Mom to Jesse & Joshua
June 10, 2010 & February 12, 2013
This story starts before Joshua was conceived. In the late spring/early summer of 2012, one night I had a dream, in this dream my mother asked me (whom I only dreamed of one time prior) if I was pregnant. In this dream Mikey had 4 teeth and was walking up the steps. At that present time Mikey didn’t have that amount of teeth and wasn’t yet walking up the steps. Fast forward a few months in the fall of 2012 Mikey, now had the amount of teeth in my dream and also was walking up the steps. By then I forgot much about the dream, but I wrote it down because it was a particular dream. Only when “my friend” was very short did I suspect that I might be and then also remembered the dream.
I believe it was sometime in October we first found out we were expecting again. It was a joyous time because Mikey was going to be a big brother. Got the morning sickness as usually with Mikey. Everything seemed to be going well. It was the day before Christmas; Dec. 24th was when I had my 18 week ultrasound. The technician performing the ultrasound asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby. We said yes and she told us it was a boy! We were very excited. This excitement quickly faded when the technician observed my tenderness during the ultrasound and also was taking some pictures. She said that she would need to talk to the doctor for a moment and be back. She left the room and I got dressed. She then came back and directed us to take a seat in the waiting room for the doctor to talk with us. We waited for about 20 minutes, what it seemed like forever.
The doctor gave us news that no one wants to hear, your cervix is dilating and there isn’t anything that doctor’s office can do. They told me to go home for bed rest, strict bed rest and to see what happens next. This was the Christmas Eve. I was supposed to play for the church evening candlelight service. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. So we went home. I started to bleed, it was scary. There was nothing I could do. I prayed to the Lord so hard. I was helpless. I didn’t sleep much that night. The next day was Christmas. It was to be joyous occasion. Instead my husband took Mikey over to the in-laws where they had their Christmas meal. I stayed at home, lying in bed. Thinking, wondering, worrying. This precious life in me, so badly I wanted to keep safe but for some reason the Lord was allowing my body fail in this pregnancy.
The next day after Christmas we went back to the Women’s Health Center of Lebanon. Another doctor examined me, Dr. White. This same doctor I would see again 2 months later. She examined me, got a heartbeat of Joshua. As far as she could tell my water didn’t break but still dilated. They gave us the option of going to see specialized doctor with Hershey Medical Center Maternal Medicine. After going home that day and increased bleeding we decided to be seen by the high risk doctor with HMC. On the way to Hershey, I thought to myself. Why would God just heal me? I prayed and prayed, so many people were praying for my healing. I referred to Matthew 18:19. We got there, those few short days seem to be all a blur with bad news turning into worse. Another exam, same situation. With the Hershey doctors they gave us 3 options: 1) Go home and do nothing/ see how long before I go into labor 2) rescue cerclage 3) take the baby. The doctor left the room for us to talk. With the #3 option, I thought to myself “they can have a baby viable at 19 weeks? I didn’t know that.” When they came back I asked them about that. They said no, a baby is not viable at 19 weeks….I realized they were talking about an abortion….oh beep no! Not an option. So we were undecided with the surgery or not. Went home to sleep on it, or what sleep I could get. I thought to myself, if I was just strong enough, if I just had enough faith, God would command my cervix shut and I would continue on the pregnancy as normal. Why do people everyday get miracles, am I not deserving of one? That night I had some increase bleeding along with mucus. My body was continuing to fail him. I call the baby “him” at this point because we didn’t name the baby yet. God wasn’t answering my prayers so we opted for option #2.
Next day we went back to HMC after calling them again. We dropped Mikey off to stay with Marilyn and John for the night. On our way to the hospital we picked out the name Joshua, just in case the surgery didn’t go to plan. But before we could have the surgery done we had to make sure everything was in place/that I wasn’t in labor or my water broke. After the examine (which were starting to get physically painful at this point) it was determined I wasn’t in labor and my water didn’t break BUT the sac had started to “funnel” into the birth canal. Meaning that they couldn’t do the surgery because it was almost certain that while performing the surgery (cerclage is when they sew the cervix close with 2 stitches) they would accidently poke the sac because it was on-top of the cervix. For the next two days I was required to lie inverted on the hospital bed (the bed would be titled that my feet would be higher than my head yet I was lying flat the entire time, about a 15 degree incline). I wasn’t allowed to get up at all. I had to pee in pan, also eat and read slightly upside-down. After all that the sac really didn’t move much away from the cervix. But the doctor said that he would try anyways. The one nurse taking care of me told me that the surgery has almost a zero % of being a success. I kept praying.
Time for surgery, very anxious moments. I had an epidural so I couldn’t feel too much. I heard them saying “I see a foot.” Then a little while later they said they were done, the cerclage was in. I let out of tears of joy, relieved that my water didn’t break. The nurse saw my tears and hugged me while on the operating table.
This was all done at week 19 in the pregnancy. I now had to spend a few more nights in the hospital to make sure that I didn’t get an infection because the sac was funneling into the canal it was exposed to bacteria and being that it was pushed back up and sewn shut I could get a life-threatening infection. This was also explained before the surgery. So by trying to save Joshua’s life, I also put my life at risk. One of the servers who worked in room services observed me during the three days there. On the last day there she said “I hope this baby knows how much you love him.” After 3 days and nights in the hospital the bleeding subsided and I didn’t have a fever so I was discharged to go home on bed rest. I thought to myself I got the miracle I was asking for, my baby was going to be okay, I don’t care how much pain my body has been through, my baby is worth it.
At home I was to lie in bed at all times except to use the bathroom and a very very brief shower. I pretty much was confined to the bed. A nursing assistant through Good Samaritan Hospital came out to the home once a week to do vitals and check on both Joshua and I. During this time I had a lot of time to think, pray, and yes worry. I didn’t let the worrying get the best of me. I would use this time often to read out loud the bible to Joshua, sing to him and caress him as I felt him moving throughout my womb. He had certain movements at certain times of the day. Unfortunately, I think it was around week 23 I got the stomach bug from Mikey. His aunt (Jimmy’s sister) thankfully watched him during the day because I couldn’t care for him while Jimmy worked. But I got past that and thought I was in the clear when week 24 mark was reached. I knew the percentages were low but I thought HMC is one of the best children’s hospital and God has brought me this far, He will see me through. That all came to a screeching halt February 12, 2013, 2:01 in the morning. I woke up around 1:30 am, something didn’t feel right. Felt a bit grumpy, thought it was from the pizza I had the night prior. Got up to go to the bathroom, as I was walking back to the bed I remember exactly where I was standing rounding the corner of the bed, my water broke….my heart sank….it wasn’t suppose to happen this early, Joshua is only 25 1/2 weeks. Woke Jimmy up, got a very crabby Mikey into the car and we sped down route 322 once we got through the back roads. I was praying often through the contractions that were occurring more frequent. The cerclage was needing to be removed otherwise it would rip open and would permanently damage my cervix (no future children).
We got there in record time. Arrived in the ER section of the hospital. Quickly got wheel-chaired up to Labor and Delivery. The nurse and staff quickly examined me, I was in labor and the baby was coming, they couldn’t stop the labor. Nurses took care of Mikey. I went into the operating room, they were trying to find a vein to put in the I.V. needle, after needle, no success, meanwhile the contractions are about a minute apart and very intense, no time for medication. The doctor last resort to put an IV in my neck, it was in. No sooner was the IV in I was told I could push. NICU was on standby. This happened all so fast. In a matter of minutes Joshua was born without any medication. There was no cry, they took him away immediately. I didn’t get to see him.
They got me settled in the room and to be with Jimmy. Jimmy’s mother had arrived at the hospital around 4 am to watch Mikey and to get Jimmy some food. I was anxiously waiting to hear from the doctor about the status of Joshua. They came in around 6 am I think and said that he is doing okay, weak but okay. Then they came in again around 8 am saying that he is having trouble breathing but they are working to trying to get him breathing better. 9 am I remember vividly, the NICU doctor came in and said “your baby’s left lung has collapsed, he is dying.” They took me to go see him right away. It made me mad they wouldn’t let me see him sooner. I thought all that time, was he wondering “where is my mommy, did she leave me?” I thought maybe he gave up because I wasn’t there…I got to see him and hold him in his final minutes of life. It’s something that is ingrained in my mind. I wish I could just remember those “good times” while I was on best rest, singing to him, reading to him, and letting him know of my gentle touch and love I had & still have for him. I held him in my arms in his dying moments. I wiped away the blood coming out of his nose. I whispered to him “mommy is here, sorry it took so long to get here. I love you” I sung to him “Amazing Grace” once and told him to go be with Jesus. I don’t know if he could hear me. And I don’t know how I had the courage to go through it. Maybe I was partly still in shock, but I know He was there.
That night, the first night without Joshua in my womb or arms was the toughest night ever. The nurses tried to console me, offered me something to help me sleep, to stop the tears. How could I possibly sleep without my baby, all I have known the past 8 weeks was his movements, and now I no longer felt those movements. My aunt Marilyn came that night, she offered to stay. I told her she could go home. I really wanted her to stay but was too stubborn to say yes. I could see the hurt in her eyes for my pain. But she respected by decision and went home. I didn’t want to see her cry because it would make me cry.
The next day I requested to leave. The nurses and doctors asked “why so soon?” Why? I just lost my baby, I’m sick of seeing hospitals, sick of it all, I gave my all and now I have nothing to show for it. They made sure I didn’t have a fever and took another round of blood. Later that afternoon they discharged me. I left home with a baby in my womb, and came home with empty hands
Then next day, Valentine’s Day, we started funeral arrangements. I was all so numb. I heard the funeral person talking but nothing was English to me. The staff was very nice. I just didn’t want to be there. I wanted to crawl back into bed, and hide forever. Forget it all happened. But it did happen. I don’t understand it. So Jimmy made mostly all the decisions. The funeral was Friday. That also was a blur. I remember the pastor talking but don’t recall his words. All I could feel was emptiness, numb, broken, pain that can’t be put into words. Physically I was also very so much in pain, I had just given birth 3 days ago. Tears so many tears. Tears from me, tears from friends and family (they may have not cried there at the funeral but I know they must have at some point). The one thing I do remember is Pastor Greg saying “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” at the lowering of the casket….
But the story doesn’t end there. 2 days after burying my son Joshua. It was a Sunday evening. I got to hold Mikey in my arms (finally after not being able to do so for the past 2 so months). He fell asleep in my arms, I’m sure he missed his mommy and didn’t understand what was going on, nor should a 2 year old. Jimmy took him up to bed, I kissed him goodnight on the forehead. That was almost the last kiss he got from me. All that day I felt a little under the weather. Thought to myself “I’m still recovering from the birth.” Some laundry needed to be folded so I was doing that now that I was able to. Something didn’t feel quite right “down there.” So I went to the bathroom. After using the toilet I sat up and I felt this release of pressure “there” and another again. I looked down and two almost baseball sized blood clots came out. I was in horror. I started to profusely bleed. I called for Jimmy, I could tell in his eyes he was scared. I told him to call our friend “Sara” to come over immediately to stay at the house for Mikey. She was there in matter of minutes (lives down the road). She arrived as I was waiting in the car for Jimmy to take me the Good Samaritan Hospital. The on-call OB/GYN doctor that night was Dr. White (same doctor as in the beginning of the story). All within 2 hours I was diagnosed – had an internal ultrasound – the worse physical pain ever – worse than giving birth, felt like I was being stabbed with a knife “there.” Turns out Joshua’s placenta didn’t fully detach. Was given morphine, I was no longer screaming, as if someone was killing me. She explained she was going to try to get the rest of the placenta, if not I would have a full hysterectomy, or I would bleed-out. I was rushed into the O.R. I woke up. Marilyn was next to my bedside. Too weak talk. Found out later during the hospital day, I lost half my blood. The procedure (a inserted balloon device) they did (that God allowed) saved my life, literally. And I didn’t have to have a hysterectomy. When I had my post-partum appointment with Hershey Maternal Medicine they told me that the test came back that there was an infection in my body/productive organs. I also later then remembered that dream. In the dream it was my mom asking me if I was pregnant, my mother who is in heaven, maybe that’s where Joshua was to be all along, in Heaven, wasn’t meant to roam this earth.
The hurt and pain of grief will probably never fully go away of my beloved son Joshua. I don’t always understand what God is doing nor agree. But I know He is in control and He does work all things for good for those who love his Son. He doesn’t give me want I want, He gives me what I need. I wanted Joshua but He gave me his reassurance that He is in control. I could have easily died that night or even maybe if the pregnancy would have continued.
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Wendi blogs at: http://wheckard.blogspot.com/