Hi there. This is officially my first post. Many friends and family encouraged this endeavor, mostly as a result of my posts about the Honey Badger. (The Honey Badger would be our 3 year old daughter.) I can’t do a blog just about Erin, although she IS hilarious. My son is also the epitome of humor, but he’s more reluctant to let me “share” online. Since so much encouragement has come from the stories of the Honey Badger, it is only fitting that I share with all of you a story about her that is very near and dear to our hearts. Sean and I have only told this story to a few very close people to us. So far, that’s been family. I usually tell funny stories about her, but I would like to open this blog with a very staid story about her. Perhaps what I am about to say will let my readers know just how much of a treasure she is, and why she is here.
My pregnancies for both my children were painful, problematic, and utterly agonizing. As a result of going into preterm labor with Dylan at 5 months, and prohibiting his early exit up until he was 5 weeks premature, I enjoyed a weekly shot of progesterone in the hip to ensure Erin didn’t try to do the same. We also opted to have all the prenatal testing done, not to entertain any thoughts of abortion should the markers indicate a problem, but to ensure we went into any situation with our eyes wide open. Having said that, approximately 3 months into my pregnancy a huge flag alerted us to the fact that our baby was likely to have Downs Syndrome. This could have been a false positive, so we opted for an amniocentesis to know what we were up against. It took 4 scheduled visits, 3 of those utter disappointments, to get the perfect window where the placenta could “safely” (although there is no guarantee of safety) be plunged with a giant needle, shipped off to the lab, and results back to us. Those results would tell us if we needed to arm ourselves with every weapon at our disposal to make the best life possible for our Downs baby, or breathe a sigh of relief that the test was false. It made no difference to us if he/she was or wasn’t Downs, except for how we would prepare mentally and financially. Speaking of mental, by the 4th visit to have the test done, we were wound pretty tightly and pretty emotionally. So, when the tech asked us if we would like to know the sex of the baby, which up until then we had opted not to find out, we busted out a “YES, PLEASE!”. It was a girl. My son begged for a little sister. This was swell, except I only knew I could raise a boy. A tomboy myself when I was little, this was quite a shock to me. My husband was THRILLED.
Now, before I go any further, I want to expand on the wonderful facility that was taking such good care of us during this process: Maternal Fetal Medicine in Indy. Being huge Indianapolis Colts‘ fans, we were pleased to find out that my M.D. there was Lauren Dungy-Poythress. She is (ex) Coach Dungy’s sister. If you ever had respect for that man, wow, you should meet his sister. She is an amazing doctor. I have never met a doctor like her, and my husband feels the same way. To say she is a warm person is an understatement. I can’t even describe the calmness and serenity she brought into every room she walked into. She would put her healing hands on my belly, talking very softly, slowly, intelligently, and made my husband and I feel as though we just left church after we spent time in her presence. I have been in countless numbers of Dr.’s offices in my 37 years. I have never had a near-religious experience with a Dr. like that EVER.
So, when the amnio was done, and we were walking out of the room and wiping tears of joy that it’s a GIRL!, we headed to the check-out to schedule our follow-up meeting for the results. We were stopped right at the back desk by one of the other doctors. This was an older woman, African-American, with a very similar demeanor to Dr. Dungy-Poythress. She was very inquisitive, asking if we knew what the sex of our baby was. We hadn’t even told our family, but we felt comfortable sharing with her. We said, “Yes, we just found out she’s a girl!”. More tears. She very calmly asked me if she could place her hands on my belly. Of course, she was a very calming presence. I invited it. I felt her warm, healing hands upon me, only this was different. She was reflecting on something that meant a great deal to her. She paused for a moment and looked up at us. She was very intent on what she had to say and looked us straight in the eyes, this old, wise woman. After a pause she said, “She is going to be a very, very strong woman. She will ease the suffering of many.”
This story of Erin’s beginnings still gives us chills.