It’s taken me about a day and a half to write this post because we didn’t get home from San Jose until 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night and I spent most of Sunday really wiped out by the sinus crud that has been plaguing me for the last month and just the lack of adrenaline now that the Promise Walk is officially over for this year. (You can still sponsor me though.)
I didn’t realize how terrified I was of giving my talk until Friday morning when I was speaking with one of Jon’s pastoral colleagues about what I was doing. It had been really hard for me to write my talk several weeks ago because it involved going into a very painful part of my psyche — Daniel is 5 years old now but I can still feel the pain and emotion of that first week very acutely. When I told Jon, he offered to jump in and talk if I couldn’t… and I shot that suggestion down really hard. As painful as it was going to be for me to get up and talk, it was necessary because sharing my experience could mean that other mothers don’t go through what I did.
On Saturday morning, I ended up sleeping in and just going through getting dressed and ready to go like I was on autopilot. The night before, I had printed up maps to Santana Row where I would be speaking and also printed out a copy of my talk because I knew I needed it to stay on track. Jon and Daniel and I left a little before my parents with me driving because I think I would have been really bad as a backseat driver if I wasn’t at the wheel. We got there pretty much by when I needed to get there and after registering, I found the organizer (Elizabeth) who was getting all of us speakers to where we would be hanging out when we weren’t talking. Elizabeth went first and spoke on her involvement (she got hit at 23 weeks with her first pregnancy and her son didn’t make it), then we had a board member from the Preeclampsia Foundation speaking, and then it was my turn.
If you want the text of my talk, it’s here. My parents got there about a minute into my talk, moved to the front row, and started being my paparazzi with their cell phones. 🙂 (It’s why I have pictures of me speaking as the official ones from the event aren’t up on the page yet.) I would honestly say that it wasn’t my best speech delivery and I was kind of wondering how the sound was working because I had two microphones into which I was speaking. I stayed pretty even in terms of my mood and didn’t cry though I felt myself getting choked up a few times. (I’m talking about almost dying in childbirth — it wasn’t a light topic.) I could really feel the number of people praying for me because I had some reserves of strength that weren’t my own and the scratchy throat I had when I woke up disappeared.
Another wonderful thing: Daniel was completely focused on me when I was speaking and did not need to run around or climb up on stage with me. This was really helpful because I was able to point to him and talk about how he was a miracle and a fighter from day 1. (My mom got this picture of him which I totally love.)
After the speech, Elizabeth hugged me and handed me an envelope with a thank-you note and movie tickets as well as a potted lily. It was definitely a relief to have it over and the doctor who spoke next actually referenced part of my talk in what he was saying. Before the event started, he and I were talking backstage about the fact that I’m an alum of the NICU at Stanford Children’s Hospital (now Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital) and were seeing if his time there might have overlapped with mine. (It didn’t.) One thing that I loved was that he a co-chair on the task-force for creating the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, a new toolkit that helps doctors properly diagnose preeclampsia. He talked a little about it and it was good to know that this toolkit of sorts exists.
After all of this, I found my family (who were front and center for all of this), we were led in some stretches by a yoga person from Morgan Hill and then we were off walking. I had a couple people come up to me and talk to me about my talk which was good — it’s really healing to talk to people who have had a similar experience. It was also wonderful to do the walk with my mom (who has done every Promise Walk with me), my dad, Jon (it finally worked out for him to be able to participate), and Daniel. The shops at Santana Row are all the upscale ones where I probably wouldn’t ever shop (I’m a jeans and flip-flops kind of girl) but it was fun to be walking with my mom and window-shopping.
Afterwards, we walked around the activities at the walk but decided to head home fairly early. I had barely eaten anything because of nerves and my reward for making it through the talk was a pesto bagel with garlic shmear from Posh Bagel. 🙂 We took Daniel on a 1 mile “death march” to and from Posh Bagel and had a chill rest of the day before we drove the two hours home.