On Friday, March 4 Categories:

As I prepared to undergo urgent invasive retina surgery on my right eye, I received an uplifting E-mail from my friend of many years Francine, it read, "You are the lady who gave birth at home alone... You are the lady who has faced down other health problems... You are the lady who helped your husband get better when he was sick. You'll beat this too. You are of course always in my prayers. And know that I send you all my love."

Francine's inspirational E-mail carried me through my recent surgery. I kept a printed copy near me. My friend's encouraging message translated - my past experiences and strength got me through those crisis and I would move efficiently and positively through this one too.

Slowly but surely, my sight returned. My friend's caring E-mail was in addition a catalyst taking me back many years, when my daughter was born during a deployment while my husband was in the military. Then as now wives of military members are aware that being separated from their husbands for the birth of their baby is always a possibility, but hope it won't really happen.

Orders in hand, my husband had just a few days to scramble to put his personal affairs in order. Deploying is easier when you have time to prepare. In my twenties and living far from family, I felt lonely and frightened. Francine has reminded me of how alone I was when our daughter was born. Her homebirth was no trendy home delivery with a midwife beside me counting contractions and soft music in the background.

When we learned I was expecting, John and I never imagined I would deliver our baby in our home with only the aid of paramedics. A month to the day after my husband left, our daughter was born. One paramedic squeezed my hand and talked me through the next contraction. "Hold on he said. In just a few minutes you'll be holding your baby."

With the help of two wonderful and experienced paramedics I had delivered my baby at home - alone. As a new mother and military wife I needed to be strong for my family. A newborn baby, a five-year-old son and husband, it was up to me to demonstrate a belief that everything was going to be OK.

There is a reservoir in the heart that makes a person strong when they are protecting those they love and the strongest emotion we have, is the tenderness as parents toward our children. I was the one left home alone with the children, while my husband needed to be away.

In the years since our daughter's birth, I have had a few health issues and my husband faced a serious near fatal illness that had him in and out of the hospital for more than six-months and unable to work for more than two-years.

When things happen, whining and complaining won't get you through. Instead when there is a mountain to climb, find a way to climb it, coming down the other side you will be all the stronger for it. And now my friend Francine was years later, reminding me by E-mail, that I had climbed the mountain several times and I could do so again.


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Kathy Manney is the nationally recognized author of autobiographical, lifestyle and travel articles and the travel columnist for "The Vegas Voice," a monthly regional senior lifestyle newspaper.

Kathy is open to freelance work in the fields of non-fiction writing and editing.

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