(Ten month old Baby Sadie)
Ever hear a song that you haven't heard in awhile and it takes you right back to a moment in your past? Yeah, of course you do. It's happened to all of us. If it hasn't happened to you, well, don't tell me because I may start questioning whether you have a soul or not.
I kid, I kid.
This morning I was sitting in gridlock traffic, getting into a bad mood because 1: it's morning, 2: I didn't have any coffee yet, 3: I'm stuck in gridlock traffic, and 4: I can't help but think that the traffic is a metaphor for how even God must really not want me to go into work today. And while I was sitting in said gridlock getting into a grumpier and grumpier mood, the song "Hey There Delilah" came on the radio.
And I instantly thought, "this song came out 5 years ago this month." Very Rainman-esque of me, right? Well, before you start marveling at my memory capabilities, there is a reason I remember this particular song that topped the charts for weeks in July 2007.
STORY TIME! (Wheeeeeee!!)
As I've mentioned before, Sadira was a big, fat surprise, and getting pregnant with her was never part of my agenda. On Friday March 9, 2007 (here I go playing Rainman again...it was a Friday, I swear, look it up, and NO I didn't have to Google that) I was sitting on my doctor's exam table wearing an uncomfortable and unflattering paper gown. My boyfriend of all of nine months was sitting nervously in a chair next to me and we listened as my doctor confirmed what we were already fearing. I half listened as he told me about "my options" and explained that contrary to popular belief, throwing oneself down a flight of stairs will not rid you of an unplanned pregnancy, but will most likely just cause some broken bones, and not to do it. (I kid you not, he gave me that speech.)
I remember blinking back tears as I watched him write the words, "Pill Failure" on my chart that day, but all I could really focus on was the word failure and how somehow, by this event taking place, I was in fact a failure.
I had never missed a pill, why did it fail me? I didn't want to have a child, I was 25 and my plan was always to enjoy my twenties and live them up! Why was this happening? I had been Student Body President and got a full ride through college for Chrissake, where the hell did I go wrong!?
The next three months were, well, how do I say this gently, living hell. Anyone who's ever been pregnant knows that the first trimester is typically the worst when it comes to symptoms. And it's much more than morning sickness, which thankfully I never had much of. The constipation alone will make you feel like you're practicing for labor (TMI I'm sure, but it's true.) The food aversions made me miserable. The mood swings made everyone around me miserable.
Much worse than the physical discomforts was the psychological torture that I inflicted upon myself. Somewhere I had gone wrong. God was punishing me. I was a terrible person and my life was over.
You know how people are generally extra nice to pregnant women? Holding the door open for them? Asking how they feel? Listening to them complain? Offering their own support or advice? Stopping the world so they can get a snack or pee?
I didn't want to hear any of it.
In my opinion, I didn't deserve special treatment, or advice. I deserved to be alone, feel alone, and have no one congratulate me or say kind words to me or do any favors for me. I was a terrible person. And now this poor child is going to have a terrible, horrible, unprepared person for a mother for the rest of their life. I was a terrible person.
My family, who had done nothing but invest their good efforts in me all of my life, would now have to explain to their friends that I was a failure. Where had they gone wrong, I was certain they wondered. While I knew my mother would be understanding, I dreaded having to tell my traditional, Catholic, religious grandparents. I didn't want to see their disppointment. I was a terrible person.
And then I would hear stories of people who were TRYING to get pregnant and couldn't. People--friends of mine even--who were desperate to get pregnant with a child but were having trouble. And that made me feel like MORE of a terrible person. I was given this gift that should've gone to someone else. And I didn't even WANT it. I was an ungrateful, undeserving brat.
I was a terrible person.
This is what I truly thought.
This went on for three months, though it felt like it was three years. Morning sickness would've been a welcome distraction from the mental torture I put myself through.
I often say now that I didn't have postpartum depression, but I'm pretty positive I had prepartum/pregnancy depression, if such a thing exists.
And then we found out she was a girl. And I started to feel her moves and kicks. We picked her name. And this person growing inside me started to have a shred more of an identity. Don't get me wrong, I was still miserable, but I was hiding it well from the outside.
And then we got a phone call from the doctor. She had cysts in her cerebral spinal fluid and we had to do more tests. My doctor said, "don't Google." I didn't listen. I Googled. And I learned that in 95% of the cases, babies with these cysts turn out perfectly fine. But in the other 5%, it's a marker for one of Trisomys, which is a chromosomal problem which causes severe birth defects. But in these children they don't make it. They are typically stillborn, or if they do survive through birth, they usually don't live for very long after delivery.
It didn't matter than in 95% of cases, children are perfectly healthy.
What mattered was in 5% of the cases, it meant death.
And for the first time, the baby I never planned for, the pregnancy I never wanted was in jeopardy. Just as I was starting to come to terms and make peace with my situation, something was threatening to pull the carpet out from under me.
And I was terrified.
And for several weeks we shuffled from genetic counselor, to high risk doctor, to weekly ultrasounds...
...until our baby was deemed perfectly healthy...
in July of 2007.
And in that month I would hear that song, "Hey There Delilah" in the car, or in the store, or on my iPod and I would sing along, sometimes changing the words to "Hey There Sadira." And when I needed some quiet time I'd go into her purple nursery, and rock in the glider, and sing the words aloud.
It brought me comfort.
Delilah Sadira, I know times are getting hard,
But just believe me girl, someday I'll pay the bills with this guitar
We'll have it good...
we'll have the life we knew we would.
My word is good"
"Close your eyes...
listen to my voice it's my disguise...
I'm by your side."
And I started to think that maybe I was SUPPOSED to have this child. For some reason God had given me this opportunity to be a mother to this baby girl. And whether or not I was supposed to be pregnant, really didn't matter.
It wasn't about having a baby.
It was about how for some reason I was meant to have THIS baby.
Delilah Sadira, I've got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you would take your breath away,
I'd write it all .
Even more in love with me you'd fall...
we'd have it all."
"Oh it's what you do to me...
Oh it's what you do to me..."
And in months later, the negative feelings that had once plagued me, slowly melted away. And the positive ones kept multiplying exponentially. And the village around me grew. Friends and family were excited, supported me, loved the baby who wasn't even born yet, and showered us with love.
And my grandparents who I once feared I had disappointed, danced at my baby shower.
Delilah Sadira I can promise you
That by the time that we get throughThe world will never ever be the same...
And you're to blame."
"Oh it's what you do to me...
Oh it's what you do to me..."
It's not a song from a mother to a daughter, it's a song from a guy to a girl. But in the song he talks about how one day everything will be okay. Even though things are not there right now, they will be. And they'll get there together. And when they get there, it will be amazing.
It's a song about hope, love, and faith.
At the time, I didn't know how wonderful it would get. I didn't even know that we'd get to the point of happiness that my baby shower pictures depict. Getting there felt like an accomplishment, at the time.
Where I am now, five years later, feels like it should've never been possible.
When I heard it this morning, even though I was stuck in gridlock rush hours traffic with no coffee, I realized how the wonderful life we have today once felt like it would never be possible.
And when I hear it, I'm instantly taken back to that place I was in, in July 2007, feeling my journey of emotions in the four minutes and three seconds of the song.
and finally, and most importantly,
While Sadira may be an "accident" in a medical record, I know now that it was with a greater purpose that she was brought into our lives. And I'm so thankful for that, because she truly brings so much to our family.
It's amazing how something that once felt like your biggest failure could become your biggest accomplishment.