CAREGIVER OF THE MONTH SPOTLIGHT ARCHIVE
Liisa is our first featured caregiver of the month. Her two little girls Molly and Clara as well as her son Andrew are pictured beside her photo. Liisa is an exceptional woman. Her spiritual awareness, love, compassion; her willingness to grow and serve are attributes which are highly commendable. I honor her commitment to provide an outstanding quality of life to her family as well as others.
Richest Blessings. May you and your family's life be filled with much love, good health and wonderful miracles.
I knew in advance what to expect. I had prepared for months by reading and communicating with other parents whose children had congenital heart defects. Sufficient time had been spent on my part detaching my soul from it all, so I could be strong walking though it.
They took her, minutes after birth. Her body was red, puffy, and covered in vernix. White lines crossed her forehead, as she cried by my face. My arms, strapped down to the table could not reach out to embrace her, to comfort her, in this completely frightening experience. They escorted her out of the room in a hurry, leaving her newborn twin sister, and myself with feelings of uncertainty and emptiness. Dozens of dusty green shirts moved around my tarp covered body, tucking, and pulling. I felt nothing. My legs were numb, and my soul had numbed itself to prepare for what could happen. I laid waiting for the feeling to flood back in, knowing that if It did, the pain could be emotionally crippling.
They took her to another state, I didn't hold her, before she left. I only whispered words to her, as she laid listless in the incubator, while transport people ushered her off. They performed open heart surgery on her that Monday at 7 am. Having to let go was inevitable but difficult. Focusing on her twin sister, who was in the hospital with me, I began to believe that they had a twin-telepathy, and that I could comfort Molly, who was undergoing the surgery, through Clara. I had to believe that my little girl could feel that her momma would take care of her.
She came through fine. They placed a shunt in her heart, to take the place of the blocked ventricle.
I was apprehensive the first time I saw her. I was not afraid of seeing what she would look like, attached to monitors, and IV's, but I was afraid of the feelings of abandonment I had been escorting. I was afraid of feeling nothing.
She laid, amidst the beeping NICU monitors, and babies, her body was dark, beautiful and still. A six inch scar lined her once perfect chest. As she laid sedated from medication, my mind wondered what I should say. Should I introduce myself as if I were someone completely new? Or, should I just make small talk, as if we weren't separated for such a lengthy time.
I leaned over the open table she rested on, and whispered, "Hi Molly, it's Momma." She stirred, her feet slid across the lambskin, and the corner of her mouth, turned up, from around the respirator. Feelings of relief rushed over me, and I knew that Molly and I would be OK.
She is 7 weeks old now, her twin sister and her spend their days eating and sleeping. Molly takes many medications each day. The doctors are going to give her a heart catherization next month to attempt to open up that blocked valve. Her twin sister Clara has a mild form of what Molly has, and has spent some time in the hospital undergoing a catherization.
Being the parent to two girls with a congenital heart defect can be terrifying. Constantly watching for blue mouth, and toes, and wondering if they are sleeping too long leads one feeling exhausted. I feel fortunate to be their mother.
I have traded in my crisply ironed linen blazer and matching slacks for a worn in university sweatshirt, and fading black leggings. The transition was quick, painless, and heroic to myself. I no longer belong to a league of aspiring young executives, who discuss meetings over sandwiches filled with things like alfalfa sprouts and low fat dressings. I have joined an elite group of professionals who spend their days drying the tears from a toddlers eyes, and their nights nursing a new life to prosperity.
I am a mom, and with each diaper that I change, like pennies in the bank, these lives are emerging. I used to think that having one child had evolved my life so completely, that when my two identical girl twins were born 7 weeks ago, I didn't expect such a drastic change to my life and lifestyle. I work from home, one of the few who are able to "telecommute," and not worry that they have peanut butter fingerprints and baby drool on their shoulders. My son and I spent the months before my twins were born traveling to and from the park, taking exciting trips to the grocery store, eager to find that special treat, and reading many books each day. Life has proved that change is inevitable, and essential.
We still manage to go to the park, but only after I go through a long checklist to make sure everyone has been taken care of beforehand. Trips to the grocery store have been traded in for drive through lunches where the happy meal toy is the highlight of our day.
I take pride in my "supermom" image, complete with droopy eyes, and make up free face. Do I miss that Linen Suit? Sometimes. But I know that my time with these children is short, and their new smiles and coos will soon be memories. My son's need for "momma time" and "momma love" will cease and I will miss his arms around me, his love being as though there is no one else in this world. My twins will trade their baby bodies for toddler tummies, and all too quickly they will be adults.
There is never going to be another today. The vitality of my job is amazing. Today, with love, as I kiss away another tear, and coax my newborns to smile, I will nap to the cadence of their breathing, knowing that this will be a missed memory soon.
EMPOWERING CAREGIVERS features the "CAREGIVER OF THE MONTH SPOTLIGHT". If you know of a unique caregiver who you would like to honor or perhaps submit yourself, please send a jpg photograph (if one is available) along with your story. All submissions must be received by the third week of each month to be considered.In the subject line, please type CAREGIVER SPOTLIGHT SUBMISSION. Submit entries here:firstname.lastname@example.org
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