1 year ago, I was laying in a hospital room wondering what just happened. My daughter had been born just hours before, but wasn’t with me. Being 5 weeks early, she was whisked away to NICU to be hooked up to monitors, a heating pad, and oxygen.
I, on the other hand, was whisked out of the operating room and hooked up to a drip of magnesium so that I wouldn’t have any seizures. In case you’ve never had the pleasure of a magnesium drip, imagine someone takes all of your blood and replaces it with hot, burning liquid. It’s like having the worst flu of your life, but with a higher fever and no chance of cooling off. Like burning from the inside out.
In a word, it’s sucky.
In addition to this, I was super confused and feeling very twilight-zone-like. I wasn’t pregnant anymore, but my baby wasn’t with me. I was still in labor and delivery, so there was an empty bassinet next to my bed and I could see the contraction monitors of the other mom’s on my nurse’s computer screens.
It wasn’t until 36 hours after my daughter’s birth that I got to hold her. My husband had to convince one of the NICU nurses to put my daughter in an traveling incubator (I don’t know hospital lingo, so you medical peeps reading this, feel free to correct me), take her down two floors, and into my room. Then somehow, get her into bed with me while still allowing all of her wires and tubes to stay in place.
I will never forget the feeling I had when I got my first glimpse of her tiny red face.
Overpowering, uncomprehending, terrifying love.
It’s a feeling I still get every time she snuggles with me, gives me slobbery kisses, or smiles her gap-toothed smile. It’s a feeling I don’t have a word for, so I can only describe it in list form (thank you, OCD).
- My heart simultaneously feels as if it is in my throat, pushing out all the tears in my eyes, and also hanging outside of my body, like a piñata swinging in the air, just waiting to be pummeled by anyone who comes across it.
- My chest fills with the warm glow of gratitude, and also with the ice-cold fear of “what if I screw this up?!”
- I know with every fiber of my being that this little girl is mine. But at the same time, my brain is in utter disbelief that I have a child.
- If you took all of the kittens, puppies, unicorns, sparkles, cupcakes, and anything else sweet and magical, and mixed them all up, it would amount to a mere fraction of the excitement and love I have when I look at her.
- I feel like I’m in the heart of Mary, and cry thinking about what it must have been like to mother the Son of God, through his crucifixion and rising from the dead. How exquisite her love and strength!
Somehow, due to deficits in the English language, the only word I can use to describe the unbelievable, indescribable, impossibly magical sensation that having a child brings, is love.
I will never ever, not in a million years, be deserving of this love. It was given to me as a gift, freely and graciously by a God who loves me more in a second than anyone can in a lifetime.
He loves my daughter that much, too. And it’s my job to make sure she grows up knowing His love.
Now, as I gaze upon her running around the house, wreaking havoc and babbling to anyone who will listen, my heart is full to bursting with the task set before me, knowing that the vocation of motherhood will forever change me for the better.
Praise and thanks be to God the Almighty, who has looked down on his lowly, obstinate servant, and granted her the most precious gift of all: the LIFE of a child.
Today, I pray for my sweet daughter, that she grows up to know the truth of God’s love and mercy. I also pray for all of those men and women considering abortion – that God may remove any roadblocks preventing them from having their child, that he may surround them with acceptance and unfailing love, that he may bless them with a community of supporters to help them choose life for their child, through parenthood or adoption.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
St. Lillian, pray for us.