It’s a special day for all mothers. A time to be celebrated, pampered and treated by their children.
For some moms, though, Mother’s Day is also a reminder of just how fragile life can be, how today could have just been another day.
They are the moms whose babies arrived early. The little ones then spent days, even weeks in intensive care, as their mothers hoped for the best.
For Lisa Diglio, Kelly Fields, Michelle Gaines and many others in Forsyth County, Mother’s Day is a celebration of their children and a reminder that motherhood is a gift.
After years of trying to conceive, Lisa Diglio resigned herself at age 40 that she’d forever celebrate Mother’s Day receiving cards from her cats. But then last year brought a positive pregnancy test.
“When you’ve waited this long and you’ve tried for so long, you don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” Diglio said. “When it finally does, it’s almost too much to believe.”
Then Diglio’s water broke early. She waited a week in the hospital, was induced and still nothing. After an emergency C-section, 4-pound baby Dave entered the world March 1.
At 34 weeks gestation, he was immediately transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. After years of waiting, Diglio went home without her little boy. He spent two weeks in the unit before she and husband David could take him home.
“It was such a scary time and we were very fortunate,” she said. “Baby David did exceptionally well. Every morning, I just can’t believe it.”
Diglio is spending her first Mother’s Day with her 10-week-old son at her mother’s house, who is celebrating her first as a grandmother.
“Sometimes it’s a bit surreal and I think [Mother’s Day] will be a pretty amazing day, just to be with him and to know that I finally get to take care of him and give him all the love that I can.
“To actually have him, it has moved me. It’s something that I’ll never take for granted.”
A mother of two sons, Kelly Fields was in for a surprise with her third pregnancy — twin boys.
But there was something special about those twins. They were monoamniotic monochorionic, or momo twins, sharing one sack and one placenta.
When she was three months pregnant, Fields said it was recommended the pregnancy be terminated, as the twins had less than a 50 percent chance of survival.
“They tell you the statistics and that’s their job,” she said. “But we just felt very strongly that God overcomes those statistics and we were going to put our chips with him and we were very blessed in that we beat the statistics.”
It wasn’t easy. When she was 27 weeks pregnant, Fields moved into Northside Hospital-Forsyth, which she came to call “Camp Northside.”
For 32 days, she lived on the east hall floor with the hospital’s nurses. There were daily checkups and ultrasounds every other day. Then at 32 weeks, the twins, weighing about 4 pounds each, were born — and immediately taken to the NICU, where they would spend the first month of their lives.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever done is to leave the hospital empty handed the day that I went home and they stayed,” she said. “You go through so much to get them there and you get them there and you have to leave without them.”
Fields said it was a difficult month for her and husband Mark, but also for her two sons, who hadn’t yet met their new brothers.
“Mother’s Day takes on a whole new meaning because you realize how precious life is,” she said. “I think, when you see a baby that tiny, there’s nothing that can really put words to it.”
Christmas came a little late that year for the Fields family, but on Dec. 30, 2011, the boys came home. Now 17 months old, twins Brooks and Bennett are thriving.
“They run around almost everywhere, they babble, they have their own little twin language,” Fields said. “They’re fantastic.”
Last year, Michelle Gaines went for a regular doctor’s appointment and was sent directly to Northside Hospital’s main campus in Atlanta.
At just more than 24 weeks pregnant, she was admitted and remained on complete bed rest, leaving her husband and three children at home.
“Their mom was ripped out of their house,” Gaines said. “My husband is the [older two children’s] stepdad, so it was just him and the three kids and my mom helped out. It was very emotional.”
While in the hospital, Gaines was given steroid shots and progesterone shots to stay pregnant as long as possible. At 31 weeks, she went into labor.
Savannah Gaines arrived about a week after Mother’s Day 2012, weighing less than 4 pounds.
“Last year on Mother’s Day, I didn’t know if I was going to be giving birth and if my baby wasn’t going to survive,” she said.
After Savannah Gaines was born, she was taken to NICU, where she spent 32 days.
“As a mom, you look forward to leaving the hospital with your child and going home and putting that baby in their new room,” she said. “But when you leave a hospital with your baby in the NICU, you leave empty-handed. And when you leave, you don’t know when you’re going to be able to … leave with the baby in your arms.”
It was a long month for the Gaines family. But two days after Father’s Day, Savannah Gaines was able to go home.
“We are beyond blessed and thankful that once we left Northside on June 19, we have not been back,” she said. “She’s a healthy baby girl.
This year on Mother’s Day, Gaines is attending her daughter’s baby dedication at church. She’ll also be winding down from celebrating her first birthday Saturday.
“It’s going to be a day where we’re all together,” she said.