In the beginning...

On June 22, 2007 I walked down the aisle in a beautiful off-white dress and married Greg.  My life was wonderful.  I had a loving family and was joining an equally loving family.  My parents would be celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary later that summer, and I could only hope that Greg and I could do the same in another 34 years.

We danced the night away, and three days later, Greg and I took off on a 15-day honeymoon in Anguilla.  We met wonderful people there, some whom we are still in contact with, and spent our days swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, and our nights drinking, eating, and dancing.  And we managed to fit in several rounds of another activity we find fun and enjoyable, and when we returned home, we found out that one of our honeymoon souvenirs would be arriving nine months later.

I am the oldest child of three and so is Greg, and this would be the first grandchild on both sides.  Now, I won't go as far as to say that Leah was unplanned, because, as Greg always reminds me, if we weren't fixing on having a kid, then we should have been fixing to prevent it.  But I was surprised that I had conceived so quickly, and while we were excited that I was pregnant, we were also really nervous!  The person, though, who seemed to be the happiest for our daughter's arrival was my mother.  If there was one hope and dream in her mind once her children had grown up it was to become a grandmother.  And so began the preparations for her first grandchild, whom she had been waiting years for her arrival.  I can't possibly convey into words just how happy my mother was for me, my family, and my unborn child.  For HER family. And for our future.

So excited, that she made a huge life altering decision.  She was determined to be a thin grandmother, one who could get on the floor and play with her grandchildren, and so she decided to undergo the laproscoptic gastric band surgery while I was pregnant.  As with any surgery, there are risks, but the lap band surgery was called the less invasive weight loss surgery option, and my mom felt that this was finally her way to achieve her life long dream of not being overweight.  Her plan was to lose a sizable amount of weight by the time my due date, March 30th, arrived.  I was looking forward to gaining weight, and she was looking forward to losing it.  We were so excited!

On November 2, 2007 she had the surgery.  I had found out only a week before that I was definately having a baby girl.  I visited her in the hospital after her surgery and she felt tired and bloated, both deemed as "normal" side effects for a surgery of this nature. 

The following week was filled with ups and downs.  My mother had taken off from work to recuperate, and she spent her time resting and talking on the phone with friends and relatives.  She told me several times that she was experiencing pains which her doctor told her were due to gas, which was built up in her body due to the way the lap band is placed around the stomach.  She complained about chest pains a lot, and her doctor's office told her to take gas-ex.  She could barely eat, and was on a diet of clear liquids.  She was looking forward to her follow up appointment 6 days post-op, especially to discuss her pains and uncomfortable feelings, if only to be told it was all part of recuperation.  And, to her delight, that's exactly what they told her.  That, and that she had lost 16 pounds already!

My mother was placing a lot of hopes and dreams in this surgery, and, although we loved and accepted her at any weight, we were so happy for her.  We were trying in our own way to be supportive, knowing that this was her dream.  And so, when her and my father returned on Friday night of November 9th from a cousin's house and she retreated to bed, we all laid in our respective beds in our respective homes hoping that the next day would be like any other Saturday.

My mother would continue to rest, and maybe get a visitor or two.  She was cleared to begin adding more to her diet and was looking forward to that.

My father would go to work in the morning and maybe take my mother out to dinner that night.  He was so happy that she was so happy with her decision to have this surgery.

My brother would spend time with his girlfriend and her son, and maybe spend some time at the park. All of this weight loss and health talk lately had prompted him to start leading a healthier life.

My sister, spending some time in Atlantic City, would play some slots and hang out on the beach with her friends.  She was the only non-surgery supporter in the family.  An avid health nut, she was unclear as to why her mom needed surgery to lose weight.  Why not just diet and exercise?

And me, celebrating the 20th week of my first pregnancy, would anxiously lie on the sofa, hands on my belly, hoping to feel my unborn child gently kick from inside.  Plans would commence on decorating the nursey now that we knew we were having a girl.  My mother better get better soon, I thought, we have a lot of baby-store damage to do!

But, none of those things happened.  We all went to bed with such high hopes and optimistic dreams and were woken up to what was the worst day of our lives.

What was my mother's reason to live turned out to be the reason she died.

How it happened.  How we each found out.  How the next ten days played out.  How we all dealt with it.  How we continue to deal (or not deal with it).  These are things that haunt me daily.

No comments: