The Paranoid Mom

Published – 25/09/2016

I think I am a paranoid mom, well actually I know I am, and I am not embarrassed or ashamed of it.  Infertility can do that to you, when you get that good egg and it is hanging on for dear life and you are hoping like anything it sticks around for the ride, that pattern of worry will never leave you (well for me it did not).

From the moment I knew I was pregnant I worried, every strange feeling, tummy flutter or movement made me nervous. There was definitely a persona I put up in front of other people to look brave and carefree, but deep down my heart pounded every time we went for a scan.

At about 34 weeks I started to have mild contractions due to a UTI, which I did not even know I had  (a-symptomatic). This resulted in a couple days in hospital on monitors and a course of antibiotics and heavy monitoring. Lucky for me, Skylar decided to  stay inside.

Like many moms, I was psyching myself up to have natural labor. I wanted to know that feeling of going into labor and child birth – however horrific it can be. But guess what Skylar just like me decided she would not turn the right way, facing downwards but to the front and not the back, with one of her shoulders tucked in my hip (I had a similar birth story with my mom) – caesarian it was!

I found out I was pregnant in October 2014 near the end; we decided not to tell anyone until the first scan. At the same time life can be so joyous and amazing, it can be cruel and unforgiving. My mom was rushed to hospital, with no immediate prognosis.  We rushed to be by her side, and there, while she lay in the hospital bed, with my dad and gran by her side, and broke the news she had been dying to hear – I am pregnant, and all is well.  Tears ran down our faces and all were super happy, even though standing in ICU.

My mother had been rashing Nathan and I since we started our journey to want to become parent, all she wanted was a grandchild, and I was super stocked to be finally able to fulfill that dream for her.

After numerous tests, what my mom had was cancer, it had grown to a large mass between her heart and esophagus, undetectable, until it had grown to a size that had now started to effect the organs around it. The prognosis was not good, and intensive chemotherapy treatment was started immediately.  What would have been month of mommy daughter baby planning, turned into days of mixed emotions, joys and sorrow.

You always wanted to be positive, with an outlook that everything will be okay. One of the best moments was telling my mom I was having a girl, she had predicted it, and hearing her burst into tears of the phone was amazing.

At 7 months pregnant, my moms condition turned for the worst, with the doctor admitting that the chemo had not fully worked, and the cancer had reduced but had also spread. Due to the stress I was given calming and sleeping pills, as I was near to passing out many a moment during this time.

Being pregnant and facing the loss of your mother is a dangerous mix for early labor or losing the baby. I would never be able to do both.

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My mom

The oncologist told my dad, that my mom would probably have 1 to 3 months to live. The worst news you can ever hear!!!! She did not even have that, within a week the cancer had spread to her brain and she passed away. There was no chance for proper goodbyes and final conversations. Just a mad rush of grieving and coming to terms I no longer had a mom, and would now face motherhood without her.

When death faces you so close to that of new life, it puts everything in perspective. Being overprotective of my own daughter felt like all I could do to hold onto her precious life. Knowing that just as much as you want it everything to be okay, it does not always turn out that way, and death is just always a step away from any day.

My journey to becoming a mom has made me paranoid – paranoid that I could lose Skylar at any moment, paranoid she could lose me and that what you expect your life to be can change in an instant.

So when I am told why am I worried, it is just a cold – or oh shame let her do that, or why do you want to put socks on, or she will be cuts and bruises – that is why I am a paranoid mom.

Life does not stop there, amongst the laughter and joy, lurks the painful reality of loss. Cancer is something that has not left my family.  A month before Skylar turned one this year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Today we almost lost him, he had developed blood clots in his lungs and was rushed to hospital. The doctor stated “if the ambulance did not get there when it did, you would be dead,” – to my dad. He is now in hospital, and I writing down all these thoughts and trying to see the screen as tears run down my face.

How does a child face the loss of two parents –  how do you face the loss of a grandparent for your child – how do you fill the gap?

My answer – you turn to the ones that are still here, the little chubby face, with blue eyes and angle curls, and you cuddle up to her at night, hold that little one tight and whisper in her ear – I will keep you safe Skylar my nunu and love you with every breathe.  Thank you Skylar for coming when you did – thank you for being my light at the end of grief, thank you for making me laugh and smile and jump out of bed each day.

 

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