Every time on her birthday I get emotional thinking of the roller coaster that came with her birth.
For this month's challenge in my Mixed Media group I encouraged you to "be Brave", tell a story you have been holding in, try something new, anything that would have you go out of your comfort zone. This story seemed natural to tell as many of you have no idea and I know so many of you will be able to relate. Here is my story about Being Brave.
After the wonderful experience that came along with Hannah's birth I welcomed the thought of a second child. As mothers, we all have this thought of the amazing birth story that is going to occur to us, I call it the "White picket fence family". Let's just say that's not what happened on that day........
Ava was born early and barely 4lbs, she was taken without me even being able to hold her for the first time as they realized something was wrong. They say"everything looks great but we've noticed she does not have a bum hole.......What?!! my brain couldn't process what they were saying, I'm thinking can't you just take a pin and poke a hole? ( when you are on drugs the weirdest thoughts go through your head, don't judge LoL!)
I yell at Curtis "Go with her!!! don't leave her sight!!!!" as she is taken to NICU to assess what is wrong. I am instantly filled with fear, regret, anger, panic and sadness. I say to my mom "call my mother in law and get Hannah here right now, I need my girl by my side"
After what seemed like hours I was taken to see my baby girl in the NICU. She was covered in tubes and was smaller than any baby I had seen before. They took her out and placed her in my arms, I remember feeling the most empty feeling a mother could possibly feel after giving birth to a child.
I better not get too attached my brain kept telling me, what if she doesn't make it......They fairly quickly placed her back in the incubator and took me back to my room to rest. My doctor came in with tears in his eyes to tell me they were going to have to air lift her to the children's hospital for further assessment but I could not go with her as I had complications with the birth and I needed to be hooked up to an IV for at least 24 hrs.
The medics roll this giant stretcher with machines and a tiny incubator where my little baby lays there sleeping, they tell me "we thought you might want to say good bye to her before we take her".... I remember almost yelling at them to please take this giant thing out of my room..... I didn't even look at her long enough to say good bye, I just couldn't.
The next morning I was released early so I can go see her at the children's hospital. When I arrive I am overwhelmed by the machines and little people in this place. Ava was assigned a nurse that had instantly fallen in love with her and was giving her the love I couldn't bring myself to give at that moment, I will always be thankful to her.
That day was filled with tests and we were called to the side by her assigned doctor. She said I think you should sit down, I didn't out of complete defiance as if what she was going to tell me was going to be not as bad if I remain standing ( the insane thoughts that we go through during tough times)
Your daughter has a condition called VACTERL <-----( you can read more about this condition by clicking the link.
- V - Vertebral anomalies
- A - Anal atresia
- C - Cardiovascular anomalies
- TE - Tracheoesophageal fistula
- R - Renal (Kidney) and/or radial anomalies
- L - Limb defects
She continues to say "but she's very lucky that she does not have T&E as usually these kids do not have a good life expectancy" me sarcastically thinking "oh goodie!!! what wonderful news! can I punch you in the face!!" ( that was my angry faze LoL) . She starts explaining what each of these things mean and how it relates to Ava and my knees give out and I stumble in to my husband's side, he holds me tight and I space out as if I've gone in to a bubble and all I can hear is the teacher from Charley Brown.
Ava undergoes surgery that evening to put in a Colostomy and we spend another month in the NICU until she regains weight and starts to eat on her own. Ava goes through countless surgeries until she is the age of 1 where we had reconstructive surgery of her bowels and she gets a brand new bum hole ( don't take your bum hole for granted LoL!!!!)
Ava is now 6 and has gone through surgery almost every 4 months of her life so she's had approximately 20-25 surgeries to date for one reason or another.
So how does this make me brave you ask? well here is where my amazing Ava comes in. After every single surgery Ava's recovery time and attitude was something her surgeons and doctors could not believe. I remember her first back surgery to fix her curve in her spine, the very next day at 6 AM she propped herself up with no help and said "WALK". I took her for a walk and when we came back physio came to see us and said "how is she walking?".... The next surgery was just like the last, after the anesthetic wore off Ava was ripping up and down the hallways of the hospital as if she was given energy juice instead of back surgery. Her attitude was "I love surgery", I asked her "how come?" because they give me Jello and I get to watch Dora in bed. Ava continues to see the beauty in a situation that is less than perfect and reminds me daily that life will throw you challenges but you need to see the beauty in those challenges.
Ava will undergo back surgery every 4-6 months until the age of 13 when she stops growing. I don't know anyone more brave than my little girl, she embraces life for what it is and doesn't allow the challenges to bring her down. I don't have to go through anything as traumatic as my child does and I sometimes get caught up in fear of doing something that I'm not comfortable doing. She is my reminder that I can simply do anything and being brave does not mean you can't be fearful, it simply means you do it anyway in the face of fear. I am so proud to be her mom as I would not be where I am had this amazing little gift not been given to me.
Your birth has been a gift I don't ever want to take for granted, I am so proud to be your mom.