“Either you agree to give me a cesarean, or I find another doctor. It is that simple. I have been to 4 other doctors, they have all told me the same thing. ‘A cesarean is an emergency procedure, not one that you plan on having.’ All the others have told me that too, but I don’t care. It is my body, my baby, and that is what I know I am supposed to do.”

Z is a tough lady. She has had to be. She has climbed a mountain of shit in her life in order not to be drowned by it. When Z was only two, her father shot himself in the stomach with a pistol.

He wasn’t a very stable individual, and was known to have manic and anger problems. One night after drinking out at the bar with his father, the two drove home to their hillbilly house in the woods. An argument had been threatening to boil over the entire drive. It finally erupted as they pulled up the drive.

J, Z’s father, got out of the car, and from what can be deduced, shot himself in the stomach to prove a point to his father. One can only guess at what the point was, but from the small amount of information known, it was, “Hey dad, I don’t feel loved. I don’t like myself. Care for me. Show me you love me.

Their home in the mountains was far from the local hospital. J never stood a chance. He was dead upon arrival.

Z grew up without a father figure until she was 6. She was a happy child. She liked to sing, dance, and play like most children. When she was 2 she had a penchant for eating the sand in the sandbox, and at the age eight she was a master at making rice crispy treats.

Z got a second chance at having a male figure in the home with her stepfather. Her mother had remarried, but with time, things disintegrated. R, her stepfather, wasn’t especially fond of Z, and she didn’t make it easy either.

Today Z says she can’t really remember anything from the time she was 6-15. She doesn’t remember any of it. Her mind has blocked it out. Her brain in an effort to avoid more pain, and perhaps memories that wouldn’t and couldn’t be dealt with by a young girl just decided not to commit any of the memories to archive. What abuses transpired, she doesn’t know. But she knows it wasn’t good.

Perhaps they are there…but Z doesn’t really need them—she certainly doesn’t want them. She knows there is a lot of pain there. Why experience it twice?

Z, always a fighter, became strong early, and honed her trusty bullshit detector very young.

As with most young women, first love hit her strong, and it took her powerfully. After living with and wading through the many men her mother brought home, it was hard to trust any of them. When she did find one her own age that treated her well and made her believe in word and deed that he did love her…how could she not fall, and fall hard she did.

Somewhat to escape her home life and to embrace what she believed could be, she decided to wed. Better she thought, to be out on my own with someone who truly loves me, than to be around those who I know don’t. She and the young man engaged and planned their wedding.

Z was only 17, and had dropped out of high school. She is smart, very smart, but escaping with someone she loved seemed such a better road than living at home for another minute. She had lived 3 lives by the time she was a sophomore, lived more of life than any child should. So the remedial math and the condescending teachers didn’t stand a chance.

Neither did Z’s heart.

The wedding was planned, and the plan was executed. Relatives from as far away as Michigan showed up to lend their somewhat conciliatory approval. But there they were, ready for the day. The day came…and the groom bowed out.

Money had been spent, flights had been purchased, halls rented. The memories of these will soon fade, but the image of a woman standing in her gown on the alter…this doesn’t. Another man had let her down yet again.

Z gathered her few belongings, and the shards of her self-worth, and moved away. She began to not like people…to not like people at all. Who can blame her?

With no high school diploma let alone college degree, Z was in for some more “fun”. But, she is and was very intelligent. She applied herself, and got good jobs. Good enough to provide a somewhat stable home life. An apartment at least. It was safe.

Z soon made friends, and as the years passed she learned to trust again. There were a few beaus, one guy she lived with for a couple of years. Everyone knew though that these were just temporary relationships.

Soon Z was alone. Going out with “her Girlz” for a night on the town began to take a toll. Not the young spry girl anymore, she was now nearing middle age. She learned to compartmentalize her life. She would work hard all week, meet a man in a bar on the weekend, take him home and have casual sex. As easily as he slipped of the condom, she slipped off her care for him.

At least for the night he cared. At least while he was on top of her he said, “I love you.” They both knew it wasn’t real. But, it gave them both what they needed for the moment. Pseudo love. And then you could close the door and say goodbye.

Then one day Z found she pregnant.

This wasn’t part of the plan. But, because of who she is, not because of some edict from some other male, a religious one to boot, she decided to carry the baby to term. But planned to give it up for adoption.

She resented the baby at first. Yet another “person” hurting her and limiting her. Yet another person keeping her from manifesting the life SHE wanted. Yet another person to take care of. Z’s body was showing the signs of age, and now what was a baby going to do for it? The idea of ever finding “true” love was slowing disappearing with her ever widening hips.

Z didn’t come to the conclusion to keep it straight away. She isn’t dumb; she knows there is a window of opportunity for an abortion. During that time Z made up her mind. She continued to smoke and drink and party. All the while she was trying to convince herself that she didn’t care about this baby that was growing inside her.

Then one day, she started to care. She stopped smoking, and drinking, and partying. She started to eat better and was manifest not become whom she always was. She became a person who cared…who loved. She began to be Z again. Loving, laughing, and caring Z.

When she went to the first OBGYN, she said, “I want a cesarean section.” One doctor after another told her no. Z worked in a hospital, and she had educated herself as a nurse. She knew a thing or two now about Drs. and she didn’t take no for an answer. Finally, one said yes reluctantly—all the way to the delivery room.

Z was still planning on giving the baby away, but then things took a turn for the worse. When they pulled the little girl out, a birth defect became evident. Her hips had never fused together at the pubis, and as a result, her bladder was outside her body. Her hips laid flayed open like a chicken, and her bladder, urethra, and vagina were one giant open cavity.

Had she been born through the birth canal, the bladder would have been ripped, and the baby would have died. Z knew that for some reason a C-section was right. She didn’t know why, but she just new. The Dr. said afterwards, that he would never again argue with a mother. Had he gotten his way, he would have killed that little girl.

Something happened to Z at that moment too.

She immediately saw this little girl who needed so much help. She knew that she couldn’t give this girl up. Who would want a special needs baby girl? She would become a ward of the state…a trash can baby. Who would want to go through the next agonizing years knowing that this baby may die? Besides that, Z loved this little girl. It even supprised her is was so…instant.

Z saw this little girl who needed someone strong. She needed someone to take care of her. She needed someone such as herself. Z realized that she wished she had had someone to “be” there for her. She made up her mind to “be” there for this little one. No matter what.

Z saw in her mind the little girl that she was. The one that people had stepped on. The one whose father had checked out. The one who everyone had given up on. Even her fiancée had given up on her at the alter. Z was not going to give up on this little girl.

Several years, 20 surgeries, and countless infections since, the little girl is doing well. She still spends a lot of time in the hospital. She goes to a counselor to deal with the fears, anxieties, and frustrations that any little girl would feel after spending half your life in a hospital. But she is a happy little girl. Her momma loves her.

Because they had to actually build a sphincter for her urinary tract it has taken her 5 years to become potty trained. If she sneezes, she wets. It is something she will have to deal with for the rest of her life.

She takes gymnastics and ballet. She also takes about every known antibiotic to keep the infections at bay. But she is a Chatty Cathy happy little girl…who has an opinion on everything and isn’t afraid to express it. On her first day of school, the teacher sent home a note about that very fact. But she is happy because she is loved.

Z has become an amazing woman as well. Because the little girl’s condition was so rare and serious, Z has become a powerful advocate and studies medical journals, research, and treatments from around the globe. She hold all the doctors feel to the fire, and uses that well developed bullshit detector to elicit from everyone the best possible care for her daughter. Z doesn’t party anymore, but rather would wake up in the morning to watch cartoons or read a book with her daughter in her bed than to share it with some strange guy. She has realized the power of encircling yourself with good people people willing to do the greatest good for you and those in your care. Z does not suffer fools gladly.

It is said that you are only given what you yourself can handle. I don’t know many people that could handle dealing with the idea that your daughter could die every time she goes to surgery. Dealing with the tubes coming out of this little girls stomach, holding down a job, working 6 days a week, never taking a vacation…and doing it all by yourself. Z is my hero.

Not bad for a high school drop out.

This kind of a birth defect happens. No one knows why. But…it was what Z needed. Z needed to be rescued. Z needed to rescue someone. By taking Z’s attention off herself, she was able to put it onto someone else who needed it.

The two girls saved each other through the power of love.