Stories to Tell is a blog series where I invite guest bloggers to share share their story.
I think stories are wonderful things, and we all have our own stories to tell.
It is my hope that in sharing these stories, we will remember that we are never alone.
* * *
My guest blogger is a friend I met through one of the groups of friends I have. She has asked to remain anonymous as well, because of the nature of her story. Nevertheless, I am proud to know her and share her story on my blog. :)
It was a sunny, cool day in December, 2010 when I gave birth through Caesarean section to my first child: a lovely baby girl with a mop of fine downy hair, soft supple skin and the prettiest, most pouty lips I’ve ever seen. She is our firstborn, and she might be the only child we’ll ever have.
That is, if my husband and I will abide by my pulmonologist’s advice against having another baby.
Because another pregnancy is no longer safe – I guess I’m lucky enough to be able to physically carry out one pregnancy, albeit not without incident.
Because my lungs may no longer be able to bear it anymore.
* * *
It was in 2009 when I was diagnosed to have a chronic lung disorder. Prior to that, I was only a small child of 3 or 4 when my pediatrician declared me to have “inherited” the asthmatic genes that run in my maternal side of the family. It can’t be helped, I guess; some cousins are also asthmatics, but I couldn’t think of anyone who wasn’t able to lead a normal lifestyle notwithstanding the physical constraints that the illness entailed. If I remember correctly, a couple of my mother’s siblings – an aunt and an uncle, I think – died of asthma, but that was in their old age. So I didn’t think I was something exceptional to not be able to live that normal, physically-active lifestyle that my relatives have.
I guess I thought too soon.
Since childhood, I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t have the sniffles, or a cough, or the wheezes. Sure, I still had a lot of physical activities back then, and led a relatively ordinary childhood – playing physical games and joining a lot of school activities that required rigor and stamina – but even then, and because of my asthma, I couldn’t do as much as I wanted. If I wanted to do something so badly, I had to push myself to my limits. I’ve had this illness to endure for the larger part of my life, and so when I came of age, my apprehension was how it would affect my future – with my own family.
* * *
Before I got pregnant, I went to see a pulmonologist about my condition. After a series of tests, he explained the causes and effects of my illness and we set to work on making me better – I wanted to be physically prepared for motherhood, if I will be given the opportunity. The doctor dangled the option of a surgery (it’s a bit complicated, considering that these are lungs we’re talking about) but it was much too risky. So we just settled for a week-long treatment that required me having a Heplock attached to my arm, 24/7, and going to the ER of a nearby hospital, twice a day, for the administration of the special medication via the needle on my arm.
That didn’t really work, I guess, because after a month or so after medicating, I was back to feeling the symptoms of my illness. At that point, I conceded that the illness was there to stay, and that unless I went for the very dangerous option of surgery, I had to learn to live with it. I had to cope with it.
* * *
I learned about my pregnancy sometime in April, 2010. My husband and I got married in March that same year so we knew that we were expecting a honeymoon baby. Excited as I was, I also felt apprehensive because I had asthma attacks even then, and some other exacerbations of my illness, and I worried tremendously for my baby.
Despite the many precautions I took to ensure that the baby and I are both healthy (well, at least she is) and that I will carry her safely to term, I fell ill of pneumonia in the beginning of my third trimester – so close to my expected delivery date. I had to be hospitalized and, after I was discharged, I had to stay home until I gave birth. It was the most heart-breaking moment during that particular 9-month period of my life. We constantly, fervently prayed that she’ll be okay, that she will pull through.
All my apprehensions and anxieties flew out the window when I finally gave birth to her and saw how beautiful and perfect she is. She is God’s gift to us, and every single day since the day she came into this world, she has been the source of our happiness and love.
I may no longer be able to bear another child – I could try, but not without compromising both my life and the baby’s, so the choice is clear – but I cannot ask for more. Our daughter is a miracle – from the moment of conception and every day that she is with us, loving and showering us with joy, even when she’s being difficult, is an everyday miracle. I am thankful to God that despite my physical limitations, I had been given this chance – a special privilege, really – to be a mother, to be a parent, to be looked up to and loved by a child who is a part of my own being. God has been really, really good to me. And I look forward to many more days when I can witness a miracle, every single day, unfold before my eyes.
If you wish to be a guest blogger for my Stories to Tell feature, head over to this post to find out how. Looking forward to reading and sharing your stories! :)