We found out this summer that we were expecting our bundle of joy number 7. Excited! Over the moon! As some of you may know, with baby number 7, it’s hard to hide that you are pregnant almost right away. It’s crazy!!! We let the proverbial cat out of the bag and the kids were insane with anticipation!!
If you have followed our story you know that I’ve had. Four c-sections, followed by a VBAC at MUSC, followed by an unassisted homebirth with our last son, Silas. We planned on having another homebirth with this little baby.
We had an ultrasound done towards the end of September and everything looked good. The technician knew the sex of the baby, but like Silas, we didn’t want to know. March 10th was the due date.
With six other children, you know this momma is busy. I homeschool, cook fresh food, laundry and everything in between, but I LOVE my life!
Things were progressing on schedule and besides the minor things like throwing up and some headaches and being tired, everything was going very well!
On November 8th my bestie (also family) and her husband drove from Maryland to have a vacation in South Carolina. One stoked momma! Everything was going great! On Thursday, November 13th, bestie and I went shopping at Goodwill. I if course made my obligatory trip to the bathroom and noticed maybe there was some extra “moisture.” I decided it was nothing and continued shopping. As I was walking there was a little trickle, then another and another and I knew what was happening, my water was breaking. It couldn’t be breaking!!! I was only 23 weeks pregnant! My little baby wasn’t ready for this big, bright world! I called Micah and told him what was going on and needless to say, he was worried. We rushed home (5 minutes away) and by the time we got there, Micah was on the phone with my very good friend, who is also a midwife. I rushed to our bathroom, where my water literally gushed. I yelled for Micah and saw that there was a hint if blood. Off to the hospital we go.
I think I was in shock, I had only cried a little. We pulled up to emergency and I got in the wheelchair. Up to labor and delivery we went. It’s too soon, my baby can’t come yet. These are the things I was yelling in my head. That I was yelling to God. Begging God, pleading with God. All in my head.
They do all the regular stuff, like check your pulse, BP, temp, hooked me up to baby monitors, contraction monitors and more. It was, well to say the least, overwhelming. We like the natural methods, we use essential oils, make our own medicines, use herbs, make cleaning products and eat whole foods. This was way beyond our wheelhouse. I was used to doing things my way. On my terms. Game over.
The hospital said I needed to be transferred to MUSC in Charleston, SC for the needs of my premature baby and for my needs. I was taken by ambulance and scared to death. Micah had to go home and get some things, make sure the kids were ok and then be on his 2 hour journey to meet me.
The ambulance ride was uneventful. I face timed with the kids. Assured them I was ok. Told them I loved them. And I prayed to God silently that what I was telling them was the truth.
I get to MUSC and again I’m taken to labor and delivery, but this time I’m alone. And I’m more scared. They immediately start me on antibiotics, magnesium and gave me a steroid shot, in case our precious baby was coming soon. Did I say scary?? Yes!! So scary!!
Doctors started coming in and giving me what they were calling “options.” In fact, he said it was like a fast food restaurant as far as options were concerned.
Option 1: terminate the pregnancy. I am what they call in a para-viable state of pregnancy. That means the baby may or may not survive outside my womb and if baby did survive, my baby may not be “in tact.” That is doctorese for my baby probably wouldn’t be anywhere near the realm of having any sort of one email brain function. This has never been nor ever will be an option for me. Moving on….
Option 2: Stay on antibiotics, get the steroid shots, and then get off all the monitors. Why get off the monitors? Because if I go into labor I can choose to not have any medical measures done on my baby because of the many problems. You can do this until week 25 where baby now becomes “viable.” Also, until week 28 (approx) if I didn’t deliver naturally, I would have to have a vertical cut through all my stomach muscles, etc to get baby out. It’s way more dangerous and harder to heal and I could never have another baby naturally again. So until week 25 they check for heart tones 4 times daily, and make sure all my vitals are in check.
Option 3: Take all and every measure to save baby no matter what. That means emergency c-section when needed, full monitors, full resuscitation no matter what the age of baby.
Option 4: oh you get the idea, there are lots of basically impossible decisions that we have to make. Impossible.
Then the neonatal doctor comes in on Saturday night around 9:15pm (after Micah had to leave to go home to the kids) to discuss what medical problems are baby will have if born_____ enter date here. Let’s just say it’s not a fun conversation It’s a nightmare, literally. He left and I had a full blown panic attack. I was not a pretty sight. Crying. Hysterical. So unsure. So lost. Feeling so alone. An angel came to me that night in the manner of the overnight nurse named Jesse. She didn’t say a word at first, she just pulled up a chair and sat down and started rubbing my arm. And then she asked if I prayed and started praying with me. She sat there for 20 min til I was calmed down and we actually had a little laugh. Before she left, she said if I needed her to come in during the night and sit for a while with me, she would. God is so good. All the time. It’s remembering that in every moment that seems almost hopeless that can be so hard. It’s remembering all that you have gone through all these years building your faith and why it shouldn’t waiver now. Even in these seemingly very dark hours.
So where are we at? I’ve been in the hospital for 4 days. I’ve (we’ve) cried a lot. The most I’ve cried in a long time. I’ve prayed and talked to God a lot. More real prayer than I have in a while. God has intervened and sent many people my way at the exact time I needed each of them. God has continued to protect our baby and me. My husband, my rock, has helped hold me together as I was falling apart. He’s praying constantly for me, the baby, and our family that, at this moment, is not together. We have hope. We have loved more on each other as a family. We are holding strong. We have a long way to go and writing it down seems to help me. It’s therapeutic.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Through technology I was able to attend our son Jonah’s birthday party and sing to him and watch him blow out his candles today. Happy 9th birthday son. I’m sorry I wasn’t there in person. I’m trying to get some pictures up from the last few days. Trying to document as much as I can.