It is just past midnight and that makes it officially July 31. I turn 58 years old today. For the first time in my life my beloved Mother is not here to tell me my birth story. I think everyone else in my family got tired of hearing the story, over, over, and over some more. I NEVER got tired of hearing my story. In the telling of my story Mama reminded me that my life has a purpose, and that I have value.
I will remind myself of my "Miracle Story," this year. I have a fabulous imagination. I'm very grateful for this gift. It helps keep those that I love alive although they have finished their mortal journey.
Mama would start my story, "I wasn't able to get pregnant. My kidneys didn't work properly so I could not carry a baby to term without significant risk to myself and the child. My uterus was tissue paper thin, which meant that it could rupture, causing massive hemorhaging, killing the baby and myself."
"When the doctor told me that I was pregnant he said, 'Mrs. Cheney in cases of severe danger to a Mother or Child such as your pregnancy, most doctor's would recommend aborting the fetus to save the Mother's life. I'm a staunch Catholic and you are a staunch Mormon. We do not believe in abortion. We both will have to exercise our faith.'"
In addition to Mother's other health challenges, she was 38 years old. That is rather old to be pregnant and delivering a baby. It was even more dangerous in 1956 when I was born. There was no mechanized baby monitoring. There was no ultrasound for diagnostic purposes.
Along the way there were many complications. Mama had to spend some time in bed to avoid toxemia, which can be stress irritated, and when you don't have two strong functioning kidneys can be quite lethal.
Toward the end of the pregnancy the doctor discovered that I was turned in breach position. This is very dangerous. Especially in a high-risk pregnancy like Mother's. Mama gathered my Father and her Father together and they gave her a special blessing. As the blessing progressed Mama felt me turn inside. She was not surprised at her next doctor visit to discover that indeed, now I was in the proper position for birth.
Mother was in labor for an entire month. She would have some pretty severe contractions, and quite close together, but then they would stop. On July 31, 1956, she had been quite miserable all day. Her Mother was visiting, my Grandma Howard. Grandma wanted to visit with family that lived in California before she returned to Utah.
Mama took her to a couple of family homes. As the day progressed Mother became more and more uncomfortable. She had gone through 7 pregnancies by this time in her life. Only two of them had resulted in full-term live births.
Grandma and Mom returned home. They prepared dinner and gathered the family to kneel in front of their chairs to say a blessing over the food. As the prayer was being said, Mama felt a pop, and then suddenly she was very wet.
She didn't wait for the prayer to end. Dashing into the restroom she verified her suspicions. Her water had broken. Immediately her rather half hazard labor became quite earnest. Grandma stayed with my 10 year old brother and my 6 year old sister. Father drove Mother to the hospital.
One of the neighbors commented later, "I suspected that Wendell was taking Sarah to the hospital. He seemed in rather a larger hurry than usual." My Dad was an incredibly cautious driver so the rapidity of his driving was quite different from his normal habits.
The very minute that they stepped into the hospital Mama was whisked away to labor and delivery. A quick exam showed them that not only was she fully dilated but I was trying to push right down the birthing canal...immediately!
Twenty minutes after Mother and Father entered the hospital, Mama was delivered of a strong, apparently healthy 8 pound baby girl. Her doctor couldn't make it to the hospital in time to deliver me. He was stuck in Los Angeles Traffic. (We were living in Pomona, California at the time).
He arrived when two staff doctor's were finishing all the detail work on Mama. He stood in the back of the labor and delivery room saying, "You need to understand that ALL birth is a miracle. This birth, however, is even more of a miracle than usual. 1. Mrs. Cheney could no longer get pregnant due to a traumatic still-birth 4 years earlier. 2. Mrs. Cheney has significant kidney problems making pregnancy life threatening. 3. Mrs. Cheney has a tissue thin uterus so carrying a child to term could very easily be deadly for both her and the baby. 4. Her baby had been breach position which Mrs. Cheney could not deliver. Somehow it turned before labor began. 5. The baby is full-term and eight pounds?
I was a five reason miracle...and my Mother never liked me to forget that. It has helped me all of my life, especially when life's circumstances are heavy, to remember that I have a purpose, a value to my life.
Mama's physical self is not on the earth anymore, but her spirit remains with all of us that love her so much (And loving her was ever so easy!) She would never want me to forget that I am FIVE TYPES OF MIRACLES! So Mama, I hope I did the story justice. Thanks for always making me feel like a miracle, a blessing, to you!
One of the miracles in MY life is that I got to have a loving, amazing Mother for 57 years of my life. Mama you will always be in my life. I will hear your laughter when your namesake (our youngest daughter) laughs. I will see your beauty in so many of your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great great grandchildren! I will hear your sense of humor, and your brilliant mind expressed through all your descendants.
I will keep you close to my heart and give thanks for the rest of my life for the gift of such a Mother. A beloved Mother who told me that I was FIVE TYPES OF MIRACLES!
I sent Mama flowers every year on my birthday. Now, I will change the tradition. I will take the flowers to her graveside. In my mind I will hear the gratitude that she always expressed. I will enjoy the childlike wonder that she always showed towards the earth's beauty. Most especially I will remember until we are together again, I LOVE YOU Mother! Thank you for being so patient, and loving me all of my life!