The night before Autumn blessed us with her life…
Five years ago today, I was hugely pregnant, unable to get out of my chair or roll out of bed without assistance. I no longer was able to walk, instead, I waddled like a duck to balance the fifty-pound annex on the front of my body in an effort to keep from tipping over. Sleep was nearly impossible, because if I didn’t need to pee, I couldn’t breathe from the baby squishing my lungs, and if I could breathe and wasn’t peeing, Autumn took that opportunity to kick my internal organs in alphabetical order.
And I loved every minute of it.
Autumn was a hard-won, three-year long battle with my body. Three failed rounds of the fertility drug Clomid, one miscarriage and one surgery finally resulted in a pregnancy that had long been dreamed of. And it was a pregnancy tinged with the fear of loss due to the miscarriage of a baby that will forever in my heart be the son or daughter I did not get to meet.
I didn’t care if the second baby I had was a boy. I didn’t care if it was twins or triplets. I didn’t care if the baby came out purple with pink polka dots and had to live under water. I wanted a second child to love, to experience more of the sheer blissed out joy I was blessed with in my first born child Amethyst.
Scheduled for a induction, I laid down the night before at 11:30 p.m., grateful I’d get sleep before my second child arrived. True irony was discovered an hour later when my labor began at 12:30 a.m. on November 25, 2008. My contractions hit every three-and-a-half minutes, and this time, rather than focusing on the fact I was in labor, I focused on my oldest daughter and what was best for her: my water hadn’t broken, the contractions were steady and not increasing in intensity, so there was no reason to wake her up and take her to my brother’s until things began to speed up.
I walked for several hours (years later I’d retell the story to a friend who laughed when I referred to that part of my labor as “walking it off”) around our apartment, made certain everything was ready to go, blogged, looked at jeans online I’d be able to wear after I got my pre-baby body back. I took a long, hot shower, and unlike my labor with Amethyst, took the time to put on make up and braid my hair back.
But like her big sister, once things started going, there were terrifying moments during my labor, the worst of which was when Autumn’s heart rate started dropping and my labor stalled out. But shortly after my sister-in-law arrived (god bless my younger brother for taking on two boys and my daughter so his wife could be there to support me), a change in position cranked everything back up, Autumn’s heart rate returned to normal, and it was time.
Unlike Amethyst’s birth, there was no released meconium to contend with, no rushing around in silence of the NICU staff trying
Love at first sight. Among the many people Autumn loves in this world, her younger brother is at the top of the list.
to protect my child from infection. With Autumn, I pushed four times, and she came into the world, perfect, pink, screaming and glorious. There was no rush to cut the cord, no taking her from me immediately to be worked on. Instead, she was placed on my belly immediately, and I held her close to me, tears coursing down my cheeks at the miracle that she, this child I so desperately wanted, was finally with us. There she was, this beautiful soul, so very much like her sister in size and features that my heart was seized with nostalgia and gratitude. “Thank you,” I kept saying over and over to God, to the doctor who had battled just as hard as I for this life, to the nurses, to life itself for such a gift.
Autumn Morgaine came into the world loud, and she lives each day the same way: Loud, outrageous, glorious, gorgeous, amazing, and miraculous. She captivates everyone who meets her, even those who claim they can’t stand children. Taking her with you to run errands is like being the part of a movie star’s entourage: everyone wants to meet her and chat her up. Out of my three children, she is the one who is most like me: in ten years, if she were to dye her hair red, she’d be
just as I was at fifteen. She is kind, and generous, and loves passionately everything from family members to friends to arts and crafts and food. She tells you exactly what she’s thinking when she’s thinking it, and she makes certain you know what she wants.
She’s loud, brash, full of life, and one of the most amazing souls I’ve been blessed with in mine. I was given a miracle when I was given her. Her smile captivates, her eyes sparkle with mischief, and she encompasses everything I find wonderful about the world: generosity, kindness, unconditional love, passion in all things, joy, and a sense of humor that never fails.
Being Autumn’s mother has taught me more than I ever could have imagined. That it’s important to fight for what you want, that there is nothing more enjoyable than laughing for the sake of laughing, that the hardest won gifts are the ones we cherish the most. And that love can heal most hurts.
I believe we’re blessed with people in our lives at the times we need them the most. Autumn has been my blessing for not just the five years she’s been living in this world, but since the moment the second line on the pregnancy test showed up. Because I learned from my experience of trying to conceive a second child that it is important to cherish all the moments, good, bad, morning sickness induced, loud, exhausting, painful, beautiful and long-awaited.
Autumn, thank you so much for being one of the most precious parts of my life, of teaching me daily how to love more fully and
Best reason to get up every morning… Her amazing smile.
patiently. For gracing me so often with your smiles and hugs and your sense of humor. For being so happy when you hear someone tell you that you look just like your Mommy. Thank you for the messes and the art work and the unplanned for pancake dinners you always ask for. Thank you for being a miracle I’ve been blessed with. I love you more than I can ever tell you, and I can’t wait to see the woman you become.