Melissa Carleton Lande, 39, is married to Brian Lande, 32. Mrs. Lande is a marriage and family therapist. Her husband received the Robert Bellah Fellowship in 2003 and a Doctorate in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley. Brian is a former member of the U. S. Army Reserve and is now a Sheriff’s Officer with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Department. He also runs Polis Solutions, a firm specializing in social factors in human, organizational and design performance. The couple live in Fresno, California.
Melissa and Brian were thrilled to learn that they were pregnant with their long-awaited, first child in October of 2013. But by January 2014, Melissa was suffering with “excruciating” migraines.
Both Melissa and Brian attributed them to the pregnancy but sought medical help, just in case. An MRI revealed that Melissa had a massive, benign brain tumor. The doctors at the San Francisco Medical Center wanted to operate to remove it, but they were unable to guarantee to Melissa that the surgery would not harm her unborn son. As a result. she refused to undergo the operation until after her son was born. But, that was not to be. On March 11th, Melissa suffered severe seizures and lapsed into a coma after emergency surgery was performed to remove the tumor.
Brian, who, at the time, was out on a six-week leave from his job for a wrist injury incurred while apprehending a criminal, was devastated. Not only could he lose his first-born child but he could lose his beloved wife as well. In his desperation, he never left her side, choosing to sleep, and virtually live, at the hospital.
Brian watched and waited as the months went by and the birth of his son crept closer. He knew his wife was injured and prayed that his son was not. On May 22, 2014, a full-term boy, West Nathaniel Lande, was delivered by C-Section from his comatose mother, Melissa. He was five pounds, nine ounces and in perfect health. At least one of Brian’s painful worries had been alleviated, his son West, was safe and sound.
As Brian wrote on his http://www.gofundme.com/team-melissa page, “West, my boy, I am your Dad, and I love you. We live in a magical world where, somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. And I am so happy to share this world with you… Let’s go exploring!”
Melissa, whose brain injury occurred where sleep is controlled, had been “asleep” since March. But, immediately before, and just after West’s birth, this would no longer be the case. Brian said just prior their son’s arrival, Melissa reached out to his face, and for the first time in 10 weeks, pulled him to her face.
In order to help Brian with his new son, and with Melissa’s care, her parents and Brian’s brother Kevin all relocated to San Francisco. With their encouragement, Melissa now opens her eyes and squeezes their hands. With help, she is holding her son, and breast-feeding West, as well.
Melissa’s mother said, “She was more awake than she has been. She reached for Brian and puckered her lips so she could kiss him.” The doctors are hopeful that once Melissa is recovered from her son’s birth, and moved to a rehabilitation center, that her progress will continue.
We can only pray that this brave mother will recover completely, and by the grace of God, be allowed to savor the time, she so desperately struggles to gain, with the infant son she risked her life to save. Melissa is the most admirable, and selfless, Christian woman I’ve ever written about. Please pray for her.