Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Star Is Born- Redux

The March of Dimes is gearing up their annual fundraiser and, as every year at this time, I find myself digging deep, giving cash but also harassing friends, co-workers and family to do the same. I want to let these poor beleaguered souls know why this means enough to me that I don’t mind at all harassing people I normally treat with care and respect.

My daughter’s blog is linked off this page, entitled A Star Is Born

Like me, she found that expressing unwieldy emotions through prose makes them easier to carry, easier to store away. While I try to write about the funny, the quirky and the ironic side of life as often as I can, she wrote about one subject only, her dear sweet daughter born four months early and weighing in at just over 2 lbs.

My daughter spent a month in the hospital, most of it on her back in a bed with monitors measuring out her prayers for the child within her in steady beeps and pulses. For a reason only God knows a perfectly healthy baby inside a perfectly healthy mother was being forced into this cool, noisy, brightly lit and terrifying world months before it was time. Laying in the bed (to thwart gravities insidious pull) and holding on for dear life while the world around her spun on she became a hero, a saint, a martyr and an awe inspiring model for all who know her. A furious battle that was fought in silence, waged for 30 straight days without respite or relief consuming all of her energy and most of her focus was won, so to speak, when the baby was born one day shy of the line marking a greater than 50% chance of survival.

The next two months were spent in an endless round of Neonatal Intensive Care visits and frazzled hours at home trying to reassure her two older children that life would someday be a type of normal again. Because of her devotion, unbelievable stamina and sheer grit our little star came home and became a vital part of the family. Today, at 23 months Star is walking, talking, fighting and playing in turn with her sister and brother and in general being a normal little toddler with all that entails.

While I have lost two of my own children, given them to the universe unwillingly and with much turmoil, I never had to deal with a constant, daily fear that this one would be their last. I had the chance to hold my boys, to watch them come into this world full of fight and moxie without ever seeing them get a blood transfusion through their umbilical cord or knowing that they would have to grow into doll clothes or hearing the alarms go off when they quit breathing, their tiny chests too small to see moving or stopped and have no choice but to watch strangers literally hold my blue lipped child’s life in their hands while I was shoved back into a corner.

I can’t express how proud I am of my daughter, of her daughter, of her husband and two older children. They aren’t extraordinary; they do normal suburban family things in a normal suburban family way. Star gets fussed at as much as she gets fussed over, they encourage her to try things, lavish praise when she succeeds and encouragement when she doesn’t. In a year or two you won’t be able to tell she came into this world in any different fashion than the other two, and this is what makes her, and my daughter, a star.