Lying there on the table feeling numb and isolated from the 18 people buzzing around the room, they brought them to me. Two little bundles, Baby A and Baby B. Jacob and Emma, my babies. It was only a brief moment before they were whisked away. My husband was crying tears of joy. “They’re breathing! They’re breathing!” he exclaimed with relief and pride. I said nothing. A single tear ran down my face. My only fleeting thought was this was not the way it was supposed to be.
FOURTEEN MONTHS EARLIER…
We found out that we could not conceive a child naturally. The combination of our respective issues made it nearly impossible and with my biological clock ticking, we didn’t have any time to waste. After months of agonizing over whether or not I was even supposed to be a mom, we agreed to move forward with invitro fertilization that fall. I had wanted a baby since I was in my early twenties. With a little scientific help, I would be able to fulfill that dream.
I started the process of hormone treatments, blood work, shots and more shots. And in December 2004, I was implanted with four embryos and confined to strict bed rest for a week. I spent my time praying that my body would work to protect this potential life growing inside of me. We received the good news on New Year’s Eve. I was pregnant!
The next wave of insecurities and anxiety arrived as I waited for the first ultrasound to see if everything was ok. Before that could happed my worst nightmare came to fruition, I woke up one morning bleeding. Within the week and several rushed trips to the doctor I learned that I had three babies growing inside me and I lost one. I was scared, confused, frustrated. How was I to live the next 7 months in a constant state of fear and anxiety?
But I did. Only it wasn’t quite seven months because at week 20 I went into labor. I was approaching a physical state where my body was preparing for delivery. I was fortunate that they caught it in time and I was admitted to Centennial Women’s Hospital under the care of the perinatalogist (high-risk pregnancy doctors). Things were going well until week 27 when on that fateful Friday morning of June 10, 2005, I woke up to a different kind of pain.
The rest is kind of a blur. Ambulances, doctors, ERs, transfers, more doctors, more pain. It was surreal. When they decided to check my progress I was dilated passed 6 and it was time for an emergency cesarean. There was no other choice because they were so small a vaginal birth would potentially cause them further harm. Within 45 minutes, I was on the table, vomiting from the medications they were pumping in to my veins and being tugged and pulled on as they cut half way through my body to rescue the lives inside of me. My babies.
Babies who were not ready to be here. Babies who may not be able to breathe. But they were breathing. Everything was ok; at least that’s what everyone told me that night. But all I remember is the pink round head the size of a lemon peaking out from a blanket before it was whisked away. I could not hold them. I could not touch them. I could not see them. How could anyone say that everything was ok?
I did not sleep that night. They were on floor 6. I was on floor 7. The space between us seemed like forever.
On Saturday, my husband rolled me into the NICU. There they were, my babies, with a variety of wires and tubes coming out of them. They were so tiny. Jacob weighed 2 lbs and Emma was 1 lb 13 oz. It was a surreal moment. I did not cry. I didn’t feel much of anything. It was all sort of matter of fact about it. Why didn’t I feel anything? Why wasn’t I instantly swept away with emotion? Did I not love them the way a mother is supposed to love? Was there something wrong with me?
After two days of robotic trips to the NICU and no sleep, the doctors decided it was in my best interest to medically nudge me to sleep. 3 Percocet and 2 Ambien later and I was finally getting the rest I needed. It was Sunday night and I had not slept since Thursday night even though I had been taking Ambien nightly, it was just not quite strong enough to beat a mother’s instincts.
On Monday morning I woke to a different feeling. It was supposed to be like any other day. Go see the babies, touch them, sing to them and enjoy them. But it hit me out of the blue. The emptiness fell on me like a wave. My heart began to break and I began to sink into the darkness. The tears started to fall and I knew they would not be stopping any time soon. Waking up from numb is so painful.
Every time I looked at them or thought about what they are going through my heart broke and half the time I’m crying. Logically, I knew it was not my fault. In my head I knew this, if I could reason with myself at the time. But my heart did not buy it. I couldn’t get pregnant, I couldn’t maintain one of the pregnancies (there were triplets), I couldn’t carry them to term, now to top it off my milk is not coming in and I couldn’t nurse if it were even an option. I feel like I have failed them in every way, shape and form. They didn’t deserve this start in life.
I wrote those words a few months after the kids were born. They were in the NICU for 2 ½ months. It was a long time. But I was lucky. I was witness to a mother who did not get to bring her child home. Her baby went home to God instead.
My life changed in those first moments, those first days and months. No longer was I the person who was concerned about what position I held at work, what kind of car I drove, when my next shoe shopping adventure was going to occur. No, my babies were breathing and that was really the only thing that came to mind. They were healthy. Their medical issues were ones we could overcome. When faced with adversity or set back, my mind would rest on the fact that they were alive and breathing. It was such an easy simplification of life.
God knew what he was doing with me as a Mother and a person by bringing my babies to me in this manner. He was preparing me for life. Preparing me to be a better mother and to have the patience and a greater love and kindness than I had experienced before.
I would not be where I am today transitioning through this divorce and opening my life to new opportunities to serve and help others if it had not been for God’s plan to bring me Emma and Jacob as He did. I am grateful.
Yesterday, June 10, 2008, they celebrated their third birthday. I have said this numerous times. If there is any doubt that God still performs miracles in this day and age, rest assured he does because I look at two of them every day.