I have met some incredible people through all of this medical stuff with Cora. One instance I wanted to remember was last month, while I was waiting to have the first NJ tube placed in Cora. We were in the hall waiting at the labs to get a wound culture before going back to radiology and I could see another young mother was in the lab with her baby. I'm guessing she was about my age and had her mother with her. Every now and then her mother would stop and chat with me at the door, she mentioned her grand baby was 6 months old and had come a long way since being in the NICU. Eventually they sat in the waiting hall with me and I asked them a few questions before Cora had to go in. This is her story and what I learned about myself.
Her son was born very early and weighed only 2 pounds. They're from the Seattle area and he was transferred to Sacred Heart Medical Center (Cora's same hospital) because "it's the best." They ended up staying in the Ronald McDonald house across from the hospital because of his lengthy stay in the NICU and couldn't afford the money or time from going back and forth from Seattle to Spokane. I asked if he had any problems he was still working on and she said no, he's absolutely perfect with no long term physical effects and is a healthy baby, just slightly under weight and on the small side.
I said, I have two things to say to you. I started getting choked up and teary eyed and I said, "Number one, you are darn lucky to have your mom here to support you. I'm new to Spokane and am nine hours away from any family. I have made some good friends but there's nothing quite like having your own mom by your side during the most difficult times in the life. Cherish your mom. And number two, you should certainly be proud of yourself. You have come a long way and have nurtured and raised a healthy boy. With all the ups and downs and everything you've had to go through, you are a strong woman. You are a wonderful mother, I can see it just by the way you look at your baby. Be proud of yourself."
And just as we were getting into a good conversation Cora's name was called and I had to go. But I wanted to remember this moment. There's something about having an ally, having and knowing someone who's been through the exact same things as you and finding so much comfort in that. I wanted to encourage my new, nameless friend.
Because that was the same horrid, hellish week that Cora's NJ tube was placed, a few ER visits, Kimball getting bit by a dog, unexpected doctor visits, and Lance being out of town for it all; when Jan (speech therapist) came that week, I sort of lost all composure and vented of what a frustrating, lonely, and hard week it was. I mentioned to her this same young mother and the conversation we had in the waiting hall. Jan looked at me and she said, "Becky, you need to be telling yourself the same exact thing. You should be just as proud and are certainly just as strong of a woman and mother as any other. You have amazing maternal instincts and should be proud of yourself, too." This made me cry because even though I had been going through similar things as this other mother, I never thought of myself as strong or determined or committed, or anything else. Really, I thought of myself as a wimp for crying so much and having to lean on so many other people to help me with so many things. I felt weak for having to ask for so much help. Why couldn't I just do it all myself? Weakling.
But Jan is right. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but she made a good point. If I compare the mother and woman I was before Cora was born, to the mother and woman I am now, I am stronger, have more faith, am determined and commitment to my children especially Cora's time consuming care. I am better because of this trying time. I am stronger because of my deeper testimony. I am softer because of my intense love for my children. I am more compassionate and very aware of others around me - we are all fighting our own battles in our own way. We should be kind!
I've never really understood the phrase that we should be thankful in and not thankful for. I now know what that means. Today in RS we discussed this during the lesson and I learned a few things. In D&C the saints had seen the affects of unrestrained mobs and were being driven from Missouri. During this time Joseph Smith recorded: “July, which once dawned upon the
virtue and independence of the United States, now dawned upon the savage
barbarity and mobocracy of Missouri.” And in 98:1 "Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks."
How can the saints be comforted and rejoice and give thanks during such a tumultuous time? The Savior said, in everything give thanks. Even then? When mobs were trying to drive them from their homes and belongings and their faith? Even when mobs were trying to kill them? Yes. Even then. And in those times, it is then that we are thankful in and not thankful for.
One of the comments made today was a sister who when she was young and in a very difficult time in her life, someone from the LDS social services said, don't become bitter. She said, all those years (I'm assuming 30 years ago) that was one thing that stuck with her and one thing that she decided not to choose. She didn't want bitterness a part of her life.
Anyway, I'm thankful for all the people and lessons I've learned during the past 1.5 years. I wouldn't trade any of it. Ok, maybe the pregnancy sickness and recovery sickness. But really, I'm so so grateful!!!