That night we called both of our mothers. Jason’s mom Penny was in the hospital being treated for Pneumonia, while mine was at home with my father. Both mothers’ had the same reaction; they started crying, and couldn’t be happier for us. Penny’s words were “It’s about time!!” We waited until Thanksgiving day to tell other family, and let most of them know that we wanted to keep it a secret for a little while first, because I was only 4 to 5 weeks pregnant at that time. Three weeks later, and we couldn’t keep up with the “slip ups” on Facebook anymore, and ended up announcing it.
Fast Forward to the week before Christmas, and we learned that Penny was back in the hospital except this time it was due to what they thought was a blood clot from a biopsy on a lump that was in her leg. That happened on Wednesday, Thursday we learned that she had cancer, Friday morning (Christmas eve) we learned that it was stage 4 terminal cancer. Jason and I were hoping and praying that we would be able to go to my first OBGYN apt and find out if I could go home with him before we made plans. However that was not to be the case, and because I had told my mother what our plans were for Christmas morning she was able to get ahold of us at Stephanie’s, (my cousin’s) and told us there was an emergency Jason needed to get a hold of his Uncle Wes. Chaos then consumed our lives, Penny had taken a turn for the worst and Jason needed to get home as fast as he could.
Jason made the decision that I wasn’t going to come with him. His words were “Mom wouldn’t want you to lose the baby just to come and see her die. You stay here and you take care of the baby.” (Someone seems to have stepped into the role of protective daddy rather well in my opinion.) So I ended up helping him pack, and making sure he had an empty water bottle in his carry on along with some “snacks” i.e. Christmas cookies that we had made the day before and some candy. My heart broke that I couldn’t go with him, and that there was a very strong chance that he wouldn’t make it home in time. We raced to the Naha airport where Jason ended up making flight arrangements over the phone with people in Tokyo, and wrote the info down on the pieces of paper that he had to take with him. Which later when we needed to try and find him to let him know that he didn’t make it, turned our lives upside down to say the least. Penny knew that her son was on his way home to her, I had been told that the last time she was coherent that was one of the last things she said.
When Jason got to the states and finally had a layover he got his laptop out and got on Facebook, so it was my pleasure to call people at home and tell them “I found him!!! He’s in Newark New Jersey!!!”. I let him know what was going on, that he didn’t make it in time, but that mom knew he was on his way before she went. She just couldn’t hold on any longer for him, even though she tried. And thus our real life game of “Where’s Waldo?” came to an end.
Last Monday I had my first OBGYN apt where I had my routine physical and they did an ultrasound to check on the baby, and my day, my life took on a whole new meaning. Through the screen showed a tiny little baby floating happily in my tummy, with arms, hands, legs and a big head (just like it’s daddy :p) I saw the little heart beating, and the Dr. let me hear it. My baby’s heart rate is a whopping 150. And then my child did something that amazed me and brought a smile to my face despite everything I was going through. The Dr., the nurse and I watched as the baby did a little wiggle of its arms, then stretched its left arm away from its body and open and closed its teeny tiny hand as if waving to say “Hi mommy!” Ever since I can honestly say that my heart even though it was already lost to the little jelly bean, was completely wrapped up into the little life that is beginning inside of me.
Since then after talking to my boss to request a few days off of work to spend with Jason when he comes home, I have been completely taken back by the experience and lesson that I am going through. Life, the beginning of one, and the unexpected end of another. I am seeing first hand, how one life can change and affect the lives of so many people. How the simplest movement of a child inside its mother’s womb can bring so much joy and promise, and I can’t help but be humbled to be reminded how precious life really is. We can go about our lives being careful so that things do not happen to us, get so wrapped up in a single aspect of our life that we neglect another, and choose not to experience things for one reason or another. But it’s those choices that will enable us to live our lives, shape who we will be in the end, and come into contact with the people that we will inevitably have an effect on. My child will never get to meet its Grandma Macdonald, but I know that my husband and I will tell our child how much their grandma loved them, and how excited she was that they were going to be a part of her family. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Penny will forever watch over all of her Grandchildren, no matter how big the number may grow to be.
Penny-Thank you for giving birth to the wonderful man I call husband, for loving me, and for considering me one of your children. I pray that you are able to rest in peace and know that you alongside Grandma Miller will be watching over all your family as we go on to live the rest of our lives that you have so greatly affected.