It’s so hard being a mother, a wife, and employee (or even a small business owner) while juggling all the parts of raising and nurturing a family. How do you decide what school to place your children in? Do you start them in preschool or wait until kindergarten? Which sports do you choose, soccer or baseball and then how do you decide which league to play? And what about the best dance studio for you daughter to attend? How do you do what’s best for your children, your work, and family?
I struggle with this daily. I am a mom to two children here on Earth and one baby girl I lost while eight-months pregnant to an umbilical cord accident five years ago. It was my worst nightmare.
The day I lost Carly I had been busy all day with my son’s school Christmas Party, but that evening I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, she sure has been quiet.” I thought to myself maybe I was just too busy to notice.
Eventually, I took myself to the Labor and Delivery unit of my hospital to have her checked and I clearly remember thinking that the hospital staff was going to laugh at me and call me crazy for coming in. I’m eight months along with a textbook pregnancy. People don’t just lose healthy babies at that stage of their pregnancy. I passed the 12-week mark a long time ago! The thought that she could die absolutely never crossed my mind. At that time, I didn’t even know that women lost babies this late in pregnancy, especially healthy babies.
Call me young and naive, but doctors had never talked about that sort of thing happening. Well, boy was I wrong. Nurse after nurse came in to try to pick up my sweet baby’s heartbeat adjusting the waistband monitor. Soon, my room became full of nurses. One started an IV on me and said that they were prepping me for the OR, and then everything went black, dark, and quiet. The Maternal Fetal Specialist came in, hooked up the portable ultrasound machine, looked at the monitor and turned to me to say those words…”She’s gone, there’s no heartbeat.” Just like that, she was gone.
I remember the day I delivered her like it was yesterday. After they placed her in my arms I spent almost 8 hours with her, trying to make as many memories as I could with this lifeless little baby of mine. All I kept thinking was…..this is my only shot at this. This is my only time with her until I see her again in Heaven. I have to make it count. And so I did. Going forward that thought that we only have one shot and we have to make it count was always on my mind and until this day, I keep it close to everything that I do.
Everyday I find myself balancing daily tasks such as getting my children ready for the day, driving them around, taking them to after school programs, preparing dinner, helping with homework and studies, baths, and let’s not forget some quality time for the family too. I find myself researching options and programs until I am so overwhelmed and confused that I can’t even pick one. I hope I make the best choice, but how do I know? We have our son Cole in soccer almost every day of the week. He loves it and that’s great. It’s wonderful exercise and as long as the loves the sport, it works. I sure do enjoy watching him play. Our daughter Caitlyn is in ballet and swimming.
I find myself studying the various soccer leagues. Which one will be the best one for Cole? Each child varies in their talent and level of skill. I research preschools for my daughter, which one is best? Should I even enroll her and miss out on time at home with her? They are only small for a short time. If I take her to school, I may miss out on a smile or a joke, or a silly little thing that makes her crack up for no real reason. I know one day she will have to be in school all day and when that day comes, will I wish that I kept her home longer? Or will I be glad she started a half-day, three-day-a-week preschool program to give her a head start in school? I only have one shot at this!
With my son Cole, I am constantly looking at all of the school options too: public, private, home school. Which one is best? Cole is also now at the age for real chores. I want him to learn what it’s like to have to work and earn money, and to have responsibilities: sometimes just do the chores for no money at all. I know that I didn’t make a dime doing that pile of dishes last night. Did you? So why should he get to make enough money to buy a pack of Pokémon cards, because he made his bed one morning? So, what are the age appropriate chores for him? Should he receive an allowance for some, none, or all of them? What is the right way to do it? What’s the right way to do all of these things? We must get this right. We only get one shot at this!
These are just a few things that bug me to no end. I use the word “bug” lightly. This may not make any sense but at the same time I have an odd love for this burden of choices because it also means that my children are very much alive and I am able to raise them in the best way that I can. That is a true gift. As my children get older, I am certain that the challenges will be greater and the choices even harder but I will welcome those new struggles. That’s life and I am just happy that my family is alive, well and living.
This brings me to Project Alive & Kicking (PAK). I am a founding member and believe in their mission to educate and empower pregnant moms. I learned the hard way that not every pregnancy works out as planned. I also discovered that doctors and medical staff don’t inform pregnant moms that healthy babies CAN die from a variety of causes right before delivery. I learned that our medical professionals don’t usually offer a complete list of symptoms one should be watching for or paying attention to while pregnant. I also learned that there are a lot of symptoms that can be a signal that something is wrong. I learned that we should trust our instincts and never be afraid or hesitant to go get checked out at the Labor and Delivery unit of a hospital. If an expectant mother is instinctively concerned, there very well could be a reason for that concern. Without being educated and informed, how can we be the best advocates for our own baby? We must have this knowledge and PAK is trying their best to provide it.
When we are pregnant, there are many complex little things taking place to form this incredible miracle we call life. Pregnancy doesn’t always go as planned and we need to work proactively to allow our babies the best outcome at birth. There are so many pregnancy topics to research and study, many questions we should be asking our health care providers, as well as chronicling and journaling our experience. You are probably wondering how an expectant mom can have time for all of this when all we want to do is enjoy the amazing experience as much as possible. PAK can help. It is dedicated and motivated to provide the kind of education that pregnant moms need in a way that no other organization or website I know of can. They want to supply pregnant moms with as much information and knowledge as possible for WE ONLY GET ONE SHOT AT THIS!
Momma to these beauties…