it is an interesting life, this life the universe has woven for me. hard not to take things personally. like the blessing of a child in my late years. especially one as unique and challenging as is my beautiful ziona.
i was 48 years old when she was born. a small, pre-term child whose mother, my daughter, would never have been able to raise. my daughter had abandoned her first born child, my first grand-daughter, cypress. and it was clear to the personelle at the hospital where the emergency C-section was performed that the mother of the child they had just delivered shouldn’t have a child to raise. they knew she had ‘lost’ the first child she’d birthed, knew that the state had gotten involved after the one month old infant had been dumped off at her father’s house while she went off and partied for over a month. they knew that while pregnant with the one they’d just delivered, the mother had received no pre-natal treatment, and was on drugs. they overheard her talking with the boyfriend, who was not the baby’s father, about leaving the preemie, who needed to stay in NICU for a while, at the hospital and going out to get some drugs and party.
my daughter called me, after months of not hearing from her. by that time, a social worker had already been called in. i learned of this later. on the phone my daughter sounded her usual irrational self, even intimated that she planned to leave the baby at the hospital, she admitted wishing she’d never been pregnant and didn’t want the child. shocked by her words, i admonished her, not nicely. i told her she couldn’t just go around getting pregnant and then abandoning her kids. she hung up on me.
frantic that she would really leave the child at the hospital, holding the phone that had just gone dead to my ear, i realised that i didn’t even know the name of the hospital, only that it was in san diego…hundreds of miles away!
i called the san diego sheriff’s department for a list of hospitals in the area, especially ones that would treat an indigent pregnant woman, and after a few phone calls found the one! tho reluctant and in a clever ‘bend the rules’ kind of way the nurse on the other end of one of the phone calls i made merely answered “yes” when i explained the situation and asked if ‘her hospital would be a good place to start’. i had only gone through half of the list of 25 or so hospitals.
i knew that my daughter had probably initiated labor, with a crochet hook, the way she had wanted to with the first child. she wanted cypress to be born on 11/11 of that year, despite the fact she wasn’t due until 12/21. the reason was that the number was ‘magickal’. at the time she was living with me. i told her she mustn’t do it! that it could result in an abrupted placenta and emergency C-section which could be very dangerous to both her and the baby. i watched her like a hawk. made sure she went to her ob/gyn appointments…in the end the cypress was born through natural labor in a local hospital.
because she had ‘threatened’ to initiate labor with the first child, for no better reason than a magickal date, i was very suspicious about what might have happened that this new baby had been born by emergency C-section due to an abrupted placenta, and even more so when she said “what a chill birthday huh? 4/20!” (which is a number that has something to do with pot, tho i don’t know why)
my suspicions were confirmed when the surgeon spoke to my after my arrival at the hospital and mentioned small rounded areas of bruising near the placental abruption. the surgeon had already surmised that this might have been the case, another reason why social services had been involved.
when i arrived at the hospital, i was approached by not only the surgeon and nurses, but also social workers and a psychiatrist. before i could see my daughter they wanted to know whatever i could tell them about her. but as she had not been in contact with me since she’d found out she was pregnant, and not for several years before that, there was little i could say.
the first time i laid eyes on the tiny form in the incubator at NICU i nearly cried. a little bones and skin, 4 pound 7 oz body, with wires and tubes leading in and out of it. the child should’ve been born a full two months later! instead, here it lay.
my daughter had not even held the child by the time i got there. and when i asked to see the baby, the nurses led me to NICU while she opted not to come along. one of the social workers had already intimated to me that child protective services had been contacted because of what the doctors all suspected. i knew that unless i insisted on raising the child, it would be in the system soon. as a close blood relative, i had certain rights. and the staff involved with the case were more than relieved to know that i wanted the baby.
they insisted tho, that my daughter sign over legal custody to me, before i could take the child home with me. they worried that without that protection she could simply ‘reclaim’ the baby at some later point, without investigation into whether the child would be safe with her. as it was, she declined my offer for her to come home with me so that she could be with her baby, until such time as child protective services deemed her fit. she didn’t want to raise the child. she wanted to run off right away with her latest ‘boytoy’. it was all i could do to keep her in the area long enough to have the legal paperwork done.
i think often of how different my life might have been had my daughter been willing and able to raise this beautiful child, now 9 years old. i think how empty it would’ve been; how dull. and i know that my daughter could never have provided for ziona as i do.
the universal weaver knew that too!
the universe knew that i was uniquely suited to this child’s needs. that the developmental delays would be discovered and diagnosed early as autism, and appropriate therapies provided, since i had done volunteer work with kids who are neuro-diverse. that the ability and leisure i possess to homeschool ziona when the public schools had failed her (which failure was immediate),would ensure an option for her education. even that the past experiences in my life of people who were gender-fluid, or outright transgender would allow me to be understanding and supportive of ziona’s need to be a girl.
so here we are! my adopted, transgender 9 year old daughter, with her whole life in front of her, a companion in these,my gray-haired years and myself, a woman astonished by providence.
how wonderful, how intricate the tapestry of life is woven by those Unseen Hands!