My mother and father passed away tragically at the age of 50, two months before I would find out that I was pregnant with my first baby. The loss was overwhelming. A few months later, I got the greatest gift of faith and hope when my husband and I learned that we would soon have a child to love. While we knew it would never replace the loss of my parents, we were confident it was a sign that life goes on no matter how difficult. I had an amazing pregnancy given the year our family had, with no pregnancy symptoms except for a bothersome varicose vein on my left leg. Someone was watching over me and made it such an enjoyable experience. I felt healthy and finally understood what that “pregnancy glow” was all about.
A week prior to my due date, at about 1 a.m., I woke up out of a dead sleep. I had never felt any sort of contraction before but I knew “this was it.” Once my contractions were only a few minutes apart, we spoke to the doctor and my husband and I were soon on our way to the hospital. After I received the epidural I was in good spirits with a picture of my parents by my side. While my focus was on giving birth to a healthy baby, I also missed my parents and especially wanted my mom to be there. There are specific moments in a daughter's life where you just want your mom, and giving birth is one of them. I wanted to call her to tell her that I was in labor and hear the excitement through the phone that they were on their way. But a few moments later, I got my own sign that she was there. After meeting several nurses, we met a wonderful woman that would be by my side with my husband the entire labor, guiding us through each and every step in one of the most important moments of our lives. The nurse’s name was Patricia, which happened to be my mother's name and the middle name we were using for our daughter. That was my sign. She was loving and sweet just like my mom, and it gave me such a sense of hope that while I couldn't see my mom and dad anymore, they were there. They provided the courage and faith I needed to move forward and bring new life into the world.
At 11:35 a.m. on Martin Luther King Day, we welcomed our princess, Elle Patricia. She is truly a blessing from above. Thanks, Mom and Dad.