Friday, October 1, 2010

Preemie Mom

In my first post two months ago, I spoke of my high-risk pregnancy but fully expected to be posting many more musings on books until the baby was born. Well, our new baby surprised us all and arrived very early, three months before my due date. She's still in the hospital, and will likely stay there until my original due date in December.

In the week leading up to baby's birth, I was in the hospital on a variety of medication to try to delay labor. I brought along Captain Corelli's Mandolin (mentioned in my earlier post) and Mental Floss' History of the World. During the quiet periods when things were under control, I read History of the World. (I love the first chapter of Corelli, but lost interest after attempting half a dozen more chapters.) History of the World, with its piecemeal format of short chapters and sidebars, was easy to digest, as well as interesting and full of humor... will share thoughts on that another day.

Shortly after our baby girl was born, I received the following poem from my brother. The first time I read it, I laughed aloud. Fifteen minutes later, I read it again and I bawled my eyes out. Blame the hormones. Thank you Dee for sharing this poem with me. And a big thank-you to all family and friends who have provided us with their prayers, positive energy and love.

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
(Adapted from Erma Bombeck)

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?

Somehow I visualise God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint ... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally He passes a name to the angel and smiles, "Give her a preemie."

The angel is curious, "Why this one God? She’s so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a premature baby to a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the Angel.

"I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.

Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it.
I watched her today.

She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother.
You see, the child I’m going to give her has her own world.
She has to make her live in her world and that’s not going to be easy."

"But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in You."

God smiles, "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness."

The Angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods, "If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive.

Yes, here is a woman whom I’ll bless with a child less than perfect.
She doesn’t realise it yet, but she is to be envied.
She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'.
She will never consider a 'step' ordinary.
When her child says 'Mommy' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it.
I will permit her to see clearly the things I see… ignorance, cruelty, indifference, prejudice… and allow her to rise above them. 

She will never be alone.
I will be at her side every minute of everyday of her life, because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side."

"And what about her Patron Saint?" asks his Angel, pen poised in the air.

God smiles, "A mirror will suffice."

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