I look around to all of these other pregnant women and mommies, and how they just float about their days. How they can go about doing meaningless things, like pay the bills, run to the grocery store, run to the craft store, or simply take the kids to the park; without thinking about how much time it takes, and if they still have enough time to be able to stand and cook dinner long enough? I often wonder to myself, in slight jealousy, as to how did they get so lucky to have such an easy, relatively painless, smooth pregnancies. How did I get so unlucky to have difficult pregnancies, where I’m constantly have morning sickness, and battle high blood pressure, and pre term labor; stuck on bed rest? I’ve heard the spell from the doctors over and over again, “You have an inverted, tilted uterus, you’re lucky to be able to have children.” Sometimes, there’s no real explanation, and I often wonder if my uterus is the issue or if it’s simply a cop out they all use.
I’m a hands on, active person. I run a tight ship in my home, everything clean and in it’s place. With the move, it’s been hard to even unpack. I have to sacrifice having boxes every where, just to account for time cooking, taking the kids up and down the stairs from night and nap times, grocery shopping. I’ve had to get special permission to photograph basically from my couch, and do my school and class work from home. I’m a photographer, with two little boys. I’m an explorer. It KILLS me not taking them to the park, or to the playlands at a local fast food restaurant. You’d think I would be use to it by now. It just seems to get harder and harder with each child. I want to so badly be at the train table, creating worlds with them, and pushing trains around their train table, or at the craft easel with them, drawing with chalk or white wash markers. More than anything, I want to get out of the house, and not worry about the amount of time I’m “Up“.
It started in 2007. Our daughter, didn’t give any indication that we were to have rough waters, or that anything would be worse than morning sickness. Bare with me, because we all know I don’t talk about her, or that time, often. I still can’t bring myself to do so. I believe partly because she is, and will only be my only little girl, frozen in time, and partly because I feel guilty or responsible still. I had been having terrible pain, I looked it up online, and it seemed like normal pregnancy pains. I even called my doctor once or twice and he assured me, it was normal pregnancy pain, likely round ligament pain, and not to worry. Just take a hot shower or use a heating pad. To which I faithfully had done. This pain went on for well over a month, then one day, a gush of bright red blood streamed down my leg at work. I didn’t even notice it at first, a co worker did. I had taken Tylenol that day to take the edge off of the pain I was having, so I barely noticed the same pain I had been having. When I finally saw the look on my co workers face, and looked down, I was in shock, I honestly couldn’t move.
I don’t even remember driving myself to the hospital. All I can truly remember, is the doctor coming in and telling me that my placenta had torn from my uterine wall, and that she was coming now. No one had time to even make it to the hospital, before it all happened. Somehow, the cord made itself around her neck two times, and chocked her. They were not able to revive her. After I was released, I was told I would never have children because of the amount of damage done. I was cold and numb to people for a long time. There were many people who didn’t know I was pregnant, because I kept it a secret, my boyfriend (now husband) and I were not in the best of ways at that time. I even lied about why she was no longer here to people. I told some I was never pregnant to begin with, and I told others I aborted. I can’t even begin to describe my thought process as to why I did that. I just can’t. I know I hurt my best friend deeply with what I did and said to her about it. All I can say now, was I that I was jealous. She got to go on and have her daughter, while I buried mine. I thought it was life’s cruel joke on me, and it’s way of saying that I could never win and be happy.
Then in 2008, my first son, to which I lost him too. That, is just as traumatic and painful as Elizabeth’s death was. I was alone with no help or support during that pregnancy, my boyfriend and I called it quits before I even knew I was pregnant. I ran away to Prescott and hid from the whole world. I dropped off the face of the earth. My Angel boy is no longer here. I had another early miscarry the first part of January in 2009. I had not yet found out what the sex was, until I mis-carried him. That was a turning point for me. I turned my back on everything, and everyone I loved. I was lost, and gone.
October 2009, three days before Halloween, I got an unexpected visitor in Prescott. He slowly brought me back to life. Than visitor was my now husband.
February 2010, after my boyfriend (now husband) made fun of my changing body, I took a test, two blue lines came up. I instantly fell to the ground crying. I was not prepared to go through another loss. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough. When my Scott got home from work, I showed him the test. We both cried together. We saw the doctor two days later to confirm the pregnancy, and that afternoon, we went to see my mother who was hospitalized, trying to figure out what was wrong with her.
We walked into my moms hospital room, and just announced we were expecting. Within minutes my moms doctor came in with another doctor. He asked for all us except my mom and step dad to please leave the room. My mother told them, that whatever they needed to say, could be said in front of her parents, and us. The doctor asked her several times if she was sure, and each time, my mother said, that she was more than sure. That’s when the devastating news bomb dropped. All I remember hearing was, “cancer”, “stage 4”, “max 6 months”, that she wouldn’t live long enough to see this child born. Well, you can’t tell my mother no, or she can’t, or she won’t, because she is a stubborn one, and will make it happen. My mom did live long enough to see Jayden born, and to see Zechariah born, she is not here to see Colton born.
At about 12 weeks, I was having heavy bleeding, and a lot of pain. We lived in North Phoenix between Paradise Valley and Scottsdale at the time. My OB delivered at both hospitals, so when we called, he told us to pick one and go to the er. L&D would not see me, or admit me because I was less than 20 weeks along. The er told us that we were having an ectopic miscarriage. That all I could do was go home, and let it naturally occur, then schedule a DNC with our OB. I was devastated, and I just didn’t feel like it was the truth. I don’t know what pushed me to ignore what PV Hospital told us. The next day when Scott got home from work, we went to Scottsdale Shae hospital. They found our little peanut growing safely in my womb, right where he was suppose to be, along with a strong little heartbeat. The bleeding was simply a period!
Unfortunately, that was not the only pregnancy issues we would encounter with Jayden. Starting at about 24 weeks, I started having pre term labor with Jayden at least every other weekend, and sometimes every weekend. Those pains I had with Elizabeth were back, and this time, I knew that they were pre term labor pains. Every weekend it seemed like I was spending it in the hospital battling pre term. Scott joked about it, it was his way of dealing with it, he didn’t like seeing me in pain, or thinking that Jayden was going to make an escape early. However, he did like the fact that only half a dose of pain meds, and they knocked me out cold for almost the next 24 hours. Eventually we made it to 41 weeks, and the doctor asked if I wanted to continue or if I wanted to be induced. I was happy that I made it through an entire pregnancy finally, but I still feared the delivery, because of the past.
On the day we went into the hospital with our hospital bags, pillows, birthing plan, and everything else, I told Scott and Dr Moos, that I was okay, and didn’t fear anything, and I was ready, but that we need to just pray that his cord doesn’t wrap around his neck. The cord being around his neck was my biggest and worst fear. Finally after two days of laboring, Dr Moos finally broke my water and about an hour and a half later Jayden was ready to meet us. After my first push, Dr Moos, lovingly, calmly, and firmly told me that no matter what urge I got to push, that I needed to just not push for a bit. I just thought it was protocol, and really thought nothing much of it. I didn’t see the looks my husband and Dr Moos exchanged to one another. I would learn later, after holding our precious little boy in my arms; and watching him sleep after going into a mama’s milk coma, that his cord did wrap around his neck. Dr. Moos ever so carefully unwrapped it.
I remember freaking out when Jayden came out, because I heard no cry immediately. Everyone pushed me back down and told me not to worry, they were going to clean him off real quick. Dr. Moos just gave me the look that nothing was wrong, but it didn’t stop me from freaking out. It took a minute, and then I heard it, I heard his little whale of a cry, and my heart leap out of my chest, and I felt my nerves all slowly relax. The next second I was holding him, and as he looked up at me. I remember thinking to myself, here is my little miracle baby. Despite what we had been told and been through, I was holding my child, my baby.
In 2011, the day after Jayden’s first birthday we found out we were expecting another child. I didn’t freak out as much, but I knew, just like before we were on a bumpy road. We found an amazing doctor, since we had moved to Avondale. Zechariah gave us his own dose of mishaps; like pre-term labor, which I expected that. Even though Jayden was here, I still was worried my entire pregnancy with Zechy. I kept thinking, surely we couldn’t get lucky a second time. That no one, who has been through what we had been through, ever got lucky a second time. Yes I wanted him to be a girl, but more than that, I wanted him just to be born alive, like his brother. Nothing prepared me for what Zechariah would put us through.
I was diagnosed with per-eclamsia, and we found out during my third time in the hospital for pre-term labor that my cervix was weak. I had to have a cerclage put in; basically they stitch your cervix shut. It’s pretty painful, at least for me it was. Labor pains would have been more welcomed than to have to go through that again. Every week, my blood pressure increased higher and higher. I was now diagnosed with eclamsia, and put on bed rest. Then my blood pressure would stabilize and I could return normal activity, then the next week, back to bed rest. With pre-term labor and that, it was a never ending cycle. One I wanted off so badly, but endured with relatively no quarrels if it meant that at the end I would hold a healthy baby boy.
It was a Friday, early morning appointment, my regular check up, and NST (non stress test). Of course that morning Zechy didn’t feel like moving much, nor practice breathing and I was doing the test for well over an hour, when he finally took a practice breath, and the u/s tech was satisfied that he passed that days test. Every week from about 30 weeks on, I was in the doctors office for this test. At first it was great because the re assurance of seeing him okay was more than enough, but then it became draining, and I even resented spending so much time at the doctors office. During the check up part of my appointment, the nurse checked my blood pressure three times, without saying anything, and then left the room quickly. She left the door slightly open, and I heard her talk to Dr. Shaw.
“Dr. Shaw? You’d better come check this out, I checked it three times, and I don’t know what’s wrong.”
Dr. Shaw walked in very calmly, asked me how I was feeling, I said, “Well, fat, hungry, tired, and 35 weeks pregnant, I guess I’m feeling as I’m expected to feel with a toddler at home, right?”
She said, okay, lay back and I’m going to check you over. Again, Dr. Shaw checked my blood pressure three times. I could see her calm face slightly turn into concern. “Hey, we are going to move you over to our monitoring room for about an hour, and hook you up to a few monitors, nothing to be concerned about, but we just want to keep an eye on you for a bit.” Is what she told me.
After 30 mins, she came back in with a wheel chair, and her nurse. “April, you are having a baby today. I’m having my nurse roll you across the catwalk into the labor and delivery department and checking you in. You’ve been having some contractions at about 9 minutes apart, and your blood pressure just keeps going higher. At this point, you’ve hit toxemia, do you know what that is and what that means?”
I don’t know what I said, or even if I said anything, because I remember Dr. Shaw explain to me what toxemia was. I do remember her telling me that I had the option of being induced and hoping that my labor went fast enough to birth him naturally, or I could have a c-section. I remember her telling me that she knew how important having a natural birth was to me, and that she is okay with attempting a vaginal birth, so as long as it went smoothly. That I had to have a constant drip of magnesium, and be highly monitored., and that they would give a shot to boost his lungs.
I heard all of what she said, but my mind was else where. It was racing to my mom, who at that exact moment was in chemo across town. My mind was racing to my husband who was in Scottsdale working. My mind raced to my mother in law who was making her rounds with her patients. My mind raced to my son Jayden who was at our house with grandpa, my dad; and how I told him that mommy would be right back and then we could go to the park. I remember thinking that I was only 35 weeks, and no where near ready for him to be born yet! I remember thinking I didn’t want to have a baby that day. I wanted to at the very least wait until the next weekend when my mom would have more strength and not be chemo sick. No matter how I justified not wanting to have him yet, I think I was more terrified at the thought of losing him, because he was pre mature, or having his cord wrapped around his neck. I was terrified. I could do nothing but cry.
I some how managed to text my husband and my mother in law. I got a message to my dad to let Jayden know mommy was sorry, and wouldn’t be home, but I promised to take him to the park when we got home later that week. I finally got a message to my step dad, to get to my mom. When my mom finally convinced my husband to come get her late that night to bring her to me, she couldn’t drive being so chemo sick and my step dad was at work; she was admitted into the hospital for chemo complications. The hospital and Dr. Shaw were more than accommodating, in ensuring the all call was played three times for her to hear it, and they made a way for them to bring her to my PP room to meet him. I did miss her in the room though. I needed her there.
Despite everything, Zechariah came out during a vaginal birth, with no issues. No cord around his neck; in fact he was bigger than his 41 week brother, and scored the same on his APGAR that his brother did. He was healthy, and I even got to reach down, and pull him up and out to my chest. I was the first to touch him, and hold him. Here was my second little miracle baby; perfect and healthy.
The week before school started this fall semester, we again found ourselves looking at two blue lines. We are expecting our little Colton sometime in the early Spring of 2014. Our due date is March 17th, St. Patty’s day. However, due to our pass history with pregnancy, the doctor is estimating we will have in in February sometime.
Of course I’m still terrified during this pregnancy. Of course, it’s complicated like my other children. This time though, it just seems harder. How do you tell your pre-schooler and your toddler that I’m sorry, mommy can’t take you to the zoo, or to the park, or even to a store or mall to walk around or play? How do you tell your babies, they can’t climb up into your lap and snuggle like always, because baby brother, Colton, aka Baby Cookie as Jay is already calling him, is causing mommy a great amount of pain? How do you tell a photographer, and an active mother that she is to ONLY be up for a limited amount of time, and that I need to lay down as much as possible? It’s killing me! I can only watch so many movies, which all seem to make me cry these days, and play around so long online before I’m completely bored out of my mind.
I try and sit and do sit down crafts with the boys, but it seems, that I have not been keeping a keen eye on my supplies, because I’m extremely low on everything, including scrapbooking paper/supplies. I feel like a caged animal.
I am grateful for the out pour of love and support, but I can’t help but to look at women who are having uncomplicated pregnancies, and being envious. Women who get to walk around proudly with their baby bellies, and kids, while I’m stuck at home, looking like a slob and a mess, stuck on a couch. =/ My doctor told me, that if I have another round of pre-term labor as intense as the last was a few weeks ago, then I’m hospital bound. I would so die! We have at least 3 months left (preferably four). To spend 3-4 months in the hospital on bed rest would kill me! Honestly it would! Because I’d be hospitalized at Banner Estrella, not exactly close to my home, my babies, my church/friends/community/family. I’d miss my babies!!! So, instead of not seeing them at all, I sit here, and resent the couch, and the house; because at least I get to see my babies every day, and I wont miss thanksgiving or Christmas with them.
I still can’t stop from feeling jealous of these other moms and pregnant women, having no issues. I’d LOVE one day, just one, where I didn’t have high blood pressure, where I wasn’t in pain, or having contractions, to just explore with my boys. I like getting dirty and messy with my boys. Playing in the dirt is fun! I’m sure they’d love to get out of the house, longer than a few hours to go to church. I know, it will be all for the best in the end, but I can’t help but to wonder how it would be to have a NORMAL, non complicated pregnancy. Just once, or even for a little bit. I just keep reminding myself that soon, we will hold our healthy baby Colton in our arms, and that will make up for all of this.
I feel guilty when I feel jealous, but I can’t help it.