My mom is 53 and has been very ill for over 3 years with an illness called gastroparesis -basically it means that her GI system's nerve supply has stopped working, so food does not move through at all, and she gets no nourishment. If she tries to eat, she gets violently ill from the food never being digested, so she has lost a dangerous amount of weight - she's emaciated. Without a significant change in this illness her doctor feels it will prove terminal before the year's end because she will simply starve to death. There is a procedure that has just begun being done that could potentially save her life (implanting a pacemaker, like the ones for heart patients, into her stomach to stimulate nerve activity). Insurance has denied the claim and the appeal on the grounds that its experimental and thus not covered. She has a j-tube in place for feedings but her body is totally rejecting the feedings.
She's been sick before but she's begin talking like someone who is near their end. She's emaciated, down to 80lbs. She has no strength left. I see her look worse every day, and I come home and cry for hours. Now her lung doctor has found masses in her lungs as well. She also has rheumatoid arthritis. Despite all of this, she has spent her life active in the church, gardening, homeschooling, devoted to her kids and grandkids. She never complains, is never bitter. She has taken doula courses just so she can be helpful attending her daughters' childbirths.
I am expecting a baby any day now and she's saying she is staying alive just to see this baby be born ( we've planned for her to catch the baby during our homebirth). My mom went in to see her doctor on thursday. Her body is totally rejecting the intestinal tube feedings, and her weight has fallen even more. Her doctor is of the opinion that there is just nothing else that can be done to keep her alive any longer, and he's advising hospice care. She can't have IV feedings (TPN) because of the almost certainty that she will contract MRSA and die of sepsis, and she cant eat, and the tube feedings are just going out as fast as they go in and causing her total agony. She's basically in the early stages of multi-organ failure. He knows about the baby, and he told her if I go overdue there's a good chance she won't be alive to see this baby be born. We're talking a matter of days or weeks.
I have no signs of impending labor. I spoke to her this morning and asked her how she was feeling, and she said she feels like I need to have this baby NOW.
I'm totally destroyed. I feel like Ground Zero. I feel like I have no physical or emotional reserves left to handle this.
Mom means the world to me, and she is the spiritual and emotional center of our family. She adores her grandbabies and is a paragon of her faith. She has taught me everything I know about being a wife, mother, friend, woman. I talk to her every day. The thought of a world without her terrifies me.
I had terrible PPD with my DS and am so scared of it coming back, especially if she is near death or gone when this baby comes or shortly after. I dont know how I can handle childbirth (we are hoping for an HBAC, after a very traumatic c-sect with DS), adjusting to having 2 kids and potential PPD without her. I am afraid that I won't know how to handle all the growing-up stages with my kids without her here to help. I'm afraid our family will fall apart without her, because she is the center of everything, and she keeps us all close. She's like the sun in our universe, and without her, the planets will all go spinning out into nothingness. I have 3 sisters ( one currently estranged), and I am afraid that I wont be able to hold everyone together when she's gone AND take care of a newborn and a 3 year old AND hold myself together. I feel so desperately alone already.
I have so many emotions attached to this that I am totally overwhelmed - fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, and ones I can't even name. People have told me that I can't mourn her before she is gone - that I need to focus on having as much good quality time as I can and save my grieving for when she's gone. But the fear is overwhelming me. I am religious and Mom is deeply religious, so I feel that when she dies she will be with Jesus, but then I feel this overwhelming anger of her being taken from us when we need her so badly. I'm praying constantly but don't know if He's listening. Terrified of my faith falling apart if God takes her away from me.
How do I deal with the smaller things? How do I explain this to my 3 year old? How do I get through postpartum depression alone? How do I not lose my milk supply? How do I keep breathing?
I'm totally terrified, and feel unable to function, much less birth a baby any day.
Your mother is in between two worlds right now. She is waiting to make sure you are safe and that your baby is safe in your arms before she leaves. That is her purpose, that is her ultimate goal. Focus on her being with your physically right now, enjoy each moment, soak it up like rays of the summer sun. Let her warm you with her strength and give you that power to make it through your labor.
Even if she crosses over before babe is earthside, she will still be with you. Take comfort in that, know that. Peace be with you and your family.
I'm so sorry I just read this post and have to respond. I'm so sorry for what you are going through and I can feel your inability to even breathe in your words. I have *nothing* to say that will help you. Please be gentle with yourself..take everything one second at a time and breathe. I'll be saying a special prayer for you and your family.
You have had the honor of loving her and being loved by her for all of these years. That is what will get you through this. Seeing a glimmer of her in your everyday life and family is what will get you through this.
Grieve your loss when she is gone, but give her the strength to let go. She needs to know that you will be okay. And that you are so very thankful for the time that you got to spend with her.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
Half-marathon running Mommy to 3 spunky girls and 1 sweet boy. Spending my days and nights where my kids need me most- at home with them!!
Please don't start going into tomorrow - stay here in today.
You will see very soon that death is just the other side of birth - different sides of the same coin to use a phrase.
Your mother and your child are together right now - between two worlds the both of them. You are scared because that world is unknown to you right now - but you'll know it again and you'll remember that it's nothing to be afraid of.
Your mother will always be with you.
My DS who was born on the very spot where my MIL died 2 years earlier - talks about her all the time. He knows what her favorite flavor is (black licorice) and he says she 'helps' him. I don't know what that means exactly - but I believe him. And I know that she knows him.
I believe your mother is with you to help you guide this baby into the world. You seem to believe that, too. Is it possible, though, that her way of guiding the baby into the world may not be as you pictured? That perhaps this timing, while incredibly sad, is the way in which both of them needed to meet and to guide each other? Whether your mother guides your baby into your arms, and into life, by a physical presence, a spiritual presence, or something in between, I believe that the way it happens is the way they (your mother and your baby) need it to be. They both need guidance, and a birth, and perhaps they're guiding each other between these new phases of life.
My mother passed, very suddenly, three years ago. She was 57 and in the prime of life. For years her loss has been a deep, sad, painful place for me. I've learned to move on, and be happy, but I never felt at peace with her loss. I never saw any good reason why she should be gone and not with us.
Then my son died a month or so ago, and now (this probably sounds strange), I'm actually glad my mother is dead. There's no one else in heaven or on earth that I would rather care for my James, and the comfort it gives me that SHE'S the one caring for him, that he's not alone as he starts this new, long, unknown part of life, is such peace. I feel so much uncertianty about his death, and about where or what he is now, but I have a comfort thats miles deep knowing my mother is with him.
I'm not suggesting anything will happen to your baby. That isn't the point of this at all....I hope you understand. What I'm saying is that your mother will guide your child into your arms, safely, in the form (physical or spiritual) that both she and your baby need. Your baby and your mother will be safe in each others' hands. And there's something beautiful, really, that their spirits will be so close and so tied to one another.
I know you wish the beauty of your child's birth, and of your mother's remaining time, could be the way you want it. I really, really, really hope it is. I'll be keeping your family in my thoughts.
Wishing you lots of strength & peace...and some labor vibes. But, whatever happens, you are strong & you will make it through. So sorry.
But I made it. However, I have struggled with ptsd since then and wish I would have had more help in the moments before and after my DS was born. You have to take care of your mama, but remember you are important too....and strong and beautiful. Get as much support as you can!!! Line up resources and plan for hard days so they will not have to be so hard....look to the vibrancy and laughter of your 3 yr old for guidance and love..soak it up with intention...do anything and everything that makes you feel stronger...you'll make it.
Your mother is an amazing woman. I am sorry that you have to contemplate this right now. Just take care of yourself and your family.
Your mom is between earth and heaven right now and if she does pass before your beautiful child comes, she will be there with you and have spent time with your baby's spirit. She will watch over you and bring your baby through this birth.
I'll pray for all of you. Please take care!
Hugs and prayers,
Jen, mama to (M-13, N- 10, C- 8 J- 3.5, and J -2, A (10/4/07) and 3 early losses)
We are expecting baby #7 in November 2013
I'm so sorry you are dealing with all this right now whe you should be excited about a new baby. I can't imgine life w.o my mother either. Your HB plans sound so special. I truely hope that all works out for the best. Many prayers for you, your baby, and your dear mother, she sounds amazing.
Remember - one step at a time, each step with prayer.
Hold you and your family in the warmest thoughts... ...