Eighteen years ago. Eighteen years ago today, August 10th, I was having incredibly horrible headaches, I had been vomiting for days, was nauseas, feeling as I was the size of a whale, couldn’t see my feet and cried constantly that the baby just needed to GET OUT OF ME. The next next day, August 11th, after a routine OB/GYN visit, I would be sent to Labor and Delivery at Hutzel Hospital in downtown Detroit with the staff perplexed as to what to do. The baby was breach, facing the wrong way, and I had pre-eclampsia. Preeclampsia and eclampsia are most often characterized by a rapid rise in blood pressure that can lead to seizure, stroke, multiple organ failure and death of the mother and/or baby. They determined that baby was good, but I was not and so a C-Section was ordered for as soon as possible. They warned me that I would have to be in ICU for a few days just to be closely watched, but they promised that I would be able to hold her. I didn’t have time to mourn the idea of not having a normal labor, instead I found myself strapped to an operating table, covered with a paper gown with my husband holding my hand as I threw my guts up and uncontrollably shook all through the surgery. I still can remember hearing her tiny cry, them telling me that she was completely healthy, and handing her to her daddy who let me look at her beautiful face and kiss her forehead. It was love at first sight. Her blue eyes sang stories only an old soul could sing. We named her Micaela Brooke.
I was sent over to ICU for several days, and on the first day awoke to a dozen red roses that her father had brought me with a card thanking me for gifting him a beautiful daughter. The nurses awed over the sentiment. With so much pain medication, I dozed in and out, barely being able to hold her and not at all able to bond with her. I was finally switched over to a regular room where I slowly began to feel better and was able to do normal mommy things, like change her diaper, wash her, and feed her. After what felt like months, but was only 7 days, they finally let me go. I just wanted my own bed, my own home.
Micaela’s room was completed, but she was a month early, and so we didn’t have everything situated. I was actually planning on going into work the day I was sent to the hospital! Being a new mom, I just figured that she would sleep in her crib, but realizing that I was still in pain, and didn’t want her too far away from us, she ended up sleeping in her baby stroller for a couple months. And sleep was something she rarely did. She ended up having colic and cried, and cried and cried. The only thing that would calm her were car rides, but once we pulled into the driveway, shut the car off and reached to get her, the cries only started again. She was a happy baby, but bedtime was painful for all of us. Flash forward 18 years later, Micaela is a night owl and therefore I have concluded that it wasn’t colic at all, she just didn’t want to sleep when it was dark.
In a couple weeks we will pile her belongings into our car and move her into a dorm not far from the hospital she was born at. I realize it is cliché, but it is true that it seems just like yesterday when we brought her home. There are many regrets that I have of those 18 years, most of all that I wish I could’ve spent more time with her. Taken her to her field trips instead of worked. Sat down and colored with her instead of doing the dishes. Laughed more during her childhood, and not cried. Held back my temper with her (but she IS a Leo and gosh darn it, it is hard!). Set aside frustration and impatience and let things rolled off my shoulders. But regrets only make you sad and hung up on the past. Instead, I want to remember those very fast 18 years with happiness, and I suppose some happy tears too. It doesn’t matter the number, she will always be my beautiful baby girl.
Happy Birthday, Micaela Brooke.