The best moment of my life, so far, happened more than 15 years ago at a hospital in Mesa. Like many “best” moments in our lives, it came after some of the worst.
My youngest son’s entrance into this life was not, shall we say, uneventful. A routine, but “geriatric” pregnancy, (which made it sound as if I was in danger of getting my Poligrip mixed up with the Desitin), had progressed to the same point the three previous, blissfully-normal pregnancies had culminated in: I was in a labor/delivery/recovery room getting ready to meet my new baby.
I knew the drill: big breathing, couple of pushes, and voilà! A squalling infant is handed over for me to admire, my husband squeals, “There, that wasn’t so bad,” and I can’t slug him because I’m holding the baby and don’t think I don’t know that Dad Interrupted knows that.
Except this time the drill didn’t go. I breathed and I pushed, but there was no happy exclamation. Instead, there was a rush of blood and then a rush of medical professionalism, a stampede of science as it were, as what seemed like droves of emergency workers descended on that LDR room to save my non-breathing son. And Craig looked down at me and said, “This is too hard.”
When I saw Cole next, he was wired up like a Christmas tree in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and my only contact with him was when he grasped the finger I was able to slip into his little plastic shell that was doing what I couldn’t: save his life.
We got lucky that cold December morning. The neonatologist had told me that he wished all his patients could be like Cole, who was going to be fine. And he was, too: when I ran into that doctor a few years ago and got the chance to tell him how grateful we were, the only problem we’d had was that Cole wouldn’t do his chores.
“Can’t blame that on me!” Dr. Lifesaver chortled, and off he ran.
Fifteen years ago, though, I was a new mom who only knew she was going to have to wait for several days to hold her son.
That night, Craig and I headed into the unit to visit, only to find Cole distinctly and surprisingly un-wired, a simple bassinet next to his incubator. A nurse bustled up, announced how glad she was to see us and would we like to hold the baby?
And I sat my weary, frightened self into a chair and had the happiest and most grateful moment of my life.
Thankfully, you can go 15 years or more without having a day like that. But every day has its moment, the best thing that’s happened, and it’s important to keep track of them, too, lest they all slip away forgotten.
So for 2013 I have committed to do just that in my blog. Some days it’s easy to pick out the best, because the rest of the day stunk. Some days it’s difficult, because there were so many to choose from. But choose I do, and I write them down, even if it’s just to say that the best thing that happened to me was that my son wouldn’t do his chores.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.