You’d think that after 17 years I’d forget the details.
After all, I fill my grocery cart with food already in my kitchen and forget which days the kids are supposed to go somewhere other than home. As I get older details seem to fade, but this memory seems like yesterday.
In reality, my oldest had a birthday yesterday. His first away from home, when someone other than his mom made sure he had cake to celebrate. He’s ok with it all, so you’d think I’d be, too. And I am. Still, I can’t stop thinking about how life changed when I learned he was coming.
It wasn’t one of those everyone’s-happy-like-a-tearjerker-commercial kind of event, the night my world changed. The events unfolded in an ER in downtown Chicago; I’d been there for what seemed forever, fighting a headache that made my migraines seem like cuddly little puppies and pain in my side that, despite my love of words and hyperbole, I can’t describe. I’d heard words like meningitis tossed between nurses and doctors, played pincushion for countless interns who needed to draw more blood and sobbed without sound when they told me to be still for the spinal tap they insisted I needed to endure.
When the answers wouldn’t come and they ordered another test, they asked if there was any chance I could be pregnant; a few minutes later they knew. I have no idea what the doctor who delivered the news thought; friends who’d come to watch over me said they were worried I’d been told I was dying, my reaction was so strong. That part I don’t remember.
What I do remember is the iron apron on my torso as they slid me into a machine and the gauziness of everything else that happened in the wee hours of that night that had morphed into morning. After all the tests they were ready to send me home, still without answers as to what was making me sick.
Before I could be discharged I had to speak with my primary care physician; a woman I knew only by name, after plucking her practice from an insurance directory based solely on her office proximity to my work address.
They held the phone for me at the nurse’s station as I croaked out what was probably some version of ‘hello, this is Lisa.’ A brief introduction gave way to the words that immediately sobered me up and turned fuzzy to crystal clear. Without inquiry or reservation, she said ‘I understand you’re pregnant and upset. I can take care of that for you. Don’t worry.’
I can take care of that for you.
Not going through with my pregnancy was something that never crossed my mind; I am a cradle Catholic and personally pro life. My upset was because I was unmarried and resolute that I’d never—EVER—have children. I was petrified.
But that one assumption from someone who didn’t know me made me realize something about myself I’d never before known; the assurance that someone could make it all better with a simple procedure was the moment I knew that I was born to be this child’s mother. It was then that it didn’t matter that I was unmarried or rocking a flimsy hospital gown, because a fierce streak of protection and an overwhelming wave of love for someone I’d not yet met combined to change my perspective, my dreams, my life.
It was that moment, seventeen years ago, that I became a mom.
I’m linking up with Yeah Write and excited to work my way through the other submissions on this week’s grid. Head on over and find a new favorite (or two….).