Monthly Archives: November 2016

Thanksgiving ’76

Forty Years Ago:

I stared at the TV, hearing the drone but not paying attention to the program. Earlier I had eaten to my heart’s content, wishing I hadn’t stuffed myself the way we did our turkey.

Before too long, I felt a strong urge. Alone and frightened, my heart raced.

I pressed the button.

And pressed again.…

I shouted.

No one came.

In desperation I banged on the wall, yelling, “Hello, anyone out there? I have to push! I have to push!” Doesn’t anyone hear me? I . . . have . . . to . . . push! 

I pounded on the walls, about to put a hole through it. At last, a nurse ran in. Much to her surprise—and my anguish—she found me fully dilated and ready to pop.

A lot of activity happened at once. Oddly enough at the same instant, I felt like an ice cube. The nurse noticed me trembling and threw three blankets over me. She fetched Mr. Wonderful in the lounge, already stretched out half-asleep. After waking him, they gave him a hospital gown, a cap, and a mask. After he followed them to the delivery room, they instructed him where to stand.

With my knees bent and feet in stirrups, an assistant leaned me forward.

“Now push,” my doctor instructed. “Push, hard.”

I took a deep breath and held it, managing a couple of pushes, one or two deep grunts and a long groan, feeling the blood rush to my brain. “I . . . can’t!” I gasped. “No more. I’m tired.”

“Come on. Keep pushing. Bear down. A little more.”

“Arrrrgh!”

“Shush. It’s okay, honey,” Mr. Macho-turned-coach drilled. “Stay calm.”

YOU stay calm! IT HURTS!

“Humph,” Donny snorted.

“All right, now give me one big, long push.”

“It . . . b-burns!” God, I feel like I’m tearing! 

“Okay, now stop. Stop pushing a moment.”

PushBreatheBear downDon’t pushBreathe! My mind zoomed from ninety to zero. Oh, what am I supposed to do? Why hadn’t Donny and I completed those Lamaze classes? Finally, the answer came to me: In order to refrain from pushing, I had to do a series of shallow breathing. Pant. Like a dog.

Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant. 

Donny watched the whole process bug-eyed and ashen-faced.

Some macho-man he turned out to be.

2:56 a.m.

Gorgeous. Chestnut hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Rosy cheeks. Ten fingers and ten toes. I was in my teens and just delivered a beautiful, healthy 7 lb. 6 oz. baby girl. My baby girl! Thank you, God. With the ideal name for her—in memory of my beloved grandma and my deceased sister—I named her Anna, with Marie being her middle name.

Once home, I savored the miracle before me: An innocent life at peace in her crib. A life I had only known as bittersweet; a life filled with much adversity from being alone, cold, hungry, and frightened. My mind twirled with unanswered questions. Could I protect this child and keep her safe? As her mommy, I wondered if I’d always be there for her, and not fail or disappoint her. Would we have a close relationship? Would she always feel my love?

(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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We celebrate my firstborn’s birthday on the 26th. About every four years, her birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day. From day one, she is a reminder of all I am thankful for. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. I thought I knew something about parenting and Motherhood, but when she came into my life, she taught me.

As I watched her grow, she taught me the rhythm of a mother’s heart beat for her child.

heartbeat

To my beautiful daughter:

Anna Marie, as you have already read in my book about some of the joys and sorrows of life that transpired before and after you came into the world, I pray you will always know that you are no accident. You were a blessing to my heart’s content then and continue to be so now. Thank you for all that you do for me and Pops, both abroad and beyond, as well as behind the scenes. We love and appreciate you.

Happy Birthday, Anna!

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When Trouble Comes …

trouble

Dear Readers:

What do you do when trouble comes? When dread clutches its icy fingers around your heart, or unimaginable images boggle the mind, what do you do?

I’ve been away a few days, but by the grace of God, I am back. Yes, an unforeseen event — beyond my control — brought me to my knees. It began when I received an unexpected phone call twelve days ago . . .

“Mom, come to the job-site; Pops fell off the ladder–”

“What? No!”

“He’s not responding now, Mom. I need to call 911.”

By the time I arrive at the scene, paramedics surround my husband. They have him in a neck brace and on a gurney, asking him questions. He is in and out of conscientiousness, unable to say where he is or what has happened. At that moment, many things become a blur to me. I try to follow the ambulance to the Emergency Hospital, lest I become lost due to complete disarray and panic.

So there I sit in the midst of the storm, waiting and interceding:  I can’t leave this hospital without him, Lord! 

I soon receive word that my husband suffers from severe injuries from falling off the 20′ ladder. Even though he missed the concrete, he sustains thirteen fractured ribs and partially collapsed lungs. A surgeon is assign to Mark and once in the ER, they insert a chest tube to inflate his lungs.

I call on family and friends to please pray for my husband . . .

When the accident occurred, my daughter and husband were working together. She joins me in the waiting room. “Mom,” she said, “when I got to Pops, he was praying, ‘Please help me, Jesus … heal me, Lord.'”

That piece of news soothes my soul — it comforts my heart, it encourages me — it encourages us all! You see, after his fall, my husband is unable to communicate; yet his spirit-man cries out to God for help!

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:6.

15045729_10207832063581448_925697627_nI stay in ICU as long as I can before they send me home. Three days later, they transfer Mark to a private room with a common germ on the skin called MRSA (a type of Staph). I remain with hubby in his room for the duration of his stay. He is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The morphine pump doesn’t seem to be enough. Every day, several times a day, two or three blood samples from different veins are taken for blood culture. Only problem is that Mark’s veins are small rolling veins, which eventually cause his arm to become tender and swell up.

We’re so blessed having our dear pastors from church come by, as well as a few other visitors, dressed in gloves and gown to pray over Mark. On the fourth day, the doctor removes my husband’s chest tube, but he is not out of the woods yet . . .

Day Five: Mark experiences excruciating pain in his leg, so much so that his blood pressure elevates with 103-degree fever. Still unable to sit up, they wheel him out on his bed for additional x-rays of his hip, femur and leg. When they return, he is knocked out. In the wee hours of the morning, he’s awakened drenched in sweat, tugging and pulling off his gown, tangled with the wires he’s connected to. I buzz for the nurse and try holding him down until help comes. They cool his body and when they use a wet cloth on his brow and neck, he says it feels good.

Day Six: The doctor leaves after checking in on Mark. That same hour, Mark says he feels a chill. I figure maybe his fever has worn off and I cover him with another blanket. But he complains of still feeling cold and begins to shiver. Ten minutes into it, he takes a turn for the worse. I call for the nurse. She comes with a couple of extra blankets, telling Mark he’ll soon be warm and leaves. Mark’s shivers become more vigorous and uncontrollable, he even starts wheezing. After a few more minutes of shivering, he becomes unresponsive. I run out to fetch help.

The nurse comes in and rushes back out and calls for a Code Blue. Within minutes, a rapid response team of ten to fifteen people arrives at Mark’s bedside bringing along some emergency equipment; even the chaplain walks in. While the team is surrounding Mark, the chaplain is trying to speak with me. He asks if I am the wife. He says he can see how much love I have for my husband. But I don’t want to chat with him. I want to talk with Mark. The doctor comes and asks me what has happened. “You tell me,” I answered.

I quickly phone my son, telling him of Mark’s condition and to pray. I remain near Mark’s bedside and caress his face while talking to him. And I look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. I don’t know how many minutes pass before the doctor and the entire team, work on getting Mark to respond. Thank God, my husband finally comes to!

More test. They find that Mark has a bout of pneumonia, as well as an unknown infection in his blood. He is off of morphine and Norco is given for pain. Now they have him on a broad spectrum of antibiotics for infections. Three days later, the infection he has is called Acinetobacter, commonly isolated from the hospital environment and hospitalized patients. In other words, this type of bacteria is frequently associated with healthcare associated infections.

Day Nine: Mark is able to sit up in a chair for a short period of time. That evening, he is using a walker as we walk around the corridor. The hospital staff is amaze and delighted. It is obvious that they adore my hubby.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentations 3:22

Day Ten: Homeward bound!

I am happy to report that hubby is resting and quite content being back home. I appreciate every one that extended their love, prayers, and encouragement on our behalf. I may feel a bit worn out, but then again, I am one grateful woman. We have much to be thankful for.


I once read, “It is hard to wrap your heart around trouble when it pierces your soul.” So when trouble comes knocking at your door, don’t walk it alone. Give it to God and reach out to others for encouragement and support.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:2

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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