A Miracle Birth Story
When I first found out I was pregnant, my reaction was pure excitement. I was going to be a first-time mom and looked forward to experiencing pregnancy, just like I had watched on my binge of TLC shows and movies. I just knew I would have a cute belly and still maintain my figure; after all, I’ve been seeing this in my head since playing with my first Baby All Gone doll as a child. You remember the song, “ My baby all gone, she makes it all gone?” You could feed her and she even peed! Yup, I had experience, motherhood was going to be a breeze! Not to mention, I grew up with 6 siblings with no more than 3 bedrooms in the home. I was the third-born and had helped a lot when my younger siblings were born, so I was thinking, “I’m super qualified!” Ha!
Life must have seen my parade of confidence and told the clouds to all start heading my way, because within a few months that excitement was no longer dancing at the same pace.
My first few months of pregnancy were great. I didn’t have morning sickness, I still had my curves and a little belly was already beginning to show by the 3rd month. Once I hit month 4, the first cloud showed up. I was told I had rhinitis, an irritation and swelling of the mucous membrane in the nose; however, it would remain my entire pregnancy! I also began having terrible night sweats, I would wake up drenched so badly I would sometimes have to flip the mattress over. Sounds icky, I know – definitely not the glamorous pregnancy I had envisioned all my life. Those darn movie producers got me good!
A few more months in, I was told I also had gestational diabetes. I was frustrated to say the least. I was always a fit woman before pregnancy. I worked out regularly and had finally gotten abs, so I was confident my pregnancy would be free of any health issues. Saying this out loud, I have to admit I sound so ignorant, and the truth is, I was.
As a woman, I took for granted something as simple as pregnancy. I just expected my body would do what is was made to do.
By month 9, I was living under some major storm clouds. I had gained a whopping 85 pounds! I had gone from 150 to 235. My weight was increasing so rapidly my doctor began to think my eating habits were the cause. I reassured him it wasn’t, but in an attempt to figure out why, I was hospitalized and monitored on a very low calorie diet for a week, and guess what I still gained almost 10 pounds. They were puzzled.
My doctor was an amazing man. He had been practicing for over 30 years and had even delivered my siblings and I, so I was honored to have him now deliver my first-born child. He had such a sense of humor, and was always laughing. He placed a cowbell in the waiting room and if you gained over a certain amount of weight he would make you ring it… it sounds bad now that I think about it, but back then it seemed funny. Needless to say, guess who had to ring it? Yours truly! I felt like a cow too, I was so ready to not be pregnant anymore.
Since I had been a gym rat prior to pregnancy, I was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to have a c-section because I wanted to be able to hit the gym again, fast! I was still in college and I mean … enough said. I was told due to the combination of health issues and weight gain, I would need to be induced because my child was at risk for being too large and causing complications, as most women with gestational diabetes birth large babies. I wasn’t the least concerned since I had watched many induced labors via TLC, not to mention I was tired of waddling – I’m just saying. I thought, Ok, bring it on!
April 20, 2007: I woke up nervous.
I was awakened from a frightful nightmare the night before I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital, and I automatically began the negative self-talk. What if it’s a bad omen? What if something goes wrong? But then I said a prayer and suddenly a peace came about me. I quickly became excited again.
We checked into the hospital without issue. A week earlier I had actually taken a tour of the maternity floor. I’ll never forget, a nurse asked, “Would you like to see the rooms behind the nurse’s station? It’s where we put those in intensive care.” My response haunts me to this day, I replied “ Sure, although it’s a waste, because I won’t be in there.” Oh how life must have chuckled at me.
Once I was settled in my room, I was given a form to fill out giving permission for blood transfusions. This time the nurse made another haunting statement, once I handed the form back to her, she said “Thanks, and no worries, it’s not like you’re going to need it.” At this point, life was laughing AND shaking it’s head. I was induced and as I began to experience contractions, things seemed to be going as expected. I wore an oxygen mask because of my rhinitis, so catching breaths wasn’t easy. I was in labor for 14 hours until the machines began going off. I knew something was wrong once the nurse came in and asked me to shift and lay on my right side. A few minutes later the machine went off again, and I was asked to shift to my left side. Eventually I was told my blood pressure was rising dangerously, while my son’s heart rate was dropping, so an emergency C-section would be the next course of action.
Warm tears began streaming down my face as I was pushed out of my room and prepped for surgery. I had received an epidural prior, so my pain level was nonexistent. I was so drugged up I actually began going in and out of consciousness during the C-section. The nurses and staff kept saying, “Stay with us, what’s your name, what year were your born? What’s your address?” …anything to keep me awake. I just remember my son being brought to me briefly and waking up in my hospital room in a bit of pain with my family congratulating me and my son’s father. Ironically, I was in a room behind the nurse’s station, the intensive care unit! Regardless, I was so happy to finally be a mother! Yes, my labor didn’t transpire in the fashion I had “ordained” for my life, but I was the mother of a beautiful healthy baby boy. I was told my son’s chord was wrapped around his ankle, which had stopped him from being able to descend fully into the birth canal.
As we all sat conversing about my experience, my family headed home for the night. Shortly after they left, I began to feel blood flowing down my thighs.
I initially ignored it until I felt my body pass a clot the size of a golf ball, it felt so unnatural and large, and once it passed there was almost a gushing of blood that began to flow. Just then, a nurse entered the room and I alerted her that I was bleeding, her response was priceless, she said, “Of course you’re bleeding, you just had a baby silly!” She didn’t even bother to pull the cover back and take a look. A few minutes passed and then the excruciating pain kicked in. I began crying and another nurse who was stocking supplies walked into my room. I told her I was bleeding and in pain, she walked over and pulled the cover back. In that moment, her cups hit the floor and she ran out leaving my son’s father at the foot of the bed, jaw open. I cried and asked “ What’s wrong, what do you see, what is it?!” He stood, eyes wide … silent. The nurse returned with a doctor, who left and returned with another doctor, so there were 3 doctors in the back corner of my room, huddled, and none of them were my actual doctor. My doctor had been paged but had not arrived yet.
I began shaking and convulsing so badly, I could not be still and the pain only increased. Two nurses entered and advised I would be given emergency blood transfusions, as I was hemorrhaging very badly.
My doctor entered the room and, for the first time in my life, I saw him angry – he even cursed. He yelled “How the _______ could you all let this happen!” Instantly, the room transformed into a scene from ER, or Grey’s Anatomy: complete chaos. I remember hearing orders being yelled around the room as everyone shuffled in a panic to get me stable. My son’s father was escorted out of the room. The transfusions didn’t seem to help, I was still losing blood and convulsing. My doctor came to me and said,
“I know you’re in a lot of pain, but we don’t have time to go in surgically. I’m going to have to manually remove your placenta, it wasn’t taken out and now your body is rejecting it. It’s causing your organs to shut down.”
He continued, “I’m going to have to press down on your stitches and go in with my hand so please bear with me”. I was in so much pain, and felt like I was dying, I just shook my head yes and he began doing just that.
The chaplain was called. I was in bad shape, still shaking. Surprisingly, my mother was allowed in the room. She walked up to me, put her hands on me and said, “Satan, I bind you in the name of Jesus!”, immediately my convulsing and shaking ceased. The room got so quiet, everyone looked on in shock. In that moment the Lord became so real to me!
One nurse broke the silence and said, “My God, we’d tried everything!” My mom replied, “Yes, but you didn’t try the name of Jesus.”
Once my placenta had been removed, I remained in the ICU for almost two weeks. I became the “Miracle Mama” on the 8th floor. Nurses and doctors who hadn’t even worked on me would come by to check on me and encourage me, it meant a lot. My son had swallowed a bit of amniotic fluid so eating was a little painful for him initially because of the digestive issues it caused. I wasn’t able to breastfeed, so oddly enough my milk never came in. I chose not to sue the hospital, as the doctor was such a close friend and it was his last year before retirement, I didn’t want to ruin his legacy as it was his team that had messed up. I wanted to sue, though – just being honest. What I endured could have been tragic, and sadly it has been for many mothers who were not as fortunate to live and tell about it.
I thank God every day for sparing me and my son Tristen’s life.
There were so many parts of motherhood that didn’t and still don’t look the way I thought they would, but I’m cherishing each moment and you should too. There were days I felt like I wasn’t a “real mother” because I had a C-section and couldn’t breastfeed, but I’ve come to realize that we as women are beyond phenomenal and almost mystic. We are birthers of human beings, of nations, of generations, of legacies! No matter how our children come into this world, whether naturally, adoption, home birth, C-section, or vaginal, we are mothers and we are amazing! Enjoy the journey, cherish the moment, and shine up those memories in that gallery of your mind. Good and bad, that gallery belongs to you and it tells a beautiful story of resilience, relationship, sacrifice, and love in its purest form.