Vanessa originally shared this on her blog, By the Grace of God, in February.
I feel I need to write this, if not to release some of my innermost feelings then to have it in words so I know it’s real. My story is for lack of a better word…..crazy. More crazy than your wildest dreams.
I’ll start with finding out I was pregnant. I was overjoyed, excited, nervous, in disbelief, and utterly petrified all at the same time. I didn’t find out until I was 20 weeks, call me insane but I had NO idea. Prior I was married for four years with no luck of conceiving. Being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) I was told it’d be very difficult for me to get pregnant so I’d put the idea on a shelf in the back of my mind. Also, I guess I was extremely lucky and had no symptoms.
I was able to get in for my first ultrasound around 21 weeks. I went alone, my mother had to work, and the dad is non-existent. I was so scared, solely because I hadn’t known for so long and was worried there would be something wrong. I lay in the chair completely silent. The ultrasound lady went about her business, cold gel and all. After about 5 min of sickening silence she said “Guess what? There’s two!!” “Right, no there’s not.” was the first thing that came out of my mouth. She panned out for a view of two perfectly healthy babies. And even luckier??? A boy and a girl. I was somewhere between being on cloud nine and having a nervous breakdown.
Since twins are considered high risk I was referred to a specialist in Oklahoma City, who had no availability for 5 weeks. For me that 5 weeks was hell. I was constantly worried they weren’t moving enough, I wasn’t eating enough, I was doing too much at work or at home, you get the idea.
And I stayed in my bed. For days. Fast forward one week…I had finally mustered up the strength to go back to work. It was my first day back and I’d been having quite a few contractions. At first I blew them off as probably being Braxton Hicks. After relaxing and drinking water they still hadn’t toned down. So I closed up the store and headed up to the ER. They put the belly monitor on and I was indeed having real contractions. I was given a shot to stop them and also a steroid shot for Peyton’s lungs. After 45 min with no contractions I was sent home. I’d decided that it would be best to go to my mom’s so I could rest and do nothing. Once at my mom’s I laid down on the couch exhausted, and then you guessed it, I had to pee. As soon as I got up my water broke. I was crying and yelling at Beau that he needed to get out of the bathroom. My mother and I made our way back into town. We got to Newkirk where an ambulance was waiting to take me to Ponca.
After arriving at hospital they did confirm that my water had broken, and also that I was dilated to 1.5 They did an ultrasound to find out it was Jaxon’s water that had broken. I was then medi-flighted to Mercy in OKC. And just for the record, riding for your first time on a helicopter, while pregnant, huge, and worried, not fun! Once we’d arrived in OKC they decided they’d monitor Peyton and I for 24 hours. Really we were just trying to squeeze in one more steroid shot for baby girl. The whole time I remember constantly thinking “can we please just get her out already?” I just wanted to have her out so I knew she was OK Was a very rough night, nurses kept coming in to check if I was dilated and because miss Peyton, being the feisty little thing she is, kept moving away from the monitors. Around 6 am my nurse, Sally came in and said that I’d spiked a fever and baby girl was dropping her heart rate so we were going to have a baby about 7. After my mom arrived we went back to get the spinal. Lord was I freaking out for that! Freaking out for no reason, mind you, because I felt nothing.
At 8:51 a.m. Jaxon Lee was born, and his sister followed at 8:52. I remember waiting, waiting to hear my girl cry. But I heard nothing. Think I had a small heart attack in those few seconds. After the doc removed his finger from her mouth, I heard her teeny, tiny, cry. And I bawled.
One of the first questions asked of me, after I’d been moved into my room, was if I wanted to see my son. This is going to sound horrible but my first thought was no. No because I didn’t want the pain, I didn’t want to look at his perfect face and see what I was going to miss for the rest of my life. But I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t And boy was he perfect. Perfect button nose, little fingers, and little toes. There’s been a lot of times in my life when I thought my heart was shattered, never was it ever as broken as that moment.
Peyton was truly a miracle, she was 1 lb 15 ounces at birth and breathing all by herself. She was on oxygen but no vent and no CPAP. I can’t say for me the NICU experience was a breeze, because as a mother to a preemie there’s a flood of emotions that are seriously to long to list, but for baby girl, I couldn’t have asked for a better NICU journey. She had no brain bleeds, after medicine the vessel in her heart closed successfully, and we started feeds. We had bumps in the road with those, including a milk protein allergy and 3 blood transfusions that we had to stop feedings for. The two things for me in the NICU experience that took the longest were working our way up on feedings and gaining weight. Those were “one step forward, two steps back” The most significant emotions for me during this time were regrets of not having a normal pregnancy, normal birth, mourning my son, missing home, just wanting a shred of normal with Peyton. I’ve got to say women that have had normal pregnancies and births, there are times still when I wish I was you. This being my first pregnancy I was so looking forward to pregnancy pics, no matter how huge I’d have been with twins, a baby shower, most importantly taking two babies home a couple days after birth. There were triplets in the NICU, who happened to be our roommate I so envied those parents and hated them at the same time. I was so mad that after all of that I only had one living child. In all honesty though, they were the nicest people. We spent two long months in the NICU. I was there pretty much everyday, spending as much time with my angel as I could.
On December 11th our day finally came. I got to take baby girl home. I was so excited, yet so nervous. Was I ready? Was she? What were we supposed to do without all the monitors? How would I know she was getting enough air, breathing, not having any apneas or brady episodes? Coming home was everything I wanted it to be though. I could pick my baby girl up anytime I wanted, no wires, could actually bond with her, dress her how I wanted. I’ve never enjoyed anything more.
In January Peyton got sick with RSV. We were back in the hospital for 6 long days. After bringing her back home I was finally able to take more than 5 seconds to breathe and plan my son’s funeral. I went to the funeral home, picked a casket, went to Pryse and picked a headstone, I had the song I wanted played and a beautiful poem I wanted the preacher to read. Myself and the funeral home had made arrangements with the hospital to have someone go pick up Jaxon. The hospital ended up requiring me to go, which was the last thing I wanted to do.
Since all this I’ve had more information brought to me, pertaining to the way my son was buried and the likelihood of bringing him home. I’ve been through a range of emotions. Mad at God, mad at myself, the hospital, pretty much anyone I could think of to be mad at. I’ve felt devastated, cheated, betrayed. There’s no way for you to imagine or for me to describe carrying a stillborn child so another can live, delivering and holding him, waiting to bury him, going to pick him up and having him already buried. I have days where I wake up and can’t believe my life since October. Days that I don’t want to get out of bed. I have many people that don’t agree with my decisions or don’t think I should be down, I’ve got a beautiful baby girl right!? Right. I do. I have the best blessing that anyone can be given, and I don’t ever take that for granted. But I am also down. I am weak and cry way more than I should. BUT there is a reason for all of this. Lord knows I may not know what it is, and I may stray from being the strong woman that Peyton needs and everyone else expects, but I will get there and I look for some of the biggest blessings I’ve ever received to be waiting for me when I do. One of the most interesting things to me through all of this is the meaning of my sons name. Jaxon means God has been gracious, has shown favor. Through everything we’ve been through God has still been gracious and shown favor. He proves every day I wake up to my beautiful miracle. Even though I lost one child he was gracious enough to give me another, who has no complications, and who puts a little piece of my shattered heart back in place every day.