In the O.R., she was presented to me for a brief kiss and whisked away to the nursery. I was wheeled in the other direction to the Recovery Room. With my sister by my side, it would be nearly eight long, heartsick hours before I would get to hold my baby for the first time.
While waiting to get my hands on her, I remained the lone patient in that recovery room. Just me, my sister and my recovery nurse – an older woman in her sixties with a thick Irish accent.
I kept asking, “Can I see her now?”
This was my only C-section, my son was delivered naturally, so I was alright with the idea that obviously it would take a little longer for me to see my baby girl.
Several hours went by – nothing. I was told they were keeping me in Recovery because my room wasn’t ready yet. My sister and I had long since run out of chit-chat. I asked her to go down to the nursery to check on RM. She did, quite a few times. She’d return with yet another update that yes – RM was a cutie – and that the nurses were still cleaning her up, etc. How messy could my kid be?
It took everything I had in me to push the words from my lips, each one like a cement block chained to my heart, finally – “Did you see her pinkie?”
My sister smiled and said RM is perfect. I replied, “but it looks like it doesn’t have a joint in the middle.”
The recovery nurse turns around from her desk and says, “that’s nothing – look at mine!” She holds up her right hand to show a pinkie finger that doesn’t bend. Smiling, she continues by saying, “I was born with it this way and I’ve done just fine.” My sister and I smile and chuckle along with the nurse and I feel far more at peace.
It would be a hundred more times over the next few years that I would remember that nurse – her sweet smile and her own perfect, unique pinkie. I truly believe God sent her to me when I needed to know that my baby girl was truly going to be ok – through it all – through feeding tubes and open heart surgery, and autism. On the darkest days, I remember His gift of her and the gentle smile she shared with me. Without question, that woman was the anchor to my faith that would save me, encourage me and keep me focused on the beauty and joy that is my precious baby girl.
But my heart was aching to hold her, and my soldier was still a day away from holding me and being my rock. I was still waiting in the Recovery Room…
[Ed note: If you haven’t done so, please support the Caring for Military Kids with Autism Act – HERE. We cannot change the world without first being the change we seek. Thank you.]