Oh, how vastly different life actually is!
After my beautiful Emily was born 9 years ago, I was told that the chances of me getting pregnant again would be the equivalent of lightening striking twice or winning the lottery. I was told that she was a miracle child who I shouldn't have been able to get pregnant with in the first place. So I lived for 8 years with the knowledge that she would be the only child of mine grown in and born from my body.
Imagine my surprise when, March 27 of 2009, I took a test and H-E-L-L-O-O-O-O-O pregnancy! I never could have imagined that at the age of 35 I would have gotten pregnant again. Nathaniel's pregnancy was rough as far as my health was concerned. Diagnosed with pregnancy induced hypertension and, shockingly enough, a previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes that I had to take insulin for during the pregnancy...not to mention there was a real chance of miscarriage those first 3 months b/c I didn't have enough progesterone to sustain the pregnancy and had to go on progesterone supplements and experienced several bouts of spotting and bleeding during those first touch and go months. But through it all, we prayed for that little, yet to be born baby. We prayed for that miracle and loved that tiny little life growing inside of me with all of our hearts.
Nate was born about 3½ weeks "early" at 8 pounds, 10 oz and 20" long at 12:11 in the morning on November 19. His birth was no less traumatic than my pregnancy.
When one is pregnant there are so many hopes and dreams and visions of the future that enters into your mind for that child. I had longed for a son and now we were going to have one. I went into labor early and after two days of labor they went ahead and put me in the hospital due to high blood pressure, he hadn't turned the direction they neeed him to yet (from front to back or back to front, I can't remember) and he wasn't descending with the contractions like he was supposed to so the option of a c-section was still on the table, which I did NOT want. Finally close to the end of the third day of labor he turned and they gave me the lovely epidural then they broke my water. Six hours later, starting my fourth day of labor, I was at 10cm and then he came fast. Thank God he did with what happened next.
My contractions had slowed to 2-3 minutes apart once he started to come down and I only pushed a total of about 15 or so times. About 3 different "sets" of pushing. After only 10 minutes of pushing he was "right there" but not out and the last contraction just wouldn't stop coming. My OB told me that with a small snip he would be here on the next push so I said ok.
Through the noise I heard something about the cord being wrapped around his neck and they couldn't get him all the way out without cutting it first. He was only out about to his chest at this time. After cutting the cord, they got him out and I looked up and he was bluisn-purple. Limp. Ragdoll-like. Not breathing. Not moving. Nothing they tried could revive him. Not chest rubs. Not oxygen. Not anything. My heart skipped a beat. Then another. It was like time had stopped and with it, my world.
And all I could think of was seeing him flop around. That horrible, ugly color of death and completely unresponsive. All I could do was mentally stutter out a half formed prayer of "Please, God, please". To have come so far and through so much with this child, it just wasn't fair to have it end this way. The room was crowded with my OB, the nurses and several people from NICU. Oscar couldn't handle it and had to go out into the anteroom of my hospital room because he couldn't bear to see Nate like that and he was only getting in the NICU team's way.
It seemed like forever, but in reality maybe only about 4-5 minutes and then I heard the precious sound of Nathaniel's weak cry which grew to a steady howl and I could breathe again. The pain and pressure in my chest lifted and the panic went away and peace came in. Such a flood of love and joy and relief as I held my son and heard his breathing. I thought of what could have happened had I opted to wait until the next set of contractions to try and get him out. How much longer he would have been without breathing. How incredibly thankful I am that my OB suggested the episiotomy that got him out in one last push - and that I completely trusted her judgment to do that.
I think it's why those first couple of weeks I couldn't put him down or be away from him for more than just a couple of minutes. I think that it made me realize just in the span of a heartbeat it could have all gone so much differently. I could have had empty arms instead of arms that were holding my second miracle child. I couldn't stop crying the afternoon the 3rd day after Nathaniel's birth as a wave of panic swept over me. Traditionally the 3rd day after death is the burial day after someone dies. Holding Nathaniel instead of standing at a tiny graveside made me realize how very blessed and lucky I was, how much God had graced me with Nate's life. How much I owe that I can't repay. I can never ever take his precious life for granted b/c I almost didn't have him to begin with.
Sadly, a few months later, I did miscarry a third child – on Mother's Day. It made me that much more appreciative and thankful for the life of my son, my little angel baby. The second life I wasn't supposed to have been able to get pregnant with. The infinitely precious life that I thank God every day for and who is a miraculous ONE YEAR OLD today!
Nathaniel, my precious and much loved child...your name was chosen by us because you ARE a gift from God. You make our lives richer and better and more blessed by being in them. My prayer for you as you grow from a toddler to adulthood is that you grow in the grace and admonition of the Lord, the one who knitted and formed you in my body; that you grow to love Him completely and follow the path He has laid out for your life and that you look to Him to help you with your problems instead of the world...for GREATER is HE that is in YOU than he that is in the world. I pray that you come to know him as your Savior at an early age and that you have the characteristics of wisdom, compassion, understanding, self-control, respect for yourself and for others, a peaceful spirit, a generous and loving heart and the strength to stand up for what is right to protect the innocent and those weaker than you and to always have a kind word and a smile for others.
Nate, you are my angel baby. Delivered from death into the loving arms of your mommy, daddy and family by a compassionate and loving God. I thank God every day for you. You were created for great and wonderful things...beautiful things...things of God.
Mommy loves you, little man. May you always feel the love we have for you and know that you are blessed as much as you are a blessing.
Happy First Birthday!
With all the love in my heart,
November 19, 2009
One Year Later:
November 19, 2010