MOTHERWIT

MOTHERWIT

From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Motherwit

I was near the end of my first pregnancy and confined to round-the-clock bed rest. After a near miscarriage, we weren’t taking chances. Lying in bed, I didn’t have much to do except talk to my baby and enjoy her movements. She’d greet me every morning at nine like clockwork, move around, dance all over the place, find a comfortable resting spot, and move some more.

Two weeks before Angelica’s due date, I woke up and felt nothing. One of my pregnancy books said that this could happen, so I tried to relax. But when Phil Donahue came and went, with Oprah coming on at 10 A.M. and still no movement, I was really anxious. So I called my doctor. “Don’t worry,” he told me. “These things happen all the time. If eight hours pass with no movement, then we’ll be concerned.” Exactly what the book said.

And that’s when my “motherwit” kicked in. I didn’t care what the experts said—I knew something was wrong. I called the doctor back to say I was on my way over so they could let me hear a heartbeat. I didn’t care if everyone thought I was overreacting. I was going on instinct.

My husband met me there from work as the nurse hooked me up to the monitor. My baby’s little heart was beating, steadily but weakly. But at 11:30, an ultrasound showed that her heart was the only thing moving!

I was rushed to the hospital in a state of shock, under doctor’s orders for an emergency C-section. Was my baby going to die? The nurse at the hospital whisked us past the front desk. “We’re ready for you!” The scene was like a code blue on ER. By the time my husband parked the car, I was on a gurney with an I.V. in my arm, prepped for surgery.

I squeezed my husband’s hands for dear life— Angelica’s life—throughout the surgery. She came out blue. The doctor spanked her once, twice, again. Please , God, please don’t take her. And then she let out a wail that was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. Through our tears, we kissed our daughter and welcomed her into the world. She had become tangled up in her umbilical cord, and if I hadn’t called when I did, we would have lost her.

What made me call? It was motherwit, that sixth sense mothers have about their children. I marvel and give thanks that my mothering instinct kicked in before I was officially a mother, telling me to take action to save my child.

And my Angelica? She’s now a healthy and precocious 10-year-old. Guess what her favorite bedtime story is. “Tell me again about the time I was born, Mommy.”

Amy Hilliard -Jones

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