Five and a half years ago, I was six months pregnant with my second child and sitting at my office desk counting down the minutes. It was finally the day I was to go for my second ultrasound and find out if I was having a baby girl or another baby boy. I could hardly wait! I excused myself from work, got into my vehicle and went straight to the medical imaging office. My hands were sweaty and I felt nervous, but I was ecstatic just thinking about the little being in my belly.
I checked in to my appointment with my partner Jolon and sat in the waiting room. He was just as excited as I was. After a little while, we were called into a dimly lit room and I proceeded to lay down on an examination table. The technician greeted me, sat down and slathered a warm blue jelly onto my stomach and began to slide a wand all over it. I knew that this was my cue to sit back and relax. So I waited, and waited... I'd had ultrasounds before, and they were always quick. Why was this one taking so long?
After several minutes of silence, I looked over at the technician and asked, “is everything ok?” she furrowed her brow and continued to press some buttons. “Is everything ok?!” I asked again, this time with concern in my voice.
“Unfortunately, I’m not able to give you any information," she said. "I have to contact your doctor first and he'll call you to follow up." In that moment, my heart dropped and I felt sick. I had a million thoughts racing through my mind. This was the first time I'd left an ultrasound with something not feeling right. As soon as I returned to the office (in a total daze), I went to see my cousin. She repeatedly told me not to worry: "Just rest your thoughts and be patient." But I could tell by the look in her eyes, she was worried too.
One thing that kept popping into my mind was a dream I had had several months prior; before I even knew I was pregnant. In my dream I was sitting in a camper looking out the window, and I could see sunlight and hear drumming and singing in the distance. My legs were crossed and in my lap I was cradling a baby with caramel skin and dark brown hair wrapped in a white blanket. “My baby is sick," I kept saying.
Finally, that afternoon, my doctor called me. “Are you able to come to my office? I want to go over your ultrasound with you.”
As soon as I hung up, I called Jolon and we were on our way. The drive was a blur. Walking into the clinic was a blur. I was scared. The doctor called us in and I knew by the look on his face that something was definitely wrong. His eyes were glazed as he said “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but the ultrasound shows us that there is an opening in your baby’s spine."
In that moment, the whole world went silent. I could see him talking but I couldn't hear him. I began to sob uncontrollably and cried, "what does this mean?”
“We don’t know just yet,” he replied. “But…you’re having a baby girl."
Lyrikah Sikwan Rose was born in May and was diagnosed with Myelomeningocele - a severe form of Spina Bifida. 'Sikwan' means 'Spring' in Cree, and 'Rose' is coincidentally both my partner’s and my own late grandmother’s name. Finally, Lyrikah is a name I came up with that was inspired by the word “lyric” along with my favorite singer’s name, Erykah Badu.
Lyrikah is many, many things. Above all else, she is a true ray of light. I feel as though she chose us to be her family to teach us things we needed to learn together. My son Joaquem has been my other ray of light, and together my children have gotten me through every up and down.
Lyrikah has proven to be a living miracle. She is five now, and with the aid of mobility tools she is able to walk and take steps on her own; something doctors were certain she’d never do but a Medicine Man told us she would. She lives her life like every day is the greatest day, and provides hope and inspiration to everyone around her. I realized that all the trials and tribulations I went through in my past were just preparation for my life today with her. Today I have three children, two I gave birth to and one I met later in life. My son Joaquem is so gifted and intelligent, Azearah my eldest daughter is resilient with a heart of gold, and Lyrikah is the happiest and bravest little warrior I've ever known. Their bonds are bullet-proof, and the three of them make motherhood the most beautiful challenge and gift on earth.
For many years, I lived a life of chaos. The pain of it all carried me down some dark and difficult roads. But I eventually learned that Creator had a different path for me to follow. Slowly, I realized that my children were the catalysts for creating my life's balance. They have shown me my purpose and I wouldn’t change a single thing about my journey. They chose me for a reason.
Using the spirit and sound of Golden Era Hip Hop, Tara "T-Rhyme" Campbell shines a spotlight on her poetry and life experiences while using the stage as a platform to empower young Indigenous women. Pride in her Indigenous roots has served as inspiration for her rhymes and motivated her to become a recognizable artist within her community. She is a mother, MC, artist and entrepreneur who also creates beaded jewelry under the alias Beads, Rhymes & Life.