Let me start by saying that I wrote most of this when Chase was 3 months old. I have been sitting on it since then, praying and evaluating how to share this story completely. I actually wasn’t sure if I was ever going to share the entire story, but I kept feeling like I needed to. We am still overwhelmed by the amount of love and support we received through my DMs and comments on Instagram as we walked through the two weeks in the NICU! Reading each and every story made me realize I had to share mine too. This story is not a sad one or a scary one, even if at first glance it seems that way. It’s a story filled with joyful moments and an unexplainable peace. There were moments filled with tears and shattered expectations too, but those moments surprisingly didn’t define this time in our lives. God took what should have been a really scary experience and made it so good.
A little background…
From the beginning, this pregnancy was a lot harder than the pregnancy with Trevor. I was SO SICK for basically the entire pregnancy. Some days I couldn’t leave the couch. When quarantine started in March, I was excited to have some time just the three of us. Trevor, Josh, and I enjoyed so many quarantined days like Beach Day. It was also really hard. Josh continued working in person, and I was really anxious about him bringing it home. I also didn’t go anywhere except for Drive Up at Target and the drive through of Starbucks. I didn’t want to risk anything at all.
Being home gave us a unique opportunity to have uninterrupted family time together. It was special for us, even though it was hard. The day before Chase was born, I remember feeling like I was waddling and couldn’t stand for very long without sitting. Josh brought a beach chair to the cul-de-sac near our house so that I could sit and play with them outside without standing. It was special watching Josh lift Trevor up to slam the basketball into the net over and over. Even though I wasn’t close to meeting Chase (in my mind), I was ready to meet him. I wanted to start our family of four and meet our new little boy. I expected him to come early because Trevor came early, but I never expected this early.
A middle-of-the-night wake-up call
That night, a little after 2 am, I felt a strange sensation like I got my period or my water had broken. I SHOT OUT of bed. Let me be clear: I was DEAD ASLEEP. Normally I do not wake up easily, but thank God I did. I ran to the bathroom and covered the floor with blood within a few seconds. I knew immediately that it was time. My hands started shaking from the adrenaline and calling out for Josh, but he was still sleeping too. I slowly waddled over to him and shook him awake. Josh and I ran around our room packing my bag quickly and brainstorming together what we would do with Trevor.
Josh’s mom was on the way, but she was still over 2 hours out. Normally that would be fine, but I knew I’d be taken back quickly for a c-section. We started calling everyone we could think of who could watch Trevor in the middle of the night. No one picked up. It was Memorial Day Weekend, so all of our neighbors and friends were either out of town or asleep. As we all loaded into Josh’s car, we still had no plan for Trevor. When Trevor woke up, he was so confused, calm, and quiet. Josh raced to the hospital while Trevor sleepily said, “Wow! Dad drives FAST!”
I knew I was getting a c-section the minute I woke up. After our 20-week ultrasound, the doctors told me my placenta was too low to deliver naturally. They said that typically the placenta moves up throughout the pregnancy, so it will probably move up before the end of my pregnancy. If it moved, then there would be no issues, and I would be safe to deliver. But when I got my follow-up ultrasound to check on my placenta at 32 weeks, the doctors only said that it was still low. I had been praying and praying that it would move up, but it hadn’t. So naturally, I asked all these questions. How much had it moved? How much more did it have to go? Did it move at all? But the doctor couldn’t answer me. The ultrasound technician didn’t give my doctor the details, but just told them it was still low. My doctor did say that if I started bleeding at all, that could be a sign that there’s a problem so I should call immediately. So that night, when I saw the blood, I just knew.
As we got closer and closer to the hospital, we were running out of people to call to watch Trevor. I was starting to realize that Josh may not make it to see Chase being born. This was the first time I had even considered what was happening. We were on our way to the hospital where Josh was going to drop me at the door, and I was going to have Chase by myself. My stomach immediately tied up in knots at the thought of Josh missing it. But I wasn’t scared. Or worried. I was confident, excited, and sad. I didn’t want Josh to miss it even though I knew I could do it by myself. He’s my rock and the best dad, and I wanted him to be a part of it.
But, when we raced into the hospital parking lot, we didn’t have anyone to watch Trevor. He dropped me off at the door, and I didn’t know when I would see him again. I gave him a big hug and kiss, and said goodbye to Trevor.
I was immediately put in the triage room and given a COVID test. It was horrible but not as bad as I thought it would be. It did make my nose bleed a lot, but I was actually thankful that they were testing me so I could know for sure. I was still trying to call someone to watch Trevor as they were setting me up with my IV and putting the monitors on me. The nurses were so kind and helpful trying to help me brainstorm other people in my life that could help out. Then, the doctor came into the room and told me that I was having some contractions, but nothing strong enough. Chase’s heart rate was lower than they wanted, so she confirmed what I already knew. I was going back for a c-section shortly. We had about 35 minutes left until I met our son, and Josh was still stuck in the parking lot with Trevor in the car.
I started calling more people, and then finally Lauren answered. Lauren is another photographer and friend, and I never expected her to answer. In fact, I almost didn’t call her because I felt that I was imposing. I frantically told her the situation, and she graciously agreed to watch Trevor. I gave Josh her information and told him that he had 35 minutes, but it would take him at least 45 to get there and back. He told me not to worry (which really meant he would speed all the way there and back to get here if he needed to).
The nurses knew he was on his way when I got into the OR. One amazing nurse asked for my phone password so she could call him right before we started. The doctor told the nurse that she had to start, but said he could come in any way once he arrived. I was so thankful because they don’t normally let anyone in once the surgery starts. The nurse rushed to find Josh and helped him get dressed as they rushed down the hallways back to the OR.
The doctor started before Josh arrived, and it was the strangest feeling. I was shaking from the medication and the cold. I didn’t realize they push the baby out from the top of your belly. It felt so weird and uncomfortable, but much less uncomfortable than the first time around! Suddenly, the doctor pulled him out and I felt Chase leaving my body. I was so happy, but he wasn’t crying like a normal baby. He took a few seconds, and then he cried and grunted softly. With each breath, he was grunting. The nurses took him over to the baby hospital bed to take a look at him. I strained to see him, but couldn’t with all the nurses surrounding him. He started crying a little louder, and all the doctors said that was a good sign! I didn’t realize at the time how scary that should have been and what that would actually mean in the next few weeks.
Josh ran in at that moment and came to say hi to me first. I was so relieved to see him and to know we were in this together. He went to check on Chase and take some pictures, but quickly came back and told me that he was beautiful and looked good. He weighed 6lbs 14oz and was the same length as Trevor: 20.5 inches! Then the nurses brought him over, and I saw him for the first time. He looked so familiar (he looked so much like Trevor!) and huge to me for being almost a month early! I couldn’t believe it! We took a picture as a family and they quickly put him back in his bed. That’s when the nurse told me there was a problem. She explained that his breathing sounds meant his lungs weren’t fully developed, and he would need to go down to the NICU to be checked out. Josh asked if I was okay, then went with Chase to the NICU, and I don’t remember much else until Josh joined me back in my hospital room.
Thank you friends for loving on me and being so interested in my birth story with Chase! Stay tuned for Part 2 about our NICU experience coming soon!