Once upon a time, there was a naive girl named Catherine. She thought that she would grow up, go to college, marry her sweetheart, have children, do something in the world that mattered, grow old, and slip away one night, at 96 years of age, into a tequila sunrise sort of ending.
Life hasn’t gone the way I envisioned. It’s been more wonderful and terrible than I ever could have imagined. I have given birth to four beautiful children. I’ve let one of them go. I’ve lost loved ones in tragic accidents and to illness. My heart has been cracked open to its foundation, and the depths of my grief plumbed. I no longer think I will slip away at 96 years old, although one can hope. I no longer take my children’s health for granted. I know that we all walk the precipice every single moment.
Still, I can find love and maybe even joy in my heart.
Gemma Rose came into the world at 12:28pm on July 13 (Friday the 13th, no less). Her birth was a planned c-section, but it was scheduled for July 17. Due to my rising anxiety levels, erratic blood sugars, and “advanced maternal age,” we elected to go ahead a few days early. The team that cared for us was phenomenal. Everyone was pleasant and helpful. They kept me apprised of what was happening through the entire surgery. Within 20 minutes of starting, I was holding our baby Gemma. 6# 11oz. She came out with her eyes wide open.
In the past 3 days, I have found that it’s new all over again in ways I didn’t expect. I expected pain and grief and anxiety, all of which have happened. I’ve also felt a ray of light briefly shine onto my pain and maybe ease it for a second. It’s never long, because James is near to me always, but those flashes of light give me some hope for the future.
Welcome to the world, Gemma.