If you’ve seen Jurassic Park, you definitely know that iconic scene where Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) says, “Life…uh…finds a way.” This logic doesn’t just apply to Hollywood dinosaurs coming up with a means of reproduction, though; life literally does always find a way to continue, to survive even the harshest of conditions, to thrive.
I can still picture the morning of January 26, 2017 like it was yesterday. As I stirred in the darkness, awakened by that pulsating buzz of my 5:00 am alarm, something felt amiss. I trudged into the bathroom, my heart sinking and my body becoming weak the moment it came into the focus of my eyes. It’s the one thing no woman ever wants to see a mere 7 weeks into her pregnancy: blood.
The morning was a blur as my emotions consumed me to the point that a tingling separation of the body the mind took over. I don’t remember taking my other two children to preschool, but it happened. I barely remember speaking to my boss, gingerly asking for permission to leave whenever my OBGYN could squeeze me in for an examination… but I did. I tried to hide in the least traveled hallway, yet my fellow teaching besties soon found me, a broken, trembling mess of tears and disheveled red hair.
Initial examinations were inconclusive, but after days of dreaded blood draws to measure “the pregnancy hormone,” Human chorionic gonadotropin, the story became all too clear. It was a miscarriage. My baby was gone.
I spent months feeling lost, believing that, after that day, my life was essentially over. How could life possibly find a way in the darkness of death?
Yet, somehow, in the most unlikely sort of way, it did.
As I spiraled into a stormy sea of despair, enveloped in the crashing waves and incessant rain, I couldn’t see my younger daughter struggling right in front of me in her own way. My constantly smiling, forever loving, continually giggling toddler had a secret that I completely ignored and wrote off for entirely too long. Then one day, like a beacon shining through the darkest of nights, I had a revelation as I watched her stiff, jerking motions as she shuffled towards the door. It turned out that my sweet, happy-go-lucky, silly little lady has mild cerebral palsy.
In watching my daughter over the last 8 months with my eyes wide open, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned what real strength looks like. I’ve seen how overcoming adversity takes place every single day. I’ve witnessed what embracing simplicity does for the soul. I’ve taken my time more. I’ve been frustrated less. I’ve loved more. All of this and more… thanks to a princess with right hemiplegia who doesn’t let tight muscles stop her from reaching for the stars and aspiring to be a superhero.
I’ll never know what caused my body to give up just two months into my third pregnancy, and, honestly, it doesn’t really matter anymore. What I know now is this: life always finds a way. That bloody, bittersweet goodbye to the soul I never met was just a means to allow me to really say hello to the child I’d been neglecting who really needed me. The trail was long and winding, but I finally made it home.
If you are stranded in the storm right now, adrift with no signs of the shore, don’t lose hope. Your beacon will come; lighthouses shine through even the darkest of nights and the most chaotic of seas. Your story is never over, you still have time. Don’t forget that most honest of lines from Dr. Ian Malcolm: “Life… uh… finds a way.”