For the most part, I’m a pretty private person. I am very open with my friends, however, I don’t usually share such personal details with strangers and acquaintances. But this story, a very personal one, has been put on my heart to share. Not because it’s super interesting or crazy (even though it is crazy), but because I felt the Lord press on my heart to share and boast in His provisions. So when you read this long story, read it with eyes that see not only His infinite love and wisdom for me and Millie, but for you too. Because He loves you. And I want you to see that grace and mercy are woven into situations and sufferings, and even if our life doesn’t turn out the way we hoped, we can rest in the knowledge that He holds it all together.
We found out I was pregnant pretty early. As soon as you can know, we knew. I immediately calculated my due date: April 20th. What a great due date, so easy to remember. A day after Eric’s birthday (4/19), and national smoke pot day. Do they still call it pot? This due date also put me at 38 weeks pregnant for my sister’s wedding. I wasn’t worried though. To our surprise, Stockton (our 2nd child) made it all the way to his due date. So I just knew baby #3 would be a week late.
I felt great throughout the pregnancy. We had a healthy anatomy scan, found out we were having a girl, and I continued exercising as normal. I could run 4 miles up until 25 weeks, but when week 26 hit, I pretty much could only make it a mile before I was done. I was, however, still lifting weights and taking exercise classes (all approved by my doctor). I tell you this to emphasize how healthy my pregnancy was, and we had no indication of complication.
My last two pregnancies were also healthy. I never had high blood pressure, sugar levels were great, and delivered both naturally through progression of labor, never being induced. My pregnancy progressed and I carried on as normal. I mean when you have two other kids, you have no choice but to carry on. I launched my business in January and had several projects lined up pretty much until my due date.
One early Wednesday morning (I was 31 weeks and 5 days) around 4:45am, Addie comes into our room. She had a bad dream and asked to get into our bed. I told her no and got up to put her back in her own bed. As I was walking to her room, I felt wet and thought maybe my water broke. It was dark, so I couldn’t see anything. After I put her back to bed I hurried to the bathroom and to my horror, I was covered in blood.
I quickly woke up Eric and urgently told him there is a problem, and I needed to go to the hospital. Speechless, he jumped up from his sleep and followed me to the bathroom. Thinking our baby has already died or is dying, I tell Eric to start praying. He prays aloud for our baby as I clean myself up.
I was in no pain, and we live a mile from the hospital, so I grabbed my keys and hopped in the car. I was determined to drive myself. Our kids were asleep and we had no time to waste waiting for someone to get to our house. My thought process was that if our baby was dying, I wanted to give her the best chance of surviving. I thought that if I could get to the hospital asap, if need be, they could cut her out of me and save her life.
On my way to the hospital, to my relief and delight, I felt her move. I thanked Jesus and continued to plead with him to sustain her life. I checked into the hospital and was admitted into triage where they quickly put heart monitors on my belly. A strong heartbeat! Praise Jesus! They gave me an exam and ultrasound, and everything looked great. They weren’t sure the reason for the bleed, but they admitted me for the next four days for observation. They wanted to make sure I didn’t bleed again. Just in case of early delivery, they gave me steroid shots in my hip to speed up the maturation of the baby’s lungs.
After four days of observation, I had no more bleeding so they sent me home with a list of restrictions. No lifting my children, no stairs, no more exercise, sit as much as possible, and no traveling within 30 minutes from the hospital. Well, there goes my trips to Charlotte, Charleston, and Raleigh. As well as those work projects I had planned to help launch my business portfolio.
I was bummed but not devastated. The Lord gave me peace about his plan for my life, and I knew I could trust his sovereignty. If He wasn’t in this business, I didn’t want it. If he wasn’t in these plans, I didn’t want any of them. It was hard though, not exercising anymore and not being active. I don’t love being pregnant, so all of these plans I made were suppose to help pass the time until my due date. Now what? Was I suppose to sit all day and do nothing? Yep.
After I was discharged, the doctor told me to take it especially easy until 34 weeks. That was the goal, he said, because many developmental milestones happen during that time.
So I made it to 34 weeks and 2 days. On Friday, March 10, Stockton got the stomach bug. All day long I was on my hands and knees cleaning throw up off the floor, changing soiled clothes, and carrying my 33lb son around because he was too weak to walk. By the end of the day I said to Eric, “If this day doesn’t put me into labor or make me bleed again, then I am fine.”
The next night, on March 11, I started having regular contractions. Around 9:45pm, I told Eric I was going to bed. I knew I needed to put my feet up and see if the contractions went away. Before climbing into bed, I went to the bathroom and saw blood in the water.
Here we go again. I called for Eric and told him the news. Back to the hospital. I was in no pain, so I decided to drive myself. I was super calm since this happened before and didn’t feel like there was reason for Eric to come with me since our kids were sick. I figured I would probably just get there and go to sleep so there was really no need for him to come tonight unless it was an emergency. I told him that I would keep him updated and let him know if he should come. So I packed my bag and went.
Same story. I was admitted into triage, they did an exam and then wheeled me down to ultrasound. My nurse dropped me off at ultrasound, and as I sat on the chair while the tech prepped the machine, I began to bleed profusely. I told her that I was bleeding and it wasn’t stopping so please hurry. She quickly did the ultrasound and grew suspiciously quiet and very observant. After she finished, she left the room and shut the door, but I managed to overhear her call for a doctor. I knew something bad happened but no one was telling me what.
While all this was happening, Eric called for an update and guidance on what he should do. All I knew to tell him was that I was bleeding very bad, but wasn’t sure if he should come or not since no one was telling me anything. My nurse urgently entered the ultrasound room and rushed me back to my triage room. She overheard my conversation with Eric and told him to, “get here asap.” Tears filled my eyes as the emergent nature of the situation sinks in. They are going to deliver.
At 11:02pm, I told Eric he needed to get to the hospital now. I texted my mom, who lives 2 hours away, that they are about to deliver my baby. Eric called his sister, who lives down the street, to come to our house immediately. My mom got out of bed and started driving to Greensboro.
When we arrived back to my triage room from ultrasound, we entered into a room full of people in scrubs. They quickly stripped me of my clothes and jewelry and put me in scrubs, just as Eric arrived. They had a pile of scrubs ready for him, and as he entered the room, he saw tears flowing down my cheeks and announced to a room full of medical professionals, “It’s going to be okay!”…looking back now, he realizes that no one else was reassuring us of that fact. He says he remembers seeing a look of terror on one of their faces. He also managed to put the scrub booties on his hands ;).
The following image is one I never thought I’d show anyone, as it is a very vulnerable moment in my life. But I think it’s necessary for you to see. Yes, everything turned out fine, but even if it didn’t, God is still on His throne. Moments like this should cause us to long for Him and His presence more, because it is only there where we can find comfort and peace.
After they get us ready, they quickly wheeled me down to the OR. My surgeon met us there, and they prepped everything and began to administer my spinal. The surgeon that was on-call just happened to be the best and quickest surgeon in the practice. By 11:32, Millie Jane was born. I heard her wet cry and a team of NICU doctors grabbed her and began to assess her 34 week old body. She looked beautiful and healthy, I heard a strong cry, and asked Eric to show me pictures! Praise Jesus! She is here and alive. I quickly got a glance of my precious child as they took her off to the NICU.
All is well. The Lord is good, he is merciful and kind-hearted. As I process the events that took place on March 11, I have nothing but praise for God our Father. He is the Giver of life and can do as he pleases. He can give life and take it away. For no other reason but for His glory and my good, He chose to spare us both.
Over the next few days as I rested in the hospital, multiple doctors came to check on me. Each one told me how lucky we were…but I don’t believe it was luck at all. I believe the Lord has His plans and we can surrender to them or push against them. His hand was all over that night. My surgeon visited me the night after the emergency c-section to tell my that my placenta abrupted. What that means, is that my placenta detatched from the uterine wall. This is a true medical emergency because the placenta is the baby’s lifeline and without it, the baby doesn’t live.
Many might have reason to think we had a string of bad luck. When it rains it pours, right?! I mean not only were our lives in danger and Millie had a premature birth and NICU stay, but to top it off, my kids had the stomach bug at the same time- which means someone had to watch them during their sickness.
But amidst all of the hard stuff, His kindness was so evident. Let me boast for a minute on His goodness:
-We live 1 mile from the hospital. If we lived even 25 minutes away, things might have turned out differently.
– We had a warning sign at 31 weeks when I had my first bleed. This kept me in close proximity to the hospital, allowed me to be extra careful to make it to 34 weeks, and was the reason for the steroid shots.
-The best and quickest surgeon was on call that night.
-My mom started a new job and had no time off, but her boss graciously allowed her the time to come and be with us.
-Millie was a GREAT size for her age. I usually have small babies. Addie was 4lb 13oz at 36 weeks 5 days. Millie was 4lb 13oz at 34 weeks.
-I was at the hospital when my placenta abrupted and within 30 minutes, the baby was out!
-She spent 19 days in the NICU. Although it was sad to leave her in the hospital, I was healed and rested when she got home.
-I was so nervous I would get the stomach bug since I spent all day caring for Stockton…I mean who wants the stomach bug after having a csection?! But in His mercy, I never got sick. If I got sick, I wouldn’t have been able to hold Millie in the NICU.
There are so many reason why I could be traumatized or look at my puffy c-section scar with sadness. But honestly I’m just thankful. I’m thankful for modern medicine. I’m thankful for doctors. I’m thankful for technology and ultrasounds. I’m thankful for c-sections. And the scar doesn’t bother me one bit, it’s what saved her. It reminds me of God’s mercy for us, and the very fact that I see it as a symbol of His mercy, is His grace in my own life. There is not any good in me for which I can boast, but any good that comes from this situation is because of His grace. We are praising God for Millie Jane’s birth and life. He is a good Father. He loves her, he loves me, and he loves you.