When we first found out I was pregnant, my husband and I were beside ourselves with happiness.
We had always wanted a child. Though we were content being just the two of us, we always felt as though something was missing in our life. We wanted to share our joys with a little one of our own.
Still, it wasn’t long until the blissful excitement of having a child yielded itself to the other emotions any major life change often brings with it - worry, anxiety, anticipation, doubt.
We wanted our future child’s life to be perfect. We hoped so dearly that she’d be healthy, fulfilled, successful, intelligent - all those good things every parent wants for their beloved children. And we constantly questioned our ability to provide her with those things.
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during my second trimester. When I found out, I wasn’t worried about my own health at all. Rather, I started blaming myself, thinking I should have taken better care of myself, for our baby’s sake. I started to exercise and eat healthy every day, in an attempt to minimize the impact of my condition on my baby.
Due to my condition, I had to schedule labor induction. My husband and I were both optimistic about that - we got to schedule exactly when our little baby would come out to meet us. Or, so we thought - when the day finally came, the induction process went on for 33 hours before the doctors decided it was time for a C-section!
Nova and I both experienced some complications when she was born. I didn’t get the chance to hold her skin-to-skin or even see her until one day later.
This is the greatest regret of my life.
When I finally got that chance, the joy of that moment was quickly overshadowed. The nurse informed me that Nova’s heart rate had spiked up to 250 bpm, and they had to use medicine to bring it back down to normal levels.
I was devastated. I broke down in that moment and couldn’t hold back the tears. (That painful feeling comes back even as I write this.)
I was in agony. I wondered:
“Why did this happen?”
“Will my baby have to live with a heart condition for the rest of her life?”
The doctor later told me Nova had SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) and would need to see a pediatric cardiologist. I had millions of questions in my head. But I just couldn’t open my mouth and talk. My tears wouldn’t stop when I saw Nova, my husband, our friends and families, or even when I was alone. I prayed everything would be okay. All I wanted was for my precious Nova to be healthy.
We stayed in the hospital for eight days while Nova was tended to in the NICU. Those were the longest eight days of my life. I was so relieved when Nova was finally declared healthy enough for us to take her home.
After spending nearly an hour in the hospital parking lot making sure Nova was securely fastened in her car seat, we were on our way home. For the first time in over a week, I felt as though I was able to breathe. I took in our little family that had just grown a bit larger. I thought about what we’d just gone through, and looked at our beautiful little girl. I knew I’d gladly do anything for her, no matter how hard.
I still felt nervous, relieved, anxious, tired, and excited, all at once.
But one feeling prevailed: I felt whole.