My husband, Jason, wrote this about our daughter. I thought it was very sweet and wanted to share.
I have been documenting my life and it’s activities since I was given my first journal at age 9. I used to write myspace blogs, and continued with these facebook notes. Despite all of this, I will never know exactly how my life began, nor will I be able to write about the end. If my daughter, Louisa Denise Carter, ever grows into a writer, like her mother or father, I am sure she will appreciate this.
I met my wife (your mother) at age 34 in Portland, Oregon. We worked at a job, in different departments. After about 8 months of co-worker friendship, we developed a romance. 6 months later, I proposed. A year and a half later, our simple, yet elegant and carefully crafted wedding occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada on October, 17, 2010. Having our wedding there gave me an idea-to move there and live closer to family. After the wedding, your Mom decided that she wanted to have children, and I told her to wait until we relocated. I wanted to move quickly, and your mother told me to wait until we had sufficient money to start over.
After some time, we arrived in Vegas on November 2, 2011. You were born almost 9 months later. I will let you do the math.
During the pregnancy, there were complications. We were issued a high-risk doctor and I switched jobs to qualify for immediate health insurance coverage. The one day that I will always remember was the day that I took your mother to see a sonogram. It was March 5, 2012. We were scheduled to have a look and find out if you were gonna be a boy or a girl. They told us that you were a girl (which made me very happy, because I knew your mother really wanted a girl, no matter how cool she played it). Unfortunately, the lady at the doctor’s office left the room abruptly. When she returned, she referred us to travel across town and see a specialist, and wouldn’t tell us why, but that it was to be immediate. During that car ride, I recall sweating bullets as we worried about what was wrong. Was it down syndrome? Was it brain damage? Was it worse?
We saw the second doctor, whom finally explained to us that you were missing your left hand. They didn’t know how but had assumptions that an amniotic band had wrapped around during development. It was an emotional day for us as we worried about your future. How would you be able to function with only one hand? Could you type, play sports, catch your balance, or even defend yourself should you ever need to?
A month later my father came out to visit, and brought me a paper with an article on actor Michael J. Fox, and his struggle with his disease (Parkinson’s disease) while raising a family and continuing his career. Coincidentally, after my Dad left, I noticed another article in the paper about Jim Abbott. Jim was a baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees who pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1993, and did it even though he has no right hand. He has written a book now, if you are ever interested.
Then your mother found the Lucky Fin Project. They have an amazing website with photos and videos of people with limb differences. At first I thought that maybe missing one fully functioning hand couldn’t be as difficult as missing a leg. After viewing the website and seeing athletes without arms in swimming races and those with prosthetics legs playing soccer, I came to the conclusion that my daughter (you) will be ok, and the human spirit is a much stronger force than even my optimism can imagine.
One night in July, I couldn’t sleep, so I woke up and went running. Afterwards I decided to just stay awake until work started. So, with 2 hours of sleep I went through the next day. When I got home I was tired, and went to bed around 9pm (expecting to catch up on a few hours.
An hour later, your mother said “honey, I think I’m in labor”. The contractions built up, and the pain settled in. By the second hour, the contractions were about 2 minutes apart, and at this realization, we jumped in the car and sped down the freeway towards the hospital. We were admitted in at 1:00am and delivered a baby girl at 2:47am on July 19, 2012. Yes, that’s a total of 4 hours, from first contraction to the delivery. No epidural or any other drugs were used. Your Mom wanted a natural childbirth, and her wishes were granted. The nurses were a little shocked and called my wife (your Mom) a rockstar. I was not just proud, but also in awe of the experience.
My role was patting her head with a cold wet towel, encouragement, and holding her hand. There was no mythical verbal lashing by the woman, nor painful screaming during the pushing. Just focused strength and a great midwife. I cut the umbilical cord at the end.
We took our daughter back to our room at the hospital as we tried out nursing. Family arrived over the course of the next few hours, and we showed off our daughter with pride. The day rolled into the night and my wife became tired from nursing at 2am and desperately needed sleep. I jumped up (even though I was on night number 3 without sleep), and attempted to comfort my crying baby. While my wife and her mother (your grandmother) slept in the hospital beds, I looked up at the moon through the window and thought about how tired I was. Then I thought about when I was 19 years old and used to stay up all night dancing with many girls in Hollywood clubs. Then in a quiet moment I started rocking back and forth on my heels (with you cradled up to my chest) and a beat playing in my head. I became aware that all those nights of my youth were really just a warm-up to dancing with this one very special girl. So, I rocked you in my arms, bounced my knees, and sang her (you) a Duran Duran song.
And you sway in the moon
The way you did when you were younger
When we told everybody
All you need is now
My daughter settled down and fell back asleep in my arms. I don’t know if she will ever understand my connection with such 80’s pop groups or even remember me humming Django Reinhardt’s Minor Swing beginning motif (which really seems to sooth her). I am happy to report that there is what feels like a wrist and a portion of hand/palm that protrudes from her left arm. This means that there is more function going on, even if there are no fingers. And, yes, I am sure she will amaze me in the upcoming years.
I love you Louisa,