Mother Love

On my first Mother’s Day, James was only 2 weeks old. And I had just been released from the hospital.
Again.
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A few days before I had woken from an exhausted, new momma sleep, aware that something was dreadfully wrong with my body.
I stumbled to the bathroom and when I switched on the light, I saw my pajama pants were covered in blood. I ran frantically through the house, looking for the phone. I started to call my doctor but decided 911 was a better choice at the moment. And then I laid down in the bathtub because I didn’t want to make a mess on the bathroom floor.
I still remember my conversation with the 911 operator.
“Where are you now?” she asked me.
“In the bathtub.”
“Is there water in it?”
“A little bit.”
“OK, I want you to climb out of the tub and lay on the floor. I don’t want you standing and I don’t want you getting cold because I don’t want you going into shock. Can someone cover you with a blanket?”
By that time Aaron was in the bathroom with me, terrified and trying to help, and holding a baby James who had woken up from the commotion.

Then the paramedics came, and I remember the sweet, comforting presence of a female paramedic. She made sure to tell me how sweet James was. After a few minutes she gently told me I needed to go to the hospital because I wasn’t supposed to be bleeding like this.
“I’ve had babies,” she said. “This isn’t supposed to happen. But your doctor will help you and you are going to be OK.”
Her care for me comforted me in those moments of fear.
They loaded me into the ambulance and closed the doors.
As I watched Aaron and James through the windows, growing smaller and smaller as we drove away, I had never felt more alone than I did at that moment.
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After several hours in the ER, they were unable to stop my hemorrhaging. i was passing blood clots the size of softballs. My blood pressure was dropping. And things were feeling scary.
They gave me an iv and a blood transfusion.
Then they prepped me for surgery.
All this time Aaron had been in and out of my room with James in his arms.
The ER nurses kept tying to take care of James for him, but he staunchly refused to let go of his newborn son.
But those nurses were wonderful, still wanting to help.
They went up to labor and delivery to get a breast pump. They wanted me to feed James before I was out during and after surgery.
They brought it into the room and hooked me up.
And there I was, laying in a hospital bed, shirtless, with an IV in one arm, and a blood transfusion in the other,
On one breast Aaron held James up to breastfeed, and on the other the nurse held the breast pump.
“So this is what it is to be a mother,” I thought.
It takes everything you’ve got.
And then some.

Surgery was successful, and my doctor told me she’d never had a case like that.
I’d never been so grateful for modern medicine.
It saved my life.
I would be there to see my baby grow up.
Life had never felt  more precious.
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I came home scared, exhausted, and emotional basket case.
But then my mom came to stay with us.
And everything was better.
That Sunday morning Aaron surprised us with my favorite scones and coffee for breakfast. He bought us both sweet bouquets and gave us Mothers Day cards.
Mom and I sat around all day, holding the baby, eating, and watching one Tom Hanks movie after another: Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Cast Away, Catch Me If You Can, and That Thing You Do.
I rested and we reveled in my sweet, brand new baby. It was peaceful and calm and one of my most favorite Mothers Days.
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A few days later, it was time for her to go home. As I stood on the porch and watched her drive off, I felt almost as alone as I did that night in the ambulance.
I needed her.
I felt so silly, crying about it. I was a grown woman. But it didn’t matter.
We never stop needing our mothers.

Blame it on my new mommy emotions, but I wanted her to stay and take care of me forever.
And in a way, she has.
She has helped me after the births of all my babies. She prays for me in the delivery room. She remembers the baby we lost. She comforted me in my worries over first fevers, and later, over disobedient children.
She loves my babies as much as I do. She knows their favorite foods and how to take care of them when their sick.

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My life is full of the love, wisdom and strength of my mom.
And of many other mothers.
There is Cathy, my mom’s best friend and my second Mom.
Cathy has stood by me almost my entire life, loving me, laughing with me, and caring for me.
She has helped me deliver my babies and walked with me through deep waters.
I love her dearly.
There is my mother in law, who gave me the sweetest husband in the world.
There is my sister, who always says yes to fishing, the skate park or the ball field with her boys. Even after a full day of work, she says yes. She is one of the most giving moms I know. She has taught me so much about being a mother.
There are the moms I knew growing up who loved their kids and loved me because I was their kid’s friend.
And there are all my mom friends, too many of you beauties to name, who encourage and inspire me in this journey daily. They keep me going.

Mother’s Day is special to me because being a Mom changed my life to a better that I never could have imagined. But also because I am blessed by the many Moms I know who show me everyday what real love is.
Mother love–there is nothing like it.
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“All I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.”
Abraham Lincoln

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in my life that I love so very much.

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