Not everything in life is always done the conventional way … Sometimes people have to take their own path, their own journey, different from that of the “standard human”.
When our children are born, you look at them, and think they can be anything they want. The world is in the palm of their hands. You have big hopes, dreams, and aspirations for them. However, what happens when your child comes into the world three months before they are due to be born?! Well, all of those hopes and dreams you thought you had for your child, become different hopes and dreams. You truly just want them to make it to the next minute, the next hour, the next day. You live from moment to moment. Every ounce gained, is a party. Yes, I said one ounce. My son was born at 711 grams. That’s ONE pound, NINE ounces, 12 ½ inches long. My whole pregnancy was a “problem” from the get go. From how I found out that I was pregnant, to almost dying three months before he was even due to be born.
It was Thanksgiving time, 1998 … I had been married for just over a year. I wasn’t necessarily trying to get pregnant, but I wasn’t NOT trying, either. I had also, just moved back home to New Jersey, after a short stint in Charlotte, NC. I was home sick, and just wanted to go back home.
Everything happens for a reason, right?! Right. I didn’t know at the time, but I had moved back home, because I was about to experience the ride of my life, and needed my mother. Sure, I was most definitely homesick, but within months of being home, I found out I was preggers … in the Emergency Room. Like I said, it was Thanksgiving time, the day after actually, and my belly HURT! Too much turkey, maybe … But Damn, OUCH!!! Sharp, stabbing pains to my abdomen … literally doubled over, on the floor, dying in pain.
“IT’S APPENDICITIS!! Get her to the ER”, my mother was screaming. My then husband, listened to his mother in law, and took me to the ER …
“Any chance your pregnant?”, the nurse asked.
“There’s always a chance, but I doubt it,” I said quietly.
“Well … YOU’RE PREGNANT!”, chimed the nurse.
Of course, we weren’t expecting to hear this news, but oh my God, I was going to be a MOM! I had just turned 23. We truly didn’t know how to react. I kid you not … the first thought that went through my head … “Thank GOD I’m married!!” … You know, Irish-Catholic girl, doing it the “conventional“ way … you date, get engaged, get married, kids, etc. Conventional. But wait … why am I in pain, if I’m just pregnant …
“Oh my God … Am I having a miscarriage?!”
Long story short … My cycles back then, were very unruly, so at the time, going by when my last period was, I would have been considered 2 ½ months pregnant, but my “numbers” from blood work, were telling another tale … So they, in fact, thought I was having a miscarriage.
Moving forward, it was determined that I was about 3 weeks pregnant, at the time of my ER visit. I had a bunch of problems, from profusely bleeding in my 3rd month, to high blood pressure and bed rest, for the remainder of my pregnancy.
It’s funny … when you’re young and “dumb”, and all you think is (or at least me) “All I ever wanted to be was a mom!”, no one tells you that you might die during labor (or before) … No one tells you that your child could potentially die inside of you, having to give birth to a stillborn … NO ONE FUCKING TELLS YOU THE COLD HARD TRUTH of being pregnant. Back then, everyone made it out to be all butterflies, unicorns and roses … They didn’t tell you how rough the morning sickness is going to be … I say “they”, referring to every female in your life … Back then, we didn’t have Google to tell us ANYTHING.
I had been on bedrest for 3 weeks, when I had asked my doctor if I could go back to work, just to get out of the house. I have ADHD, and sitting still for any length of time, sucks. My doctor and I had a wonderful rapport (God rest his soul), and I was knees to the ground, begging to go back, and he finally agreed to part-time … Not even a week in, and my blood pressure had skyrocketed through the roof …. Again … You guessed it … bed rest!
April 23rd, 1999 … Still on the couch watching the coverage regarding The Columbine Shooting. I had woken up feeling okay. By 10am, I couldn’t keep anything down … nothing, at all … I didn’t feel sick, like the flu or anything … I just couldn’t stop throwing up. My baby daddy came home from work, to take me to the dr. Everything was fine in the office, but they needed to send me to the hospital, to get hydrated. While at the local hospital, I was about to have a seizure, and the dr’s there, decided to send me to the hospital that could handle premature births, better than the one that I was at. I was red-lighted from Newton to Morristown … A trip that would normally take 45 mins to an hour, took them 33 mins from door to door.
I was dying, and didn’t have a clue!
April 24, 1999 … 6:30am … The nurse comes in to check my foley bag. I was given a catheter, due to my weakness, I was unable to get up and go to the bathroom. The bag was empty. She asked if someone had been in to empty the bag, when we told her no … the look on her face, I’ll never forget it … “Ummm … I’ll be right back”, she said. Upon her return, with the doctor, they explained that my organs were now shutting down, starting with my kidneys, and they had no choice, but to deliver my son via emergency c-section, in order to make me better. I had developed preeclampsia / toxemia, and in order to save me, they had to deliver him … My poor, helpless, little boy.
Wait? WHAT?! “But his lungs are just developing now, how will he breath? Will he survive? Why is this happening to me?”
We didn’t really have time for answers. Not at that moment in time, anyhow.. Thinking back, I was so sick, that I really wasn’t scared. I had faith (or optimism) that everything was going to be okay.
All I ever wanted to be, was a mom. I was so close. Fourteen weeks away from meeting my son. Fourteen weeks away … from being someone’s mom.