Thursday, May 17, 2012

We are family (Baby brothers and SCAD sisters)

I am the oldest of three and have two younger brothers.  I was too little when Matt was born to hope for a sister but when my mom was pregnant with Josh, I desperately hoped (sorry Josh) that he would be a baby sister.  My parents did not want to find out what they were having until the baby arrived, so I just decided in my head that Josh was a girl....

Sidebar: Whose name, unbeknowst to me, would be Rebecca Edwina. Joshua Edwin, be glad you were a boy and don't have "Edwina" as a middle name. Mom, really?!

.....When my mom went into labor, I spent the night at our daycare provider's house, which was close to the hospital.  I woke up the next day to her voice on the phone with someone telling her that my mom had given birth to a healthy baby BOY. The six year old version of me burrowed under the pillows and decided I'd heard incorrectly.  Then the babysitter came in to share the good news.  She dug me out of my pillow fort and gave me a squeeze as she asked if I was happy to have another little brother.  I was not(sorry again, Josh). But of course, I got used to being the lone sister and these days, I just love watching my brother's spoil Cameron  as two doting uncles. I can't imagine my life without my brothers!

My brothers are truly best friends and perhaps I've always been a bit envious that I wasn't closer (in age or relationship) to them and maybe even a bit wistful that I don't have a sister.  My mom and aunts share very special relationships with each other and my friends with sisters seem to have a pretty unique bond (even if they argue like cats and dogs!) Lucky for me, I married a man with two wonderful, kind and generous sisters who are the best sisters-in-law a girl could ask for!

Earlier this month, my family tree grew about 25 more branches when I had the chance to meet my "heart sisters".  On May 5th, 2012, over 20 SCAD survivors and their loved ones gathered in Naperville, IL for the first annual 5k run/walk to support SCAD research (http://www.scadresearch.org/). For the last year, my only contact with these women was online through inspire.com and Facebook (yes, SCAD has a page!). But to meet them.... meet and see and hug people who've been through this messy, scary process... needless to say, the experience was priceless.

I chatted with 6 other women who had post-partum SCAD... some had more than one.  Some were medically managed, some have stents like me, some had open heart surgery.  Our hearts are all damaged in some way - some better, some worse. We all brag about how cute our "SCAD babies" are. One survivor suffered her SCAD 10 years ago at the age of 27 after the birth of her third child.  Some women had other risk factors and some appear to have none at all - yet, we all are still here. I seek out these stories of hope regularly, but to be in the company of people who have been down this road absolutely redefined what "inspiration" means to me.

We are mommies, grandmas, sisters, spouses and friends.  If you've never thought about it - This is what women with heart disease looks like. And this beautiful, amazing group of ladies are my sisters for life! How happy am I to be stuck with them :)

Ok- now I've starting crying and am prone to blathering on about how lovely this experience was and how happy I am that Brian and Cameron could share it with me. Let it suffice that I have the best siblings, sisters-in-law, and now, an amazing group of heart sisters. Already looking forward to next year!

"To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other's hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time."  ~Clara Ortega

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget about your Loyola sisters. :)
    What a wonderful experience though-- thanks, as always, for sharing your stories. I love you!