Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Birthday That Was Meant To Be

One year. 365 days.  It is the only measurement of time I know that feels slow and like it's flying by all at the same time.  It's amazing to think where I was one year ago at this time.  I had just given birth to Meagan by c-section.  She had just been taken from me to Children's Hospital.  That first night, I broke down for the first time and cried inconsolably.    I remember chatting with my good friend on the computer, talking about my uncontrollable emotions I was feeling.  I remember telling the nurse to remove the catheter because I knew, damnit, that I wanted to get up and walk already so I could work on being discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.  I remember pain, anxiety, and loneliness..... not the physical pain.... but emotional .... looking next to my bed at the empty bassinet, and literally feel my heart hurt for Meagan's presence.  I remember looking at my phone every 2 seconds waiting for the next update or picture from Brian.  It was like breathing...I almost held my breath between texts from him as I waited miles away from my baby wishing I could be next to her.

What I saw of Meagan...from Brian's camera

Normally, at the end of a year we are happy we finish a grade in school ... or turn a year older ... or "make it through" that tough year only to look forward to the next one.  I'm pretty sure my perspective on "making it through" a year has completely changed thanks to my sweet girl.  She has accomplished more, comparitively, to anything I have ever done in a year.  Meagan had the odds stacked against her before she was even born.  She had no voice, no hope, and no life according to some of the doctors.  The fact that she was in my womb was her only saving grace; that and the fact that God gave me the divine strength to handle the pressures of our "perfect" world ... the courage to say "no" ... and the faith to move forward with a very uncertain path.

Holding Mommy and Daddy's hands for the first time

I am honestly in shock when I review Meagan's birth photos.  She looked just as I expected her to at that point, but knowing her now, and looking back, I realize just how far she has come.  I'm pretty sure if Meagan's previous doctors stayed consistent in their worldview, they would see a one year old who didn't hold her head up, sit, cruise, walk, or say first words.  But they are wrong.  They always have been.  Why should we look at what we cannot do as our focus? If we did that across the board, we would all be disappointed in our lives, and ourselves.  Why not focus on what we can do? Why not relish in the joy of what Meagan can do?  The little girl who doctors told me would do "nothing" is the happiest, most tolerant baby I know.  She coos, smiles, holds her toys, and I can now make her have a little belly laugh if I act silly.  She smacks her lips and kicks her legs.  She bats her hands on her diaper, smiling at the drumming sound she can make. She cries when she's hungry, and makes the most soothing sounds when she is cradled in my arms rocking to sleep.  She loves people. She knows how to "play opossum" at therapy and how to "pretend" to block everyone out.  She knows she is loved.

Arrived at Children's

Post- Shunt Surgery

NOW !!!

The following photos were taken by Claudia Landry Photography

I was sitting at my older girls' Irish dancing class last week and watching how well they were doing.  It made me flashback to the years I danced and competed.  In particular, I thought of my high school years, when I was at my "peak" dancing condition.  I had been consistantly moving up and was doing many shows with other dance troupes.  I also had great hopes for Nationals that year, and had been practicing everyday, along with taking several private lessons.  I was looking forward to possibly having a future in competitive dance, or even auditioning for some dancing shows.  I was even contemplating getting my teaching certifications. I just felt "on."  Any athlete would know what feeling I'm talking about.

At my last private lesson before Nationals that particular year, I was going through my dances one more time.  I was on my last run through, and my last leap in the air...when I landed, I heard a huge "CRACK!" ... then the pain. Pain.. and more pain!  I knew it wasn't good.  Turns out, I had broken my foot badly.  I was out of Nationals.  And my dancing really never fully recovered after that. It was such an 'interruption' in my momentum.  Likewise, I was at another crossroads at college graduation.  I was leaving with two Bacehlor Degrees from Xavier University...I had met Brian already. I just "knew" we would be married soon.  But I felt pressure to look into graduate schools.  I even went and visited a few.  Ultimately, I realized it wasn't what I wanted .. I was only looking in to it as an option because it was what I was "told" I "should" do next.  I decided to instead wait the extra semester for Brian to be done with his Graduate Degree so we could move forward and be married.  The decisions to not seriously pursuing dance, and deciding to not attend graduate school did result in some level of sadness. There was a tinge each time of a broken dream.  But now that I have my children, including Meagan, in my life, I realize these disappointments happened for a reason.  They led me to other paths. The paths I would take led me to Xavier University.... which led me to meet Brian... which led me to marriage... and led me to my 5 great kids.  If I had never broken my foot, and hence "broken" my dancing dreams, or made the difficult choice to put off graduate school, I may have not followed those paths.   And certainly, I would not be the mom of my kids today.  Perhaps some kids. But not the ones I have and love so much now. And definitely not Meagan. What a shame that would have been.

The following photo was taken by Claudia Landry Photography

As I think about events such as this in the past, even ones that I remember bringing me so much disappointment, I've started to realize they were all setting me up to be Meagan's mom.  No other child was meant to be at the same time as Meagan was.  She was planned. She was God's plan for our family.  The perfect gift from God.  He knew He could trust me with her care, and I am forever thankful He did. She has given my life perspective I could not have imagined, nor learned, from anywhere else.

My sweet Meagan,
You have come so incredibly far this year and beaten so many odds.  A hopeless birth, 2 brain surgeries, seizures, feeding issues, and everything else stacked against you has meant nothing - because with you as God's gift, you cannot do anything but beat those odds.  You fight everyday to just be yourself... and that will always be good enough for me, because in God's eyes, it is perfection.

Mommy loves you... and cannot wait to see what God has in store for you this year. Happy 1st Birthday from all of us .  This is a birthday that was meant to be....and you have certainly proven to be the priceless little pearl we all knew you were 


  1. Molly she is beautiful. I can't get over she is already a year old. I am so happy for you and for your family that Meagan is doing so great. I love reading your blog I really should do one for William.

  2. What a beautiful post for a beautiful girl. Happy birthday Meagan! All of your girls are just lovely and they all look incredibly unique from one another.

  3. Happy birthday Meagan! It's simply amazing how far you've come!