It was around 1:00 a.m., and I had been called into work for an exam. Still trying to wake up, I grabbed my badge and my keys and headed to the hospital.
After asking the standard questions while I set up my ultrasound machine, I wasn’t especially concerned. But as soon as I put the probe down, everything changed. Even at first glance I knew it wasn’t good, and that night I had the unfortunate duty of confirming to a hopeful mama that yet another one of her babies wasn’t going to make it.
It’s the worst. The absolute hardest part of my job.
I left her room quickly, wanting to give her some privacy, but not before hugging her. As I pushed my machine down the ER hallway, I could feel the tears stinging my eyes just thinking about her broken mama heart.
Before becoming a mom myself, I may have thought or even told this woman, “you’ll make a great mother some day.” But now I recognize her spirit and know for certain, she already is one. I saw it in her eyes. She already knows the fierce love, the ache, and the yearning to protect – all familiar ground for a mother. She already has that uncanny maternal instinct of knowing something is wrong, despite prior reassurance from medical professionals. She might not have any babies on this side of heaven, but she is no less a mother than I am.
Rather than a binary system – you are or you’re not – I’m finding that motherhood is really more of a spectrum.
I used to imagine what my husband and I would be like when we had our first child.
We would be parents who didn’t act like “parents.” We would be COOL PARENTS.
We wouldn’t let our kid become the center of our universe.
Our house wouldn’t be taken over with blocks and trains and dolls. We would relegate all of that “stuff” to a small, designated area. I would not be that parent who talks about their kid incessantly, or who’s social media is a gigantic, glaring spotlight on their kid, or who arranges their free time around their child’s schedule and activities.
The time has come and I’ve had to eat all of those words. Every. Last. Crumb.
Two and half weeks ago, I posted this on Instagram, begging for prayer:
“Sometimes life sends a gentle nudge along to remind you to take it all in because it’s fleeting. Other times, that truth shoves you and knocks you down with its gravity, saying ‘TODAY IS ALL WE HAVE.'”
We had just received the news that my precious mother-in-law, Brandon’s step-mom, was diagnosed with AML, a type of leukemia.