The pregnancy went off without a hitch, as they say. I had just a bit of morning sickness, no crazy cravings (Jim was so lucky he never had to do a midnight run), and I felt great the whole time. I did have one scary little episode – symptoms similar to a mini-stroke – but that resolved quickly. The most annoying part of my pregnancy was having people tell me, “You look so small.” I heard that through my whole pregnancy. It was really got tiring by the end.
The hardest part of the pregnancy was trying to decide on a name for the baby. Since we didn’t want to know the gender before the birth, our options were wide open. The problem was neither of us were very good at taking the process seriously. We often joked about names – Seymour Bush, Rose Bush, Bud Miller, Harry Bush – but to decide what our child would forever be identified by was a very daunting task. Both being teachers, it was hard to choose just the right thing. We didn’t want our kid to be one of many in a classroom with the same name. We also had many names we immediately crossed off the list because it made us think about “that” kid. I knew I wanted something Italian to honor that part of my heritage. We both knew we wanted something unique. For a girl, we decided on Amalie Lourdes. Amalie for the town in St. Thomas where we got married and Lourdes for the miracle that this baby was. For a boy, we never finalized a name. However, we thought about honoring those in our family who dealt with Cancer. Jim is a survivor. I lost my Dad and Step-father to Cancer, as well as a number of other family members. Jimmy Valvano (Jimmy V) is one of Jim’s heroes. He was a basketball coach who died from Cancer. Before his death, he started a Cancer research foundation. I thought it would be nice to use his name in some way.
I was given a due date of January 22. The baby decided it wanted to stay in Mommy a little longer. The doctor suggested being induced at one week overdue. I was really hoping I would go into labor naturally. I didn’t want to be induced. However, I ended up following doctor’s orders and went in on January 29 at 9am. My water was broken, Pitocin was started, and several hours later I got an epidural. At 7:20pm, we welcomed our miracle baby into the world. “It’s a boy!,” Auntie Becky yelled. He was 8 lbs., 7 oz. and 22.25 inches long.
We were truly blessed on January 29, 2008, when Valvano James entered our lives. We had now expanded to a “table for five,” filled that empty bedroom that had been waiting for so long, and were so grateful be living, breathing examples that miracles do happen every day.