Mother’s Day is a special time to celebrate moms and all they do throughout the year for their kids. To honor the moms we see every day, we’re sharing six heartwarming stories from Children’s Wisconsin that illustrate some of the ways moms support and care for their children when they need it most.
While our doctors, advanced practice providers and nurses provide the medical care that children need, moms provide another kind of necessary medicine: a mixture of love, comfort, strength, advocacy … whatever their child may need.
Lindsay wanted to grow her family. What she didn’t expect was it to grow by three. “It’s very surreal. But I can’t imagine my life any other way now.” Aksel, Beckett and Blake were born at 27 weeks, and they’ve been in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since February 21 as they work on gaining weight and growing strong. Being a mom to multiples gives Lindsay a unique challenge. Lindsay says, “As a triplet, you’re always a part of a group. You don’t have your own birthday, and you have to share a lot of special moments. My wish for them is that they each have their own separate passions that are individually theirs. As a mom, my job is to help them figure that out: who they want to be and how to get them there.”
It’s often said moms have a sixth sense — they can tell what their child is thinking or feeling without any words. That’s the case for Brittany, mom to 2-year-old Liam. At 4 months, she took her son for a brain scan that indicated he was having hundreds of seizures a day. Since then, Liam has been receiving treatment within our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit as doctors within our Neurosciences Center work to determine what is the best medication to treat his seizures. “He can’t talk — he’s non-verbal” says Brittany. “As his mom, I need to be his advocate and be his voice. I need to ask the tough questions when they need to be asked. I need to determine when he’s in pain and when he’s not in pain. I need to guide him to help get him where he needs to go.”
Taynetta knew exactly what her 15-year-old daughter, Aryana, was feeling when doctors told her she had a brain tumor — Taynetta had been in the same situation four years ago. “It helped a lot in comforting her, because even though I’m tumor-free now, I know what it feels like to receive that kind of news. While I was scared and worried for her, I didn’t want her to worry.” After receiving Aryana’s diagnosis, the family met with our neurosurgical team and was presented with the option to surgically remove the tumor. Taynetta felt comfortable moving forward with the operation, though she ultimately knew the decision rested with her teenage daughter. “As a mom, I knew I wanted to support her as someone who is becoming an adult and who can make this decision for herself.” Aryana agreed to the procedure, and it was successfully completed earlier this year. “She’s doing so much better. Now, I just want her to grow up and be all that she can be, and for her to really live life to the fullest.”
“When you’re a mom, sometimes your only choice is to be strong and conquer your fears,” says Deana, mother to 1-year-old Raffi who receives a weekly factor infusion at the Northwestern Mutual Day Hospital within our MACC Fund Center, where we care for children with cancer and blood disorders. Raffi has hemophilia, and this infusion — done by needle — helps provide his body with necessary medicine. “I have a fear of needles, so this is even harder for me. But here I am, stabilizing his arm so he can get the treatment he needs. It’s crazy what you can do when you have to do it. Sometimes, mom has to be the superhero and put the tough face on so that everyone else is calm and happy.”
“Amber is really strong,” Cindy proudly says of her 6-year-old daughter. In this photo, Amber is receiving dialysis, a treatment she undergoes three times a week to help support her failing kidney. Amber will continue to have these sessions until she gains enough weight to qualify for the kidney transplant list. From her head to her toe, Amber has special medical needs, and she sees seven specialists at Children’s Wisconsin. Cindy knows that part of her job is to manage all of Amber’s care so that she can continue being a kid, but she also knows that it comforts Amber to know that they’re in this together. “She needs to know that I’m there for all the stuff she’s going through. When she has a procedure, the first thing she asks for when she wakes up is to see me. It’s important for her to know that she’s not doing this alone, and that I’m by her side through it all.”
At just 3 years old, Kate has undergone four heart surgeries. In this photo, Kate is recovering from her third and final procedure for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, performed by specialists in our Herma Heart Center. After experiencing more surgeries than birthdays for Kate, Ann understands what it takes to comfort a child who is facing an operation. “When you’re about to head into these procedures, you know that you just have to be tough for her. You put all your stuff on the back burner for her benefit.”
Whether celebrating in the hospital or at home, we wish a very special Mother’s Day to all moms. We thank you for the amazing work you do every day for your children.