"You're going to be the grandma in the park," a distant aunt said when she heard I was pregnant again. "Oh, was it an accident?" a neighbor questioned, looking at the ground sadly. They didn't know. They didn't know about the three back-to-back miscarriages, about the rows and rows of fertility medications, about ultrasounds that weren't until the one that was, at six weeks, eight weeks. Still was at three months. They didn't know I found out I was expecting two days before Yom Kippur and for the first time, it was an easy fast. It flew by; in my mind there was a direct correlation between a good fast and a successful pregnancy.

I saw my mom's hand all aroundThey didn't know that if it turned out to be a girl, I would name her after my mom who passed away only two years ago, the pain still so raw and strong. When my mom died, I looked for signs everywhere that she was alright, still thought of me, wasn't mad at something that was or was not done before she passed on.

Then, a pregnancy, and I saw my mom's hand all around. A pink balloon suddenly flew into the car and I knew not only the gender, but that it was somehow a sign; pink was my mom's favorite color. The purse that she had left at my house and I could not find appeared out of nowhere, and I thought, she's watching over me. Over the baby. It would be okay.

That it'll be okay is what the doctors hoped, but not what they said. They told me that with a pregnancy at my age, much could go wrong. They told me that I could hemorrhage, this being the sixth C-section. I could die. They spotted something during the ultrasound and they did another amnio; something could be wrong with the baby's heart. But the night before, I had a dream about my mom, the first ever. She was laughing, a spring-is-here, beautiful laugh and I told the doctors that it's going to be fine. My mother was protecting the granddaughter she would never meet.

The author's baby, Sasha
The author's baby, Sasha
In a family of brown hair and eyes, three weeks early, my red-headed, blue-eyed baby girl is born, without complications. She weighs less than the pediatrician would like, and I'm told to hold her skin to skin to get her temperature up. She's cold, but otherwise healthy. By her two week check-up, the daughter named after my mom no longer fits into newborn sized diapers. She does not have my mother's lips and eyes as I had expected, but when I see her long, delicate fingers, they are my mother's hands. When she was young and happy, before the arthritis debilitated her. She had always wanted to be a ballerina. My daughter has slender, dancer's feet.

The most demanding boss I'll ever have melts my heartThis baby bridges the gap between what was, and what can still be. She is learning to laugh. With each smile, the sleepless nights, and the never-ending walking back and forth to calm a cranky child, disappears. The most demanding boss I'll ever have melts my heart. Nothing gets done, trips get scheduled and rescheduled, play dates almost happen and guilt becomes a reality. Then everyone watches her sleep. For a few minutes, it all makes sense, all is right.

"You are definitely going to be the grandma in the playground," the aunt says again, and I can't help but giggle. I hope so. I worked hard for it.