In Memory of Lisa
Lisa was born and raised in Washington, DC and attended the public school system, graduating from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. She attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Finance. She also worked part-time during college breaks for the National Science Foundation. Her employment career began as an immigration specialist with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she played an instrumental part in assisting foreign scientists with their entry credentials so that they could come to the US to perform medical research. It is somewhat profound that her life story would be one wherein further medical research to help others is needed.
In January 2003, Lisa learned that she was expecting and quickly laid out her plan for good health, education and preparation for the anticipated bundle of joy soon to come. It was very important to Lisa to schedule and keep her doctor appointments as well as follow her instructions to the letter. When Lisa’s physician told her to take an iron pill along with a glass of orange juice each day, she did exactly that and did it at the same time every single day throughout her pregnancy. In about her third or fourth month, her doctor informed her that she had Placenta Previa, which occurs when the placenta attaches itself in a lower position within the uterus and partially or completely covers the opening of the birth canal. According to information at www.webmd.com, placenta previa occurs in approximately 1 in 200 pregnancies. Lisa’s physician treated her for Placenta Previa and was prepared to perform a cesarean to deliver the baby when that time came.
Lisa took great joy in shopping for this wonderfully anticipated little bundle and she and her sister, Quinea, headed out each weekend to look at everything from one-piece pajamas and blankets to cribs and room decor. On one such day, Lisa found a celadon-green outfit, jacket, shirt and leggings, and decided this would be the outfit for her little one when coming home from the hospital.
There was so much love for Lisa and two baby showers were held for her: one given by her NIH co-workers and another by her parents and sister. Lisa made it clear that she wanted the guest list to include family, friends and her male cousins – she was so very close to all of her family members. With her instruction, more than fifty people were invited to the baby shower and more than fifty people attended. We all recall that day fondly because not only did everyone that was invited attend but the weather that day was exceptional – as if it was made perfect just for the occasion.
Lisa was scheduled to have the cesarean performed on Monday, August 25, 2003. However, on the morning of Saturday, August 23, 2003, her water broke and she and her parents headed quickly to the hospital. Her sister arrived shortly after, prepared to decorate Lisa’s room. As the anesthesiologist prepared to administer the epidural, Lisa complained to her mother, who had planned to be with her during delivery, of not being able to breath. Within moments, Lisa drew two snore-like breaths, waved her arm in the air as if she was saying “good-bye” and became unconscious. The doctors immediately began to attempt to deliver her baby and worked more than 90 minutes to try to stabilize Lisa. It took the first 9 minutes to get to the baby and any signs of life (her first cry). This is supposed to happen within six (6) minutes following the birth but the doctors never gave up. Thank God they didn’t because the beauty of this is the birth of our wonderful gift, Lindsay!
We believe some very special communication took place between Lisa and Lindsay in those 9 minutes and we trust that Lisa sees everyday how special her little girl is and the love that is showered on her through family and friends.
Concerned on how to communicate with Lindsay about the loss of her mother, Lisa’s sister Quinea wrote her first children’s book, “The Wonderful Gift” to help teach Lindsay about her mother and her untimely passing. It is a story of love and the ultimate gift only a mother can give, the gift of life.