Friday, February 24, 2012

A New Version of Motherhood

I have asked some of my friends to share a little about their worlds with you all.  Today's post was written by my friend, Cheryl Romanoski, who is mom to 3-year-old Louie and 8-year-old Katrina:

Cheryl, Katrina and Louie

I have always been a fan of Oprah Magazine's “This much I know column”. Guest writers talk about their a-ha moment in life. To me, the past few years have been full of a-ha moments, full of oh no moments and full of Thank God moments. Our little boy Louie was born with an underdeveloped brain, collapsing spine and no reflexes. He could not suck, therefore he could not feed on his own. He slept. He slept. And he slept. They told us he was blind and deaf and was having subclinical seizures constantly. 

What was this new version of motherhood? My daughter was 5 when our Louie was born. When Katrina was a baby, we had a huge scare. We found out in my 38th week of pregnancy she had an absent corpus collosum. Prognosis could be normal or could be a child that never walked or talked. So we were told—“Wait and see”. She starting meeting milestones right away and at age three was discharged from neurology as a healthy little girl. Then Louie came along: Wait and see. I waited. He slept. I hugged him, he couldn’t hug back. I smiled at him and cooed. He didn’t make a sound. He slept. We just heard more wait and sees from doctors. 

While he slept, we tried medicines. Medicines that had potentially lethal side effects. While he slept, he got a tracheostomy and went on a ventilator so his lungs could stay healthy and he could grow. While he slept, a doctor performed lifesaving operations on him to stabilize his spine.

But still a piece was missing. A piece that made me guilty and sad. Had I neglected my son?  While getting him the best care, he still couldn’t bond to me. Was he there? Did he know how much I wanted to love him? And yet it wasn’t the same experience as I had with my crucial moments with my daughter. Did I love him enough?

Handsome Louie

During Louie’s sickest days early this year, when he was near death, with what we would find to be adrenal failure, I cried and held him tight in “our” rocking chair. I prayed to God and any angels that he might have to please take care of us. I sobbed and begged to God. Just then I felt hand on my shoulders gently rocking me from behind. An unbelievable warmth. I didn’t want my husband to see my tears and couldn’t speak but was grateful to have him there. But it was not him. He was asleep in the other room. He had a similar experience later that night before I could even tell him about mine. He woke up from watching the hockey game and saw a figure that looked like his father above him. I think on that day, I woke up. I always believed in God so much, but that Louie was so special and pure that I (truly) believe angels were sent to touch and comfort us in our biggest time of need was our wake up moment.

Louie is still sick. He still has problems. But sometime around his third birthday he began tracking…noticing sounds. A few months ago at the age of three and a half he had his first real big laugh. He started to put together some sounds. He is starting to be able to play on the ipad little games and has favorite toys. He is the happiest, purest thing I ever met. I read Kate’s post yesterday, how she feels similarly about Anabelle. How we are so lucky on earth to be touch by little angels every day. And that each sound, word or smile they give us is a piece of wisdom that is something so much more perfect that any medical milestone chart could ever describe.

Louie and big sister, Katrina


  1. sweetheart...we never doubted your love for your children. Patti and I have been so impressed by the strength that you and Lou have shown. You have a very strong family support team and just shows the love in the family. 2nd Dad Sam

    Cheryl, from a one mother to another I know the feeling of sheer helplessness that you have felt at times but you must understand that you have done and continue to do the very best that anyone could ever ask of did bond with your son..God makes miracles every day..your Louis is a miracle and God chose you to be his mother because he knew you would be the very best mother for not only Louie but for Katrina too..your writing was so written from your heart that I could feel it and I actually wept through most of it..and it will make other Mom's weep and other Mom's in your situation stronger..we love you so and your family are very very "special"..Love you..Patti

  2. Cheryl, thank you for sharing your story and beautiful family with those of us who follow Kate's blog. It is good to know that SN Moms such as you and my daughter Kate have one another as friends.

  3. I am witness to seeing first hand a mom who never gives up on her children, a mom who has given so much love plus more, a mom who fights for the best and demands nothing less than the best for her children and a mom who inspite of a child who was not always "there" never gave up on him and always acted as if until the day he could as witnessed by him actually laughing at her dinosaur sounds, smiling when she sang "Wheels on the Bus", and moving his arms excitedly when she made her "vroom, vroom" sounds. This is a mom who has continued to do all these things and even more when her son didn't respond in the beginning. But her determination and tenacity to not give up on him is paying off. God knew what he was doing when he chose her to be his mommy. I pray that you continue to see little miracles each and every day!

  4. i love you. have always told everyone that louie ALWAYS responded to his mama..and to his daddy's singing...because louie has known you in his heart, and his brain, long before he looked at you with his amazing blue eyes, great big smile and dimples are an example of unconditional love and i still learn...every day. xo, love, ro