By Gel Santos Relos
MOTHERS’ DAY this year is extra special for me. It is a milestone because this 2014, I have also became a grandmother with the birth of my first apo – Azshara Angelina Relos Reinheimer — last April 12.
I have yet to see my granddaughter face-to-face, and will have to wait to finally hold her in my arms, because she is still in the incubator of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Mercy Children’s Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.
My apo was born way ahead of schedule, at six and a half months. My daughter Misty had premature contractions when she was only 23 weeks in her pregnancy and was rushed in time to the hospital to save her and the baby. The doctors tried to do their best to arrest the contractions so her baby could stay in her womb for as long as possible. They also gave her treatment to help the baby develop her important body systems faster. This would give her a better chance to survive, in case she would have to be delivered ahead of the nine month full term.
After two weeks, however, Misty had contractions again. The doctors had to do a cesarean-section procedure to deliver the baby who at that fragile stage cannot go through vaginal birth. This emergency procedure would avoid the risk of fatal infection to both mother and child.
It has been an intense experience for our family. This tiny 1-lb,7-oz, 12-inch long baby girl has faced a few setbacks which caused us to worry so much about her. This was particularly difficult for her Mom Misty and Dad Dave. But four weeks hence, this beautiful, feisty warrior has emerged victorious and stronger.
Azshara is now almost a month old. With God’s miracle, she is now stable and has grown to 13.5 inches long and weighs almost 2 lbs. Her pink skin color radiates her good health. Her movements and cute baby cries reveal that spunky character of a little girl, who wants to live and make a difference in this world!
As I traverse this journey of faith, I have been praying and watching God’s will unfold, as both a mother and a grandmother.
As a lola, I have been praying to God, seeking intercession from all the saints and angels and departed loved ones to pray with me (especially my patron saint St. Jude Thaddeus, Archangel for healing Raphael, Mama Mary and St. Joseph) for Azshara to survive, thrive, and live a long, healthy, normal, happy and blessed life with her Mommy Misty and Daddy Dave.
As a mother, I have been praying for strength and faith for my daughter Misty, so she could carry on — amid the uncertainties, fear and toll on her body. But with such prayers, my heart sings with praise and thanksgiving — witnessing how God has already been there with my daughter as she traverses her own faith journey, as mother to Azshara.
Going through a difficult high-risk pregnancy after a miscarriage at 19 weeks last year, Misty never gave up on being a mother. Not that she did not agonize over the physical hardship and all the anxiety — I was a sounding board to all her laments and litany of despair.
But despite of these, she persisted — stood up each time she fell, continues on with her fight to nurture her baby and gives her all the unconditional love a mother could give her little one.
I have had my share of life’s troubles, disappointments, and hardships, but I had been blessed with four healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies. I look at my daughter now and I just have this overflowing love and respect and admiration for her, for carrying on despite the obstacles — the fear and anxiety she has been dealing with as a mother.
I have also seen how she has grown and evolved in her unconditional love for her husband Dave — the kind of love that thinks not only of one’s self, but of what is good about and for the beloved.
My daughter is such a strong woman and human being, more than she gives her self credit for. Despite her reservations against organized religion, Misty has exemplified in her life as she faces all these battles, just how much faith and unselfish love she has in her heart. I am in awe.
I am also grateful that God has blessed Misty with an amazing husband in Dave. His unconditional love, understanding, acceptance, and support for Misty (even during the most difficult and challenging times) has helped my daughter realize and affirm all the goodness in her as a person. Isn’t that what love and marriage are about?
This Mothers’ Day, I thank God for the gift of unconditional love and the grace of faith He has given all mothers — like my own Mommy Angelita, me and my daughter. As a new lola, I also thank God for the pleasant discovery and surprise that even after raising four children, I still have so much love to give in my heart — this time, for the generation of my granddaughter and many more apos to come.
Now on to what many lolos and lolas say — the joy of fulfilling my “apo”stolic duties!
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY, and much love to the fathers, who make this possible.