A few weeks ago, my mother (who will be known to Daisy as "Mamie") asked if she could write something as a "guest blogger" and I agreed. This is what she had to say:
Last month I had the time of my life visiting my daughter Emily, her husband Nick and their first born child, Daisy, for a week while Em transitioned back to work.
As most of you know, this new family has been on quite a journey expecting their darling baby and being the parents of Daisy. I have visited often the past six months and observed their love, strength and faith during all of the trials from Em being sick and Daisy being a premature sick baby.
I am writing, as a guest blogger, about my incredible daughter Emily, and what I feel about her and how she has handled the past six months. Nick, has been there every step of the way as well, but as Em’s Mom, this piece is about her and how she has exceeded all of my wishes and dreams for her.
Emily has always been sure of one thing she wanted in her life and that was that she wanted to be a mother. When I brought Freddy home from the hospital she was at his side every minute of the day and some of the night. So much so that I called her his Junior Mother.
Every family in our neighborhood clamored to have her babysit because she played with the children. She would write stories for them and include their names, she would make a “tent” cities for them and color for endless hours. One young boy loved Em so much that he never wanted to fall asleep because he knew when he woke up that Em would no longer be there.
Last May, at Em and Nick’s wedding, they both wrote very personal vows and each of them expressed how excited they were to have a family and that she was on her way to making all of her dreams come true.
I don’t think I have ever met a young woman more excited about being pregnant and glorying in every bodily change. She showed off her “baby bump” early and often, loving the thought a baby was growing inside her. Emily had charts and tables on the refrigerator tracking everything she put into her mouth and every vitamin she took. Every week she sent me the growth development of the baby. She absolutely loved this and had been waiting all of her life for this.
At about 25 weeks, everything changed for my girl, she was wracked with back pain and very sick, Em was in and out of the emergency room so much that the nurses all knew her as well as the doctors. It was discovered that she had kidney stones! EEEKKKK! From there, it was a roller coaster of medical issues that cropped up one after the other - next came Daisy's ascites, then Em's polyhydramnios, mirror syndrome, severe preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome...
Emily was so brave and she was determined not to take any drugs, to relieve the pain in case it would hurt her baby.
As her Mom, my heart broke every time I spoke to her and realized the courage she was developing in keeping this baby safe as long as possible. I didn’t know that this torture would last 7 weeks for her. She was strong beyond my wildest dreams and tried not to cry when she spoke to me because she knew my heart hurt when she hurt.
The next 7 weeks, Em spent mostly in bed trying to manage the pain and keep her baby girl safe and in utero for as long as possible. I marvel at her bravery to withstand so much pain.
During that time I visited and brought her coloring books, rosary beads blessed in Rome by Pope John Paul, newborn clothes and tiny hand knit hats. We spent time together in the hospital on her bed waiting for the next ultrasound, the next test and I massaged her face to relax her furrowed brow. Em NEVER faltered, she held her tears close and never lost sight of her mission to deliver a healthy baby.
We are blessed to have Daisy, she was born 8 weeks early and very sick. Emily was so thrilled that she was here. As Em healed, Daisy’s possible prognosis got worse every day. But Emily’s strength kept growing, she visited twice a day for 8 weeks, she left without her baby every night but never altered her schedule - she kept visiting and holding Daisy “skin to skin” to bond with her. She was not frightened about holding a 4-pound baby, learning to manage a feeding tube and all of the equipment that goes with it. She “pumped” her breast milk for weeks to bring to the NICU so Daisy would have every advantage of her milk.
We started to text each other everyday in the morning and at night. I tried to attach a fun photo as she attached photos of Daisy in the isolette.
This time had to be excruciating for Emily but she was positive and just kept on believing in Daisy. Although the doctors were not optimistic, she would say to Daisy you are strong, you are loved and you will survive. Emily loved her to health.
My heart swells when I realize this young woman is my daughter. All I ever wanted to do with my life was raise my children to be good people, with character, strength to handle every challenge God gave them and a heart that wants to give back to others. I am blessed that I have both Emily and Fred.
When I visited for a week, I saw that my daughter is complete now that she has a daughter. There is a quiet love that surrounds them. Daisy knows her mother’s voice, touch and leans into her heart as soon as she is in her arms.
My new wish for my “girls” is the relationship that I share with my Emily, she has always been my best friend and a love of my life.
I love you Em and Daisy