to start at the beginning, i had an extremely horrific labor & birth experience with my son Noah. what began as something i had "planned" (a natural birth), progressed many hours into a cataclysmic, drug-induced, frenzy to save not only my baby - who was stuck in the birth canal losing oxygen - but i also feared for my own life and at one point stopped praying and started cursing. i did not give birth to my son, he was pulled from me with forceps after 3 hours of unproductive pushing. because i was losing blood so rapidly i did not get to enjoy my son but for only a few moments. then they took him from me, cleared the room and i was in major surgery for over 3 hours due to a 4th degree tear (if you don't know what this is, i'm not going to explain it - it's too graphic). the days to follow were beautiful, getting to know my son and welcoming friends and family who came to visit. except there was one, major problem. i was paralyzed from the waist down. literally.
we went home against medical advice and just hoped and prayed the Lord would heal my legs. i used a wheelchair and a walker my grandmother let me borrow. after 2 weeks there was no improvement. we called some doctors and had an MRI and a few other diagnostic tests run. no conclusions. everyone was stumped, they had no answer as to why i was paralyzed. the only answer that made any sense was that i had some nerve damage from where the baby was wedged in my lower back/hip region for over 3 hours when i was pushing. the nerves were pinched and probably damaged. the neurologist had only seen a case similar to mine once in his entire career. he said it was a petite girl who gave birth to a large baby - like me. she wasn't able to walk for 6 months. I was devastated. i was also still healing from the 4th degree tear and the surgery, which after a few falls (trying to walk on my own) needed to be re-stitched. i was falling apart.
we shared all of this information with friends and family and asked for prayer. there was nothing else that we could do. after 3 months i WAS able to walk again, but had to be very careful. it still took another 3-4 months before i could walk up and down stairs, run, squat or dance by myself. this was the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. mark and i both agreed that we were done having babies. neither of us could face going through such an experience again. i was convinced my body wasn't made to give birth.
i lost my faith to a degree and felt as though the Lord had abandoned me. i couldn't understand why ALL of my friends were able to have natural births with only minor set-backs but mine went so dramatically wrong, in every way. i am thankful to have my legs back and that it didn't take 6 months for a full recovery, but i still have a lot of questions, a lot of grief, and a lot fear. i've spent the past year just trying to move on with my life and find my joy in the fact that despite the nightmare experience, i now have an amazing, healthy, handsome, hilarious little boy. i love him more than i could ever explain.
the day before Christmas Eve i was feeling a bit under the weather. i took some cold medicine, rested and started feeling better - except for the strange nausea i kept feeling. i wrote it off and prepped myself for enjoying Christmas with my husband and my son. Christmas Eve we had an awesome fondue dinner at my brother's. my nephew got sick that night, so i assumed i probably just had what he had; a little bug...it'd go away soon, no big deal. Christmas Day....still not feeling well. i did my best to hide it and enjoy the day - which was awesome! i told mark that night that despite the head cold, everything else i was feeling felt like i was pregnant. but we both said that was impossible. i'd been on birth control since march - remember we knew we didn't want anymore kids.
saturday and sunday rolled by. we basked in the joy of our son at Christmas-time and the love of our friends and family. we really have a lot to be thankful for. there was still this nasty head-cold and nagging nausea. finally sunday night i went and bought a box of pregnancy tests. i knew the best time to take it was first thing in the morning, so i told mark i'd do it then.
it was instantly positive and i was utterly terrified. i sobbed into the living room, handed mark the test and melted into his arms, heaving tears for what felt like an eternity. he was gentle and calm and loving. we both realized we had done everything we knew to do to avoid this and that it was clearly out of our hands. we had no control. it was just meant to be. i called my mom & dad and asked them to come over. (they thought we were mad about something....hahaha). they were loving and gentle as well, but also couldn't hide their excitement at all. dad took us out for lunch to "celebrate". i was no where even remotely near celebrating. that day i went in and out of tears every other hour. called and made myself a doctor's appointment. since i never had a period (due to breast-feeding), i had no earthly clue how far along i was. i told the nurse over the phone i had the juiciest office gossip of the year. she laughed and agreed.
the next day everything came to another devastating level. i had just gotten off the phone with my sister-in-law who was out of town. i told her i was pregnant, and she was sympathetic, but also couldn't hide her excitement. i said goodbye and then went to use the restroom. i was bleeding......like i'd been shot. i started having a panic attack and called for mark. he said it was probably ok. but it didn't stop. i knew this wasn't ok. i called the doctor and they told me to get in the car immediately. i had to pull over halfway there and change my clothes. there was so much blood i was convinced that i was losing the baby. they took me back right away to do some blood work. i begged for them to do an ultrasound, or something to tell me the baby was ok! but my doctor was in a meeting so i couldn't even talk to him. the nurses told me to go home, rest and try not to think about it. i cried all the way home. i always wondered what this felt like.
next morning 8am i got a call that my blood work had come back and my hormone levels looked really good. they said "you're numbers are so high that we would be able to see the baby on an ultrasound, come in right away!" my head was spinning. i got dressed and drove myself to the office. i was so nervous as to what i might see on that screen. i knew i needed some more support, so i called a friend and told her everything. i was so afraid that i might see a dead or struggling baby on that ultrasound picture - i was so nervous. my friend was in total shock, but was still comforting and sympathetic. i felt some peace.
the screen showed a tiny little tadpole with a beautiful heartbeat. everything looked great. i could hardly believe this was happening. how did that baby even get in there in the first place?! my doctor was very straight-forward with me. he said i wasn't even remotely out of the woods. with all the bleeding, there was no telling whether this little one was going to make it or not. i was told it was an at-risk pregnancy, and to try not to center my life around having another baby, yet. only time would tell if this pregnancy would last. i scheduled another ultrasound 3 weeks out and went home.
those 3 weeks were the longest in my life. i cried everyday wondering if i was more upset about actually being pregnant, or about possibly losing the baby, any day at any moment. i was so observant about my body and every little thing i felt. my nausea & exhaustion intensified everyday, along with an imbalance in my emotional stability. the crisis in Haiti had me sobbing 5 times a day, wishing i had my pilot's license. i shared my news with only a handful of friends and asked them to keep it quiet until we knew that everything was ok. i still wasn't ready to celebrate. everytime i told someone, i cried - like i had a fatal disease.
January 20, 2010
finally the day of my 2nd ultrasound - which also happened to be my 29th Birthday. i had been waiting for this day forever. mark was able to get out of work and come with me. we held hands and watched the screen. there it was.....little frog-legs and all, bouncing around, living it's tiny little life. a perfect heartbeat, sweet little hands and feet and a tubby little tummy. it was 5 times bigger than the first ultrasound. i was still in shock. the technician said everything looked great. my baby was growing like a bean sprout and looked perfect. mark and i thought we counted 6 fingers on one of it's hands, but the tech said it just looks that way. we decided at lunch that we were ok with 6 fingers.
my doctor said since i hadn't had anymore bleeding and the ultrasound looked beautiful that there was only a 10% chance of miscarriage now. and if i made it to 12 weeks with no problems, then there was only a 3% chance of miscarriage after that! what wonderful news! he also gave me some information regarding labor & delivery, on how to avoid what happened to me last time. it gave me some peace and mark and i are looking for another doctor now because mine is no longer delivering babies. : (
i started seeing a counselor last week as well. i realize i have a canyon of fear, grief, disappointment and trauma that i need to start dealing with. i kind of feel like the Lord has allowed this so He can do a quick healing in my heart. it's actually strange that after a year i still haven't dealt with this on a deeper level. i want my heart to be well. i want to trust the Lord with this pregnancy and delivery. i don't want fear to control me. but to be honest.....right now i am completely terrified. i am slowly getting a little more peace and a tiny bit of excitement each day. but i'm still not totally up for celebrating. after posting a picture on facebook i got a ton of "congratulations". which are all well-meaning, of course. but i am still processing a lot and crying a lot. most people have no idea what i went through.
i believe without a shadow of a doubt that i need a boat-load of prayer and grace this time around. i can't deny that this baby has a strong destiny. i mean who can? it's alive despite the birth control and despite the hemorrhaging waterfall it survived! it's alive! the Lord has big plans for this little one, and i am definitely not one to argue that, at all.
my Mom made a really good point to me. she said that i was a "surprise" baby as well. i always knew this. but for my 26th Birthday she wrote me a letter that said all these years they had always said that her getting pregnant with me was an "accident". she realized from the Lord that that was completely inaccurate. she said that the Lord knew exactly when she would need a good friend more than anything in life, and that friend was me. if she hadn't gotten pregnant with me when she did i wouldn't have been around (in my 20's) when she needed a good friend the most. and that we are.....my mom and i are best friends.
she hugged me and said "you're getting YOUR jessie".
i am 11 weeks this Saturday. prepare the world, people. because a child with a strong destiny is coming to bring love, peace and change to the world August 20th, 2010.
pray for my heart to heal. i told the Lord we have a little over 6 months to put my heart back together. this baby deserves it.