Our guest for this week’s Mommy Talks is Ms. Olga Espino from the mommy blog The Tottering Mama. I have been inspired with her story and her blogs about her kids so I want to share her story with you today.
Chris: Hello mommy Olga! Thanks for agreeing to be featured today here at Mommy Talks. For the benefit of those who don’t know you yet, can you share a bit about yourself?
Olga: My husband Jasper and I have been married for three years. Our eldest daughter, Jade, is three years old and our son, Jakei, is two. I’ve been an academic tutor to high school and grade school students for more than ten years now. I had to trim the number of tutees I could accomodate to not more than three students so I could focus on taking care of my two toddlers. This year, I also discovered the vast blogosphere and have been actively blogging at http://www.totteringmama.com/ since. I also won a domain for a food blog, http://www.foodiemomster.com/, which I am still trying to build.
Taking care of my husband and our two toddlers, preparing all our meals, running the household, ghostwriting, blogging, and my afternoon tutorial sessions keep my world alive, colorful, and meaningful.
Chris: How about your family?
Olga: Four years ago, my husband and I were greatly surprised to find out that we were having twins. It was a difficult pregnancy from the very beginning and we have had to deal with subchorionic hemorrhage, bleeding, growth discrepancy between the twins, and premature contractions.
Our twins were born prematurely at 32 weeks and weighed only 1kg and 1.5 kg. Although their APGAR scores were both 9,10, they were both taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit due to their prematurity and very low birth weight. Jade, our 1kg baby, had to stay at the hospital nursery for 2 months before she had gained enough weight for the doctors to allow us to take her home. Jake, who seemed to be healthier as she was the bigger twin, succumbed to respiratory distress and went home to heaven instead of to our house.
Barely five months after giving birth to the twins, we found out that we were expecting a child again. Soon after, our little boy Jakei joined our brood.
Now, our 3-yr-old daughter and 2-yr-old son keep our home full of joy and laughter. They turn the house(and everyone else in it) topsy-turvy but we can’t imagine living life differently.
Chris: Can you share what happened to Jake?
Olga: This is the neonatologist’s final diagnosis:
Immediate Cause: Respiratory Failure
Antecedent Cause: Severe Pneumonia with bilateral Pneumothorax s/p bilateral chest tube thoracostomy
But I would like to think that after days of fighting for her life, Jesus decided that she would be better off with Him where there is no pain and suffering. So on the 87th hour of her life, He finally took her in His arms and brought her to God’s garden. I love envisioning her playing happily in God’s garden with all the other angels there.
Chris: How did you and your husband cope? Who or what was instrumental in your recovery?
Olga: My husband was able to accept what had happened and was able to move on quickly. He told me that on Jake’s third day in the PICU, he prayed to God and offered our child to God knowing that God had a plan for her and for us. My husband wanted the best for our baby but also had faith on what God wanted.
I, on the other hand, was distraught and became an emotional mess. I blamed myself for what had happened to my daughters. I felt that if I had taken care of myself more while pregnant, my twins would not have been born prematurely. My Jake would have still been with us and my little Jade would have been healthier as well. I suffered from postpartum depression, the severity of which we managed to hide from other members of the family. It even came to a point when I finally decided to end my life thinking that everyone would be better off without me. Had my husband not stopped me in time, I would be some place I really wouldn’t want to be.
From then until now, my husband has done his utmost best to hold the family together. My father-in-law has also helped us by giving his full support and understanding. My parents and my sisters have also helped keep my sanity in check. The toddlers have also given me the strength and the reason to move on and to accept what I cannot change. Without my family’s support, I would not be able to recover from my depression.
Chris: We know that your child was still young when your baby went to be with the Lord. Did you tell them about their sister?
Olga: My daughter was still an infant also and my son hadn’t been born yet when Jake went to heaven. My eldest sister made a poster of Jake for her wake and funeral, we’ve kept it and placed it beside Jake’s urn. My other children see it everyday and know that they have a sister in heaven.
On Jake’s death anniversary last July, my daughter saw me crying and told me that it was ok and that I shouldn’t cry. When I told her that I was crying because I miss Jake very much she matter-of-factly said, “But Jake is just right there. She’s in our picture.” And every night, before our children go to sleep, my husband would always remind them to include Jake in their prayer. My daughter Jade would say “Jesus, please say hi to Jake in heaven”.
Chris: Did you learn any lesson from this experience?
Olga: I’ve probably learned more life lessons in the past three years than all the lessons I’ve learned since I was born. Here are some of the most important ones:
There is no need to put the blame on anyone. When I lost my daughter, I first blamed myself for not taking care of myself well enough. Then I blamed my husband for not exerting much effort in keeping me happy throughout the pregnancy. Then I questioned God why He blessed me with two children only to take one of them away so very soon. In the end, I finally realized that it was really no one’s fault neither did anyone want Jake to suffer the way she did.
Learn to accept things that you cannot change. I wallowed in grief for so long. Every night I would cry and tell myself that I should have done this or I should have done that. My husband was the one who made me realize that crying would not change anything and that living a life full of regrets is not living at all.
Never question God. I did, so many times. Only to come to the realization that God’s plan is always perfect. We may not always fully understand why we go through difficulties in life, but always, always, have faith in God’s perfect plan for each of us.
Chris: Do you have any message you may want to share with other parents who might be undergoing the same thing as you did?
Olga: Here’s what my husband always tells me, “Learn to cope with life. Always hope for the best and expect the worst so there will be less disappointment. And never ever lose faith in God, for He is the only one who has all the answer to life’s problems.”
Chris: Truly inspiring and encouraging. Thank you very much for sharing your life and experience with us.