, I asked.

“Sunshine,” you smiled.

So we sang our song, “You are my sunshine.” You grin from side-to-side at that last “a-waaaaaaaaay.”

“Star?” you asked.

Twinkle?, I asked. You nodded.

So we sang Twinkle, twinkle little star.

And you put your arm under my head and patted my hair.

When we were done singing, you simply told me “Night-Night” and gave me a sloppy kiss on the lips.

 

 

Some days, I look at you with fear and ‘what if’s in my heart. But those days are few and far between now and I’m tougher and better at pushing scary thoughts (heart problems and low life expectancy and college and marriage and speech and mainstream school, oh my!) far, far away.

Most days, I look at you with pride. A pride that swells so much it all but suffocates me via love. I never knew these feelings existed. And I certainly had no idea that a 40-pound, four-year-old Little Man would be the one to bring those feelings into my life.

 

I will fight for you every day of my life with every bit of knowledge and power I can muster.

 

Z-Man, I love you. I love you as much for who you are and what you do as I do for what you make me and how you change me for the better.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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We partied like it was… 2012?

We had ourselves a lil birthday shindig the other day.

In honor of a lovely two-year-old and her and her family’s journey.

There was (eventually) sunshine, friends and family fluttering about the living room and yard. Lots of catching up, some new friends and a happy momma with a very full and happy heart.

Thank you to those who traveled hours to be a part of our celebration; thanks to those who gave our lucky little girl some new clothes and toys and books; and a thank you to those who sacrificed things they should have been doing or wanted to be doing to be a part of our girl’s day.

 

I still can’t believe she is two.

Two going on 16.

 

Addie, you are loved!

 

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Isn’t she lovely

Addison Caroline turns TWO today.

It’s a blur; it’s a fast-flying dream.

In my first weeks of pregnancy with her, I told Scott, “It’s a girl and she has a HUGE personality. She will be a handful.”

He rolled his eyes.

But I was right. About all three things.

 

 

Zack made me a Momma. Addie made me a stronger woman.

After Zack’s DS diagnosis and rounds of therapists and tests and minor health issues, the decision to have a second child was infinitely more difficult than contemplating our first. What if s/he had DS? What if s/he didn’t? Which would be more difficult for us? What if Zack needed so much of our time? What if s/he suffered indirectly from Big Brother’s disability or teasing from kids at school or losing time to therapies and special schools?

And then one day, it just hit for us. We realized this was not about the What Ifs and the What If Nots. This was about baby coos; this was about being a family of four. It was about the idea that we two only children (sort of) always wanted a decent-sized family.

We got pregnant almost immediately with Addie. And she let us know she was the boss.

 

I spent four-and-a-half months with such severe morning sickness, I sometimes couldn’t make the 20-minute drive to work without having to pull over in tears. It was a pregnancy filled with much more discomfort than my one with Zack — my sciatica ached early on, my glucose was borderline and I nearly passed out a dozen times, she kicked and punched relentlessly and sat on my tailbone or up in my ribs the majority of the time.

 

But I also felt a strange peace during those months.

I would force myself to steal away to a quiet corner or amidst a Spring breeze alone for a few moments to just be. Be calmer, be wiser, be a fighter for myself, be a survivor, be a DS advocate, be a better worker, better leader.

 

Because of Zack’s DS, Addie was considered a high-risk pregnancy and so I saw a specialist for the first half of my time with her in utero. Just days after the New Year began, we trekked to an office 40 minutes away for a 4-D ultrasound looking for signs of DS and other severe complications.

The sweet technician waved the wand around a bit and smiled. “It’s a girl,” she said.

She must have thought we were crazy because we didn’t bat an eyelash. (OK, I miiiiiight have said an “I told you so” to Scott)

You see, the gender of the baby meant very little to us at that time.

I just want healthy, please be healthy, I prayed.

The technician could not say anything about DS markers and said the doctor would be in shortly. We waited some more. When you wait five months of a pregnancy to make sure your baby is healthy, a few moments shouldn’t feel so long, but it was agony. I was half in tears for those ten minutes.

We became a case study for the doctor’s entourage of young doctors-to-be, five white-coat-clad men and women who were brought up to speed on our situation and what we were looking for and… and finally, the words.

“I see no markers for Down Syndrome. It seems you have a very healthy baby girl.”

 

But still.

For a few days, that news was amazing. Felt like flying.

But then it wears off a bit. You see, Zack had ultrasounds during his pregnancy and nothing was ever caught in them. Who says they couldn’t miss something with Addie?

 

But I tried less worrying and more living. And weeks and months flew by until I saw her face in an operating room on May 18, 2012.

 

All that dark hair, I gasped.

And those eyes. Oh my God. She looked half-exotic. This darker skin, dark hair, big blue eyes.

 

And that scream.

She screamed for an hour. Impressed the nurses and Daddy. Mommy missed her already.

 

She is as much a contradiction to Zack as one can be, but at times the two of them seem deeply connected at the soul.

Zack is quiet, calm, solitary, loyal and so loving.

Addie is busy, louder, so active. She is not shy and she has no fear.

Zack prefers reading and playing pretend with animals and dolls. Addie is surrounded by six stuffed animals at bedtime but otherwise prefers building or coloring.

 

Her jet black hair has transformed into these long, soft locks of light brown, almost dark blonde wisps that frame her face. We’ve never cut her hair but get asked to this day if that’s a planned hairstyle. She’s always looked a lot like me, but lately is transforming into her own little person.

And she is beautiful. I may be biased. But from the first weeks at home with her, there are some mornings I get her out of her crib and just GASP. She’s just lovely.

(Until she tells you NO, dumps cat food, colors on the wall or… oh no, wait, she’s always lovely,right?)

 

LOVES: Bubble Guppies. Duckies. Cows (she looks for them on every car ride). Chi-chens. Pizza (just like her momma). PURPLE!

CURRENT SAYINGS: “Hi, it’s me, Addie” “____, where ARE you?”  “I change diaper.”  “I see ____”   “I call ____ (usually Pop-Pop or Nana)” “Where go? I no know…”

 

The way she looks at her brother.

It floors me every time.

She looks at him with adoration and a great gorgeous love. Her eyes follow him and his activity. She accepts every dance invite (they hold hands and twirl in a circle) and when they’re working on different toys, she will sometimes stand up to see what he is doing or will call him over to look at her game. She accepts his hugs and squeezes, even the ones that land her on the floor accidentally.

 

She is helping Zack.

It’s not why we had her (someone asked us that once) but honestly, she guides him. She speaks new words and he mimics her within a day or so. She tries to take off her shirt or put shoes on and he soon does the same.

When she wakes up in the morning, she either asks for her friend Aubrey or her big brother. When we drop Zack off at school and it’s not her day to go, she cries, sobbing “Zaaaaaaa” in the backseat for ten minutes.

 

There are a thousand things I love about my daughter. But I love most the way she has moved me. The way she has changed my heart to make it big enough to love twice as much.

 

Addie,

I hope you will always be strong and always be a fighter.

I hope you will always love your brother and make him a fighter, too.

I hope you use the potty regularly soon.

I hope you always eat as well as you do now. (Never trust everything your dad gives you — some of it WILL be hot!)

I hope you appreciate my efforts to put you in pink and do your hair.

I hope you always bring vivacity and excitement to the rooms you enter.

I hope you know I would fight anyone, I would destroy anything in your path with my bare hands, I would be your loudest cheerleader in whatever you choose to do or pursue. Forever.

I hope you know you will never be as loved as you are by we three.

 

She turns TWO today. And I am a sentimental, happy, excited little fool.

She is the spark.

And she is so, so lovely. 943772_694458912044_1860684619_n _DSC0053-2 401730_632180473534_933391962_n 550385_634956774804_2061434742_n Aubrey (16 of 32) EASTER (40 of 56)

 

 

Reactions to a diagnosis

Continuing the week of birthday-related posts:

 

From Aug. 14, 2010, one week after Zack’s birth:

Hello everyone!
Thank you so much for all of your love, well wishes and support since Zack’s birth one week ago. As you’ll see by the end of this e-mail, it’s been quite a long adventure these past seven days for all three of us and each of your thoughtful gestures has helped us move through a challenging time.

First of all, let me emphasize that our baby is perfect. He is our little miracle that has made us the luckiest two people in all the world. I think I can speak for Scott in saying that being a parent has been the most amazing blessing of our lives so far.

Now to the reason for our e-mail.
From when Zachary was first born, our pediatrician at the hospital and several of the nurses in the obstetrics department noticed that the baby may have several of the signs and factors of Down Syndrome. The biggest of these signs was our little one’s beautiful face. It doesn’t quite look like either one of his parents and has things like upward-slanting eyes, a smaller mouth, flatter nose and diminutive ears. The physical appearance of his face was the first and most striking of the signs present in Zachary that prompted a chromosome test to be taken and sent away to see if the tell-tale sign of Trisomy-21 was present.

The hospital pediatrician, who has been amazingly dedicated throughout this entire process, called the lab today on his day off to see if results had been determined. He then called us to let us know that Zachary did test positive for Trisomy-21.

From downsyndrome.com:

What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a developmental disorder caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21.  This disorder is caused by an error in cell division that results in an extra 21st chromosome. Having an extra copy of this chromosome means that each gene may be producing more protein product than normal. Cells seem to tolerate this better than having not enough protein, or having altered protein due to a mutation in the DNA sequence.

The condition leads to impairments in both cognitive ability and physical growth that range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities. Through a series of screenings and tests, Down syndrome can be detected before and after a baby is born.

The only factor known to affect the probability of having a baby with Down syndrome is maternal age. That is, less than one in 1,000 pregnancies for mothers less than 30 years of age results in a baby with Down syndrome. For mothers who are 44 years of age, about 1 in 35 pregnancies results in a baby with Down syndrome. Because younger women generally have more children, about 75 – 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to younger women.
It could be years before we really know to what degree Zack will be impaired — if at all! — and so we are approaching this whole thing as strongly and with as much hope as possible. He is our little boy and we love him just as much if not more than before. We plan on giving him every opportunity possible and letting him know that “no” is not an option. There are great programs in our area that will work with Down Syndrome babies from birth to help them develop at the same schedule as most other children, from crawling to talking to school things, etc.

There are many positive signs that perhaps Zack does not have a very serious variety of this disorder…
One of the major factors seen in most Down Syndrome patients are heart problems, often times very serious ones that require open heart surgery or that will seriously affect the person’s life. We went to a pediatric cardiologist the other evening and although we need to go back in two weeks for a re-check, Zachary was clear for all of the major/more serious issues. He did have two small holes in his heart, but the doctor was very confident that those would heal on their own within a year. This is so huge! We are so grateful that this doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Muscular tone is another common sign of Down Syndrome. Those babies with the disorder tend to lay motionless and limp and our boy is anything but that. He is strong in his his muscle tone and squirms and wiggles his way most of the day. He has quite the grip, too! The pediatrician was so impressed with his muscular tone that he started doubting his diagnosis because of it at one point. Go, Zack!

Zachary is a perfect baby! He eats extremely well (and they say those with Down Syndrome usually can’t breast feed successfully — ha! we prove that wrong 10 times a day!), seems to digest things perfectly well (you should SEE some of these diapers!), tries to lift his head, shows us a little attitude now and then and loves to show off his beautiful blue eyes as often as possible. He’s even rolled over to his one side a couple of times now.

We wanted to let you know because you are a part of our support system and because we want you to be aware of why we were in the hospital so long, why we maybe haven’t seemed ourselves the last few days, etc.

We also want to let you all know that by all means, Zachary is a normal child to us. The pediatrician we will be seeing from now on told us that Zachary is the “normal” one and that the rest of the world is screwed up. I believe that. Please join us in watching Zack show the world — and all these doctors and painful tests — that “no” is not a possibility and that you can accomplish anything with love and perseverance, prayer and hope.

We are never given more than we can handle.

Thank you for your continued love and support. Be prepared for many more photos soon!

Love,
Wendy, Scott and Zachary
xoxo

*    *     *

And then the love came flooding in:

I love you more Wendy — and this time it has even more meaning. You are an incredible strong young woman and to share your story with no hesitation that this is not a setback but a “bring-it-on” challenge impresses the hell out of me; you are a very brave person. Only you could embrace this and I am so proud of you.
Zack could not been born to two more loving people and it’s thru your strengths and convictions that he will do great in this world. He has a mild case but none the less he has Down’s and we will all love him just the same and we will challenge him and treat him like we have our other nephews/nieces/cousins. Zack is going to prove those doctors wrong, he will show us all his greatness.
God loves the three of you and I know he will be with you every step of the way.
It sounds like from your descriptions, though, that Zachary will be proving everyone wrong. No  matter what, you have a beautiful son who will always be the light of your life. I can say that unconditionally as a mom, that your boy will be your shining joy, as my boys have been mine. Every gift from God is special.
thanks for sharing the news with us. i said to xxxx when we read this that this little boy could not have better parents, grandparents and the rest of the friends and fam. to raise him. obviously, this changes all the long term dreams you may have had for him but that is life isn’t it? always changing while we are busy making plans.
it is really positive that he isn’t showing a lot of the signs of typical (more advanced?) trisomy-21.  he is indeed a beautiful little boy. if there is ever anything we can do–i know we are pretty far away but ya never know–please let us know.
i can see it in your eyes that you are SO FAR in love with this baby. i do think the world is still his oyster.
You two are the most amazing people I know. Zack could not have been born to stronger, more caring parents. We’re rooting for the three of you every step of the way!
While I wish your Zack did not have to endure this, it does say to me that someone up there trusts you a great deal. I cannot think of a child who will be more surrounded by love, support and opportunity.
I am thrilled for both of you (welcome little Zachary!) but most of all, I’m thrilled for Zachary because he has the best parents in the world. I’m not a super spiritual person but I do believe in God and I’ve always believed that God chooses people for certain reasons and I know he blessed you with Zachary because he’ll have an inimaginably beautiful life with you two running the show! You’re baby is perfect and what ever obstacles are ahead – if any! – I know you’ll tackle them as a family and always emerge stronger!
You talk about you two being the luckiest parents in the world, but we think Zachary is the luckiest baby in the world. He has two parents who will give him all the love and support he needs throughout his life. He will have a life that lots of children will only be able to dream about and he will have opportunites that lots of children will never have.  We look forward to the day when we can have our children play together and they can create their own friendship as we were so lucky to have done ourselves.
What an amazing outlook you have honey.  Zack is going to have a wonderful life because of you and Scott.
First of all, HUGE congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! He is
absolutely adorable!! I am happy to hear that the delivery went well
and that you are back at home resting.

As far as Zack’s diagnosis goes, I’m sure it must have come as a
shock. However, everything is going to be fine! Children with Down
Syndrome have opportunities these days that they didn’t have even 20
years ago, and as you said, you really don’t know yet how he is going
to be impacted yet. He is a completely normal kid who is going to have
a wonderful childhood. You and Scott are great people, and Zack is so
lucky to have you as his parents.

I didn’t write until now because I figured you were getting hit from all sides and needed a break. I just wanted to simply say that I love you and that new baby boy of yours and know you and scott are the number one people for the Zac.
I never expected to see, feel or experience so much love. I felt it right away, those first weeks in August, and I feel it through to this very day.
I love that some of you ask constantly about therapy and new exercises and achievements and then even the “normal” baby stuff. I love that you’re as curious as we are and as interested, too.
I love that you have donated in Zack’s name; that you have RSVP’d to our party this weekend; that you sent an e-mail or a card to say you understand.
I love your love.

There’s always a birth story

We were lucky from the beginning. I always believe that “lucky” is one of those words that is extremely overused, taking away from the true power of its meaning. But I stand by my choice of “lucky” in this case.

Scott and I were lucky in the fact that it only took us two months to get pregnant. In fact, we would wind up having our first child before we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. And we had a healthy, relatively easy pregnancy (At times, I can block out the bedtime “morning” sickness I experienced nearly every night for about a month; or the stomach virus Scott and I had for a week in the second trimester; or the hottest summer on record in 30 years… )

So yes, we were lucky.The proof is in the huge blue eyes staring up at me right now, saying “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma.”

This is Part One.

We knew long before we were married that we would start our family (hopefully) right away. We had been together for several years and had already done all of the “fun” stuff together — dinner dates, bar trips, road trips and home improvement projects. We would have started trying right away, but there were those amazing swim-up bars on our honeymoon. Mmm.

I was actually more devastated than I had expected when we got our first negative pregnancy test. I guess that was how I realized I really and truly wanted a baby.

Luckily (there’s that “lucky” word again) we didn’t have to wait long.

On a whim, I took a pregnancy test in early Dec. 2009 after several days of feeling like I had a cold. The shrieking from the bathroom caused Scott to run up the stairs two at a time intending to kill the mouse he thought was causing the ruckus. He was so excited when I told him the news (“What does that say?” I asked him first) and just smiled and said “Merry Christmas.”

We promised each other we wouldn’t tell anyone for a while. And then I got in my car, drove to work and called or texted at least five friends on the way.

Not even we knew the little one joined us for Thanksgiving.

And then we pulled a fast one on some loved ones in December and January.

(We got really good at switching Scott’s empty wine glass for mine… he took a lot of wine for the team)

My Christmas present from Scott that year? Maternity clothes!

And then, once we were able to tell my parents during their February visit to see us (through Valentine’s cards addressed to “PopPop” and “Nana”), we let the cat out of the bag and enjoyed a beautiful Spring fille d with belly pats, love, advice and absolute peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the hot summer days came warm hearts in not one, but TWO bridal showers in two separate states for two distinct yet equally amazing groups of women I absolutely adore.

There was so much love and I remember constantly telling myself over and over again in those days just how LUCKY I was. (There’s that word again)

And my son brought to me new friends. Mommies of little boys and girls who would become his friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like sweet Owen No. 1 and his Mommy Reva, who gave birth just two days after Zack’s Big Debut.  (The hardcore natural way, by the way!!!)

(Sidenote: The other night, Reva was telling me about how when she found out about Zack’s DS diagnosis she researched everything she could on DS. “I want to be able to provide Owen with answers to any questions he might have,” she said. And if I weren’t driving, I would have hugged her right there in my front seat, Bear Hug-style, possibly not letting go for at least 10 minutes. Our talk that drive home really meant a lot)

And then each day suddenly felt like an eternity and I could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. Actually, I couldn’t even see my feet anymore.And did I mention how hot it was?

 

 

 

 

Then came the early morning hours of Aug. 5.

I couldn’t sleep. I kept having these weird stomach pains. Nope, actually they were a little lower. No, actually sort of like a cramp. Oh wait, it stopped. Nope, couple minutes later that pressure is back. Then again. And again.

I watched the clock.

OW. 3:42 a.m.

Owwww again. 3:46 a.m.

Ouch! 3:50 a.m.

I got so excited. I thought maybe my water would just burst right there and I’d spew a baby out in a few hours.

Scott’s alarm FINALLY went off and he looked at me really strangely. (What, your very-pregnant wife is just randomly sitting up at the edge of the bed, fixated on the clock?)

“Don’t be alarmed,” I told him, “But I think I’ve been having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes for the past few hours.”

My cool, calm and collected hubby shot out of bed.

“Do you need to go to the hospital now?” He asked, pulling clothes on and reaching for his glasses.

“I think I’ll just wait a bit,” I said. I thought he would kill me.

After an argument about whether or not I should go or just call the doctor’s office when they opened, I sent him to work, called my boss and called off of work that day and passed the time until 9 a.m.

At 9:02 a.m., I called the doctor’s office, explained what had happened and was told it would be a good idea to head to the hospital. I called Scott’s boss (who had better cell phone reception) and just casually mentioned they wanted me in the hospital for observation, could Scott come home?

 

 

 

 

 

And my husband made it home from his job 35 minutes away in about 15 minutes, running up the stairs, panting. “What’s going on? ” he asked. “Are you OK?”

Off to the hospital we went… only to find out I was indeed having contractions 3-5 minutes apart but that I wasn’t even an teeny-tiny bit dialated. The nurse suggested we walk that evening to speed things along.

So my husband did what any dad-to-be would do I’m sure, and called his parents inviting them to go to the local golf course. I walked nine holes (after my mother-in-law tried to throw the baby out of me by doing some off-path driving in the golf cart).

<— the cell phone was being used to keep track of my near-constant contractions. This Momma is NOT happy.

We wound up back in the hospital the next day and still no dice. Our second false alarm, me becoming more and more frustrated by the minute, Scott wondering if I really knew what contractions felt like.

And so I became desperate.

Like push-the-lawn-mower-uphill-for-an-hour-in-100-degree-heat-that-night-kind of desperate.

But it worked.

I was jerked out of bed around midnight by the most painful sensation I’ve ever experienced. And because I didn’t want another false alarm, I spent 10 hours pacing our house, hunching over in agony every 90 seconds. It was horrible. I should have gone to the hospital right away, but all those false alarms, remember?

Finally, we went to the hospital.

Arrived at 11:30 a.m.

5 centimeters dialated!

 

 

 

 

Into a hospital gown, IV in arm and a new room by 12 p.m. Part of me became sad. I had loved being pregnant. Maybe I was the only woman in the world to really enjoy all nine months, but I did. I was at my happiest, my calmest. I was full of so much joy.

 

At 1 p.m., epidural was relaxing me quite nicely and a popsicle was making my world go ’round. 7 centimeters dialated.

Then 8 centimters.

Then trouble.

The baby’s heartbeat was sinking lower and lower (it really had never been where it should have been but as labor progressed and contractions intensified, it was becoming more dangerous).

We tried different positions. Fluid was injected to give the baby some better wiggle space. A couple of medications.

Nothing worked.

And my popsicle was taken away.

At 3:30 p.m., Dr. L told us she had tried everything she could but that we were running out of time. We would be having a C-section within the hour.

Suddenly it was a mad dash to locate my glasses (left in my car along with our other belongings because we worried it was another false alarm), for Scott to don his scrubs… and then… probably only 10 minutes of waiting that felt like an eternity.

I wanted to panic, to scream “NO, let’s try something else!” I had to remind myself to breathe after every third breath because a knot kept forming in my stomach.

I tried to act cool, like an unexpected, unplanned surgery was no big deal.

And I thought about the baby. About the baby we discovered was a boy, that we named after flipping to the last letter in the book of 100,000 names and finally agreeing on Zachary. About the kicks and hiccups I had been feeling for months. About the smell of baby lotion. The boxes of diapers in the nursery at home. The crib waiting for tiny hands and feet.

 

 

I had read What to Expect When You’re Expecting and a dozen other books. I had attended my parenting and childbirth class. I had eaten right, taken my vitamins and rested as much as I could.

 

I was ready.

 

 

 

I looked out the window as the nurse came into the room to wheel me into surgery. I recalled the way the warm sun felt on my ponytail and bare arms as we had walked into the hospital, smiling, laughing, full of hope and excitement. I told myself to remember that feeling.

And I’m glad I did.

Because when we walked out of the hospital five days later, I didn’t even notice whether the sun was shining or not.

I just saw that the world had kept going outside while inside those hospital walls mine had come to a screeching halt…