A letter to my daughter on the birth of her first baby
today at 5:28 pm
August 25, 2020
Today you gave birth to Veda Wallace at 2:06 pm at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. Brian was there by your side.
You were a champ in the delivery room and even sang the “Lego Movie” song, “Everything is Awesome!” to the doctor and nurses. I’m certain they thought you were a breath of fresh air with your fierce attitude and humor.
That’s my girl.
We finally met when Veda was five days old and it was love at first sight. And smell.
She’s so soft, tiny and has beautiful skin. She loves to hold her hands up to her face and sleep on your chest for hours.
My baby girl has her own baby girl.
And all is right in this world.
But this happy ending wasn’t so easy.
You struggled with fertility issues for almost three years.
Month after month and no pregnancy.
Maybe, maybe? No.
Disappointment. Sadness. Feeling inadequate.
Of course, everyone around you was getting pregnant. Baby Shower invitations and birth announcements filled your mailbox.
But you held your head up high and with grace, congratulated all of this new life around you.
Inside it must have been heartbreaking.
Meaux lit candles for you. Maureen prayed for you.
Teresa said it would happen, in time.
Mary offered her compassion. She’s been there.
Matt and Dana were your biggest cheerleaders.
Everyone was pulling for you.
You were meant to be a mother.
You were always a natural around children, even when feeding your first baby doll when you were three. Children love you, and you love them. I call it the Mary Poppins kind of love. Genuine. Honest. Sincere.
It wasn’t fair. You, of all people, deserved to be a mother. I cursed and cried to see you struggle, but I always had faith in you.
I believed you would succeed.
There was no medical reason for you not to get pregnant. It was, and still is, a mystery.
You endured a year with a fertility specialist going through invasive procedures, shots and pills. Seven unsuccessful attempts with IUI (intrauterine insemination) left you exhausted.
You wanted to give up and said, “Maybe I am just not supposed to have a baby and I will just concentrate on my career.”
I responded, “You can always have a career, but you can’t always have a baby.”
Please, don’t give up.
You asked the doctor if stress caused infertility and his reply was, “Even women in Aleppo, Syria get pregnant.”
Two of your close friends went the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) route and were successful.
That gave you hope.
One last chance.
Last November, you and Brian decided to prepare for IVF. Consultations and counseling commenced.
A giant box of medications was delivered in December. Things were moving forward. Your prospects for success were looking favorable.
You threw caution to the wind.
Let’s just enjoy the holidays. Forget about this baby thing for a while.
Ease up and relax.
We need a break.
A much needed break.
A vacation to Italy, right after Christmas, will be good for us before we start IVF in February.
Then, in the words of a former football player, Brian threw that Hail Mary Pass.
During a layover in Munich, Germany you purchased a pregnancy test at the airport.
Once you arrived in Verona, Italy, the test confirmed you were pregnant.
Can this be real? Am I really pregnant? Seriously?
Brian wanted the results to be sent for a “booth review,” until you could see the doctor once you returned home.
And confirm he did.
A miracle if there ever was one. You became pregnant on your own and the earth shook with happiness. At least my portion of earth did.
People often say that once you stop trying, you’ll get pregnant. Or, once you adopt a child, you will magically get pregnant.
But that’s not always the case and it’s not something you want to hear when you are desperate to have a baby.
You are healthy, strong and take such good care of yourself. Now, you were doing it for both of you. And the baby thrived.
An ultra-sound confirmed you were having a girl around Valentine’s Day when you were two months along.
The special cake with pink icing in the center was a cause for celebration. Thank you for saving us a slice when you came out in your pink dress to tell us the news.
Her crib was purchased in early March just before the pandemic shut the city down for months. Great timing.
You were such resilient parents-to-be all spring and summer. Never complaining about your circumstances and always being extra cautious.
COVID forced you to celebrate your pregnancy privately, without fanfare, but that suits your style.
Only able to leave your home for walks and doctor’s appointments, your hair grew along with your belly.
And now your precious Veda is in our world.
You are a calm, relaxed and most loving mommy.
Veda loves sleeping next to your skin, feeling your touch and hearing your voice. After all, you spoke and sang to her for nine months.
When I see my daughter with her own daughter, my heart is filled with pure bliss.
I know it wasn’t easy for you, Lena.
But you and Brian persevered and never gave up hope.
Your story had a happy ending.
A beautiful ending.
A miracle baby.
You deserve this.
I love you so much,