Today is World Prematurity Day. My mom was 8 months along and went for her exam and when she was ready to leave the doctor said, “See you in a month!” He told her later after I was born that he knew he would be seeing her the next day, but didn’t want her to be nervous. So I was born one month early at Prentice Women’s Hospital in downtown Chicago.
As soon as I was born my mother was put out, the doctor was afraid that I didn’t make it. My father got to the hospital and when my mother came to he told her that they had a baby girl and that I weighed 3 lbs. 4 ozs. My mother said that this was no time to joke around and to tell her the truth. As she cried my father said, “She’s all skin and bones. Her chest looks like a barrel. But she sneezed Ella and her whole body shook and she was fine! If she can come through that, she will be alright.” So my mother called her mother and when told my weight my Sicilian grandmother said, “That’s not even a pot roast!” and out came the rosary. Later that evening my Grandma Strzoda visited the hospital and as she entered the room my mother said, “You didn’t say it would hurt THAT bad!” With a quick smile and a wink she answered, “Welcome to the club, dear.” And so on my birthday every year my dad puts his hands on my shoulders and shakes me and says, “You’re my fighter, Lisa. You’re a fighter.”