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Precious Fragile Little Thing



Do I look as stupid as I think I do, The Internet?


The month between January 28 and February 26, 2009 was the longest and most brutal of my life. I’ve gone through really dark periods before–like the time before I got pregnant with Ben–where I was adrift in a sea of nothingness. Alone. But this was different. I wasn’t alone–hell, I couldn’t let Daver out of my sight without hyperventilating, but I was completely alone. What I faced, what I was going through, I had to do it alone.

After the initial visit with Neuro #1, whom I would (still) have happily married right then and there, we got in to see Neuro #2, who was not a particularly kind man. He wasn’t unkind, just all business. He made a very good case as to why we should have him operate on Amelia rather than send us all downtown to the major children’s hospital there, and we went with it.

But still, we were taking our infant daughter to the neurosurgeon every couple of days and there’s very little that is awesome about that. Or off for another MRI, or to see the pediatrician. We were flitting in and out of doctor’s offices more than a patient with Munchausen’s and it.was.exhausting. The same pitying look, the same shock when the nurse realized that I was not Amelia, that no, the tiny baby bean, barely more than a fetus, was who the Big Bad Neuro was going to see.

There’s a lot of that first month that I don’t remember. What I do remember is sort of snapshots of moments in time.


Giving Amelia her first bath in the baby bathtub and sobbing into her wet (oblivious) head, wondering how I was going to get through all of this. I can still smell the Burt’s Bees soap mixed with her newborn wet-smell and feel the silky smoothness of her cool skin like it was minutes ago instead of months ago.


Grimly making batch after ever-loving batch of cupcakes so that I felt as though I was Doing Something, instead of just waiting to give my daughter over to a surgeon who may or may not give her back to me. I’ve always loved to bake, rarely found a good reason to do so, but I do enjoy it. But this wasn’t about enjoyment, I don’t think, I think it was about action.


Being physically unable to answer the phone as it rang, or talk to anyone who called. Mostly the people who called were calling about my daughter anyway, and the moment she was brought up, I couldn’t talk. My throat closed painfully and I couldn’t choke out words.


Rubbing the soggy spot on the back of her head once I realized that baby hats didn’t quite fit her yet, and weeping softly into her sweet smelling neck, trying to memorize every part of her so that I could always bring her memory with me wherever I went.


Being unable to read the preauthorization of my daughter’s surgery from the insurance company, as it contained words I still cannot say out loud. It made my stomach sink and my skin grow cold and I had to sit down quickly after I opened it thoughtlessly before I passed out. I would have given anything–ANYTHING–to take her place on the OR table.


I remember laying in bed, sobbing as my heart broke into a gazillion shards, as Dave wrenched her out of my arms to take her to get type and cross-matched so that they could have several bags of blood on hand for her surgery. Because she would probably need a blood transfusion. My 8 pound baby girl, my light, my love, needing multiple bags of blood. I wasn’t brave enough to take her to the lab myself so I made Dave go alone, like the chickenshit that I am.


But there were moments of pure light and joy too.

Seeing Alex transform from a baby into a big brother, and watching with pure delight as he shrieked “BABY!!” whenever he saw his sister made my heart swell so hugely that it might have burst in my chest.


One night, while I determinedly mixed up yet another batch of cupcakes (for the record, I do not normally care for cake. Or cupcakes. But this, this comforted me), Dave swooped by, holding Amelia and walking sort of funny. Wondering if he’d gotten his keys lodged in unmentionable places, I asked him what he was doing.

“Dancing with my daughter,” was his reply. “I’m her legs right now, because she can’t use her own yet.”


Teaching Ben to hold his sister and watching as he stroked her head gently and kissed her, enchanted by her, thrilled beyond belief to finally have his baby sister.


Such joy and such sorrow all in one neat package.

Oh, how I wouldn’t give to go back and give that beaten down version of myself a heads up that she would live. I wasn’t crying because I was sorry that this was the way things were, I wasn’t sorry that her life began as such–if anything, it further solidified how lucky we all are, even those of us without feet–and I wasn’t sorrowful because I thought that I would have another special needs child. I cried, I sobbed, my heart shattered because I thought my daughter would die. And I would have driven her to her death. I could never have lived with myself in that reality. Ever.

If I’d let myself believe for even a fraction of a moment that she would come home with us from the PICU, no matter how blitzed out on morphine or how mentally retarded she was, I wouldn’t have been wracked tears most hours of the day, shaking into my daughter’s body and trying to make sure I remembered every squeak, every grunt and every breath she took. I’ve read other bloggers wish they could go back and tell their teenaged self something or another, but I never had much to say to Aunt Becky vintage 1998. Really, I don’t regret anything.

Maybe I would tell her to stop dying her hair red.

(redheads should be the only ones who go red)

But I digress.

I want to go wrap my arms around the person I was back then, only 5 months back but a lifetime ago, that I can still see in my minds eye, miserable and broken with nothing that could provide comfort or solace. I want to tell her that she would soon watch her daughter roll over, then sit, coo happily in her bouncer and wriggle her whole body with joy when she caught sight of her mother. I want her to know that while things were awful, there would be light and it would be good.

With Amelia, my sweet gooey cinnamon girl, there will always be goodness and light.



Still unsure about this whole solid food thing. But damn, that pizza looks effing fine, Momma.

56 Comments to

“Precious Fragile Little Thing”

  1. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:42 am T Says:

    Wow. Just…. wow. I was so right there in your description of this.

    Whew. I’m sitting here with a huge lump in my throat.

    I’m happy that that GORGEOUS baby girl came out beautifully.

  2. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:08 am RJ Flamingo Says:

    Wow. All I can say is, Wow. And I now have a craving for cupcakes.


  3. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:16 am nic @mybottlesup Says:

    what a journey you are on my sweet friend… what a journey.

  4. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:21 am Fawn Amber Says:

    You are awesome…and I haven’t been reading you long enough to know what the potential book is about, but I hope this is it cuz, damn.

  5. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:22 am Beautiful Wreck Says:

    Wow, what an ordeal. I have really no words.

  6. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:23 am habanerogal Says:

    Now I want to make cupcakes and cry tears of joy for you ALL

  7. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:28 am Melissa Says:

    would you stop making me cry, woman… don’t you know I have work to do???

    ok… nevermind. I’m just teary and grumpy ’cause I miss my own kids who are off with the folks for a few days. And just really really grateful that your cinnamon girl beat the odds and wants your pizza.

  8. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:48 am Badass Geek Says:

    Again, I heart you.

  9. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:58 am C @ Kid Things Says:

    She doesn’t look stupid at all, she looks beautiful. Even with the drool.

  10. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:25 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    Oh Becky. That’s all I can say. You went through the fire, girl. You really did.

  11. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:26 pm Melinda Says:

    I am sitting here wanting to say something to you, but the only right thing seems to be a hug. So here is a virtual hug for you and your little miracle.

  12. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:46 am excavator Says:

    9 years ago, to be exact, I was posting on infertility boards, and one woman posted something that always stuck with me. She said that sometimes she sends a positive thought ‘back’ toward her past self, and imagines that a future self is sending her encouragement in her present state.

    I’ve been rereading some of my old journals, and so have graphic evidence of myself strugling with something I understand better now. So I send back encouragement to that person I once was. Who knows? Perhaps that’s what kept me going then to be where I am now. And, who knows–maybe it’s only an illusion that time is lived forward only, the way it is an illusion that the world is flatand the sun revolves around the earth.

    I loved the example of that in the “Prisoner of Azkaban” book in the Harry Potter series. In one scene Harry looks back and sees what he thinks is his father rescuing him from Dementers. Later, through a time deforming mechanism, he sees that it was his future self that saved him.

    I’m drifting into woowoo.

    I left you a message on my blog.

    And, your children are beautiful.

  13. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:51 am Marie Says:

    You are going to have to post warnings as some of us are at work and very hormonal and teary anyway.

    She is so beautiful and looks like she is full of old wisdom when she looks into the camera.

    I think you have a perfectly normal, beautiful, smart baby girl there!

  14. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:55 am Bluebird Says:

    I just saw it all play out in front of my eyes; every bit of it. And I’ll tell you, as much as I cried at the sad parts, the tears continued – joyfully – at the happy parts. Alex’s cry of “Baby!” and the Daver dancing across the floor. . . So precious. So beautiful. Sweet baby girl.

    Which is not to belittle or detract from the horrible, horrible pain of that time, either. I’m selfishly glad that I’m reading about this now, when I know there’s a happy ending, rather than reading it then . . . because *then* – I can only imagine how unbarable the pain must have been.

  15. On July 17th, 2009 at 11:57 am Danielle Says:

    It’s so touching to read all of these. It also makes me sad that you felt so sad and so helpless. I wished I could have just barged into your house and gave you a hug and held you while you cried. Like I said before, I hope writing all of this out is healing for you.

  16. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:09 pm lady lemon Says:

    I’m glad it’s all over and it all worked out. She couldn’t be a prettier baby.

  17. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:14 pm a Says:

    You made me cry again.

  18. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:24 pm Shari Says:

    This should NOT have been read while I was at work.

  19. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:25 pm Emily R Says:

    who wouldn’t want pizza? so glad she is just fine.

  20. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:34 pm Melanie Says:

    I admire you for writting down everything that you went through…. as mild as my situation was in comparison, I do not think I could go back and relive those first few months again (and I am not sure I could be honest about what I was feeling even if I wanted too) When you have a child with issues it really shakes your core, and changes who you are. I remember reading those posts back when it was all happening, praying for some good news and wondering why babies should ever have to suffer. Hugs

  21. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:38 pm DG at Diaryofamadbathroom Says:

    Did they have to back up a dumptruck full of Xanax for you to get through this? How did you function?

  22. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:40 pm Mrs Soup Says:

    Daver dancing with your daughter makes me cry tears of joy. Those moments, those precious moments….I am so glad you are blessed with a perfect daughter.

    Now keep that pizza away from her! You want to keep the good stuff for yourself!

  23. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:44 pm GingerB Says:

    Oh Aunt Becky your Amelia is indeed full of sweetness and light and future cupcakes. Lamby lamby lamb!!

  24. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:45 pm heather Says:

    Your little sparrow. She’s yours – completely. Burts Bees always, always transports me to baby days. Hug those beautiful babes (and The Daver, too, he’s a keeper).

  25. On July 17th, 2009 at 12:48 pm Tara Says:

    You really need to make me stop crying at work, people are starting to wonder about me. Haha. But really I am so happy for you guys. Sorry for all you have been through too.

  26. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:48 pm Fiddle1 Says:

    These posts make us all hug our kids tighter. I’m so sorry your family, you, had to experience this. The incredible mix of joy and fear and sadness all wrapped up. Undescribable, but you have done a superb job.

    On a lighter note, I love Miss Mimi’s pictures, and I chuckle at the caption about solid food. We are in the same boat.

  27. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:57 pm Kristina Says:

    Have you read The Time Traveler’s Wife? (If not, you should, but I digress) It’s the story of a guy who can time travel, and who frequently visits himself in the past and the future. It’s one of my favorite books, mostly because I so desperately wish I could go back to specific places in time, and reassure myself that I am going to be ok, that I will get through it, that I will be deeply scarred, deeply changed, but I will be okay. I am so glad you’re sharing this story. There is so much within it that I can identify with. Thank you.

    Amelia is just gorgeous!

  28. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:10 pm Kristine Says:

    This series of posts is so hard to read, I was so worried about you and Amelia during this time.

  29. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:20 pm Mel Says:

    What a beautiful little girl & a heartwarming love story to yourself, to your family & to your daughter. Sending you all a big hug!

  30. On July 17th, 2009 at 1:31 pm Mwa Says:

    That is too much for a person to go through. So glad you all came out the other side.

  31. On July 17th, 2009 at 2:17 pm Kristin Says:

    You gave me chills with this post. What a beautiful baby girl.

  32. On July 17th, 2009 at 2:33 pm Sara Says:

    I fucking love you.

  33. On July 17th, 2009 at 2:54 pm EPMaxwell Says:

    Girl, she is gorgeous. I just want to scoop her up and squish on her. You should be so proud. so proud.

    now go have another vodka, please!

  34. On July 17th, 2009 at 4:20 pm Sandy Says:

    I don’t know how you survived. Wish I could have been there for you (cyberly, if not in person).

    Lol “that pizza looks effing fine.” Jay-zuz, now I want some pizza and Oscar just peed on me while I was typing this.

  35. On July 17th, 2009 at 3:28 pm Io Says:

    This first picture looks like she is hooked up to an alien brain eating machine. I am now suspicious of you.

  36. On July 17th, 2009 at 3:51 pm Heather P. Says:

    Thank you for writing this. It is powerful and raw. I was praying for you that whole time.

  37. On July 17th, 2009 at 5:09 pm Stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    {{hugs}} sweetie

  38. On July 17th, 2009 at 5:53 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    Beautiful, Becky.

  39. On July 17th, 2009 at 7:25 pm Tatiana Says:

    Really, really lovely. I admire the strength that you and your family have.

  40. On July 17th, 2009 at 8:18 pm Janet Says:

    New to your blog, but am loving your heart!!

  41. On July 17th, 2009 at 8:41 pm mountainmomma18 Says:

    She looks like a pepporoni girl, just sayin’. And I would like to nom on those cheeks, she’s gaga gorgeous!

  42. On July 17th, 2009 at 10:07 pm Summer Says:

    This is such a beautiful post. I was completely lost in it. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Your baby is amazing.

  43. On July 18th, 2009 at 3:41 am kalakly Says:

    Fuck Becks, that was beautiful. And I’m not just saying that.

  44. On July 18th, 2009 at 5:51 am Inna Says:

    you are such a great storyteller. We get transported to the moment and your thoughts and feelings. Thank you for letting us all join you on your journey.

  45. On July 18th, 2009 at 8:12 am Minnie Says:

    Please stop doing this to me. Its 900 AM and I’m pouring a mimosa as my 17 and 14 year olds sleep.
    And I need a cup cake.

  46. On July 18th, 2009 at 9:35 am jerseygirl89 Says:

    Oh sure, make me cry. It’s not like my kids will notice anything.

    What a beautiful story for an exquisite little girl.

  47. On July 18th, 2009 at 2:48 pm Fancy Says:

    Sweet cinnamon girl, do you have any idea how much Aunt Nancy wants to hold and love and snog on you? Sorry, Becks, I was talking to Amelia, not you. Although, I would probably snog on you, too, if I got the chance… xoxo

  48. On July 18th, 2009 at 9:51 pm eden Says:

    Oh Becky. I’m crying, after reading that. I love how the Daver was her legs.

    On a personal note, how I wish I could go back to me, a year ago. I’d whisper in my own ear that don’t worry, (my) Dave isn’t going to die. Then I could have handled it all SO much better. But we can’t do that in life, can we? Just gotta roll with the punches.

    Good on you for getting all this out, and down. You are going to help people in the future who aren’t even pregnant yet.

    You are awesome, and I think I love you.

  49. On July 19th, 2009 at 7:53 am sky Says:

    Thanks Becky. It took a lot of strength to post this story and I am grateful that you did. It made me even more grateful for my healthy babies. We had a brief issue pop up with Jboy and it was (only slightly) possible he could have had problems and I couldn’t let myself go there. I can’t imagine what you have gone through.

    But look at that beautiful big eyed girl. She’s amazing.

  50. On July 19th, 2009 at 4:26 pm Kendra Says:

    What an extraordinary story. I can’t even imagine the pain you must have experienced; I am so grateful to see here there, passing judgment on your dining choices.

  51. On July 20th, 2009 at 9:21 am daisybv2 Says:

    Amazing story I cried though the whole thing, but I love the happy ending and your daughter is sooo CUTE

  52. On July 20th, 2009 at 5:09 pm baseballmom Says:

    I can soooo relate to the pre surgery worrying that your kid is gonna die thing. T had surgery for double hernias at 7 weeks, and although it wasn’t brain surgery, I was freaked. out. I was so convinced that the anesthesia was going to kill him, and I sat up all night, every night, just smelling his head and praying that my boy would somehow defy the odds and LIVE, GODDAMMIT! I thought so many times about handing him off to the doctors, and cried every time.

  53. On July 20th, 2009 at 9:06 pm Meg Says:

    <3 Hugs to you my friend.

  54. On July 23rd, 2009 at 6:40 am qcmama Says:

    I have been reading your story backwards. I know odd but I read everything backwards, well mostly my magazines but anyway not the point. 🙂
    Your story is sad and I am still wondering how you did it. I would have crumbled. You are a strong amazing woman.
    One part of the story stands out

    “Dancing with my daughter,” was his reply. “I’m being her legs right now, because she can’t use her own yet.”

    and makes me think of a song and I wonder if you have heard it. It is by Steven Curtis Chapman. It is called Cinderella. It is an amazing song. Here is s snippet from the chorus

    There’s a ball at the castle and I’ve been invited and I need to practice my dancin'”
    “Oh please, daddy, please!”

    So I’ll dance with Cinderella
    While she is here in my arms
    ‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
    Oh I’ll dance with Cinderella
    I don’t wanna miss even one song,
    Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight
    And she’ll be gone

    It goes on about his little girl growing up and needing to practice dancing for her prom, and wedding. It is beautiful.

    hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  55. On November 19th, 2009 at 1:03 pm Today We Fight at Mommy Wants Vodka Says:

    […] full story here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and […]

  56. On January 13th, 2011 at 3:20 pm StephanieC Says:

    Obviously I am way late to the party, but just wanted to let you know I am reading it all and feeling the sorrow and heartache you were feeling.

    Thank gawd for the baking of the cupcakes. And for Amelia’s little coos.

    What an awful, beautiful journey (knowing how it turns out).

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