The Journey to My First Mother’s Day: A List of Miracles – by Tonneka Dawson

SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 Player Giveaway Entry!Here Tonneka Dawson shares an exciting journey from DINK to mommy, peppered by trials and tribulations along the way. Keep a box of tissues nearby when you read her gripping story! Please read this story and rate it to help us determine a winner for our Mother’s Day SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 Player Giveaway! Editor’s Note: This contest has already concluded. Keep checking for new contests!

I am blessed with two wonderful parents who have been married 39 years, are adventurous, thoughtful, successful and happily retired. Sounds like they’ve got it all but one thing was missing for them and that was being grandparents! Turns out that myself and my one and only sibling fell into the DINK category (double income household). We had goals to build our careers, be financially stable and just be married with no dependants forever. We also had preexisting knowledge that getting pregnant would be difficult hence the hesitation to even try. Imagine how crushed my mom was at the thought of both of her children not being able to give her?

Last year at Christmas time, to our surprise, my brother and his wife announced they were pregnant. At the same time, my husband and I had our own secret under our hats. We were pregnant too! Could this really be happening? Two couples told that they may never have children were now pregnant with babies only 6 weeks apart?!? It had to be a miracle.

We celebrated Mother’s Day last year with an entirely different perspective. My sister-in-law and I were showered with “Mother-to-be” cards and gifts and were amazed at the thought that next year we’d have babes in arms. We were already being welcomed into the parenting club! We wished we could have all been together for Mother’s Day, but unfortunately my brother and sister-in-law had been living in California the past two years. We all missed each other terribly and wanted so badly to be going through pregnancy together.

Just weeks after Mother’s day my dad was diagnosed with Stage III cancer. It was the most difficult thing I’d really gone through. Having a very close relationship with my parents and being the only one in close proximity meant being a support for them but carrying incredible fear for what my dad was about to go through. I was also trying to be a wife, perform at my job, and have a healthy pregnancy. How could these two miracles come into our lives and then have something like cancer ruin it? My parents who so wanted grandchildren and envisioned camping adventures with the kids, babysitting, and family get-togethers were now restricted to thinking only about making it through the next day of chemo or radiation.

At first, I thought it was so unfair that during the happiest time of our lives, my mom and dad have to be going through the most difficult time of theirs. Amazingly enough, all of his chemo was while I was on maternity leave. That meant I got to be with him during the worst part of his treatment. My little angel-baby lifted his spirits and helped him have laser focus on getting through it – a reason to fight! The timing had to be a miracle!

Just after my niece was born in California and my son was born in Washington, my brother’s company had a re-org. He was offered a new job, back in the Seattle area. Another crazy miracle! They moved after the first of the year and live in the neighborhood just across from ours. The babies play, we go on walks and cherish all of the quick, drop-in moments that we always hoped we’d have. This is what I pictured for my first year of being a mother. All the family together, dad’s treatment all done with and going on our way with busy schedules and worrying about smaller things like “did the baby poop today?”

Unfortunately though, my husband and I did have bigger things to worry about with our son. He was born with a congenital heart defect called VSD. He was diagnosed immediately after birth with having a large hole in his heart. Since he was born he has been monitored every 3 weeks by cardiologists and we knew that open heart surgery was eminent. Our family and friends took us into their arms and assured us that our baby would survive. And he did! He is thriving and healthy with a handsome scar spanning his tiny little chest. He was only 6 months old when I watched him be taken away as this untouched, beautiful baby to come back to me in ICU on life support and with a gamete of tubes coming from all over his body. I thought being a mom was going to be so easy? What’s this all about – I thought I’d have a blissful pregnancy, swift delivery, and a healthy little monster running my life. That is not at all what it’s like.

My husband and I requested the recording of his surgery. We were so curious and interested in what our son had to endure. We watched it with such amazement. I was overcome with emotion, not because it was graphic and too much to take in, but because I was able to watch the very moment in which my son’s life was saved. That was a miracle.

I know that my journey to my first Mother’s Day is out of the ordinary and I believe many things happen for a reason. My list of miracles, good and bad, were put in my path to teach me about being a child, being myself, and being a mother. My miracles taught me that parenting advice and experiences you read about in a magazine will never really equate to what you’ve gone through but that it’s the individual miracles, if you choose to look at them that way, that build you up to be the person that you are.

This Mother’s Day I will savor all of my miracles. My experience during pregnancy, dad’s cancer (now in remission – hurray!), my brother and sister-in-law coming home, my son being born and born again with his surgery and most of all, that every day I get to be a MOM.

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