Friday, February 1, 2013

Reflection on My Last Year

14 Weeks Pregnant--2011
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." Mark Twain

In my early 20's, I had this creeping feeling that I would not live very long.  It wasn't a death wish,  it was a seed of an idea that my life was short, brought on by cancer announcements from family members and a small (later declared non-cancerous) cyst I found.  Yet, here I am celebrating my 35th birthday.  A miracle enough for me that I get to enjoy it with my son and husband.

"These notes are kind of hard to translate," I told her as we poured over doctors notes typed in Chinese.  She got out her dictionary, and word by word we worked through phrases I couldn't find, or didn't know.  "Adhesion, that's what this one means," she said.  "Main artery, that's what this one means."  An hour later we had the translation for my doctor.  These weren't just any notes.  They were notes about me.  A large tumor removed from part of my uterus feeding off the main blood supply to my uterus.  Non-cancerous.

We did an ultrasound to try to locate the scar from said surgery.  The doctor's notes said the scar was on the upper left close to the main artery. No success.  "You'll be high risk," he told me.  Some people enjoy their pregnancies knowing they are bringing new life into the world.  I hoped that my own would not usher my life out as I was bringing one in.  "There is risk of rupture," he said, "but I cannot predict it.  You may do just fine.  But best to be prepared and be right next to the operating room."   He smiled and gave answers to our questions.  

I prepared myself and faced my fears.  I felt like a pregnant ticking time bomb.  She had told me it would help, to journal, to keep track of those thoughts, to think about the worst that could happen, and let go of any ideals or hopes I had, and concentrate on what I would like to happen.  Ultimately, I knew this was not in my hands.  Who can give or take life?  Not me.  I could only live life fully every day.  

Itty-bitty baby gets some loving
He'd pat my belly and tell me I was beautiful.  We'd feel our son rumble around and wonder what he'd be like.  This was my first child after all.  It could be my only child.  I could not change the process or the outcome, I could only trust with abandon.

34 was the year I became a Mom.  I learned sleeplessness nights, and bleary eyes.  35 is the year I'm thankful for it all.  To be surrounded by my husband and son on my birthday is a gift.  To love them, and be loved by them is even more precious. I don't get a second chance at life, I don't get to try again.  There will be no rewinds and repeats.  As we move forward and mesh as family we rub shoulders with mortality.  And yet, to face that gives the courage, the heart to live life and experience it together with joy.  It is a gift to be alive.

We love Papa!

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