Friday, January 01, 2010

Shaking Our Heads, With Gratitude

"We'll have time in 1992."

That's what dearest one and I used to say to each other when the kids were young. Sometimes we still say it to one another for old times' sake. We shake our heads at how long ago that was now.


I am grateful to have today.

I love a new year because of the privilege to be alive to see it. Yesterday was my youngest son's birthday. I nearly died shortly after I gave birth to him over two decades ago. That evening was spent being brought round after going into shock from blood loss and being rushed to surgery. I remember them lifting me onto the surgery table and feeling like I was going to faint again. I tried to tell them that if I fainted it didn't mean I was under anaesthetic yet so don't start anything! But I didn't have the energy to speak, not even a whisper.

In the middle of the night I woke in my hospital bed to a nurse shining her flashlight on the all the various tubes running in and out of my body. As she checked my vital signs she brought her face, illuminated by the glow of the flashlight, right close to mine and whispered "Happy New Year" with much tenderness and care. She showed me her watch that said 2 AM. I'd given birth at 4 PM. I asked her to bring my son to me just so I could hold him. I didn't tell her that I couldn't remember what he looked like, the time with him had been so short, before blood had started flowing like milk from a carton, and they ran my stretcher to the operating room.

She handed him to me and let me hold him for a few moments. I brought his head to my face and breathed in his newborn scent. As I looked at him I saw an identifying mark that helped me relax and trust that I would be able to pick him out of a row of baby isolettes once I was able to be up and walking. The night seemed sacred in its stillness and in the nurse's compassion. I had had a near death experience earlier in the evening and was very much aware how fortunate I was to be alive. It was that experience that got my attention. Three months and a domino effect of circumstances later, I had my last drink.

I know I've written about this all before. 1992 came a handful of years after that New Year's Eve wake up call. I hope I never stop being grateful for being alive to remember.

8 comments:

Daisy said...

"I know I've written about this all before."

Hope, I never ever tire of hearing your stories. All the best to you guys in this next lap.

Mich

Kathy M. said...

What a lovely, moving post. It brought back memories of my own daughter's birth, the day after Christmas, 26 years ago. Your post was just what I needed today. Thank you for sharing.

Tall Kay said...

This moved me to tears. God knows exactly how to get our attention! I am grateful you are here today to tell your story. Happy Birthday to your son! Wishes for a very healthy and prosperous New Year!

Heidi Renee said...

with the new year i celebrate your life hope - so glad that you are a part of this world and my recovery. love you!

Gabriella Moonlight said...

What an amazing life you have had, and I never tire of reading your story and having you share it, there is so much to learn from each other, we are all connected. Thank you Hope, for giving us hope throughout another year...
much love
Gabi

Jim said...

I am reminded of Beth giving birth to our youngest girl in October of '71, a 10 lb something baby, and they called me back to the hospital afterwards, telling me only to "hurry". I had gone home when it appeared that mother and child were both doing well; now I flew down the 35 mph highway at a speed of 85 mph, miracuously getting there with no sirens chasing me. I found the nurses wheeling her into an elevator on their way to surgery, signed the papers shoved in front of me, and was told she was inwardly losing too much blood bleeding. Our third daughter, I had opted a few months prior to take the step of insuring this would be our last; and, wanting to comfort her, I blurted that it was going to be alright, that all it amounted to was we had wasted the money spent on my own minor operation. The nurses all broke into laughter. Beth was much too "out of it" to find anything funny. We both came to Christ five months later.

Happy New Year, my friend. Always a good read here...

Ellie said...

What a beautiful post - you moved me to tears. What a lot to be grateful for. How terrifying, wonderous and life changing that night was... thank you for sharing.

Thirsty Girl said...

I had some time to catch up tonight on your blog. It is all so good. This one brought me close to tears. And I will soon be writing on my blog about how hard that is to do!