Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Phoenix Rising

For me, 2012 will be the year of the Phoenix. My son was born on Christmas Day, a perfect gift.

On Christmas Eve I experienced an extreme increase in pelvic pressure. It felt like I was walking around with my unborn son’s head sticking out between my legs. After a night of crying my eyes out in pain and frustration while we placed presents around the tree and Patrick assembled the drum kit Santa had delivered for our 18-month-old son, I called my doctor who was on call. He wanted me to come in and at least get examined.

I got to see my kids fight over the drum kit before we left for the hospital. I was 6cm, no cervix left with a bulging amniotic sac. The doctor assessed that I had been in a slow labor for days and it was time to end the pain by speeding the process up by breaking my water. I was excited and devastated. Did I really want to give my son a Christmas birthday? Did I have a choice?

Getting an epidural was the best thing I ever did and, frankly I wish I still had one. Leading up to this point, I was debating a drug-free birth since my deliveries come so fast and furious, but the last week had been so painful the relief was a blessing. The anesthesiologist was a recent mom who helped my son figure out his new Buzz Lightyear toy. So while I laid there getting an epidural and urine catheter, Lyra and Luca were chasing this rocket around the room eating Cheerios.
Normally, toddlers are not allowed in delivery rooms, but it was Christmas and my dad was an infamous surgeon at the hospital, so no one said anything about the kids running around opening all the cabinets. The kids were fascinated by the monitors hooked up to my belly that made little beats. I told the kids that the sound was the choo-choo train in the baby’s heart.

My dad and son Luca were passed out in the waiting room when the baby came. My sister had decided to take Lyra out of the room when the baby was actually delivered but the time to push came so quickly no one gave my sister any warning. I was talking through my contractions with great difficulty when the doctor took me out of the “fire hydrant” position (which resembled a dog peeing on a fire hydrant) to give the first push.

Lyra was in Patrick’s arms holding my leg open when suddenly there was a baby’s head that appeared and then his body. Lyra’s eyes got so big and she said “Mommy, you peed on Baby Laser! You pee on potty!” She also remarked that mommy had grass on her peepee and that mommy had a booboo on her peepee. My peepee was well talked about that day.

She was enrapture with the baby and wanted to hold his hand to comfort his crying. She even pulled out my epidural line, which she got to do when Luca was born as well.

When my son walked in the room and saw me breast-feeding the infant he looked at me as if I had betrayed him and exclaimed, “Boobee, mine! Boobee, mine!”

It really was a blessed day to complete our family, which is why the next day seemed to pull that elation down a few notches. The day after Christmas, I got my bags ready to leave because I had made it clear to the staff I wanted to bring my baby home and have Christmas with the family. Instead, a young female doctor came in and explained that she wasn’t letting the baby leave because my blood type made him more likely to be jaundiced, but more importantly because she heard a heart murmur that could be a defect that needed to be diagnosed by a specialist. I was floored, not my perfect baby boy. He was healthiest and heaviest baby of mine yet at 7lbs 15.5oz.

Over the course of the day we discovered he has a VSD, a small to moderate hole in the ventricular septum towards the apex of his heart. Depending on what doctor you spoke to the odds of it growing together was either 50 to 80 percent. We would have to watch it over the next few months before determining how it would be dealt with.

Before that day we had decided to call him Laszlo Caspian, a name that combines a Hungarian king’s name that means “the power and the glory” with the character Prince Caspian from The Chronicles of Narnia.

The next night in the hospital I decided that his little life had already inspired me and with God’s help he will rise above his broken heart. Therefore, we decided his name should be Lazar Phoenix, a name that combines the Old Hebrew name Lazarus which means “with God’s help” or “God’s helper” and the glorious legend of the Phoenix Rising that can be found as a constellation in the stars.

Please welcome my son Lazar Phoenix, also called Baby Laser, born with a broken heart that will heal with the help of the heavens and stars. For now it’s a waiting game while we listen to the choo-choo train in his heart hoping that its little whistle will be silenced on its own.

I wish you all a Phoenix Rising year.


  1. I love this writing. So poignant and beautiful, silly and funny all at the same time.