To The Doctor Who Said I Could Keep Her

A teeny tiny baby formed slowly in my womb. Each month we listened expectantly when you pressed the white microphone against my rounding belly. Thump thump. Thump thump. We both smiled hearing that little heart beat away: you counting rhythms and me dreaming dreams.

We often guessed boy or girl, blue or pink, with the old wives’ predictions. Finally, it was time to know! The pictures on the screen showed 10 teensy toes that kick, kick, kicked; 10 slender fingers ready for the holding; round cheeks waiting to be kissed, a plump bottom lip assuring I’d always give in; girl parts to match her big sister; long, beautiful hair already flowing; and a heart with one half missing.

Missing!? But how could that be? This isn’t the right baby for me!

But you weren’t as easily convinced. When another doctor confirmed it was true, still you said you knew. You knew that there was another option than the one he gave. An option that was scary and hard but brave.

Still more doctors told us there was a short time left to choose the easy way. They said we would be worry free and could try again. These doctors were certain that we’d come to our senses and assured us that a last-minute decision would be accepted.

I called to tell you about the details unfolding, the choices they gave, the decision we made: We were keeping her. Was that okay?

You answered in comforting confidence , “Of course, you should keep her! There’s no better way.” We’d do it together, you and me. Watching. Waiting. Hoping. Praying. Knowing that through it all this was exactly the baby for me.

Thank you for this gift of life that you knew was worth it. Thank you for standing with me. Thank you for being an advocate for this perfect little mess who calls me momma today.


One Brave Momma

I saw the bravest momma today.

I watched her slowly, carefully lean against the pool wall and dip her baby into the water then lift her back out again. At the same time she cheered excitedly as her older daughter laughed and splashed on the other side of the blue. Again she turned her attention to the baby, lovingly cradling her against her chest to warm her from the water’s chill. But ever so gently bouncing so that baby’s feet dotted the waves. Just a normal, summer mom pool scene.

Except different too. Baby wore the typical frilly babykini that girls awwww over beginning at age 12. But there was more than a monogrammed accessory or sunglasses to adorn her head. There was an oxygen cannula taped to a little round sticker on either side of her face. The clear tubes were a welcome intrusion into her small nostrils as they assisted her breathing.

Then I realized that Mom hung close to the side not because it was a comfy spot out of the big kid splash zone. Mom hung close to the side because it was her only choice. The cannula cord wouldn’t reach any farther from the lifesaving air tank.

What a brave mother! She packed up her swim luggage full of rafts and noodles and toys and towels. She dressed her girls in suits and sunscreen and sun hats. She buckled her little ones into place, making sure she had snacks and cups and extra dry clothes.

And oxygen.

Everywhere this mom goes she has every single regular mom responsibility and worry and care. But she also has the responsibility to cart her daughter’s air support. To worry if the tank will last for the whole outing. To care if others will notice how out of place she feels and is sure she looks.

But tonight it didn’t matter! She had the courage to take her children swimming.To make a secure, toweled pallet at the poolside for the oxygen backpack. To jump in with her daughters. To hover near the edge. To kick her daughter’s feet. To laugh and enjoy today that she has with her children .

Thank you, brave momma, for showing me how it’s done.

-From one heart mom to another