Today is Bella's birthday. Nine years old! We lived outside of Cleveland when I had her. My OB suggested I come into the hospital to deliver her the night of one of my last appointments. He didn't think I'd make it to the hospital if I went into labor at home. No need in having a child named, "Grand Caravan Stagliano," eh?
Bella was breach. We did an in utero inversion - flipped her using brute force. I regret that. I think we injured her. I sure do. She's not the same as her sisters. Her "autism" is not the same.
My Mom jumped on a plane, as usual. Her cab driver to the airport got a flat! My sister in law came over to watch Mia and Gianna, who were four and five years old. I used the same birth doula who'd helped me deliver Mia. No drugs. Bella was born in about 3 hours. She was much bigger than her sisters - almost a pound! Who knew a few ounces could make such a difference.
At the end, my OB yelled at me, "GET THIS BABY OUT!" I was struggling and frankly, by the third, the pain was fiercer than ever and I was just so damn tired from being Mom to Mia and Gianna. They'd just been diagnosed with autism ten months before and I'd started an intense in home therapy program.
They say every baby is born into a different family. Too true for Bella. Five months after her birth, Mia started having Grand Mal seizures - and I pretty much ignored Bella while panicking over Mia's health.
She's a beautiful girl, Bella. Perhaps my prettiest child, and Mia and Gianna are no slouches in the looks department. She's eager to engage you - her eyes pull you in.
Mark and I have never heard Bella speak - she's said a few words, has a couple she can repeat. But imagine nine years and you've never heard your child's voice. It stings. Can't lie. It sure does sting.
Happy birthday, Miss Bella Michelle Stagliano. I'd like to wrap up recovery for you, honey. Speech first. I'm still working on it. I won't give up.