Your birth story, my little hero, begins before you were born.
It was a normal weeknight, mid September 2007. Your daddy and I were both working on schoolwork (mommy was going back to school to get a nursing degree and daddy was working on his bachelors degree).
Uncle Blake came by to visit. We sat and talked about things. We talked about football, we talked about our futures, we talked about how crazy Lacie is, we talked about what we each wanted to “become”.
A bit into Uncle Blake’s visit, I started to feel sick. I went up to mommy and daddy’s room to lay down. Uncle Blake yelled up to tell me he was leaving and that he loved me. Uncle Blake left;
I kept feeling worse…
Your daddy came up to check on me. He helped me slither down the stairs and got me comfortable on the couch. I started to feel better and I was crazy hungry. Daddy went to the restaurant down the street and brought home some food for me to nibble on. I thought it made me feel better to eat. Soon after the pain came back. It had now been eight hours of this intense pain and I was feeling very faint and clammy. I was beginning to become very scared.
Your daddy, my big hero, put me in the truck and drove me to the hospital. I remember begging him to drive slow because I couldn’t sit up straight enough to put my seat belt on.
I believe I said exactly:
“Please hurry, but don’t speed. I will fly out of the window if you hit something, but we have to get there now”.
Leave it to me to give your daddy such mixed signals.
When we arrived to the emergency room, we waited for what seemed like hours. The pain was getting worse and I thought I was going to vomit, I had never felt this bad. They had to take me back… they just had to. I remember a sweet lady in the waiting room standing up and yelling for a nurse to help me…
I finally was taken back to be seen by a doctor and immediately put on a morphine drip and some IV fluids. Blood was taken and so many questions were asked. I was whisked back to have an ultrasound of my belly, I was whisked into another room to have an internal ultrasound to get a closer look. I was taken back to the room where the doctor was waiting for us.
I will never forget the doctor.
Big. Burly. Smart. Intimidating.
I will never forget the gentle, fatherly, empathetic way he looked at me and the way he spoke to me.
I will never, ever forget what he told us:
“You are pregnant, but the baby will not survive. You have an ectopic pregnancy and we have to do surgery immediately to save you”
We were left alone for about 30 seconds until the nurses and surgical team came in to prep me for the surgery. During those 30 seconds I don’t think your daddy and I said very much. I asked daddy to call Grammy and Pop and Nanna and PaPa. I asked daddy to tell them how much I loved them because I would not see them before surgery. I reminded your daddy how much I loved him.
Everything was happening SO fast. I was taken back to surgery.
I remember talking to the OBGYN that did the surgery (who happens to now be Uncle Perry and Aunt Sindy’s friend). She told me she would try very hard to protect everything so that I could have another child. They would do a laparoscopic incision. It should be a quick recover. Everything would be ok.
I remember talking to the anesthesiologist. He was the son-in-law of my second grade teacher. It was comforting for some reason.
Strangely, I wasn’t scared as all the chaos and also calm control unraveled around me.
I woke up in the recovery room as the nurses were around me cleaning me and checking my vitals.
I wanted to see your daddy.
They took me to a hospital room where I could rest and get better. The doctor came in and told us that there were some complications with the surgery. There was too much internal bleeding from something that had ruptured. They had to pull the laparoscopic equipment and perform a full belly incision to try to stop the bleeding.
They had performed a D & C (dilation and curettage) of my cervix and uterus to prevent hemorrhaging and/or infection.
When the surgery was done I had lost a total of 2 liters of blood. I should have no complications becoming pregnant again, because both of my fallopian tubes were surprisingly not damaged (often they are with this kind of pregnancy).
I remember as the doctor walked out of the room thinking to myself… “you have to process this, hold on to pieces of it and keep moving forward”.
I was hurt both mentally and physically.
I was sad, but thankful.
I don’t remember much for the first few days of recovery. I remember Meme, Uncle Perry, Aunt Sindy, Peypey, Luke, Kyle, Pop, Nana, Papa and so many others that came to visit and show their love for me and daddy.
Grammy and your daddy never left my side. Uncle Perry spent the night with me a few times. I was protected and so safe with them.
As I started to feel better and needing to move around, Grammy and I walked to the nursery to look at the newborn babies. Some would think this might be painful, but it actually gave me hope. I remember feeling a sense of comfort seeing these tiny, healthy little babies. I wanted one more than ever.
On the day that I was getting discharged I became violently ill. I could not stop vomiting bile. A team rushed into the room and administered an NG tube to give me some relief. X-rays and test later, I was diagnosed with a paralytic ileus. I was ordered no food or water by mouth and was given more morphine. This carried on for about 3 days. I was in the hospital a total of 8 days.
On day 8 we went home.
Daddy and I were determined to pick ourselves up and continue on our path. I did school work at home trying to catch up. Grammy came over and stayed with me while daddy was at work. Ms. Marie came and spent time with me too.
I went back to school… having to be driven back and forth by Aunt Sindy because of my incision.
I was healing, but not fast enough.
I was tired and still sick to my stomach. Dizzy and weak. I called the doctor and she scheduled me an immediate appointment for blood work.
I went in, they took blood, I went home.
The phone rang.
I was sitting on the living room floor surrounded by school books.
She wanted me to come in for an ultrasound to see if there was any tissue left from the surgery.
I remember her saying “Be sure to bring Ross”
That scared me. Was something wrong? Was I sick? Did they find something on the x-rays they did in the hospital?
October 11th 2007, less than a month since the surgery and the loss of our first baby…
They took us immediately to the ultrasound room. The ultrasound technician greased up my belly and dimmed the lights. I watched the screen for any clue as to what they were looking for.
The technician asked us to wait; she had such a weird expression on her face. She left the room.
The doctor came in. She looked at the screen and said,
“Wow, you are pregnant!”
You, my little hero, had survived it all.
You held on strong for mommy and daddy. You were with me the entire time, we did it together.
You are statistically 1 in 44,000. Those are the odds of having an ectopic and an intrauterine pregnancy at the same time.
You amaze me.
Daddy and I left for the beach the day after we found out you were tucked away safe and sound in my belly. We thought about you a lot. We talked about you a lot. We were so thankful. We were ready.
Fast forward a few months…
My belly grew, I loved every minute of you being in my belly. You were safe. We were always together. I was never alone. I even loved the sickness the hormones gave me. I felt comforted that my body was doing what it was supposed to do. The energy and excitement happening in my very own body was making you. Your little hiccups were the most precious thing I have ever felt.
We talked to you, sang to you, played with you.
We loved you.
One of my favorite memories of you being in my belly was January 12th 2008, I was about 5 months pregnant with you.
As mommy and daddy committed to one another for life you were with us. Kicking, squirming, swirling… you were right there with us. I wouldn’t change it for anything. We loved you so much.
On May 9th 2008 at 11:30 pm (37 weeks) as I was getting in bed with daddy for the night I felt something different than your normal kick and squirm. I knew that I was going to have you soon. I lay down with daddy and tried to sleep. I called Grammy.
I slept off and on until 7:00 the next morning.
Peypey had spent the night with us so I walked into the guest bedroom and told her you were coming today. She was so excited and happy she was there with us
The surges started getting stronger and feeling more intense. I cleaned and straightened. Aunt Sindy came and got Peypey.
Grammy came over. We watched The Business of Being Born. Daddy napped.
I leaned over the couch and walked the stairs. We stayed at home. I was not scared of you coming in to this beautiful world. I was excited that I would see you soon.
I wanted so badly to have you at home, my little hero. I felt safe and comfortable there. I knew you would too. But, because of mommy’s recent surgery (and unknown complications) we were considered “at risk” and we planned a natural hospital birth.
At 7:00 pm May 10th 2008, we drove the five minutes to the hospital. I wore shorts and my maternity shirt with MC Hammer dancing across it. It had “Can’t Touch This” written on it. I love that shirt and will never get rid of it. It was a gift from Aunt April.
Daddy and I walked around a bit. I leaned on him. We was my big hero. We talked about you. We couldn’t wait to see you.
Nana and Papa came. Grammy and Pop were there. Everyone was so excited.
Surges getting stronger now.
At 9:30 pm I got into the bath tub. Daddy helped me stay cool with wash clothes. I stayed here for a while. Surges getting stronger.
At 11:00 pm Aunt April walks in. She drove all the way from Moorehead City to see your beautiful birth.
At 1:00 am I am exhausted. I got out of the tub and continued walking a bit and resting on your daddy for relief during the surges. I took some medicine to help me relax and get some sleep.
I slept, daddy slept, you slept.
We started stirring around 4:30. I was starting to feel the surges with much more pressure. I was excited and energized. I knew it wouldn’t be long. The medicine was wearing off and I was so ready for you!!
I am so proud of you, my little hero, for knowing that directed pushing was not good for you and me.
You arrived into this marvelous world on our 4th “practice” push (whatever that is) and before the midwife could be there to catch you. I love you for this. This moment of you arriving without the midwife there has given me an enormous amount of strength my entire life. It is unexplainable why.
I reached down for you and pulled you close to my chest. Me and you, skin to skin. I held you, I squeezed you, I kissed you; I loved you. You were beautifully perfect.
You immediately wanted to nurse. My hungry little baby. You showed mommy that I didn’t have to teach you how to eat… you already knew.
We asked for only our immediate family come and see you during the first couple of days. We needed and wanted that time to ourselves, and I am so proud that we made that decision. We had time to hold you and nap with you. We wanted to look back on those moments and remember you… everything about you.
We soaked you up, every inch of you. Every minute was spent looking at how beautiful and perfect you were. You will never know how happy we were that you were healthy and safe.
Thank you my sweet boy for teaching me that I can trust my body to grow and nurture another human being.
Your birth will forever be in my memory as the day everything changed. Not only because we had a baby, but because I knew birth should be different.
Me and you and daddy were a team that day. You, my little hero, paved a road.
We are so lucky to have you Rosser. You came into our lives when we needed you the most. You are our little hero.
We love you so much,
Mommy and Daddy
Author: Liz Oldham
Elizabeth is an experienced birth doula and childbirth educator serving the DC metro area. She is passionate about family centered birthing, believing that families will always remember the support and communication surrounding their births. She currently lives in Virginia with her Husband 4 children and crazy dog.