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|A Special Mother's Day Story May 5, 2004
By Linda Beck
This weekend is Mother's Day. Ordinarily I would be thinking of my mother, or my mother-in-law. But this year I have a very special message about a very special mother.
Each year as Mother's Day approaches we all turn out thoughts to our mothers. We pay them special tributes because we love them. We shower them with gifts of love and special dinners that for once they didn't have to prepare. All mothers are special and they deserve this special tribute. They keep the family running every day.
This year I would like to pay special tribute to a very special mother. This mother has given everything to her family. She supports her husband with his business, runs the family household efficiently, while caring for three children ranging in age from 13 to 6 months. She has been handed many challenges as a mother and has gone the extra mile to do whatever was necessary to overcome each and every hurdle without even batting an eye. There have been heartaches and heartbreaks for her to deal with, as well as tragedies and triumphs.
This special mother is my own daughter, Donna.
In 1996 her second daughter, Kira, was born prematurely by 6 weeks. It was nearly a month before she was able to bring that baby home from the hospital. During that time we all witnessed Donna's absolute joy at every little success and her absolute devastation with each small setback. But through it all, Donna was there almost constantly, literally willing that baby to make the necessary improvements and to grow and mature enough to be able to join the rest of her family at home.
When she was finally given the word that she would be able to bring her daughter home, she was so overcome with emotion that she was very nearly unable to share that good news with the rest of the family. But share she did, and share we did with helping to care for this very tiny baby. She still needed special feedings, more frequently than babies born full term. This means that sleep was taken in small doses, unless someone else was there to help. But through even all of this Donna never wavered. She did what any good mother would do - she took care of her daughters.
Then in the summer of 1997 when this daughter was just 1 year old, we received some very troubling news. It seems that Kira, not only off to a rough start with her premature birth, was now facing yet another tough hurdle. She had been diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disease that would eventually cause her kidneys to completely shut down and be useless to her. Eventually she would need a kidney transplant if she were to surpass this latest hurdle. This happy and smiling little gem was facing some rough roads ahead.
For the next 3 years Kira would be placed on a strict diet, lots of medications, and growth hormones to replace that which her kidneys could no long produce in a sufficient amount. And if she was to receive a new kidney she would need to be big enough to be able to potentially receive an adult kidney. However, all these medications caused a complete loss of appetite. She just didn't want to eat anything. How frustrating to a parent to see an already small child turn down any food presented to her. The only alternative at this point was to have a feeding "plug" installed in her abdomen that would allow for liquid feedings as she slept. This was also how she was to be given the bulk of her medications.
Eventually the doctors determined that the time had arrived to get Kira at the top of the list of potential kidney recipients. A call through the whole family was made for volunteers to be tested as possible donors. Two excellent donors from immediate family members were found - an aunt and Kira's own mother, Donna.
What mother wouldn't do whatever was necessary for the health and well being of their children? Donna was no exception. She went forward through all of the testing to make sure that if she gave her daughter a kidney it would be accepted by her daughter's small body and function as it should.
Through all of this Donna had managed to keep a positive outlook. But when the first scheduled surgery had to be postponed and Kira had to go on dialysis, she finally broke down. It was apparently more than she could handle to know that her daughter's kidneys had finally completely shut down.
However, the second scheduled surgery did take place. My daughter gave her daughter life for the second time. And not only was the kidney accepted, but also it began cleansing her blood immediately. And now 3 years later it is still functioning as it should. Kira will, of course, be taking some medications for the rest of her life. But because of her mother's love that should be a long and happy life.
Donna was amazed at all of the attention she received as a live organ donor. She couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. To her it was as natural as changing a diaper or sharing an embrace.
Last fall, Donna gave birth to a son - a very happy healthy boy. Because of her unselfish gift to her daughter this boy will grow up knowing both of his older sisters and enjoying not only their love, but also the love of a very special and caring mother.
So this Mother's Day I am paying tribute to the most special mother that I know: my daughter Donna. Her motherly love has shown brightly with her unselfish gift of life to her daughter, and continues to shine every day. God bless you, Donna.
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