Big Buts

My daughter is fine.

Those are the words I’ve been afraid to write now for 3 weeks and 4 days, despite countless (kind, so very kind) emails and comments hoping specifically for these four very words in response.

I was afraid to write them even when the hospital pediatrician told me that the baby looked totally healthy.

I was afraid to write them two weeks ago even when my doctor first called to tell me that the lab report read that “her levels are inconsistent with a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis.”

I was afraid to write them several days later even when I received a poignant letter from a blind reader who had stumbled onto this post; she is blind because her mother didn’t know she had toxo during her own pregnancy.

I was afraid to write them Wednesday even when my pediatrician reported that based on her conversation with my OB, she wasn’t worried at all.


Because there’s always a BUT the end of every definitive statement.

“She looks totally healthy BUT we’ll know better when we get the blood work back.”

“Her levels are inconsistent with a diagnosis of toxoplasmosis BUT the lab would still like her to have her blood drawn at three and six months just to be certain.”

“I spoke to your OB and I am not worried BUT I wonder why they only did blood work and not a brain scan on her at the hospital.”

“I have toxo because my mother was never diagnosed with it during her pregnancy BUT I was perfectly healthy until I was four years old.”

I know it’s a tad unconventional, but actually I like my definitive statements to be…well, definitive.

My first instinct is that if I say “she’s fine” out loud that I will somehow jinx it. As if my words have more power than antibiotics, more power than medical science as a whole. And so I don’t say it out loud. Or when people ask me to, I smile and respond with the good news as enthusiastically as I can muster, then rapidly change the subject. No, she doesn’t have toxo, thanks for asking. Hey, I know…let’s get ice cream!

But sometimes first instincts are wrong. Sometimes they downright suck.

And so my new hypothesis is that saying the words is the first step in getting my mind to believe them. It’s the first step towards acknowledging–knowing–that my daughter is in fact totally, mercifully, beautifully healthy and strong. That when I see her gazing off into the distance, it’s just what newborns do and I should stop freaking the hell out that one day she’ll tell me that she’s only pretending to see all the things her friends see. She’s not that reader who wrote to me. They have different stories.

This is Sage: A sweet, round, ruddy little newborn girl who looks beautiful in pink and lavender, who has infant acne crawling across her fat cheeks and up her scalp, who has piercing blue eyes that will probably change to brown, who needs to be picked up a wee bit more often than I’d like, who blows through 4 onesies a day and many ounces of Tide Free with her ever explosive and well-functioning intestinal system.

In other words, my daughter is fine. She’s fine.

There. I said it.

And now I can resume falling in love with her.


47 thoughts on “Big Buts”

  1. These posts make me fall in love with YOU. Thanks for being so open with your feelings. I know that I, along with tons of other moms, can relate to these feelings and this process you have gone through. There’s so much to worry about with the well-being and health of our kids at all times. Boggles the mind. So it’s great to enjoy the wonderful blessing of everything being FINE. Nice photo of two babes too!LisaLisa

  2. I can only imagine how much I would worry if I was hearing those “buts” all the time — BUT Sage is beautiful, and she’s fine. She’s lucky to have such a good mom.

  3. I’m so happy to hear this news. She is fine. And beautiful. And healthy. And perfect.

  4. It is funny how we all have the same fears yet, for some reason, cannot verbalize them. A healthy baby is an incredible blessing and you have a veritable angel there. Congratulations!

  5. Ah, yes. The jinx. I am so superstitious that it’s a miracle I can get a word out. I’m glad you can, and I’m glad you did. Enjoy!

  6. I also understand the jinx fear. I applaud you for saying the words and making them be so. She is stunning. Enjoy every minute with her.

  7. She is fineand so are youBreath and dont forget to enjoy these moments cause next thing you know she wont be fine because some boy broke her heartand when that happens we’ll take up a collection for your bail 😉

  8. She is fine and so are you. Not because of whatever the diagnosis turns out to be, but because you will do whatever it takes to get her there. Whatever that ends up meaning in the end.

  9. She IS fine. And no matter what happens down the road, she is still your sweet, gorgeous baby. No buts about it.

  10. She’s so beautiful. She takes after her momma.(See? That’s me sucking up…without drinking any liquor before hand. I’m practising for BlogHer…)She will be fine. And you will love her even if she’s not. I promise. (Or you could always give her to me…I’m looking for a cute kid right about now…)

  11. She is healthy and beautiful, and I don’t think you have anything to worry about. We’ll have to get a pic of our beautiful girls together at BlogHer!

  12. A year of paed checkups still did not give me the courage to say those words of my 30-week prematurely born daughter, who came into the world with weak lungs and a hole in her heart due to her prematurity (PDA – it’s very common for preemies). Now Sky is six months shy of turning three and I still ask my paed each time we visit, after she stethoscopes her, if she hears that dreaded sound. Of course my paed gives me that look as if to say “you are the one who needs help, lady.”You’re a brave, beautiful lady, second only to Sage 🙂We must meet at Blogher!

  13. I wish your fine baby could meet my fine baby. When I say he’s doing well, I tend to whisper it to ward off the jinx.But he’s WAKING FROM HIS NAP (not afraid to say that one loud) and HE WAKES MORE AT NIGHT THAN I WOULD LIKE.Wishing you all good health and sanity most of the time.

  14. My milk is all dried up now, 7 weeks post-weaning, but I swear looking at that cherub all nestled up, I had some semblance of a letdown…She’s fine and healthy, and gorgeous!

  15. I’m a victim of magical thinking too – not wanting to say things out loud for fear of “jinxing” and so on. But I’ve found that letting go of thoughts like that, the way you did here, really helps me to reframe my reality. I’m so glad she’s okay. She’s beautiful.

  16. Very glad to hear it!I had an annoying issue with Toxo and docs that first wouldn’t test when I requested, and then refused to interpret my results. I finally had my vet do it. Then when we found out about the heart defect, I asked the cardiologist again and he said my results were fine and that was not definitely not what had caused the defect. At least now I know I have been exposed in the past and it won’t be an issue next time (at least that is how I understand it).

  17. Beautiful, beautiful.I’m too afraid of jinxing too. Favorite phrase, “It’s going really well . . . so far.”

  18. Too damn cute. Look at those cheeks! I could just bite them. And yes, I’m talking about the baby.And no, not really, I wouldn’t bite a baby.But she is so yummy.Well done, you.

  19. Watch out; such sweet posts about a beautiful new baby and I may relactate and start nursing my almost-three year old. She is really beautiful. And fiiiiiine.

  20. She is beatiful and I know how hard it is to NOT worry but you are doing the best you can. Stay strong and know she’s totally fine!

  21. She’s more than fine. She’s a sight to behold. Sorry about your scare. It’s a terrible feeling. But no more. Only rainbows and unicorns from here on in!

  22. The “buts” are always hard. A lot of CYA in the medical community. We’ll toast to her good health tonite (how’s THAT for an excuse to have a glass of wine!)BTW, you both look beautiful!

  23. More than fine, she’s perfect!But I know what you mean, about saying things out loud. Scary.Carrie

  24. she’s absolutely beautiful. and so are you.congratulations — and good luck. getting over baby acne is the easy part, getting over the fact that you now that 2 (count ’em TWO) kids to care for (and lovelovelove) is <>not<>. and thank goodness for that! ; ) xox

  25. Hurrah! I am so happy for you all! This is indeed great news — and I’m so glad that you shared it with little ol’ us (the internets)!

  26. So happy for you both! And thanks for sharing the ride with us!

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