Perfection

I’ve been thinking a lot about “perfection” this week.  First, there is this entry on my sister-in-law’s blog.  I have been deep in prayer for her over this since she posted.  I have so little to offer her.  As my good friend Amy said (while we were out on my birthday), I had the “perfect” pregnancy and no room to every complain to anyone about it.  I agreed with her whole-heartedly.  The comment to me came after another mom-friend said, “I just never can understand those women who say ‘I loved being pregnant’.”  I was THAT mom.  I loved being pregnant.  I never had morning sickness (well, twice, but I call that never).  I didn’t swell to odd proportions.  I didn’t bloat in my face to the point you couldn’t recognize me.  And I didn’t have a rash covering my body (all my love to Amy & Katie K here) and making me miserable.
The conversation that night continued on about labor & delivery.  Whit was hopitalized two weeks before she delivered and knew everyone in the maternity ward when her time came then ended up having a c-section.  Katie told me stories that blew my mind.
Now, I had a not-so-short delivery.  They induced me (broke my water/gave me pitocin) around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday night and Ella didn’t make her appearance until after 7 a.m. the next morning.  HOWEVER, I was also comparing birth stories to my mom, aunt, and grandmother whose longest labor (i.e. from “I think it is time” to “Baby’s here!”) was around 6 hours.  I was hoping that was genetic, but it was not.  Of course, I was induced and none of them were…inductions always seem to take FOREVER.  There was only one major problem during my delivery – Ella’s cord was wrapped around her neck.  This wasn’t known until she made her entrance and instead of being placed on my chest, the doctor quickly unwrapped the cord (as horror appeared on my mom’s face) and handed her off to the nurses to be checked over.  She passed her Apgar with FLYING colors.
I had the “perfect” pregnancy and the “perfect” delivery.  And now, I have a PERFECT child.
I am lost in reflection on this after being pointed to a blog by a women who delivered a Downs Syndrome baby girl in January.  I posted the link to her daugher’s birth story on facebook yesterday.  I have since taken time to continue reading through her blog.  I’ve only gotten through January’s posts and haven’t started Februarys yet.  I read and I feel a bond with her.  I know – not normal, as we have little in common.  We each have at least one daugher.  That’s it.  Here is where my emotional tug is…
Before I was pregnant with Ella I attended the funeral of a child.  I had been friends with his dad and dad’s extended family from years ago.  This child was a precious, special child.  I didn’t know him.  I only went to show support for his dad and that extended family.  I sat there like stone listening to what people had to say about this precious child of God.  I believe he was autistic.  But that isn’t what people talked about.  They talked about how special he was to the world of people around him.  How he laughed.  How he smiled.  How he made you feel special.  I carried that day with me.  I had worked in special education as a substitute teacher in our county.  I was one of the few who willingly signed up to sub in special education classes.  I loved it.  I loved working with kids who needed that extra attention.  I wonder all the time what has happened to the class of kids at one Elementary that I can to work with every week and loved dearly.  I was allowed special permissions to know their stories because I was working with them so closely and so often.  Have you ever heard of chiari malformation?  I hadn’t.  It is amazing.  Can you imagine have a child that never sleeps?  That is one unique strain of chiari malformation.  One of the girls in that class had it.  She had no body fat.  She was restless.  Her mother slept while she was at school.  It was their only way to cope.
Two of the kids had severe emotional disorders.  I watched one throw a computer through a window.  The other and I became good friends.  When he got mad, he threw desks.  When he got mad, if you sat in a chair right in front of him and put your face within a foot of his and started counting backwards from 100, he’d calm down.  I loved learning that.
Two of the children were downs syndrome.  Oh, how I loved them.  The sweetest beings alive – full of hugs and loved playing hide-and-go-seek.  Oh, how I loved those children. 
Why does this consistently weigh on me?  Why do I always, ALWAYS think about it?  I have no idea.  I can tell you that one day during my pregnancy, I became acutely aware that something was going to be wrong with Ella.  I just knew it.  I never told Jeff.  I still haven’t told him.  (Hi honey)  I knew…I just knew.
But there is nothing wrong with my child.  She is SMART.  She is BEAUTIFUL.  She is IMPORTANT.  (Sorry- I read The Help recently).  She can say “two” after I say “one”.  Of course, all numbers are “2” and all letters are “E”.  She can recognize her name when it is written down.  She can repeat “E” “L” “L” “A” when prompted.  There is nothing wrong with my child.
People have been asking me lately when we’re going to have #2.  Today – it could be tomorrow (well, after April).  Yesterday – I only wanted Ella.  We may get there…
People have also been asking me what I’m going to do for work once I return to work (do I ever have to?).  I think, perhaps, that God hasn’t been speaking to me about MY child, but instead about others’ children.  I think I might go into special education by choice.  I’m not so sure I want to teach in a regular school.  I think I’d like to work with specific children.  I’m not going to make up my mind yet.  But I had to get it off my chest.
To my sister-in-law, Kristen – you are a wonderful mother.  Your son adores you.  Your son is perfect.  Your delivery was not.  Please don’t let it define your motherhood.  Motherhood is so much more than that.  THAT is what I wanted to say.  It just took me a week and this blog to find the words I wanted to say.
To you- my friend & reader…I leave you with two pictures of my PERFECT CHILD:
 Here she is conducting her own business meeting in our living room:
And here she is getting ready to run the rounds with my parent’s cat Cricket:
And now my angel is crying to me from her crib.  She took a near two-hour nap there today.  See – perfection.  Gotta go!
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