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After writing about the Pope after a long break from blogging, I realized I had not yet said anything about our baby! This little bundle of joy is Bernadette Rose. She was born at 1:50 in the morning on November 14 after a fairly easy labor. Of course, by fairly easy I mean it was still labor and therefore painful and hard. Compared to Philomena’s birth, however, it was a piece of cake. She was and is completely adorable, mellow and happy unless it’s the two hours before dinner and you want to put her down. She doesn’t like that at all.

We waited a long time for Bernadette, who is a miracle baby. She came when I had resigned myself to secondary infertility. After she was born Will and I discovered she really is a miracle.

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This is a picture of Bernadette’s umbilical cord. That is a true knot. It occurs in 1% of pregnancies and significantly increases the chance of what the nice scientists call “fetal demise”.  The attending midwife and the nurse had never seen one before and let me know how lucky we were. A week or so later we received a phone call from one of the nurses, who told us that h er heel prick blood test had come back abnormal and we’d need to take her in to get retested. Scary, no? My husband asked “abnormal how?” and she told him “cystic fibrosis”.

What?

In that instant I was deeply frightened.  Deeply.  I got a a glimpse into what an adverse diagnosis feels like. My family is absurdly healthy.  Being an imaginative sort, I’ve always wondered what getting that kind of news would feel like, particularly if it happened to a child of mine.  It turns out the feelings are hard to sum up. Fear, grief, a weird sort of battle-mentality, anger all surged around my mind at the same time. There is probably a word for it in German.  Life seemed very, very different, very suddenly.

We took her in and got the actual lab results. The test had been invalid, which of course makes me want to know why they said abnormal when they could have said invalid. The new nurse did the new test quickly and well and then showed us the actual lab report. No cystic fibrosis. Mom and Dad are not carriers, you see. Apparently these false positives happen all the time. All the time.

Needless to say, we wanted Bernadette baptized as soon as possible. With the close call from the true knot in utero and the cute little false positive, Will and I were in a bit of a hurry to get the original sin cleaned up.  Fortunately, Will had set up the baptism time when I was four months along.  She was baptized in the basement chapel of the Cathedral, and, though we are not traddies, we asked for the old rite. It’s beautiful, and very, very thorough. The only time she cried was during the main exorcism. They always cry during the main exorcism.

Pagan baby

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Almost there!

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As soon as the water stopped pouring Will and I both exhaled. What a profound relief it was, knowing we’d done what we needed to do. We had a little saint.

Christian baby

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Afterwards, instead of having a party, which would have required planning and consciousness, we repaired down the road to Clary’s, where we feasted on fine diner fare. It was good day. and the answer to many prayers.

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