I am about to tell part of my story. I haven’t shared much of my story here on the blog but over the past month or so I have truly felt God telling me it’s time.
Thirty years ago today, Sunday, December 23, 1984 started as a typical day except I was 20 years old, single and pregnant. I had been home from college since the middle of September and I was due to give birth, soon. I’ll give the back story another time, I hope you’ll stick around for that some day soon. That evening my dad was out Christmas shopping. I was home playing Trivial Pursuit with our neighbor Rick. As the game and the evening wore on, I had some intermittent back pains. I attributed these pains to being very pregnant and sitting on the floor. After the game I got up to walk them off and I was hit with a bit of a worse pain. I told my mom and we decided I was probably in labor. At the time we had but 1 car and my dad was out shopping. Of course, we had no way of reaching him, this was before cell hones and we didn’t know where he was shopping.
I remember telling Rick he might have to drive us to the hospital in Sarasota and I remember the look of panic on his face. Rick was a good friend, a quadriplegic, a few years older than me. I gathered my things for the hospital and my mom called th doctor and thankfully, my dad arrived home to drive us to the hospital.
My doctor was not available, he had recently broken his leg on an African safari, so his associate, whom I had met at my last check-up would deliver my baby. I wasn’t in the Labor room that long before they decided to wheel me to delivery. On the way there was a traffic jam in the hall and I remember telling the doctor that the baby was coming now! I was assured there was plenty of time. I arrived in the delivery room and things moved along. I can’t remember how long I was in labor but it wasn’t too long. Yes, there was pain and yelling and my younger sister swearing she would never give birth (and she never did). At 12:24am on 12-24-84 Brynn Ann was born.
There was no baby’s cry. There were hushed tones, nurses scurrying around and other doctors coming into the room. Brynn was whisked to NICU and eventually I was taken to the maternity ward where I shared a room with four other mothers. Later I was told that Brynn had Meconium Asptration Syndrome and Hyaline Membrane Disease. Her lung x-rays showed that her lungs were black like a coal miner’s. The Sarasota NICU couldn’t care for a child this sick so they were going to fly her via helicopter to Lee Memorial Hospital in Ft Myers. I was able to visit her in the NICU for a few minutes, looking at her in her isolette. A nurse took a Polaroid picture of her for me and gave me her footprints before she left the hospital.
That afternoon I was released from the hospital. I went home to spend Christmas with my family and the plan was that dad and I would head to Ft Myers the day after Christmas. In the meantime, the hospital called us with updates of Brynn’s care. Early Wednesday morning we received the call that every mother dreads, Brynn’s lungs were just too bad and they couldn’t keep her alive. My daughter had passed away and I had never even held her.
For 30 years, Christmas has been a difficult holiday for me. Brynn was born on Christmas Eve and she passed on the 26th. For the last 20 years I led the music at the Christmas Eve service at our church and every time I sing “Silent Night”, I get choked up.
It is hard for me to imagine having a 30 year old daughter, how different my life would have been. I do believe with 100% that this was all a part of God’s plan for me. Yes, even the heartache and pain. This experience made me a better person, a stronger person and it drew me much closer to God. As hard as it
was is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Happy Birthday to my Christmas Angel! I know I will see you again some day, and we will have a wonderful reunion.
Thank-you for sticking around to read this story that is part of my heart.