One year ago, sharp pains woke me at midnight. One year ago, there was a minimally concerning scant bleeding which quickly accelerated to a much more alarming hue. One year ago, Jason sleepily dialed the after-hours number to my OB, hoping she would say we could just go back to bed. After all, Baby Sprout was not due to be born for another two months. One year ago, the doctor queried about my pains, asking if they were contractions. I embarrassingly had no idea of the reason for my sporadic, nagging pains. I was hopeful it was heartburn, the baby pushing on an odd spot, or the tight stretching of my skin, bones, and whatever other body parts needed to make room for this little one. One year ago, the OB urged us to go to the hospital–and not the one we wanted to use where she was, but rather the one with the level four NICU. One year ago, we loaded ourselves in the car at nearly 1am, and with half-closed eyes and a half-crazed energy. One year ago, we arrived at the ER, where instead of the stereotypically long wait to be seen, I was quickly whisked away by a wheelchair, cheerfully greeted by the orderly whose “congratulations!” seeped through his glistening white smile. He did not feel the dread, the worry, or the anxiety surrounding this event that was not suppose to be quite yet.
After seven months of being reminded that our baby would have deformities, a mountain of health problems, and possibly pass away as our beloved Sophia had, the giant pit of traumatic worry ripped open my gut, accentuated by each strengthening contraction. Now only a few minutes apart, the unmistakable rhythm reminded us there was no stopping her impending arrival. When the nurse took several minutes too long to detect the heartbeat on the Doppler, Jason’s worried glance found my tearful eyes from the corner of the room. Not again! Her heart could not have stopped! The cardiologist said her heart looked great. We cannot lose another baby like this.
Fresh-faced and inexperienced, the nurse was clearly as relieved as we were when the methodical beautiful beating took hold.
The resident doctor, so chipper and new to the world of high-risk pregnancy, looked ghostly and pale as he did a quick check and quickly uttered, “I just need to get my supervisor to take a look.”
From the moment we decided that no steroid shot, no bed rest, no human action would keep our precious girl in her safe space, the time was a blur. Being prepped for a c-section was not how I anticipated my night ending. Hearing a tiny cry, watching Jason’s face beam through the salty streaks, and having our first picture (however ugly, messy, and fantastically real) as mother and daughter was a more incredible ending to our roller coaster pregnancy than I could have written in any birth plan.
The following year was filled with ups and downs, setbacks and perseverance, strength and tears, frustrations and worries. It has been filled with progress, happiness, laughs, baby giggles, and most importantly life.
One year ago, we never dreamt of how we would fight with–and for– our baby, be inspired by her, and watch in awe as she proves every doctor who ever doubted her wrong. One year ago, when we thought we would lose another baby, we instead gained a sparkle of hope, glimmer of light, and (if I do say so myself) the the most charming baby who melts my heart with each goofy grin, each big blue-eyed gaze, each wiggle of her precious toes. One year ago, we finally became our forever family of three. Sophia will always be our first daughter, and the first to complete our family. But one year ago, we got our rainbow baby who finally got her fair chance at life.