To Thomas: The Story of Your Birth
On July 12, 2010, Daddy and I found out the most wonderful news. We were expecting! I simply cannot describe the joy and pure happiness we felt! We had waited for this for so long and our dream was finally coming true. You would be due on March 21, 2011. A few weeks later an ultrasound showed three heartbeats! That’s right, there were three babies, you in your own sac and your siblings, a set of identical twins in another. We were shocked and to be honest, quite scared. We were told that the twins’ sac had an abnormality, that there was no separation in the sac and therefore it was very risky because their chords could become entangled. Still, we had faith that everything was going to be okay and were very happy to be so very blessed.
In the beginning of the pregnancy, I went in every week for ultrasounds and bloodwork since we had undergone IVF and since it was triplets. Our 7 week appointment didn’t go as hoped. They were no longer able to detect a heartbeat in the twins. We were devastated. The doctor reassured us that there was no reason what happened should affect you and we were thankful that we still had one healthy baby. Still, we grieved for your siblings. All three of you were my babies, I already loved you all so much and desperately wanted all of you.
The pregnancy continued with no major complications. Your due date was to be March 21, 2011. We chose your name before you were born. The name we gave you honored your siblings. “Thomas” means “twin,” and Edward means, “guardian.” On Friday, January 7, 2011, when I was 29 weeks pregnant, I started feeling some strange pains in my back. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but the pains continued and got worse. By that Sunday morning I realized I was having contractions and Daddy took me to the hospital. They monitored me for a couple of hours and gave me some medication to stop the contractions. They told me I was already dilated 1-2cm, but that wasn’t uncommon and to follow up with my doctor the next day.
When I went to the doctor the next day, I was already 3-4cm. The doctor told us to go to the hospital immediately. I was admitted to the hospital shortly before 7:00pm on Monday, January 10th. I was put on a continual fetal monitor and was given medications. Little did I know that I would spend the next 12 days trying to keep you inside. We tried all kinds of different medication and I was put on bed-rest in the hospital. The final medication was Magnesium-Sulfate. It was no fun! We prayed so hard that you would be healthy and strong. People from all over the world were praying for you! You REALLY wanted to come meet us early. On Thursday, January 20, I had an ultra-sound with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. His suggestion was to decrease the medication and let nature take its course. You were born the very next morning.
Daddy came to visit me every day in the hospital. Around midnight on the night before you were born when Daddy was heading home, I told him how I wasn’t tired at all and had so much energy. I should have known. I was able to sleep a little that night, but around 4:00am, the contractions became much stronger and started getting closer together. At 5:30am, the nurse checked me and I was 5-6cm. She said they would be moving me to the labor and delivery wing and told me to call Daddy. I called Daddy right away and then called Aunt Tara who was going to be in the delivery room too. They came to the hospital immediately.
Soon, the contractions seemed to be coming every 2 minutes and the pain became much stronger. Aunt Tara helped me with breathing while Daddy held my hands. I felt very strongly about having you naturally with no medication and I am so thankful I was able to do that! I didn’t get scared until the doctor had to break my water. I was immediately flooded with emotion. I started to cry and said, “This is happening to fast.” I started to worry about you and wondered if you were going to be okay. Before I knew it, it was time to push. It only took three sets of three pushes and there you were.
You were born on Friday, January 21, 2011 and exactly 8:27, exactly 2 months before your due date. Daddy said you shot right out and he was almost worried that the doctor wouldn’t catch you. Hearing you cry was the greatest sound I had ever heard. The doctor placed you right on my chest. You looked right into my eyes. I started crying and I told you how much I loved you and how beautiful you were. They took you to the side, quickly checked to make sure you were breathing on your own and then they wrapped you up and put you on my chest again. They let me hold you for a few moments and then they had to take you into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Daddy walked with you as far as they would let him. They weighed and measured you and wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to Daddy. You weighed 4 pounds and 2 ounces and were 16.25 inches long. You were bigger than we thought you’d be and I was so relieved!
It was about an hour before I could see you. I missed you so much and wanted to be with you, but knew you were where you needed to be. They wheeled me in to see you and I had the biggest smile on my face, you were absolutely perfect! You didn’t even look 8 weeks premature. I couldn’t hold you yet. You were in a closed incubator to keep you warm, but I held your tiny hand as you slept. Later that night, I got to hold you. You were so tiny and fragile. Your thigh was the size of Daddy’s thumb! I couldn’t believe what a miracle you were and how lucky I was that God gave you to me!
You had to stay in the NICU until you got stronger. The day I had to leave the hospital without you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I cried a lot, but knew you were where you needed to be and knew you’d be home with us soon. I visited you every single day for hours and hours. Daddy came too. Sometimes, Grandmother, Grandpapa, Gigi, and Papaw got to come see you too. We all loved you so much. Every night that I left the hospital, I would cry. I missed you so much and wanted to you home!
You had an IV in your tiny little hand giving you fluids. At first, you drank Mommy’s milk through a feeding tube in your nose. I pumped every 4 hours for the first 2 weeks. Soon, you were strong enough to try nursing. The first time I got to nurse you was such an amazing feeling. You were a great eater from the start and thanks to that, you got to come home much sooner than we expected. You came home on Monday, February 14th, 2011, Valentine’s Day! What a special Valentine’s Day gift!
You have defied the odds, little man.
“There are moments that mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts; before this and after this.”