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The life of the mother
By Linda A. Prussen-Razzano
The last emotion I expected to feel was fear. Yet, there it was, a niggling sensation cinching the pit of my stomach, so dramatically different from my other pregnancies.
I have a good reason to be afraid.
During the several long, and often painful, years that my husband and I attempted to conceive a child, I became accustomed to hiding my grief. When pregnancy tests came back negative, I would slap on a brave face for the world and muffle my sobs into towels behind a locked bathroom door. I can still recall, with bitter clarity, the conflicting tests results – pregnant, not pregnant, pregnant – only to learn that my hostile womb did not accept a fertilized egg. That gentle glow of life had flickered out, allowing me to catch just the briefest glance of its dimming light.
I didn't understand it. My husband and I shared a loving, committed, and stable relationship. We were financially secure and owned a comfortable home. We tried, in all ways, to live by the golden rules. We had so much love in our hearts; a baby would only enhance our joy. We were prepared to make all the sacrifices, to put our children first, to protect, to nurture, to cherish. With each passing month, I grew more despondent, felt more worthless, and saw myself as less than whole.
I placed the matter into God's hands, knowing that He alone created life. Please, Lord, I prayed, show me the way You want me to go. Adopt? Wait? Be a mother to another? I prayed to accept His decision with grace, with a glad heart.
To our supreme delight, He blessed us with a beautiful boy, born just 40 weeks later.
Before the year was out, I was pregnant again. This time, I was carrying a girl. At 32 weeks, I hemorrhaged. I can still remember my husband's strength on that day, his firm assurances despite the blanching of his face, and how his hands seemed to effortlessly guide me from a dark and horrifying place.
Twelve days later, our beloved girl was home. The days of tubes and needles and beeping machines were over. The days of staggering medical bills had begun. But all of it was worth it, worth it a hundred times over, for the delight of my daughter's voice, the gentle lilt of her laughter, the wonderful smell of her soft skin.
In the two and a half years that have passed, many things have changed. My babies are riding bikes without training wheels, coloring and drawing, saying grace at mealtimes, and playing with friends. We're still struggling to pay off the debt, my endometriosis returned, and my pap-smears have come back with pre-cancer cells. After surgery and a menstrual cycle as frequent and erratic as buck shot fired into a calendar, we believed our days of little feet were over.
But God had other things in mind.
This I know: I am at a very high risk to lose my baby. I am a cancer risk. I am nearing 40, and there is every likelihood my baby will be perilously premature. My heart rate plummeted dangerously during my daughter's c-section and the recovery was terribly slow. By the grace of God, alone, we both pulled through.
I'm afraid that this little one will never know my arms, afraid that he or she won't survive to feel my touch, afraid that I won't survive to touch them.
This I also know: On the day I married, I vowed to accept children lovingly from God. A little soul is already nestled inside me, attached to me forever. God gave me this baby for a reason, and fear will not prevent me from doing everything I can, everything I must, to see it born.
Even if it means my life.
Linda Prussen-Razzano is frequent contributor to Enter Stage Right and a number of other online magazines.
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