How 9/11 Changed My Life

I remember when I witnessed my nephew’s birth. I vowed that I would be a mother who’d choose her children through adoption. One week later I got to hold him and I thought, childbirth isn’t so bad. Therefore, I asked both my sisters about their childbirth experiences. My older sister had a natural childbirth that, after witnessing, absolutely horrified me. I remember hearing her screams from down the hall. Once I entered the room I saw a tool that looked like tongs pulling my nephew’s head from my sister’s body. I remember making a sharp u-turn out of the room, really fast.

Shortly after giving birth, I also remember my sister being so happy and not hearing even a peep about the pain. When I asked her would she have another one, without hesitation she said yes! She explained the love for her son as a love she had never experienced before in her life. I watched her eyes light up as she talked about childbirth. It was like she wasn’t the girl I heard screaming a few weeks earlier. There was a completely different voice I heard coming from my other sister. She experienced a C-section, which terrified me because my mom had a “C- section with my youngest brother and I remember the scar reminding me of pain. My sister expressed the same love for her daughter, but boy she did she recall the pain!!!!

She also talked about the scar, unlike my mom who had a vertical scar beneath her belly. My sister had a horizontal scar at her bikini line. Like I do in all other aspects of my life, I researched childbirth. I knew I wanted to wait at least 5 years after college – around my third year of being married. I enrolled in a class about childbirth. I actually took it twice because the first time, I ran out of the room screaming. I vowed to keep my virginity well into marriage or have a long engagement because I didn’t want to chance conception.

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However, once I said my vows on September 11, 2001, I didn’t have an ounce of fear in my body. I literally watched my world change before my eyes. I didn’t realize that through all the pain I witnessed and loss of life, I had created a life with my husband. It wasn’t until six weeks later when the doctor explained my flu was actually morning sickness due to the life developing inside my body.

I remember suggesting that she run more tests because it was literally not possible. Suddenly, everything went silent as I watched her lips continue to move while remembering the intense love and hope I felt on September 11, 2001. I rubbed my belly, looked up and whispered, “Thank You for the miracle. You have 8 months to get me ready for motherhood.” Then I could suddenly hear her speaking again. She uttered, “You conceived the second week in September around…” (as we said in unison)… “September 11th.” She hugged me and said, That’s amazing!” I wonder how many people were born or created on that day.

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I recall pondering that question as I drove to my small one bedroom apt. I remember pulling up seeing Tim taking out the garbage. Before I could say a word he said, “You’re going to be a great mom.” I remember objecting, telling him I was selfish, career-orientated, and I wasn’t able to keep a cactus alive or any other plant. All I wanted was my mother. My thoughts were that Tim did this on purpose to sabotage my dreams. All I wanted was my mom. I completely shut him out and moved back in with my mother, then a few cities away with my sister and close to my dad.

When I finally returned home, Tim was heartbroken. I recall him asking, why would I leave him in so much pain. I remember screaming, that he needed to find a real woman who could make him a baby. He begged me to stay with tears in my eyes walking towards the taxi. I remember looking at him as I closed the door and said goodbye, a single tear dropped from his eye and he said with a cracking voice, “How can I survive this again?”

I stayed away from Tim until I was 7 months pregnant. He found me, knocked on my door, and refused to leave. After about an hour I realized he meant those words and I allowed him in. That night we talked and cried and talked and cried some more. I fell asleep in his arms as he rubbed my belly. The next morning while he was getting coffee, I packed a small bag and moved in with my sister across town. I didn’t know how to be a wife and mom so I ran away. My child needed all the love and attention that I had kept her alive for.

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The next time he saw me was the same day Zyan was born. I had to have an emergency C-section and when I woke up I saw him holding her. He told me she was hungry and would not take a bottle. The love I felt for my daughter was unbelievable. I didn’t know that the love I already had for her could instantly multiply by so much. I stroked her hair while I breastfed her. Tim was happy because he knew I was stuck in that hospital for three days and he was having his say. After many shared tears, he placed the ring back on my finger and said, “For better or for worse.” He told me that he will do what it takes to make this easy for me. Looking back, I know I was hard on Tim. I actually blamed him for “getting me pregnant” before I was ready.

I couldn’t even look at Tim without crying from all the mixed emotions because I loved him so much. I denied him access to me. I was a couple of cities away. I would read the letters he wrote and my heart would ache because I wanted him with me. But, my mind always won. I didn’t know how to deal with it and didn’t want to say things that I would regret. I rubbed my belly daily and promised my unborn child I would do my best. I had a rough pregnancy. I was on bed rest starting in my third month. I was laying in bed thinking to myself, “Last year, I was studying for my finals and writing thesis, now I’m creating a baby in my body.” I was so overwhelmed and completely stressed. I tried to relax and distress, but the more Tim wanted to see me, the more stress I felt.

By this time, I was so stressed that my body couldn’t create a baby. I had my life planned out and I accomplished every challenge I had by removing obstacles. With my baby completely depending on me to survive. I had to remove Tim from the equation although it was painful, it wasn’t stressful. At my next doctor’s visit, I was able to hear the heartbeat. Then the pressure was more real! I had to keep my baby alive. I had to wear a baby brace because my body couldn’t even hold up a baby. I felt like a failure. I was a woman. Women are made to have babies. I sank into a deep depression. I recall writing letters in my journal to both Tim and our child.

However, this time I knew that I would do everything I could to be the best mom ever. My daughter also wanted me. She was not happy in the nursery and let every nurse know that. Every time they took her down to the nursery, moments later they would bring her back. They realized that she would only be quiet and only sleep in the room with me. Therefore, that’s where she slept. I had nurses that took turns staying in the room to help tend to her when I was sleep or healing from my surgery. I was rushed to emergency surgery after my heart stopped and my baby was in distress. I believe this near-death experience we shared is why we were inseparable and this lasted for over a decade.

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I was blessed to have a job that allowed me to keep her with me. She went with me to work until she was nearly 18 months-old, after which she would spend more time with her grandma during my work hours. I would get that call from her, just to ask me what I was doing and when I was coming home. I remember taking her to preschool for the first day.  At this point, she was ok with me leaving her for a couple of hours, but it was hard for me. To make it more tolerable, I volunteered in her pre-school class twice a week. By the time she was in kindergarten she was very Independent, but I wasn’t ready for that so I volunteered in her class just once a week then.

I still remember the second day of kindergarten. She took at me with her hand still clenched in mine and said, “It’s okay Mom. These are my friends.” She’d be so excited to see me when I picked her up and she would tell me all about her day. This was our pattern until the fifth grade. This year she was on her own and excited about school and she would kiss me before she exited the car or home, and didn’t want to hold my hand anymore. Boy, was I missing her? By the time middle school came, she had real friends and Mom was her safe place. She would talk with me about her school and friends, but she was handling nearly everything independently. I was proud but I was her like crazy! I was working out of the home as was her father. I was jealous that he got to spend more time with her than me and I was afraid that we would lose our bond.

We would still communicate via cell phone and I was still so excited when I received a text or call from her to tell me about her day. When shared our days via  TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Google +, & Pinterest.  Freshman year of high school, we talked even more. I felt so blessed that she would still share all of her new interests with me. Also, her friends weren’t the most important thing to her. I had the honor of driving her to high school every day. When I made it home and sometimes before, she would tell me the happenings of her day.

I was so proud of her maturity level. I loved how she would express her happy moments and disappointments. Sometimes in herself, her teachers, her friends or other peers. I’d listen to her share things that where great that happened along with what she thought was not great. I felt confident that I had instilled great values in her. I have a special love for my now 15-year-old. As I look at her daily, I feel blessed to see her grow, however, I wanted it to slow down. I decided to stay at home and Blog because I want to continue to cultivate that relationship.

Until next time, shine amongst the star!

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