This amazingly awesome, beautiful, inside & out, great sense of humor, kindest heart, smile which lights up a room, laugh that draws you in, and, brings a smile to your lips, little girl, turns 7 today! Happy, Happy, Birthday, Lou!!
This picture above, was taken just a couple weekends ago. We celebrated her birthday, a little early. She shared her cheesecake with everyone. And then there was me. Lou gave me my slice. I told her it was too big and cut it in two. When I went to scoop up the slice, and put it in my mouth, she said, “Oh, no you don’t. You are trying to steal more caramel!”
Does this little girl know me, or what! Although, I promise, I wasn’t trying to steal more caramel! She still had cheesecake on her plate, and, was scraping the sauces, like crazy, with her fork. Trying to get every, last, little, drop. The waiter saw her and asked her if she wanted more caramel sauce. Her answer, “Yes, please.” He brought her a little dish of caramel sauce. I think she may just be my daughter!!
Seven years ago, I needed a smile, and happiness, and positive in my life. God brought her to me.
I’m always full of stories. This is my story about Lou. Interspersed with my father. What can I say….my stories always transgress….although, this time it may be less of a transgression, and more of….simply how it was….
I had always thought, if you were successful enough to get to 12 weeks in your pregnancy, that meant you need not worry. Your child would be born. I realized, full and well, that surviving 12 weeks did not necessarily mean that your child would be born healthy, nor even survive once born. However, I think there is this myth, that pregnant women believe, about the 12 week mark. You’ve hit your first trimester. No longer a need to worry. You will meet your baby.
And, then there was Lou.
I had gynecologic issues. Are you thinking to yourself, “Please don’t go there!”
I won’t. Let’s just say, I had to have a couple procedures, after having Coco, that left me with what they call a “weak cervix”. When the second procedure was performed they said to me, after I was already in my pretty hospital gown, “Now, this procedure could cause you to go into preterm labor, in your 2nd or 3rd trimester, in subsequent pregnancies, and, you could lose the baby.” Wait. What?!?! That is when I asked the Dr to leave the room.
I’ve always known I wanted more children. I wanted lots of children. As in 3 or 4, so, nothing too crazy! Now, as I am getting ready to spread my legs, for you to venture off to my nether region, you share that I could lose a baby, during pregnancy? And, past the ever safe 12 week mark? I don’t think I am on board for this. Not at all!
Yet, my husband convinced me that we couldn’t make choices based on future children we didn’t have, we had to make the decision based on the here and now, and the child and family we currently have. Damn him when he says something supportive, caring, AND makes sense! We moved forward with the procedure. And, I didn’t think much of it again; once the pain ceased. That is, until I became pregnant with Lou.
My Dr’s were well informed of my past procedures, and, the potential threats they imposed to my little being growing in my body. This resulted in multiple, I mean every two week, ultrasounds, with a specialized Dr. They weren’t really checking on Lou, they were checking on that darn weak cervix of mine. Will it stay strong, or, will it buckle under the pressure?
Every two weeks, off we went for the appointment, until, eventually, it became every week. I have so very many ultrasound pictures of my little girl! I am not complaining, by the way! I was only 15 weeks along when we determined her gender! Yes, I know, that seems crazy, right! 15 weeks and I knew I was having a girl! Correction, they confirmed I was having a girl. I already knew she was a girl. Remember, Coco foretold of her arrival. He wanted a sister. Said she would be a sister. Plus, I simply felt different, than I had when I was pregnant with Coco. And, when looking at the ultrasound, I just knew. Yes, even my inexperienced eye knew what she was seeing. Yes, all at 15 weeks – little Lou would be a girl!!
At 15 weeks, I went in for my weekly ultrasound appointment. And, I was worried. Each week, my cervix was getting shorter and shorter, less and less strong. And, every week, the Dr. and I would discuss the possibility of a cerclage. OK, kind of icky, but, basically, an operation, to sew closed my cervix, preventing Lou from being born early, or, not being born at all, and miscarrying her. Yes, the potential to miscarry her, after 12 weeks, was very, very real. Every week, they would say, it isn’t time yet for the cerclage. We are going to wait. Come again next week for your ultrasound. Every week, I would get frustrated, upset, and I would ask, for what are we waiting?! We were waiting, as there was risk in doing the procedure as well. However, I guess you could say I am not really a “wait and see” kind of gal.
At week 14, my Dr. was not my normal specialty Dr. I distinctly remember her saying to me, “You look OK, not great, but OK. I think we could wait, and have you come in 2 weeks for your next ultrasound, however, I see you are nervous, so, why don’t you come in 1 week.”
Thank the Lord above! As, I came in, just one week later, and my normal specialty Dr. determined the time had come for the cerclage. Four days later I was on the operating table, praying that everything went as planned. Praying that God would give wisdom to the Dr. about to ensure the birth of my daughter. I had just discovered that I was having a daughter, and, I was going to have surgery. 15 weeks pregnant, and having surgery. Yes, it was a rough time.
The surgery went well. I had to stay over night. They kept me hooked up to a spinal tap, to keep me numb, and some heavy narcotics, to keep me pain free. I was told, that as women, we are very forgiving, and healing, in that “area”, and 24 hours on numbing and pain medication can be quite helpful. The next day, the Dr. came in to remove the spinal, and the percoset, oxycontin, morphine, whatever crazy type medicine they had me on. He looked at me, and said, “Do not allow yourself to get in pain. Stay ahead of it. Do not be afraid to ask for medicine before you need it.” Okay. This is being said to the woman who quit taking Tylenol when she became pregnant with Coco. No medicine for me. You do realize medicine goes straight to the baby, right? Yet, I figured he knew what he was talking about, and, so, I asked for pain meds.
They didn’t touch my pain. I mean, not at all. And, I have a high pain tolerance. Truly! It isn’t just something I say to sound cool! And, I wasn’t on Tylenol. I think the prescription was oxycontin! My husband came to pick me up from the hospital, take me home, and I was white knuckling the hospital bed. The pain was ridiculous. I guess not all women heal down in that “area” as quickly as others! 🙂 My nurse and I discussed the pain, and, well, I’m about to share TMI – Too Much Information, in case you are unfamiliar with that abbreviation….feel free to check out for the rest of the paragraph, if you would like….my nurse inquired the last time I had a bowel movement and based on my answer, she suggested that I get up and walk.
As I walked past the nurses station, I ran into a nurse I recognized, from my specialty Dr’s office. She asked me how I was, said I looked good, (Really!?), I told her I was not feeling good, and that I was in a large amount of pain. This nurse, who assisted on my surgery, then proceeded to tell me that she wasn’t surprised about my pain. That the surgery was the most difficult one that she had ever seen the Dr. perform and that it took more than twice as long as usual, AND, had we waited one more day, I would have lost the baby.
One more day.
One more day.
Sometimes we think that one day cannot make the difference in life. Scroll back up and look at the picture of Lou. 7 years old, today. One more day. I wouldn’t even have really known what she looks like. I wouldn’t have met this amazing person. Been blessed to be her mom. One more day. And, the Dr., the fill in Dr. for my specialty Dr. said, “I think we could wait two more weeks, yet, you seem nervous, come back in 1 week for your next ultrasound.” I’m glad I looked nervous!!
The nurse, at the nurse’s station, then proceeded to tell me I shouldn’t be up moving around. That I should be lying in bed, with my feet elevated, and, I should not do anything. Nothing. She means, nothing, for one whole week. OK, do you nurses not talk to one another! That is a whole nother frustration, on my part, and we won’t go there….
I cried a lot during my pregnancy, with Lou. So afraid I would never give birth to her. She was due on my husband’s birthday. I remember asking my mom, “If she dies, if I lose her, how do I celebrate his birthday when all I will wish to do is mourn her?” God was good. So very, very, good.
I said, early on, that, “Seven years ago, I needed a smile, and happiness, and positive in my life. God brought her to me.“ You see, 2008 was a rough year. My cerlage happened in April, and until she was born, five months later, I didn’t have confidence in her birth. And then, in June of 2008, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. Given a very short amount of time to live, really. Months is not long. Especially when you live over 850 miles away and only see him one more time prior to his death.
My dad told me, prior to us finding out he had brain cancer, that Lou was going to be okay. That he had a dream. A dream that they were in heaven. And that she was standing on the tops of his feet, holding onto his hands, as I used to do, when I was a little girl. They were dancing. He told me, in that moment, he knew everything was going to be okay. That her and I both were going to be okay. It was encouraging, yet, I was still skeptical.
In July, of 2008, my family and I went back “home”, to visit my dad. I brought something amazing with me. Something that, to this day, I treasure. Something that determined Lou’s name. It was an ultrasound picture. Remember, bi-weekly and weekly ultrasounds. This one was of the perks….
This is Lou, at 25 weeks, in my belly. I copied this picture and put it on my fridge, put it on my bulletin board at work. I looked at her every single day. I finally determined that the name I had picked for her didn’t fit. That the name her father had picked was what she looked like. I didn’t even like the name, but decided it was time to learn to like it as it was Her name.
I brought a copy of this picture with me to visit my father. Something to give to him. He never said a word about it. Not even when I gave it to him. Yet, he carried it around with him. And, he would look at it, constantly.
When the time came for Lou to be born it was the result of an induction. You see, hospice had determined it was time, my father was about to pass. And, well, my Dr’s decided they would induce me, so I could make it home for his funeral. My father passed just after midnight, on September 12th. I went into the hospital at 9am, on September 12th, to birth my baby girl.
Only, you see, she had a different plan. My little Lou. I had fought, for almost 9 months, to keep her inside my body, and now, she refused to come out! It is really rather comical!! I was hooked up to Pitocin, at a very strong dose, I might mention, yet, no, my cervix wouldn’t dilate. Nothing. Nothing the entire day of the 12th, nothing most of the day on the 13th.
And that, my friends, is when my OBGyn decided, (Oh, wait, another TMI moment), that we should push through my cervix, with a hook that breaks a woman’s bag of waters. (Feel free to rejoin.) 🙂 Late, on the 13th of September, my labor began.
I was excited. Coco was born on the 13th of November. They will share the same birthdate. Kind of cool. Plus, I have a cousin, who has two daughters, and their birthday’s are all on the 13th also. All different months, yet the same date. How neat. OK fine, I am kind of a dork!
Lou decided differently. This should have been my first sign of her personality. Stubborn, strong-willed, on her own terms, determined, fierce, individual, and very unique. She would come when she was darn good and ready to come. And that she did. 5:29am. September 14th. My little Lou was born into this world, healthy as could be. OK, fine, she was a little jaundice, and, well, it kept me from making it to my dad’s funeral. We couldn’t travel 850 miles when she needed to be in a bili bed nonstop. But, she was here. I got to hold her, and love her, and kiss her, and breathe her in. And, despite everything that had happened over the last few days, I had my baby girl. “I needed a smile, and happiness, and positive in my life. God brought her to me.“
The story is almost done. But to stop here would make it not quite complete….
Between September 12th, and September 14th, while I was anxiously anticipating Lou’s arrival, all while mourning my father’s departure, would you like to know what held her up? You could say it was the scar tissue on my cervix. Right? I mean that is what the Dr’s told me. It does provide a good medical explanation.
But….that wasn’t what took Lou two days to be born….
My Lou, and my Dad were together, in heaven. He stared at her picture, and carried her around with him; even though he never spoke a word about her, or that picture. He was memorizing her face. He was making certain, that when he saw her, that he would know which one she was. That he would never mistaken his granddaughter. And, for those two days, the two of them were in heaven, together. Just as he had predicted. Just as he had told me, about his dream, in heaven. That she would be ok. He was right.
I picture them together. Her standing on his feet, holding onto his hands, and dancing, with one another. Smiling, laughing, and meeting one another. I believe in miracles. And, I believe in God. I believe, with all of my heart, that they had this time with one another. This precious, precious time.
My little Lou….7 years have passed by so very, very quickly. I am so very, very proud of who you are and who you are becoming. And, although your temperament can, at times, really be challenging to my own, I believe that your strength, your fight, and your personality contribute to you being here, with us, on this very day. I love you, Lou. With all of my heart! Happy, Happy Birthday!!
Originally Written 14Sep15