Mom to Miracle Grace & Liam Omar

August 18, 2008 & July 20, 2013

Lakeland, Florida

When I was 17 years old, I found out I was pregnant. I was terrified, but excited. The entire pregnancy was perfect, resulting in a beautiful healthy little boy. A year and a half later, I found out I was pregnant again. Of course, I thought everything would be just as easy. How naive I was. Less than a week after I’d found out, I started spotting. I went to the ER, where blood work was done (twice, since they lost it!) as well as an emergency ultrasound. After the technician did her measurements, she turned the screen to me and showed me my perfect little bean, with a good strong heartbeat.

They hadn’t let my fiance in with me and when I met him in the hall, I was in tears. All I could manage was, “The baby’s ok.” I was sent home and under orders to remain on bed rest until my doctor’s appointment on Friday. By then, the bleeding had slowed and I was getting confidant that everything would be ok. The nurse drew blood and wouldn’t listen to the several warnings I gave that I was about to pass out. I thought I was paralyzed because I couldn’t move. My son was freaking out and so was I. I went to the bathroom and was bleeding even heavier. When I returned and brought my concerns up with the doctor and then the nurse, they refused to listen and told me they absolutely would not do anything. I went home in tears.

Three days later, I began cramping at work. I just knew. I went to the ER once again, had blood drawn, and waited with my fiance and mom for the results. The doctor came in, handed me the paper, and left without a word. I burst into tears and explained to my family, through my sobs, what the numbers meant. I was devastated. Several months later, we decided to try and have another baby. We tried off and on for almost three years when we finally got the surprise of a lifetime. On December 3rd, 2012, I took a pregnancy test because I had been having severe mood swings. I hadn’t told anyone I was going to take it, since I had begun to accept that we just weren’t going to be able to get pregnant. When I saw two lines on the test, I started to shake. I was convinced that I was reading it wrong. I went out and bought two of the digital tests, certain that I had read the other one wrong. I had planned on waiting until the next morning, since I technically still had four days until AF was due, but I couldn’t wait.

I went to the bathroom and just stared at the test as the light blinked, certain that it would tell me that I was not pregnant. Suddenly, it popped up, “pregnant.” I started shaking and crying. I planned on waiting until I was actually late to tell my fiance, but I wound up telling him the day before. He was in shock as well, but we were both excited. We started telling our family and close friends the good news. At first, everything seemed perfectly normal. I had worse morning sickness than I had with my son and a few other pregnancy related ailments, but all was well. We purchased a doppler for our house and we would listen to our little guy’s heart beating everyday until he started kicking. We paid for an elective ultrasound to find out the gender. I knew right away when I saw the screen that he was a boy. They mentioned that my fluid looked a little low, but that I probably just needed to drink more water. I chugged more water than I ever have and we thought everything was fine.

I was more achy and tired, and I had contractions off and on, starting at 15 weeks. They weren’t very bad until the end, so nobody worried. Two days before my son was born, I spent the night in agonizing pain. The contractions were very sporadic, but painful enough to wake me up. I was at home alone and afraid to drive myself to the hospital. I timed each one and got what little sleep I could, since they never matched up to the 3-5 minutes apart that the doctors tell you to look for. The next day, everything seemed to go back to normal. Saturday morning, the 20th, was another story.

I went to work like always, but at some point during the day, I began having pain in my hips. The contractions were pretty far apart and not very intense, so once I got home I tried to relax. I had been told that everything would be fine, even though I was only 36 weeks and 3 days along. He should be well developed. Between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., I decided to take a bath, hoping to relax. It made everything worse. The contractions immediately went from 10 to 15 minutes apart to between 3 and 6 minutes apart. I fought to get out of the tub and dressed between contractions. I literally would have about a minute because they were so close and lasted for so long. I was alone, but this time we were staying at my mother-in-law’s house. I would have to drive myself to my fiance’s job. The normally five minute drive took almost twice as long because I would just coast with my foot on the break during contractions. Luckily, I got there safely and we were on our way to the hospital.

I thought we would have plenty of time, since I was sent home at this point with my first. I was sorely mistaken. We were almost to the hospital when I suddenly felt the urge to push. I fought with all my might, willing him (and myself) to hold on until we got there. I felt him crowning with the next contraction and I knew we didn’t have much time. Of course the hospital didn’t seem to get that. I could barely talk, yet they had me explaining everything to them. When they finally got me into a room and checked me, the nurse finally realized that he was coming now, whether we liked it or not. They rushed me to the delivery room and got me set up as fast as they could. I kept telling them that I needed to push and they kept telling me to wait for the doctor to get up there. I gathered my strength and fought. Finally, they told me to push, and once the nurse and my fiance grabbed my legs for me, I gave one huge push and Liam entered the world.

I remember hearing a couple soft cries and seeing him trying to wiggle around before they cut the cord and hurried away with him to clean him up and make sure he was ok. While I was poked and prodded, they rushed him to the NICU, telling us it was just standard procedure because he was premature. I was so sure everything was ok. Not long after, some nurses came and got us. I’ll never forget those words. “You’re needed in the NICU. It’s not looking good.” I thought maybe he just needed to be there for awhile, or on a breathing machine, something I could comprehend. I never expected what I got. We walked in and there’s my son, the doctor’s keeping him with us with chest compressions and a handheld oxygen mask.

The words are jumbled now, but I understand, “We tried everything to stabilize him enough to transport him to Tampa. He’s not responding to anything. We can’t give him anymore, it’ll cause more problems. I’m sorry, there’s nothing else we can do.” I shook my head, my only thought was that there has to be something. I begged God to help him. They asked if we wanted to hold him. I nod, still not fully believing anything. I believe in all my heart that by holding him, maybe I could make him live. But this isn’t a movie, as much as I cried and willed him to move, he didn’t. My heart was broken. I watched myself hand him to his father. I watched the man I’ve known and loved for 8 years fall apart in the blink of an eye. I saw his heart break for our son, just as mine does over and over. We called our family and our closest friends. They let us hold him most of the night. I cherish those memories, even though he was already gone. For a moment, I held him. We took pictures and the next morning, a woman from NILMDTS came and did professional photos. Those are the greatest gift anyone could have given us. I miss my son more and more every day, but he will live on because we live on, just as my daughter has lived on every day through me. Just as I would fight for my oldest son’s rights, I will fight for their memories.

You can email Rhonda at: villesmommy@gmail.com

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