at this moment four years ago, I was in labor, on the ball, on my hands and knees, walking, hanging on to the door frame
at this moment four years ago, I was still hoping that the amniocentesis would be wrong. She had had diffuse fetal hydrops (- in which all of her skin was lifted off her body and filled with fluid) and she had had heart holes, all of which had miraculously healed. I was hoping (against hope) that she would be the 1% (or was it the .1%?) that was wrong, hoping that she’d pull a miracle again and be born without Down syndrome.
at this moment four years ago, I was not longing to meet her.
at this moment four years ago, I was very scared. I didn’t know what she would look like, had no mental image for what she would be like, scared that I might not love her or want her.
at this moment four years ago I had been in labor for 8 hours… I had 13 hours to go.
at this moment four years ago, the pain and pressure of childbirth was triggering my brain and knocking me out – surely I’m one of the rare few that had to be slapped to stay awake while engaged in the act of childbirth?
at this moment four years ago, I didn’t know that placenta would be left in me after birth and would fester for a month before paralyzing me and changing our lives completely.
at this moment four years ago, I was like a bird in its egg, with a new world waiting for me on the other side of breaking free. I didn’t know that I was birthing my own moxie as well as my daughter Moxie, that accepting her disability would lead to the acceptance of my own, and that the pain of the Placenta Incident,and walking on fire would resurface my soles and re-brand my heart.
at this moment four years ago, I didn’t know the future.
at this moment four years ago, I was terrified of what it would be.
I want this post to be about Moxie and about what a glorious person she is, how fun she is, smart and sparkly and oh-so-pretty.
I want this to be about all of that and yet, Moxie’s birth feels to me to be something more than a celebration of the day that she came.
Because when Moxie was born, I welcomed into this world both a slippery 8 lb peach and my own courage.
After she was born and after the Placenta Incident, my life shifted into focus.
She was born. I was re-born.
Many parents say that their children teach them so much, particularly their children with a disability. I think what the parents actually mean by that is that the parents opened up their own hearts in response to their children and their own hearts taught them the way.
Their own hearts taught them. But it was the child coming that enabled their hearts to open to accept this new space and understanding of courage and of prejudice, helped them to look at the world through a focused lens.
I am no different.
She came. My heart opened. My heart taught me. And I am full of gratitude to her for coming, so happy to have this precious Rainbow.
Happy birthday, sweet Moxie
The book which I have been working on is almost done – it should be available tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.