Happy Belated Mother's Day!
I hope everyone had a great mother's day! I sure did and plan to blog about it the next time I post. My blog today will be about my mom who I was thinking about a lot yesterday.
My mom and I had a good relationship--not great, but not bad. After becoming a mom myself, however, I really began to understand and appreciate her more. Unfortunately, my mom died when my daughter was just 8 weeks old. I feel like I missed out with bonding with my mom over motherhood. I'm sure it would have been a rocky path at times. I know my mother would not have approved of us getting our daughter assessed for autism. I do think she would have changed her mind when she saw how my daughter blossomed after we started the different therapies. When I was going through the stress of my daughter lagging behind in certain milestones and dealing with her endless tantrums, I really missed not being able to call my mom for support. It was actually a surprise how much I missed her just when I needed her the most!
My mom did get to meet my daughter before she died. It's actually a pretty amazing story, and one I plan to tell my daughter when she's older.
My mom was planning on visiting me when I delivered my daughter to help me during those first hazy weeks. But health issues started to crop up with her, and she needed to go to various doctors and to set up some surgeries to address two health issues. I was also having issues with my pregnancy and needed to deliver my daughter early see here). After the dust settled for us, my mom was able to fly out to visit with my daughter for a few hours before she had to fly back home to have her first operation. As luck would have it, the day she was able to come was the first day my daughter was home from the NICU. My mom was a huge help that day, and it was great visiting with her.
My mom's first operation was a huge success, and we were all very hopeful that the next one would go as well. However, after being home for a week recovering, my mom became very ill from a totally new problem. Once the doctors at the hospital determined what was wrong, they stated that she was terminally ill and didn't have much time left to live. My mom didn't want me to make the trip, since my baby was still very young and still having some health issues. The rest of the family really thought I should make the trip, so we went. I spent long hours in the CCU's waiting room during this time. The CCU had strict rules: only half hour visitation with 2 people every 2 hours. When I saw my mother, I knew the end was near. I could hardly recognize her! She was herself though! She took one look at me and said, "Thank goodness somebody in the family finally lost their baby weight right away!"
The next day didn't initially go as well. She was in and out of consciousness and seemed to be sleeping more and more. The doctors said that she would continue to go downhill from there. They tried to explain her options to her, but she couldn't stay awake or alert long enough to tell them what she wanted in terms of the medical intervention (or non-intervention). It was up to my dad, who did not want to make these decisions.
Then the miracle happened. My mom came to and asked the nurse if the baby could be snuck in. She wanted to see her. The nurse said it was against rules, but that we could sneak her in for a few minutes. So, I went in to visit my mom with my new daughter. My mom loved the visit! She perked up and became extremely coherent. She even looked better. Actually, she looked like herself again. It was amazing! We met with the doctors to see what had happened. They said she was still dying, but to appreciate this gift.
We did! My mom was able to make the decisions on her course of treatment. She was promptly moved to a hospice where our visiting time wasn't restricted, AND I was able to have the baby there the whole time. I had always thought of hospices as dark, dreary places. But this place was great! The staff was friendly, and they did everything in their power to make my mom's last days as comfortable as possible. They gave her a room with french doors to the outside to allow me to bring my baby to her room without going through the rest of the hospice. They washed my mom's hair, and my cousin--who is a fabulous hairdresser--styled my mom's hair. She looked beautiful. After seeing my daughter, she lived another 4 days. This might not seem like much, but she was really coherent and alert 3 of the 4 days. It took the onus off my dad, and it was time she got to spend with all of us--including the baby.
The doctors never could explain what gave my mom the extra time. According to their medical knowledge, she should have just have continued to have declined and spent more time incoherent and unconscious. I really think my daughter gave her the reason to live a few more days. I will always be thankful for these extra days.