DON’T WORRY

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I was born on  September 13, 1949, without hope of survival. Low-birthweight babies have a difficult time, often  living only weeks or months.

My mother was six  months pregnant when I was born,  and I weighed   only one pound, seven ounces. The medical  professionals were not  encouraged , saying  that no baby had   ever  survived  at that  hospital  weighing so  little.

One morning my mother was lying in bed at the hospital, depressed and worried. She didn’t  want to  believe the  doctors, and nurses. Then, two men sat on  the edge of the  bed.  One was  her father. The other’s a handsome  man whom she had seen only in photographs , was her father-in-law,  Both  of these men were dead.  Her father  died two years before I was born,  and her father-in-law  died when my father was ten.

she told me she wasn’t afraid. “I was surrounded  by a  peaceful feeling- something I couldn’t  explain.” My  grandfather told her, “Don’t worry or listen to your  doctors- they are wrong. Your baby will survive and grow up to be a  wonderful daughter and beautiful child.”

The doctors and nurses noticed  a change  in her attitude after this. To their  minds,  she wasn’t  facing facts. They  explained  that the odds were a million to one I would  survive; even if I did, they told her, I would  have many health  problems. They even told her to  pray that I would  die so I  wouldn’t  suffer.

My mother smiled  and kept her positive  attitude. I kept  fighting , and the  doctors shook their heads in amazement. Mother left  the hospital  and walked  back every day to  stare  at me through the glass wall. Back then you  weren’t allowed  to hold a baby; parents couldn’t  even enter the premature section of the nursery.

I gained  weight  slowly. The tubes were removed, one by  one, and I began to look like a normal baby. Mother  told  me she could have  held me  in the palm of her  hand when I was born.

On Christmas Day, after more than three months in the  hospital, I was brought home. I weighed  five pounds.

My grandfathers delivered a message, and my mother  believed them.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Glenville, New York

February 1994

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