Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day- A mixed bag

Mother's day brings up a variety of emotions in me.

For most of my friends, today is a wonderful day! These are my friends that have children. They are recognized for being a mom, and well they should. A few of my friends even have children old enough to give recognition without the help of their father, grandmother, etc. I so look forward to that age with Lil' Bug. When she colors me a card and writes her own poem in it, that will be worth a million bucks to me. Today when I picked her up from Sunday school, she had colored a picture for me. It was cute. It said, "I Love You, Mommy." But, it wasn't really from her. Her teacher drew it and wrote it. To say she even colored it would be a stretch, but it was still sweet. She doesn't really understand what today is. Honestly, she has no idea! But, in a couple of years she will understand and when she does, she will make me a very special Mother's Day card from her heart.

On the flip side, I have many friends who can not find the joy in Mother's Day. The reason for their sadness varies. For some they are trying to conceive and have been for so very long. For others, they successfully conceived this year only to miscarry. What heartbreak! Still others are lonely on Mother's Day because they placed their beloved son/daughter for adoption. And still others do not have their own mother alive or involved to even celebrate with. For these friends of mine there is very little joy. Very little (if anything) to celebrate on Mother's Day.

This year I had one request for Mother's Day. It was a simple request. Literally...my request was to keep it simple. And that is exactly what Lil' Bug and The Designer did. They bought me a huge hanging basket of flowers. We buy one every year anyway, so that was cool. Oh, by the way, Lil' Bug picked them out herself and I couldn't have done a better job had I done it myself. She rocks!

For me, Mother's Day is bitter sweet. I look at my beautiful daughter and I am so incredibly thankful that God chose me to be HER mother. There is nothing in this world that makes me as happy as seeing her beautiful smile. But it wasn't always that way. In fact, the first Mother's Day that I knew I was going to be a mommy was the most difficult Mother's Day I have ever experienced.

I will tell you that The Designer bought be a beautiful bouquet of flowers for my very first Mother's Day. Sure, I was still pregnant, but I was a mother and he honored that! I was floating on cloud nine. Life was perfect.

On the Monday following Mother's Day we went to our obstetrician for our 20 week appointment. We were very excited for this appointment and had been looking forward to it since the moment we learned we were pregnant. This was the very appointment we were going to learn the gender of our baby. The Designer didn't go to all of my appointments, but he wouldn't have miss this appointment to save his life. So, with a skip in our step, we hurried to our appointment.

We laid on the bed first listening to Lil' Bugs strong heartbeat. Then the technician did the ultrasound. She asked if we wanted to know the sex. Of course! We were excited to learn that we were having a baby girl! Celebration. Now we could go register...not so fast! The technician didn't say alot. She showed us her hands, feet, head, etc. She printed a lot of pictures and then she called the dr. in. This was our first pregnancy, she we thought nothing of it. The dr. came in and started the ultrasound all over again. Hmmm....why are we doing this twice.

"Ha! You were wrong! You said we were having a boy according the heart rate."

"Yes, yes I did. I want to take a look at the baby myself, is that ok?"

"Sure, go ahead. We love looking at her. Take all day if you want!"

Silence.....

Concern....

"Um, is everything ok?"

"Well, most likely everything is ok, but I would like to send you to another doctors office that has a higher powered ultrasound machine to take a closer look."

Slight panic...

"Closer look at what? She's okay, right?!?!"

"Well, see this right here? This dark area on her head. Well, that could be fluid. Most likely it is just a shadow and nothing to worry about, but I would rather be safe than sorry. So, let's get you over the perinatologist."

Deep pit in my stomach...something is wrong...something is very VERY wrong...

"Normally it takes a while to get an appointment into the perinatologist, but I don't want you to have to worry about this so I am going to rush them a little bit. Do you mind driving to the other side of Denver to one of their extension offices if need be?"

"No. That is okay. I will go wherever I need to go."

*The doctor tells the receptionist to tell the other office they are looking for something called hydro-- something...what was that word she just said? Oh geesh, I wish I was paying better attention. Should I ask? Do I really want to know? Yes, I do want to know!

"Ok, so we have an appointment set for you on Thursday at blah, blah, blah. Will that work for you?"

"Sure, of course! Whatever. Would you mind writing down the word that the Dr. just told you she is concerned about? I would like to do some research."

"Oh, well, ummm, sure, I guess. It is h-y-d-r-o-c-e-p-h-a-l-u-s. Hydrocephalus."

"Ok, thanks."

My friends were throwing me a baby shower the very next week so I had to go register so there were things for them to purchase. I was sick to my stomach. Something was wrong, I just knew it. I couldn't get that word "hydrocephalus" off my mind. What did it mean? Was my baby going to die?

We went to Babies 'R Us to register, but I wasn't feeling good so I let The Designer do the majority of the registering. He was so proud he was having a girl. Everything on the registry was pink...no joke! He had fun. I was scared. Time went by slowly.

I went home and did a lot of reading about this thing called hydrocephalus. It was very scary. It was my first realization that if IF my daughter had this, my perfect world might not be as perfect as I had planned, hoped, dreamed of. I cried a lot.

The next day I asked The Designer if he could take time off of work to go with me to the perinatologist. He said no, he couldn't take the time off. I was sad. I told him I really thought it was important for him to go. He wasn't sure it was necessary. He was sure that the baby in my belly was completely healthy and there was nothing to worry about. Those dark spots on my daughters head were nothing more than shadows. He was positive!

The next morning I was still not feeling well. I begged him to go to the appointment with me. He conceded. Not because he wanted to, but because he knew that I wouldn't give up.

The Designer met me at the dr.'s office that afternoon. It was a gloomy, drizzly day. We drove separate so The Designer could go back to work. I planned on the same. We walked in, The Designer still sure everything was ok. I was so sure everything was terribly wrong.

We were called into the room and the dr. came in to do the ultrasound. She checked out other parts of our daughter before she got to the head. She showed us some perfect little hands and feet. She allowed us to see a strong little heart beating actively. We were anxious. We had been praying very hard since our appointment on Monday, but that day we were praying especially hard. We wanted her to look at her head...please, get to her head. Tell us it was all a mistake, there were no dark areas there and let us go home.

The doctor looked at her head and was silent. Why didn't she just blurt out everything was okay? Why didn't she calm my fears? She then went to the babies spine. She spent a long time on the spine. Still, she said nothing....NOTHING. I was beginning to get very worried. Her saying nothing spoke volumes.

The dr. then spoke. Her words shattered my world! My life would never be the same again.

"Well, there are a couple of things I need to discuss with you two."

"Okay, what are they?" We were trembling.

"I will confirm that there is fluid on your daughters brain. She does have hydrocephalus. At this time, it is not life threatening. In fact, it is very mild, but it is there and something we will need to keep an eye on."

tears

"Was there something else?"

"Yes, I have identified the reason for the hydrocephalus. She has Spina Bifida."

Spina Bifida??? What is that?

"What is whatever it is that you just said? What does that mean?"

"Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect. It is one of the most common birth defects found in American children. Roughly 1 in a 1000 babies will be affected with a neural tube defect. The official cause of Spina Bifida is unknown, but it is suspected that it has something to do with a lack of folic acid in the mom during conception. During the first three weeks of gestation, the spine is formed. For some reason, in these children the spine doesn't form completely and there is then a hole left in it. Sometimes the nerves will come out of the hole. Sometimes they will stay in the hole.

I know this is a lot of information for you to process. I am going to leave you two alone for a little bit while I go print some information about this to give to you."

She leaves....

tears....sobbing....WHY GOD? Why us? Why our baby? Why??????

We talked. Honestly, I don't remember what we said. I remember sitting on The Designer's lap and both of us sobbing uncontrollably.

The dr. returned with a packet of information. In that packet was a glimpse of hope. I will go into that in another post on another day. But, that information was something we held onto.

We left the office and went to our separate cars. I shouldn't have been alone.

I walked in the door of our house. The beautiful Mothers Day flowers that made me beam just a few days ago were there to greet me. This time, however, they made me very sad. When I got them, they represented my future; My hopes and dreams for my daughter. They still represented my future, but now that future was filled with so many unknowns. Seeing those flowers hurt so bad!

5 comments:

LeeJo said...

Your story...whew, it's leaving me breathless.

thanks for sharing!

Sherri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherri said...

Oh my.......

You write very well. I have a really good idea of how you felt that day. If I wasn't at work I probably would have been crying, too.

thank you for sharing. And your daughter is beautiful :)

nush said...

Ang, you are such an amazing person! I love you!! You guys are a very special family. Thank you for sharing, once again..

offmymind said...

Angie - hey I am enjoying your blog -- wow what a stroy I had my eyes glued to it --please add more when you can-- it left me hanging!!!!