In stark contrast to my post about the loss of my cousin Matt, over the weekend I had the joy of experiencing the closest thing to a miracle a person can be a part of. I was at my cousin's side as she brought her beautiful baby girl into the world.
It was an incredible experience, and in so many ways, gave my heart the boost it needed. Those of you reading this that know me, likely also know Heather. She is not only my cousin but my best friend pretty much since birth. All the milestones in our lives, good and bad, we've crossed side by side. So when she called me Saturday morning to tell me she was in labor- I instantly sped off to the hospital.
I won't lie, getting there wasn't easy. My mom was borrowing my GPS, and as most know due to the cognitive issues of MS, me and directions just don't mix well. I just don't comprehend things like a normal person anymore. I can read something 10 times, understand the meaning of every single word, yet it just doesn't sink in. So... of course... the trip which should've taken an hour took closer to two hours. By the time I finally reached the hospital, I was pretty dang tired and frustrated. Thankfully, she still had a couple hours to go until active labor, so I had time to sit and rest up.
By the time came for active labor, thankfully I was recovered from the drive and ready. Not to sound totally cliche, but it was a beautiful experience. I think the moment that struck me most was towards the end. I could see how much pain Heather was in, and how tired she was, just as her baby was finally crowing. I took her hand, which I was already holding, and gently placed down so Heather could feel to top of her baby girl's head, and whispered "that's Maria, she's almost here hun, you're doing so awesome just one more big push and she'll be here". I saw the soft smile on my cousin's face feeling her baby's head, and I saw her strength return. Within minutes after that, Maria Bernadette entered the world. Needless to say, I bawled in joy. It was such an amazing experience to be able to witness Maria finally entering this world. It truly did my heart good.
Now, from the MS perspective, I felt like I'd been hit by a freight train by the time I was driving back home afterward. I was totally exhausted, my brain was big fart of forgetfulness, my always weak and tingly left hand was pretty much numb, and all I wanted to do is go home and crawl into bed. I ended up sleeping a good 14 hours that night, as well as continued to nap and recoup the following day. It's almost funny, I mean poor Heather was the one in labor for 12 hours, yet I was the one that a total and complete mess afterward.
But you know what? It was so worth it. Watching little Maria enter our world reminded me of how beautiful life truly is. It was the exact "lift" my heart needed. It also reminded me that I can push through my own physical and cognitive limitation when I really need to. It's like I always say, I may have MS, but it sure as hell doesn't have me.
Be well all!