I think I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life as a woman with a disability. I mean, I don’t go around tooting my own horn or anything, but it was pretty cool when I went up to the top of a volcano in Costa Rica. Then there was that time I did a cross-country camping trip to California and got a chance to see our great country. Or the other time a French-Canadian swore at me for driving the wrong way in Montreal (the swearing wasn’t cool, but being in Montreal was).
However, the coolest thing I’ve done in my life as a woman with a disability now has to be having my son. Everything else pales in comparison and nothing in the future will ever measure up. You know I don’t consider myself very sentimental or overly emotional, but you really have to be made of stone to look into your own newborn’s face and not get a little verklempt. What a great way to start the year. Matthew Nam Loob McIntosh was born on January 28. He weighed in at 5 lbs., 8 oz, measuring 18 inches long. He is a healthy baby boy. Obviously, the amniocentesis I mentioned in my last journal went well and we went ahead with the Caesarean section the next day. I’d tell you all about the delivery, but I didn’t see anything. I was completely out under general anesthesia. As I mentioned before, an epidural was out of the question due to the metal in my spine, so the anesthesiologist said that generally would be the best route to take in my case. Initially, I was bummed that I wouldn’t see my baby as soon as he was born. At the same time I felt a sense of relief knowing I would be oblivious to everything while the doctors do their stuff.
In the end, it all worked out just fine. Since I was completely asleep, Charles was not able to be in the operating room with me, but he watched from the door window. And it all happened very quickly, or so the drugs made it seem. One minute there are about 10 different people around you poking and probing you and then the next, you are waking up with what seems to be the most massive hangover in your life; without the headache, that is. It took all the strength of God, Buddha, Allah and all the other guys up there for me to wake up; however I wanted to see my baby. And once we got moved to a hospital room, he was brought in and I was able to meet him. And how did I react? Well…you know, I mentioned I’m not very emotional. I saw him and I thought, wow this tiny little guy came from me? That’s just not possible. This belongs to someone else and when I recover, I’m going to have to leave him behind. There’s no way this beautiful baby boy is mine! I think I was in denial.
The whole thing took about two hours. We were in the hospital for four days and no, I didn’t have to leave him behind. Turns out he is mine and he will be with me forever. Having baby in the hospital with round-the-clock nurse’s care versus having him at home with just my own care is quite a change. Being a month early, he is so tiny that I want to make sure I’m giving him the care he needs. I’m enjoying every minute of it, though. Matthew is an easy baby and I feel overly blessed in so many ways. Not to mention, he is the cutest! He is truly a really good looking baby! I still can’t get over the fact that I produced such a good looking kid! I rock! Come on, even though no one wants to admit it, we’ve all come across some ugly babies in our lifetime. I was just praying that I wasn’t going to be one of the mothers who had one of them. Fortunately, I’m not. We might even enter him into baby modeling—who knows?
So, the journey ends here my friends. Or at least the pregnancy journey. Having Matthew join our lives is just the beginning of a new journey, a journey that will be filled with many wonderful, happy, stressful, infuriating and hilarious memories. He already cracks me up daily.
I want to thank all the readers of Access Press for allowing me to share my journey. I especially want to thank the folks at Access Press for making it possible. Writing these articles have been more than just telling a story of a disabled woman’s inherent right to have a child. It truly was the story of my life during the last eight months. I’ve learned so much already in my short time as a mother, with two lessons that stand out.
I will never tell my son he cannot do something. We with disabilities know all too well what that’s like. Also, now that I have him as my responsibility, I will do my best to be an even better person. I think all our kids deserve that. Thanks to all!