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Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Miracle


She was born to me on a cold December day in 1998. A surprise, coming earlier than we expected, but our knowing this was always a possibility. We knew she had a serious medical condition, that could cause premature birth, but we did not know the gravity of what was about to happen. We didn't know that what we expected to be her biggest issue, would soon turn into one of the least important concerns. My husband held my hand tightly as she was pulled from me via cesarean section. There was silence in the room, not a cry from my baby, not an announcement of "It's a girl," no excitement or even hushed whispers. It was the most devastating silence I have ever experienced. I broke the silence, asking my husband "Is it alive?" His response even more troubling, "I'm not sure." I then conjured up the courage to ask "Can someone tell me what I had, so I can know who I am praying for?" "A girl," the kind, soft spoken doctor said, "do you have a name?" "Teale Tatiana." I announced proudly and began praying for her in my head. That is how Teale’s life began. She was unresponsive when she was taken from my body. It was a shock that no one in the room expected, a baby who wasn't breathing. There was specialized nursing in the delivery room, but that was because the hospital staff "just" expected her to have a condition called gastroschisis. Her stomach had not closed in utero and she would need surgery to put her intestine and colon back into her tiny body. I knew it was touch and go in that room because the silence was so unnerving, but later we would learn there had been no pulse for over seven minutes. No pulse, nothing, she was gone by all medical definitions and her APGAR scores were proof, 0 at birth, 0 at five minutes, but they didn't give up, so at ten minutes she got a 3. The nurses worked on her and then told me they needed to get her to the NICU. Teale would still need to undergo the surgery to correct her gastroschisis as soon as possible, but first they needed her to be stabilized. They whisked her off, with me barely able to catch a glance of my beautiful baby. Mark, my husband of almost 10 years, was by my side, as I recall, both of us silent. What could we say to each other in these moments of uncertainty. We had no control over the situation and I'm sure all we felt was desperation and grief. Our baby was in great distress and we had no idea how this was all going to play out. This was just the beginning of a life we never saw coming. Teale would remain in the NICU for two months. In that time, she would be diagnosed with severe brain damage, cerebral palsy, seizures, we would be told she was deaf and may never walk or talk. But, one doctor's advice stood out above all the negatives that were thrown at us ~"Give her all the love and experiences possible." and that is how our miracle began. 

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