Monday, July 11, 2011

Significant Memories - My Mom

 As the first anniversary of my mother's death approaches, I'm finding myself recalling all kinds of memories of her.  Before I moved away from home, we did everything together.  We grew closer.  She became much more than a mother to me.  My Mom was my best friend.  It was difficult leaving home, but I left for the love of the man I would marry a few years later.

Some of my most significant memories of my mother involve the greatest joys and the greatest tragedies of my life.  I was in the hospital with severe, life-threatening pre-eclampsia at 6 months of my first pregnancy.  I'd already been hospitalized and then transferred to a larger medical center in Houston.  Honestly, my memories of some of this time are extremely fuzzy as you might imagine.  But my Mom was there for me.  Doctors were trying to stabilize me as well as the baby, to save us both.  For a brief period I was monitored, but the morning of August 14, 2001, things changed.  The baby had passed away.  Mom was there with me when my blood pressure was so high she wouldn't even tell me how high it was.  I remember the look on her face as I asked her how bad it was.  I can't even imagine what must have been going through her mind as she watched me, her youngest daughter, fighting for my life while being induced to deliver this stillborn baby.  I remember my mother as being the one who spent hours at my bedside after delivery of my son as I wept and held him.  We shared few words.  We didn't need to speak.  My mother was there for me as I faced the horribleness of planning my son's funeral.  She was there.

A couple weeks later, both my parents were in town and I just didn't feel well.  I was in agony.  The worst pain I've ever had in my life - and it kept getting worse. It built over a period of a few days, until one Sunday morning I had to have Ron take me to the ER.  In hindsight, I should have called an ambulance.  In hindsight, I should have gone to the ER days earlier.  I had a massive pulmonary embolism!  I spent days in the ICU.  Obviously I recovered from an event which could have been fatal.  After my Dad had to return home, my Mom stayed behind.  Again, she saw me through a horrible time.

I remember just a couple weeks after that, I was laying on the couch while she was fixing breakfast for me.  She came into the living room.  The tv was on.  News broke.  Together we sat there, riveted to the screen, as we watched the horrific tragedy of 9-11 unfold before our eyes.

On a 2003 visit, my Mom got to hold my hand once again as we faced another loss.  I had an early miscarriage.  I was out shopping with her in early afternoon the day things began.  We went home.  I rested.  I monitored.  I called the doctor.  Later that night, we went to the ER.  While waiting for the doctor, I had to use the restroom.  That's when the actual miscarriage happened.  I returned to my little corner of the ER to my husband and my mother who was, once again, there for me.

In March 2004, I was again hospitalized with severe pre-eclampsia.  It was caught much quicker as I was being monitored like a hawk during this third pregnancy.  My mom was on her way down for a visit, thinking she was going to see me at home.  Instead, she was taken to see me in the hospital!  A hung in there a few days, but then had to be induced.  Moira was born at 35 weeks and my Mom was with me during that most amazing night.  She was with me until they took me into the OR to deliver Moira and was right there when I was wheeled back into my room not too awfully long afterwards.  It was in the OR in case they had to to an emergency c-section (they didn't) or pass the baby off to the NICU immediately (they didn't).

Me about an hour and a half before Moira was born, looking not too healthy at all

Mom holding Moira, just a little over a week old

Three generations - Mom, me and Moira
In 2006, I was pregnant again.  Watched like a hawk...again.  Everything was going very well with the pregnancy this time, but I was induced at 37 weeks because of my high risk status.  Mom was with me again. This time, I was able to ask her if she would like to be present in the room when Peyton was born.  She was. Through the induction, epidural, agony of labor, and the actual mom was with me.  It is a moment I am so grateful to have shared with her.  She then stayed with us for a few months just so we wouldn't have to put Moira in daycare right away!

Me, Mom and Peyton just after delivery
Everything was perfect that day.  No worries.  No illness.  Everything perfect.  And then the other shoe dropped.  The next day was a revolving door to my room - one doctor after another came in telling me this was wrong with Peyton and that was wrong with Peyton and asking me if the doctors had said if the child would live!!!  My mother was there with me.  She sat with me and allowed me to shed tears of disbelief as this dream of a perfect pregnancy/perfect baby was shattered right before my eyes.  Ever faithful, she prayed.

Peyton after cataract surgery - five years later, she still sleeps like that!
A couple weeks later, it was time for Peyton's first cataract surgery.  A few days after that it was time for the second one.  I just didn't feel right.  Couldn't put my finger on it.  Just didn't feel right.  I agonized in my head all the way to the hospital that very early morning.  What to do?!?!  As Ron and I were bringing Peyton through the corridor from the parking garage to the hospital, I saw the sign for the ER.  I looked at him and said I was going that way and I would see him up in the waiting room in a bit.  Well, that didn't happen.  Change of plans.  The ER wound up paging him and he had to come down.  Remember that first massive pulmonary embolism back in 2001??  Yeah, that had nothing on the one I was experiencing this time around.  It was a giant clot in one lung, with a "saddle", meaning it spanned across to the other.  The attending in the ER kicked the residents off my case.  He didn't leave at the end of his shift.  My PE was the worst he had ever seen - and he had seen plenty, I'm sure, since this is one of the biggest trauma ER's in the entire country. It goes without saying that I survived that experience.  But guess who was with me the whole time?!  Yes.  My mother.  When I had to leave my baby (who had just gone through her second surgery at two weeks of age) behind because I was in the ICU, my mother was able to care for her at home in my place.  My mom handled my household so Ron could be with me.  She was with me as well.

Me, Moira, Peyton, Mom - home again after defeating the odds...again
So those are some of the most significant and profound memories I have involving my mother.  Through difficult times and joyous times, she was there for me.  Praying for me.  Supporting me.  Loving me.  Loving my family.

It is because of all of this that, when the time came, I had to do everything in my power to be there for her at the end.  That's a post for another day.

Who has made a huge impact on your life?

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Ecclesiastes 11:5
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb,
so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

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