“Well, here I am,” I think to myself as everyone is buzzing around me. Dr. Litt is looking down below and making sure that he has all the right paraphernalia to do the job. Mom is becoming animated, preparing for what’s to come. Stella and Tim are both hoisting up a leg and Tony is giving a play-by-play account with his video camera.
“This is it,” I thought, the moment where everything changes, where my life as one, becomes two. When my selfishness stops and his givingness begins.
This is a miracle from God, the one that I’ve wished for when I’ve dreamed. The one that I put away in my secret place and only thought of when I fantasized or found out that someone else was going to.
Nine months ago, my main focus was, “I’m going to Washington.” I wanted to become the advocate for the state of Nevada. I was thinking of people who I could ask to write letters of recommendations and talking to my boss about taking time off, making plans.
Isn’t it funny how one little trip to the drug store can change your whole perspective on everything? A little white stick was about to navigate the rest of my life and that stick was positive. Disbelief sat in.
“How?” I asked. All my doctors told me that this could never happen, and for thirty-eight years, they were right.
I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad. Should I be looking forward or looking for a way out? I thought about Timothy, my roommate. How much this would impact him? He already looks so tired with just taking care of me and now someone else would be even more dependent on him than me. The good thing was that Timothy always wanted to be a dad, just as much as I wanted to be a mom. Two wishes for the price for one.
When I told my family, they were less than thrilled. Some even suggested an abortion, which was the easy way out. Mom got sick with worry. I could see their concerns. This was unknown territory, even for me. I have had a very active life up until now, especially for a woman with a disability. There was nothing I did not try, at least once. But this was something surprising, scary, unimaginable, and new.
I always knew there were women with disabilities who had children, but I’d never known any. I never knew how they dealt with the day-to-day parenting skills they need to have. Do I have those skills, and if I don’t, how do I get them?
For the first time, I was worried that my “disability” would become my “handicap” in being a mom. And so the search began for any information I could find. There is not a lot out there for new parents with disabilities. I found the organization Through the Looking Glass. The they had a lot of good information but they were in Berkeley, California. I bought every book they had, and talked to a wonder woman named Judy, who also has Cerebral Palsy and is a mom.
So, I called all my friends, many of whom were also my colleagues, and asked them for help. They were not just going to watch me eat like a pig and rub my tummy. Together, we would form a team — a circle of brains that can think and problem solve. There were things to plan for and adaptive equipment to create, looking for unique solutions to unique problems. The things that I needed were not at “Babies R Us;” although, I love that store and they have some great stuff, which can be adapted. Every month, we would meet and make a plan of action. Each team member would take a piece of the puzzle and try to make it fit before the next meeting. Poor baby, not even born yet and already he had meetings to attend.
Even though, we have not solved all my concerns, it gives me peace of mind to know that I have the ongoing support when I call for HELP! This is an evolving process, which will continue until Noah is 99 or so.
I picked the Noah because it means Comfort, Silent, Devout Love, and most of all, Strong to be in my body. He needed to be strong to be in my body. He learned from the beginning that Mommy’s body moves in many different ways and he had to go with the flow, (no pun intended).
I had a normal pregnancy, which was a shock even to me. Although I was considered a high-risk patient, the doctors were very non-chalet about the whole “pregnant woman in a wheelchair” thing. I thought that I would have to see my doctor so often that we would become bosom buddies, but that was not the case. Even my own low expectations were blown away. It was pregnancy as usual with the everyday cravings, then barfing, his kicking my ribs, and the everlasting heartburn.
I worried about everything and still do.
So, here I am, just minutes from becoming someone’s “Mom.” I sure hope he likes me. All the preparing, speculating, anticipating, throwing up, Braxton Hicks contractions, baby showers, getting the nursery set up, being too tired to do anything, next doctor’s appointment, packing bags for the hospital (don’t forget the camera), praying, and worrying are now coming to the end.
And one more push…HAPPY BIRTHDAY: NOAH!
And so the story of Noah begins…