MOM & MAUREEN

Maureen and Mom (3)

Helen Eberhart Daley and Maureen Mae Daley

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you might remember what Nurse Helen wanted to name their first baby. Things didn’t work out as planned. But after sadness and struggles, came Maureen, born in Washington D.C. She might not have come safely into the world if her dad, Dr. Frank Daley, hadn’t read recent articles about Karl Landsteiner, an Austrian-American, who had won a Nobel prize in 1930 for discovering that all human blood wasn’t the same. He saw that humans have “types” of blood, which he categorized as A, B, and C (later called O). In 1940, Landsteiner discovered another property of blood, a blood factor antigen, known as Rh factor. Soon, married couples had to take blood tests. And if an RH negative mother-to-be had an RH positive husband, pregnancy meant danger for baby and mother.

That was the dilemma Frank and Helen Daley faced soon after their return from the war. Frank researched until he found a doctor who would agree to treat Helen with a new (and not approved) immunization to offset the RH factor. And Baby Maureen Daley was born, though not without incident. The birth was hard, and Helen only glimpsed her baby before the nurse took her away. But Helen, still a nurse herself, had seen enough to know her daughter was a “blue baby,” lacking needed oxygen. She waited and waited. Finally, a nurse stood by her bed and said, “I’m so sorry to tell you that Baby Maureen Daley didn’t make it.” They nurse left Helen in tears. Then a different nurse came in, carrying a baby girl. This was Helen’s Baby Maureen Daley. The woman across the hall, named “Mrs. Daily,” had named her stillborn baby Maureen.

If you know my sister, Maureen Daley Pento, you understand what a gift she was and is.

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2 Responses to “MOM & MAUREEN”

  1. Lynda Boucher Says:

    Oh my gracious! I can’t even imagine your mom’s breaking heart after the first nurse gave her the wrong information…and the joy she felt when the second nurse came in with her Maureen. How uncanny that two women with names that are pronounced the same yet spelled different would give their newborn baby girl the same first name.

  2. dandimackall Says:

    I still get chills thinking about it. Thanks for responding, Lynda.

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