Tag Archives: hopelessness

The Day the Earth Stood Still

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”

My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.

Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”

So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?

“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back with you.”

Did that answer come out of me?

I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?

The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.

What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?

That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life in me.

Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…

I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Mary, think about what—”

“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”

“Mary, I was only trying. . .”

“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”

“Look Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”

“You never had children,” I protested.

“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another how she was looking out for my best interest.

After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.

I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.

Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.

Days, weeks and months overlapped one another; my past troubles behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”

**********

Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.

Next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.

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

Daniel28916_1453827833528_7338531_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Please understand I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who for whatever reason may have made a different decision than I did. Everyone has their own story to tell; this is mine. I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life. This was one example when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. While it’s true that I may have my share of regrets in life, not giving birth to my one and only son thirty-five years ago is not one of them.

Happy Birthday, son! I love you with all my heart!

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

8 Comments

Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, Uncategorized

The Day the Earth Stood Still

“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.

I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.

“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”

Then again, maybe not.

“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.

I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?

“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”

“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”

My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.

Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”

So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?

“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back with you.”

Did that answer come out of me?

I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?

The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.

What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?

That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life in me.

Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…

I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.

“Thanks, but no thanks.”

“Mary, think about what—”

“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”

“Mary, I was only trying. . .”

“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”

“Look Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”

“You never had children,” I protested.

“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another how she was looking out for my best interest.

After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.

I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.

Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.

Days, weeks and months overlapped one another; my past troubles behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”

**********

Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.

Daniel

28916_1453827833528_7338531_n

Next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.

Note: I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who may have made a different decision for whatever reason.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I share my story because this was one time when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. I may have my share of regrets in life, but not in giving birth to my one and only son thirty-two years ago.

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

26 Comments

Filed under Memoir, Pro-Life, struggles

Amazing Grace

I kissed her sweet, velvety cheeks. When her tiny hand wrapped around my finger, she instantly wrapped around my heart. Having just witnessed the birth of my first granddaughter, I was simply ecstatic. Grace Elizabeth, a little thing with a mop of chestnut hair and raven eyes, reminded me of the sister I loss so long ago.

Not long after, our joy was short-lived. Apprehension and a staggering wave of fear suddenly replaced excitement and joy.

Her doctor ordered x-rays, ultrasounds, RSV, EKG, blood work and an echocardiogram. “She has three holes in her heart,” he announced. His foreign words invaded my head: “congenital heart defect . . . coarctation of the aorta . . . a ventricular septal defect . . . an arterial septal defect . . . a bicuspid aortic
valve . . .”

But three words snatched my breath away: “open-heart surgery.”

Surrounded by family, we waited. Watched. And prayed.

That night, my daughter Angela and I shared a couch that opened to a bed in Grace’s room. Dreams and visions overlapped, as I drifted in and out of a fitful slumber. Nurses routinely coming in to check on Grace’s vital signs, administered meds and prepared her feeding tube around the clock, interrupted sleep.

But tonight was different. At 3 a.m., a nurse instructed all residents to remain in their rooms behind closed doors. We couldn’t help but peek out of the window blinds. We watched in horror as the mother of the infant in Room 1704 ran inside, her hand over her mouth. Her wails carried across the hallway from inside. When other relatives arrived, they hold unto one another weeping, lamenting, and grieving.

Tears flowed down our faces. I gazed upon Angela—my baby girl who always wanted a baby girl—and grieved along with her. Though she carried unspoken heaviness, she remained strong for her household.

My eyes fixate upon our sick Grace. The doctors had said that Grace needed to gain weight, but she only grew weaker and tired more easily. Instead of eating, she slept during feedings. I watched her shallow, rapid breathing and listened to the heart monitor. Beep. A precious life. Beep. Hopelessness loomed. Beep. I said another prayer.

Beep, Beep, Beep. The rhythm of Grace’s heart monitor echoed louder in my head.

Come morning, more alarming reports:

“Murmur is louder.”

“Heart’s beating fast; enlarged, working too hard.”

“Surgery tomorrow.”

We waited for the day; we waited for the hour, but when the time for her procedure arrived, tomorrow seemed much too soon!

In the morning, we huddled around Grace in a curtained room. Words failed to express our love for this precious twenty-nine day old child. We covered her with our tears, our kisses, and our prayers.

“Please Lord, bring her back to me,” my daughter whispered and cried.

In a moment’s time, they whisked her away to prep her and lay her on the operating table, surrounded by nine surgeons. We felt helpless but believed God while we prayed that He would return Grace to us alive . . . whole . . . and healthy.

After four hours in surgery, the cardiologist reported, “Grace’s heart is very sick,” and added, “We didn’t know how sick until actually seeing it.”

The pendulum swung. We sat and paced. Paced and sat.

A flood of questions crammed my mind: How do you silence the sobs that overtake you? How can you calm the waters and keep the dam from bursting from within the depths of your being? How do you say good-bye when someone has captured your very heart and soul?

Nine hours later we were told, “Her heart failed when taken off bypass.”

My gut tightened. “Please, Lord.”

We gathered in a quiet room to pray. I studied the faces of each family member. The women prayed openly as they cried out to God. The men, unable to trust their voices, did not open their mouths for fear of losing control.

After three hours, the doctor’s assistant entered and announced, “She’s made it, but she’s not out of the woods yet.”

We hugged one another. Tears of relief flow freely.

“The next forty-eight hours will be critical,” she cautioned. “You can briefly see her soon.”

Emotions raw, I lacked the courage to see Grace lying still, motionless, and heavily sedated. “I want to see my granddaughter when her beautiful eyes are open,” I said.

Angela understood. “Mom, go home and rest,” she urged. “I’ll keep you posted.”

Day One Post-Surgery, my daughter’s report via email:

Baby Grace remains heavily sedated, and has countless tubes and wires attached to her small frame. Mom, the list is endless: a breathing tube, pacemaker, rectal thermometer, catheter, and so much more. Arms and inner thighs are bruised due to multiple attempts to locate the main artery. The sides of her head are shaven. Her face is bloated from fluids. One lung has collapsed. Mom, I’m so scared!

Day Two Post-Surgery, another email:

No movement, still heavily sedated. I held Baby Grace’s little hand and said, “Mommy’s here.” Grace moved her head for me and I whispered in her ear, “Mommy loves you so much.” When her eyes opened for me, my heart skipped a beat!

Day Three Post-Surgery:

Mom, Grace is better and responding to touch. Her swelling has gone down. They re- installed her feeding tube today and are giving 5cc of my breast milk per hour. She is eating now and will gain weight again.

Day Five:

My first day to see Grace since her surgery. Overflows of emotions bombarded every nerve in my being. Hope crashed into fear. Joy into anxiety.

I must keep it together. My legs turned to putty. My daughter took me by the hand and led me into Grace’s room . . .

I see her! I reached down, caressed her face and gently placed my hand over her chest. The incision was the length of my index finger.

And then her eyes! Those familiar eyes sparkled and looked at me as if to say, “See Mimi. I’m here. I’ve made it.”2062_1069678230028_1130_n

Seven years have passed.

Grace recently graduated to the first grade, grinning from ear to ear. She laughs and skips about, discovering her world. My precious granddaughter has been through so much. She won’t remember a thing about her ordeal. Nevertheless, I will forever hold onto the memories of those dark days and long nights. I will relish the story of this tiny girl who showed tenacity and never gave up.

I lift Grace, embrace her, and smother her with kisses. Her little heart beats next to mine; nothing short of a miracle.

Our hope.942275_10201220822310463_1048247074_n
Our joy.
Our gift.
Amazing Grace.

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

8 Comments

Filed under 29-days old, Grace, Health, Open-heart surgery