Fletcher: Your birth story

Both of my boys were conceived and born after seasons of loss.

Both were born alive and healthy, and remain alive and healthy today. I have been blessed beyond measure. The Lord has done great things for us.

____

Fletcher,

When I first became aware of your existence, no one else — including the pregnancy test—believed me, but I had been pregnant only weeks before so the sensation of no longer being alone in body was very familiar to me. Once the tools that measure science — the blood tests, the ultrasounds—confirmed what I already knew, we were amazed at God’s swift provision and restoration (because, despite all human attempts, He is the only Author of Life).

You, my son, were a surprise.

For the first trimester of your growth I was unable to breathe. I held my breath against the fear that you could be taken from me as swiftly as you had appeared. Holding my breath created a large hard stone of anxiety that took up the space in my chest where I should have felt joy and excitement. But instead I pressed against time like a train going through a large, dark tunnel—and I anticipated the end too much to appreciate the miracle of those first few days.

But you and I traveled smoothly enough, with the comforting telltale signs of morning sickness, together through each trimester.

When the doctor asked if I wanted to schedule an induction on your due date I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions on and off for several weeks and was already dilating, my body responding to my desire to move time forward as quickly as possible.

When we arrived to the hospital your dad and I began, for the first time really, to dream what your birth could be like. I wanted to pull you out with my own two hands and immediately hug you close to me and confirm all your fingers and toes. He was looking forward to announcing his fatherhood again by cutting your umbilical cord. My contractions picked up with only a few doses of Epidosin and we were excited to hear the nurse say I would probably come off the medicine very soon—my labor was picking up on its own. We joked with each other lightly and settled for a long day by beginning a sit com on the TV, letting ourselves relax a little.

Then my water broke.

And this is where it gets blurry for me, son, but I will do my best.

The nurse asked me to lay up on the bed so that she could check me and you. As she inspected us her tone grew more serious and she stopped answering my questions. She pressed a button and within seconds the room filled with nurses. My body tightened in full panic and I began to yell for someone to answer me. One nurse grabbed my hand to calm me down, and your dad grabbed the other– but no one would respond.

And then I heard Dr. Gray’s voice from among the small crowd in our room, calmly explaining that when my water broke your umbilical cord fell through my cervix. This, for reasons I could not take the time to understand, threatened your life. She explained they were now prepping to perform an emergency c-section and they needed to get you out by any means as quickly as possible. She immediately put her gloved hand within me, pushed through my dilated but hardly fully opened cervix, and held your head up inside of my womb to keep you from suffocating. As we were quickly rolled through the halls of the hospital, she quietly confirmed to herself that your heart was still beating. You grasped her gloved hand with your tiny fingers–responsive to her touch and quietly giving your permission to continue with the plan ahead.

We rolled into an emergency operating room where tall figures in white cut my gown off of me and hooked me up to wires and machines. One white, masked figure tried to hold my shaking arm in place, while another asked me if I had any allergies. I couldn’t respond — I was frozen in panic and could feel that large, hard stone of anxiety that resided in my chest through our first trimester reappear like an anvil on my heart. “I can’t breathe,” I said, but no one could hear me.

Without warning the room began to darken like a tunnel approaching and I became overwhelmed with the weight on my chest.  As the darkness closed around me I prayed quickly for help and somewhere in the far distance I could hear the voice of Dr. Gray say “I am preparing to get your baby. Everything is just fine.” And then I fell asleep.

When I awoke I was alone in a long, very large room. A computer beeped beside me. For minutes, it seemed, I lay there attempting to recall any memory of the events that had occurred. My body began to register sharp stabbing pains across my abdomen. A young woman approached me, took my vital signs, and handed me a phone.

Your dad’s voice came through the line.

“Love, he is beautiful. He is perfect. I am here with him in the nursery. Are you ok? He is perfect. Perfect, Love.”

At the sound of his voice the hard stone in my chest rolled off of me and I immediately gasped for breath. After what seemed like ages, the nurse rolled me into a private, smaller room of my own and shortly after you were rolled into the room in a clear plastic bassinet followed by your dad. The nurse handed you to me and I tucked you against my heart and, overwhelmed with joy, your dad and I began to thank God for your incredible life and that He brought you safely to us by any means possible.

It was a special time with you, Fletcher. Your dad went home for a few hours on New Years Eve to check on your brother and rest for a while. You and I rang in the New Year together — resting, sleeping, and praising God for His awesome provision.

 

Leave a Reply