I asked my BFF to share her story of her son’s birth. See – her son has cerebral palsy and he is one of the smartest, funniest kids I know. I think he is amazing and I really wanted others to know that special needs kids are more than their diagnosis. Their story is amazing….I hope you all feel the same way! ~ Andrea
I never really understood what being a Mom could really mean until we had two failed pregnancies and then the miracle of a lifetime. My name is Shelloy and I am Andrea’s BFF! Andrea asked me if I would share with all of you a little about my experience and my little man…we call him Potato, Andrea calls him Poedee, since we make appearances in Andrea’s blogs from time to time.
My husband, Nate, and I have been together for 20 years, married for almost 14. In 2001, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were so very excited and anxious to be parents. I developed a bleed during my pregnancy and was put on bed rest. As the bleed got worse, I was put in the hospital for observation and a couple of days later my water ruptured throwing me into labor. We delivered our first child, Richard Michael, at 16 weeks on January 13, 2002. This devastated us, but especially my husband as I was able to be drugged during the delivery so a good chunk is a blur but he was 100% coherent for the entire time. We were able to hold our little boy and spend some time with him. We then had him cremated and he is now home with us, where he belongs.
In late 2002, early 2003, we found out we were pregnant again. We were cautiously excited due to our experience the year before. My husband was in the Marine Corps and was called away for training in March. I was about 10 weeks pregnant and because of my prior history, my doctor scheduled an ultrasound. I thought nothing of it and went by myself since he was out-of-town. As I was looking at the screen, I searched and searched for what I should have been able to see…the heartbeat. I asked the technician why we couldn’t find it and she gave me the most heartbreaking look and told me it was because there wasn’t one. I lost it…there I was alone looking at our second child, lifeless. The technician called my doctor who was across the street and he told them to have me come straight there, even though I didn’t have an appointment. He was amazing…he comforted me and talked me through the steps we were going to have to take. I wasn’t sure trying again would happen. This one was devastating to me as I was alone and was attached to the little life that barely had a chance to grow. Now we had lost two babies and I was beginning to think being a mom was not meant to be for me.
July 2003…3rd time…could this be our charm? Again, we were very anxious and apprehensive about being excited as the two prior tries had taken their toll on us for sure. Due to my history, my doctor kept a close eye on me. Things started out great. I was feeling symptoms, not sick, thankfully…but other symptoms, bloated, tender chest, tired, etc. August 16, 2003, I had a candle party at my house. At this time we had not told very many people that we were pregnant just in case…the more we tell, the more we would have to tell if things didn’t work out. I felt something strange so I went to the restroom and began crying uncontrollably. Not again! I was bleeding. I hollered for my mom who was one of the only ones, if not the only one, that knew at the party that I was pregnant. She went out and told everyone what was going on and that we would have to end the party early. Long story short, my doctor put me on limited bed rest and ultimately put me on full bed rest Labor Day weekend…no more work until further notice. On October 28, I felt something wasn’t right and felt as though my water broke but it wasn’t a gush type feeling that I had with Richie. I went in to the ER and when they determined it was my water (after sending me home and me going back the next day to argue with them); I was admitted to labor and delivery. At this time I was only 18 weeks along. The next 6 weeks was spent in one of our smaller hospitals. My doctor indicated that he would have me transferred to our larger hospital with the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) once I reached 24 weeks when the baby was considered viable. It was a long 6 weeks. We spent Halloween and Thanksgiving in the hospital, taking it very easy and staying in bed 95% of the time. My water was broke but per several ultrasounds, there was just a tear at the top side so as I continuously leaked water, my body was also creating amniotic fluid. The baby stayed very strong; however had very little water to move around.
December 16, 2003…we made it to 24 weeks. My doctor ordered my transfer to Sacred Heart Hospital via ambulance. It had been 6 long weeks since I had stepped foot outside of my room in that hospital, I was anxious to sit up, go outside, and see some sites through town. Sadly, my doctor ordered that I lay flat during the ambulance trip so I did my best to lift my head to look out the windows. I was very determined. LOL The ambulance team was great and took the long way so we could walk outside for a bit, even though it was freezing cold.
The next 4 weeks were spent hooked to monitors, having ultrasounds, being on oxygen due to where the baby was pressing, causing my respiratory issues to be intensified. It was night and day from the other hospital. Apparently, things get a bit more serious once the baby is viable. We spent Christmas and New Years in the hospital. The staff was great. For Christmas, they moved me to a larger room so that my family could come up and spend it with us and we’d have room for my niece and nephews to open their presents and play with them. For New Year’s, they took me and my machines to the other end of the hospital so I could watch the fireworks display downtown at midnight. It was amazing. From the 9th floor we could not only see downtown, but several private displays that residences around town were setting off. I will never forget the holiday season of 2003.
My care had been transitioned to a Perintologist (high risk obstetrician) and we began meeting with the Neonatologist (doctor that specializes in premature and ill newborns). They had shared with us over the course of my care some potential risks if the baby were to survive. They were almost 100% sure that due to my lack of water that the baby would have cerebral palsy. We researched to try to understand what that would mean for our baby and determined that with the range of severity, it was hard to determine but that whatever the case, this child would be loved and cared for the best we knew how. Other risks they shared was asthma, development delays, etc…things you would expect when the baby is not born at term.
On January 7, 2004, both doctors came in around 10am and told us that they thought it might be the day. I was medicated quite frequently to stop labor and they thought that as strong as the baby was and the fact that I was not yet infected, that it may be best to take it at that time. We agreed as we knew the longer we went with my water broke, the more at risk I was of becoming infected, thus the more at risk the baby was. I have never been prepped and whisked off so quickly in my life. By 10:38am, our little baby was born. He was 2 lbs 6 oz and 14 ¾” long. Little did we know what was in store…