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Posts Tagged ‘courage’

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Melissa Laine (My 2nd Granddaughter)

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Last year this time my daughter and her husband were expecting their first child, a baby girl, to be born in the middle of August.  Unfortunately, on July 2nd my daughter was rushed to the hospital with a severe case of pre-clampsia.  I didn’t know much about this pregnancy complication, but it is life-threatening to the mother and child.  The only way to cure it is to deliver the baby – which meant their little girl was going to be born six weeks premature.

 

As Anna was in the delivery room, all of the grandparents-to-be were waiting in the hallway for our little Melissa (Missy) to be delivered.  We were praying and trying to be hopeful that she would be ok.  We were in a location where we would see the baby being taken from the delivery room to the NICU.  I commented to my husband that we would know what condition the baby was in by how fast the nurses would be moving.  Well, as they rushed past us and we got a quick glimpse of our tiny new granddaughter, we knew we were in for many challenges ahead.

 

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 Missy–a few hours old.  (still cry every time I look at this picture)

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Little Missy weighed 5 lb. 11 oz. which is fairly large for being 6 weeks early, but she was born with Pierre Robin Sequence which caused her to have a cleft palate and other issues with her jaw and tongue.  This created serious difficulties with eating since she could not produce any suction without her palate.  The first 6 weeks of her life were spent in the NICU which meant daily trips back and forth to the hospital for my daughter and son-in-law.  (1 hour drive each way).  Her feeding issues meant that my daughter had to pump in order to be able to give Missy breast milk through a feeding tube.

 

all_dressed_upMissy- a few days old

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The day they brought her home from the hospital was a joyful, yet frightening one, because she was still on heart and breathing monitors as well as the feeding tube.  I watched my daughter and son-in-law handling things that most parents don’t ever need to think of—removing and inserting a feeding tube, learning how to tape lead lines for monitors, learning infant CPR, etc……

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IMG_0090Missy’s Homecoming

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All parents have some amount of fear that their baby might stop breathing, but for them this was a very real possibility and did happen several times.  The first time I was with them when the monitor went off it broke my heart to see my daughter and son-in-law rush up the stairs so fast that they were literally falling over each other.  The panic I saw them experience was something I will never forget.

 

For many months they endured difficult times including a week in the local Children’s Hospital where Missy struggled to breathe due to an inflamed esophagus.  Their life consisted of constant keeping records of feeding & weight gain, reading monitors, sleepless nights, and with my daughter continuing to pump her milk.  Little by little Missy began to overcome the feeding issues and was finally able to eat without the feeding tube. She has grown and developed in many miraculous ways.

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Beginning to Crawl

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Now that nearly a year has passed and Missy is approaching her first birthday, she is clear proof of what amazing love and care she has been given by her parents.  They have gone through things they couldn’t have anticipated, but have handled each hurdle with the strength that comes from loving a child.  They have made tough decisions along the way and have chosen wisely.

 

As I watched my daughter go through all of this I was continually amazed at the amount of strength and courage she showed and am very proud of the mother she has become.  Missy is now a happy, healthy, 24 pound little girl who is already trying to take her first steps.  When I look at the first picture of her I could never have pictured anything this wonderful one year later.  As I watched little Missy fight to overcome her various struggles, I have come to realize that my daughter isn’t the only one with incredible strength…..she passed it on to Missy.

 

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Anna and Missy at the Beach.

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Missy with her amazing Mommy and Daddy

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Missy will be having the surgery to correct her palate this Fall and she and her Mommy will need that strength.

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 Sulphur Mountain Banff Canada

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The line between courage and craziness can sometimes be blurry. As a 52-year old grandma, I viewed myself as somewhat courageous because I’m still very active—I enjoy many outdoor activities including road cycling and backpacking. My perspective on that, however, has come into question.

 

My husband and I were in Banff, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies, for a business trip and we decided to make good use of the free time before the organized events began. The first day we rode mountain bikes along two fairly easy trails, but then decided to attempt a third more difficult trail. I quickly began to question our choice as it wasn’t a typical mountain bike trail, but had steep banks that had been filled in with loose rocks/gravel because the dirt had been washed away. There were many times as I was slip-sliding my way up a hill or inching my way down another that I was doing some serious praying. (i.e. “Please let me survive this.”) After several hours we did make it back to the hotel in one piece albeit with very tired legs and arms (from holding on so tight to the handlebars.)

 

 

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 Me before the trail got rocky  (thus the smile)

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The next day took my questioning to a higher level. We decided to hike Sulphur Mountain, which is a fairly aggressive four mile alpine hike to the summit. I think under normal conditions we would have been OK, but the trail had a lot more snow than we expected. The trail started out as dirt and mud with little patches of snow , but as we climbed there were more and more sections that were snow covered and slippery. We both found ourselves slipping every once in a while, but then as we neared the top, I made one very poor choice in my footing. I was on a very snowy stretch, but there was a narrow strip of dirt along the edge of the trail and I decided to walk on the dirt since it was less slippery than the snow/ice. Unfortunately, as I set my foot on the dirt, it gave way. I instantly found myself on my back, sliding down the side of the mountain — I mean SLIDING at a fast rate of speed. Please understand that this is the kind of thing I’ve only seen in scary movies, but suddenly I was living it and I was TERRIFIED!

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 Me before the fall (again, smiling before disaster)

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As I slid, I frantically grabbed at any branch, root or plant I flew past. At one point I caught the branch of a pine tree but was moving so fast that I couldn’t keep my grip and began to pick up speed. Just as I lost hope of being able to stop myself I saw a tree in my path and braced for the impact. Luckily, I caught the tree with one of my thighs and finally came to a stop with my legs straddling the tree and my arms wrapped around, holding on for dear life. I breathed a sigh of relief as I could tell that nothing was broken, but that there were lot of cuts and bruises. My husband had started to slide down to try and help me, but its was so steep and slippery that he lost control too. He managed to stop quite a bit above me and we began to talk and try to figure out what to do next.  If we tried to climb back up to the trail by ourselves the risk of beginning to slide again was a very real possibility.

 

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 Trail before it got more snowy and scary

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Just then, some ‘rescuers’ came upon us. There were 3 strapping, young men coming up the trail behind us and my husband called out to them to ask for help. They carefully supported each other and climbed down to help us back up to the trail. Once I was safely back on the trail, I realized that the only way to get out of this mess was to keep climbing and finish the last mile of the hike so that we could ride the gondola down.  (Yes, we could have ridden the gondola to the top, but where’s the fun in that?)  Trying to hike back down under such slippery conditions would have been WAY more dangerous than continuing to climb. After another mile or so of hiking through snow with my shaky legs and stinging cuts we finally reached the top.

 

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At the top—shaky, but smiling

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Back at the hotel, as I got my wounds cleaned and tried to assess whether I needed stitches, I began to ponder the question of whether I’m courageous or crazy. I realized how lucky I was and felt grateful for several things. First, I was very thankful that I didn’t break any bones and that I somehow escaped with just scrapes on the back of my arms, larger cuts on my legs and bruises in all kinds of places.  I was also grateful that I had packed mostly slacks and long sleeved shirts for the rest of the week since my arms and legs were NOT very pretty. I was, of course, also thankful that my hands escaped unharmed so I could keep making jewelry. 🙂

 

So…here’s the question…..is a 52-year old Grandma that does somewhat risky things like this courageous or crazy? …. And, even if she’s crazy—– should she stop? I kinda think that crazy isn’t always a bad thing. 🙂

 

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Gondola ride down Sulphur Mountain

 

20140517_121807View of trail near the top from Gondola

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PS—Believe it or not, I climbed back on a mountain bike a few days later, but I was VERY nervous and extremely cautious—-basically a ‘chicken’.  I guess I’m going to stay ‘crazy’, but maybe a bit more cautious than before.

 

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