Jolts of pain threatened to sway me from seeing my son, but I remained at the edge of the bed. My husband assured me that waiting one more day wouldn’t hurt. However, because of the day, I knew I had to go to him. The door, while only an arm’s length away, became miles for me. It had already been two days since the surgery. Two days since the eruption of fire in my head forced an emergency C-section. I knew the drill. I took my first step from the hospital bed, letting the gravitating pain settle. The constant beep from my blood pressure monitor rang in my ears. This was my second pregnancy and the second time I put my life at risk.
With my first son, we had no idea. No real warning. We had a new doctor and the signs were not as evident with my first son. I got lucky that time. Already in the hospital, the seizure overtook me and they called a code blue. My husband will never forget that memory seared into his mind. We try not to think about what would have happened if I had been home that day. My head jumbled up sounds upon waking. I couldn’t make out words or the questions asked to me. A few minutes later the blurry world focused and the all-too-familiar scent of sanitizer washed over me.
You would think after three months of bed rest and a scare on my life would cure me of ever wanting that again. But, apparently I am lacking in the area of self-preservation. So, we found ourselves here once again, despite the odds against it happening a second time.
I took another step. A call for assistance over the intercom and a nurse came into my room with a wheelchair. She had a sweet sympathetic smile and stood next to me, helping me into the chair. My rubber-soled socks were not enough of a reassurance of not falling to the floor. Don’t get me wrong, I would have still gone to see my son, but the extra help eased my worry of adding to my stitches. My stomach fluttered with anticipation. My son had been born two days earlier and I had yet to hold him, or even see him. When a premature baby is born, the procedures are intense and fast-paced, but give the best odds for survival.
As the wheelchair came to rest next to his bed, chills radiated through me. I will never forget the multitude of machines keeping my son alive for the next ninety days. Wires sprang from his feet, hands, and mouth. His small (not quite) four pound body rested encased in a clear box to help him maintain his body temperature. I cried. We were both alive and I could be thankful for that, but to see him in such a state broke something inside. Such a tiny boy fighting for his life and there was nothing I could do to help him. I wanted to take him in my arms and give him a mother’s comfort. I wanted to shield him from all that hurt him. I wanted to take us all home. I could do none of these.
My heart ached as I rose from the chair. The nurse smiled and asked if I wanted to hold his hand. I covered my mouth with my hand and nodded. She unlatched a small door at the side of the box and let me reach inside. As his tiny hand grasped my finger, I knew. I knew why he fought to live. I knew I fought for that same reason. Just as I knew that, despite the stitches and the pain, I would see my son on Mother’s Day.
Every mother’s struggle is different. Some battles are in camo and against those that threaten their home. Some battles are internal and hidden with a smile. Struggles can be big or small. Mothers fight for their families. So please, be sure to tell the mothers in your life how much you appreciate them.