Lissette was my husband’s mother.
A year ago today, she tragically and suddenly lost her life.
She should still be here, but she isn’t.
She was in my life for a short time, just shy of 3 years. It’s easy to embellish a relationship when people die. I think it helps some people cope. I dont’t do that. The truth is we, unfortunately, never got to know each other as well as we could have. Just another reminder that we’re on borrowed time – and that every person you meet could be gone in the blink of an eye – so use your time wisely.
I don’t speak about her death often. Like most uncomfortable things in my life, I think if I don’t acknowledge it, it’s not real. But in honor of her life, and her death, I want to share a story I’ve never shared with anyone until now.
About 7 weeks into my pregnancy, I found myself in an Emergency Room waiting room. I had terrible abdominal pain and an off the charts white blood cell count. I was alone.
I had betas done to test my pregnancy hormones – they came back high. Astronomically high. I relaxed. 5 hours later I had a follow up blood panel done. As I sat in that crowded waiting room, alone, with a Picc line still stuck in my arm I got the results back on my cell phone. My hormone levels had dropped. Significantly. I knew at that moment what was happening. I was losing my baby. Again. I sat in the waiting room with tears streaming down my face. I think at one point I sent a text to my husband that read “I don’t know why this is happening to me.” I felt like I was being punished. I had prayed for this baby every day. My rainbow baby. This was supposed to complete my family. How could this happen? I felt like a failure.
I was then on hour 6 of waiting. I was tired. I was devastated. I just wanted to go home, lie down and not wake up for a couple days. But a voice in the back of my head told me to stay. A calm washed over me.
So I decided to stay.
I had an ultrasound (during which I wasn’t allowed to look at the monitor) and was released back to the waiting room. Minutes passed like hours. The anxiety started to creep back slowly, but surely. I was tired. I was afraid. I wanted my mother, who was out of state. I wanted my husband, who was home with our son. I swallowed a golf ball sized lump in my throat and got up to ask for discharge papers. But a voice told me to stay. So I sat back down. I took a deep breath. I struck up conversations with some kind families waiting nearby. I felt that familiar calm wash over me.
After 9 hours of waiting I was finally ready to see a doctor. My eyes were swollen, my contacts were foggy, my skin was sunken and sallow and I just couldn’t seem to stop shaking. A kind nurse gave me a warm blanket. I waited for the doctor to walk in and tell me what I already knew.
He walked in and told me the unthinkable.
There was a 7 week old fetus growing inside me. There was a perfect little heart beating. There were tiny bud-like limbs exactly where they should be. My baby was fine. I was fine.
He walked out and I sat there for a good 5 minutes and let the news sink in. I walked out of the hospital after almost 10 hours like I was walking on air. I got in my car and drove home in complete silence.
All of a sudden I was overcome with a feeling of overwhelming gratitude. And in that moment I spoke to my mother in law, Lissette.
I told her I knew she had been in the emergency room with me. I told her I knew she was the voice telling me to stay. I told her I knew she was the calm that would intermediately relieve me of my pain and anxiety. And I thanked her.
I thought I was alone. But I really wasn’t.
She was there.
In Memory of Lissette