"She's waking up, sir. We haven't told her anything yet."
These words have been rolling around in my head for the last day or so. It's the first thing I heard as I was waking up after the birth of my second daughter by emergency c-section.
I don't recall being alarmed by those words at the time. Obviously there was something I didn't know. Did I have a boy...or a girl...maybe a litter...? Somebody would have to fill me in.
Then I saw my husband's face and he said, "She's doing better. But she's a fighter."
He said "she". I had a daughter. I knew something wasn't quite right because he said "better"... not "fine". I didn't ask him for more details at the time. I knew if there was more he could have told me, he would have, and I drifted off in a drugged sleep again.
Later, I was to learn that something severed a vein during the delivery and she had lost about 80% of her blood. After 45 minutes of CPR, they finally got a pulse. The pediatrician who revived her took note of all the normal infant reflexes but said only time would tell if any lasting damage was done.
They brought her to my room briefly, just so I could get a look at her, before they took her to the NICU of a larger hospital across the highway. I didn't even ask if I could touch her because I was afraid they'd say no. I figured I could hold it together if I could just look at her, but felt like I'd fall apart if they said I couldn't touch her. So I just looked.
She was lying on her stomach and her face was turned toward me. Then she lifted her head up just a bit, with one eye closed...looked for all the world as though she was giving me a wink. Amazing moment.
We would visit her as she spent her first 11 days in the NICU. I would study her every movement and listen to her breathe. Her cry was like the sweetest music as she let the world know that she was here and demanded attention.
And in quiet moments alone, I silently wondered how long we would get to keep her. During the next few months as we fell into the new routine of her two hour feeding cycles and I learned to care for a newborn and a third-grader, I would watch for signs of something the doctors missed. Was she really okay? With every little sniffle or bellyache I'd wonder, "Is this that one thing the doctors forgot to check for...?"
That was almost eighteen years ago. She'll start her senior year of high school soon... a strong, smart, talented, beautiful young woman. And I am a very grateful mom.
I found myself reliving all the drama of her birth and her first few days with us this week when I found out that a family friend had a baby boy last Monday night. He appeared to be perfectly healthy, but a few days later, he stopped breathing and all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Please pray for these young parents and their extended family and friends as they try to cope with this devastating loss.
Life is precious.