I didn't always know I was going to have children. I wasn't one of those girls that grew up dreaming of a perfect family. I was just one of those girls that was concentrating on the actual act of growing up, not really what I was going to do when I got there. In fact, I was fairly certain for a very long period of time that I was never going to be a mother.
I have a sister who is 10 years younger than me, so perhaps I had my fill of babies, knowing how much work they really are I wasn't in any hurry to have one of my very own. I did a lot of baby sitting and some nannying, and I loved all of it, because the kids were great, it was fun, I got paid and at the end of the day I got to go home. And even when I met the man that I was going to marry, and we started to date and talk about the future, I was clear that perhaps I was not the chick for him. Since Mr. Fantastic is from a large Italian family where there are lots of children and everyone's favorite question is "When are you going to have one?", I didn't want him to miss out on that, but kids where just not in the cards for me.
Now for my secret... exactly one month and 20 days before we were going to say I do, while in the utter chaos of executing the final details for a wedding that had a guest list of a whopping 350 people after two years of planning, I found out that I was well into my second month, perhaps early third.
Now before I get blasted with the how could you not knows, and the wasn't it obvious's. Let me just say, no it was not. I'd never been pregnant before, I was an avid runner with a very low body fat percentage, my mom had just been diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor that they had given her a less than 5% chance of beating, I was working and living about 5 hours from my home town, the residence of my mother and the chosen destination for this blessed event to take place in. I was, to say the least, a tad bit stressed.
So all of the signs that you normally associate with being with child escaped me for obvious reasons. I was working like mad, as soon as I got out of work I would drive to our apartment, grab clothes and stuff for three days and head to my mothers house and spend time with her, and some times her team of doctors and a variety of other specialist by way of visiting the hospital for long periods of time. Spending a lot of nights sleeping in a chair beside her bed. So I was really hopped up on caffeine, not eating right, or enough for that matter, and at the time I was a strict vegetarian, so that was somewhat limiting. But, with all of these conditions somehow, this little baby found a happy place and settled in and waited for me to notice her.
And notice her I did. The poor thing was originally mistaken for the flu. After a trip to the doctors set me firmly in the middle of reality, I found out that was not the case. I waited a bit to tell Mr. Fantastic. For no other reason than I needed to adjust to the idea. This was not exactly perfect timing, and if you remember I was fairly certain that this was not really the path for me. So we had the "talk" and he was overjoyed, and wanted to tell his folks right away. I held him off for a little bit, but if you know him, you know this was unbelievably difficult. So we went out to diner with the folks, and eventually told them the news. And so it went from there.
Months later I was still adjusting and becoming very at ease with what was happening. I went to bed one night shortly after hitting the half way point at 20 weeks and was promptly woken at 2:30 with contractions. I sat up and gritted my teeth timing them, they were 6 minutes apart. After three of those they quickly switched to 5 minutes and then to 4. Shaking Mr. Fantastic awake with a hurried, "Somethings wrong, I need to go to the hospital." We were up and dressed and on our way to emergency.
After monitoring me and giving me medication for pre-term labor a few days later they sent me home confident that I could stay pregnant a little while longer. There was no real reason for the contractions. And so it went on and off, being fine, going into labor, spending more time at the hospital, more medication, bed rest, more waiting, more hoping that it could be held off until she (yes, we knew Little P was a she) would have a better chance of survival.
I was becoming more and more defensive of this little peanut that had made a somewhat cozy home and was only asking that I protect her. The poor little thing didn't realize that she was in for earthquakes every so often, but she persevered. Then the day came when they could not stop the contractions and she arrived. Perfect as could be at 5 lbs, a full head of dark hair and no major health problems to be found, despite the fact that she was 5 weeks early.
At that moment, when I held that amazing little person, I have never been so in love in all my life. She was reason I was born. I will never, ever forget those thoughts as long as I live, and I have told her the story enough times that neither will she. She was born 2 days before my mothers birthday, she carries her name and it was exactly four days before Little P turned 5 months old that she lost that amazing woman. Little P was the reason I got up every day for about a year after that. She was my heart and soul in one little package.
I've seen it happen too many times to think it's a coincidence, if you loose someone, some times you are given someone else to pour your soul into, they help you heal, realize what you are really made of, understand that you are never totally alone, and allow you to figure out what is really important. I will forever be amazingly grateful for that little 5 lb. miracle. And even though I lead at least a third of my life convinced that wasn't in the cards, it was the best hand I was ever dealt.