Easy pregnancies, natural births, bringing my little bundles home happy and healthy. That’s what I had planned. With both of my children, but it didn’t happen that way. My pregnancies consisted of appointment after appointment. Disappointment after disappointment. And, lots of prayer. Lots!
When I became pregnant with my daughter, the first couple of months were a breeze. Yes, I felt a little sick to my stomach and was tired, but everything within the normal realm for my first trimester. I lived in Montana at the time, far away from friends and family. I thought I had the perfect start with the perfect man to a perfect life; but differences of opinions, no compromising, and after a lot of tears, I was left not only pregnant, but pregnant and single. So I moved back home to Minnesota. My sister and her husband met me at the bus station and welcomed me into their home. I had always heard that sometimes, pregnant women spotted. I woke up one night and yelled down the hall to my sister. I was bleeding horribly and scared. After a stay in the hospital in St. Cloud, after tests, and after MANY exams (looking back on it now, I think they had the whole U of M med school check on me — there were that many!) I was diagnosed with placenta abruption. To make it short, my placenta was detaching from my uterus, depriving my baby of oxygen and nutrients, and causing me to have heavy bleeding.
This was not the perfect pregnancy that I had imagined. Not knowing if I would carry to term, at my first ultrasound, my sister Nancy and I named “our” baby Morgan. It would be Morgan Lyle if I had a boy and Morgan Kathaline if I had a girl. I remember looking at my sister when she and I found out I was having a girl. I loved that my sister was with me. I loved that she was selflessly helping me. She and her husband made me feel safe and loved. While taking a trip up to my parent’s home in Duluth, I was supposed to be on bed rest. For those of you who know me, rest is not in my vocabulary. Ever. Once again, I suffered complications and ended up in the hospital in Duluth. Morgan was to make her first appearance to this world at the end of May. I couldn’t wait, as I felt she would be much safer outside of me than in.
On a snowy night in March, when ice was literally falling from the sky, I went into labor. Two months early. So much blood, so much pain and I was terrified. After calling 911, my mom called my dad and a friend of mine, and I was carted off to the hospital, in an ambulance, sliding down the icy freeway. Everything happened so fast. My contractions were coming and I couldn’t do anything to stop them. I was scared. Very scared. Fast forward to a screaming nurse, and doctor running into the room, and me having to push. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t stop my body from contracting. A nurse from the birth floor held my hand, encouraged me not to scream so loud, and fed me ice chips. Within 2 hours of arriving at the hospital, Morgan Kathaline came into this world blue, with a shock of black hair, making no noise and practically failing her APGAR test on March 21st, 1994. The NICU is a phenomenal place. They took care of my Morgan for over 2 weeks. They are truly special people. Mo was able to come home without all of her tubes and wires attached, a little jaundiced, in the care of a scared mom. I will forever be grateful to my family for taking care of the two of us. I am thankful everyday for the love they had for Morgan and I.
Fast forward again to March 21st, Morgan’s 3rd birthday. I just felt that I needed to take a pregnancy test. I had a feeling. I sent my new husband of 4 months into town to the drug store. If memory serves me right, he bought a two pack pregnancy test. I took one right after the other, as I cried in disbelief that I was pregnant again. We wanted to wait a couple more years, until Mo was in school. I was terrified to be pregnant again. Bed rest, tears, and many trips to the hospital followed. After a frantic phone call to the emergency room one morning, my husband got me into the truck and down to the emergency room as fast as he could. That 25 minute drive from Saginaw to Duluth was the longest ride of my life. I was sure my husband’s first delivery would be in that truck. (He’s a firefighter/paramedic and to this day, hasn’t delivered a baby, which he is extremely happy about!) Once again, after so much blood, pain and fear, I welcomed another preemie into the world. While I was unconscious, Benjamin John was born on October 21st, 1997 after a very complicated pregnancy that was almost identical to his sister’s. My little man was born a month early via emergency C section with lungs that were not fully developed, and confirmation from our doctor that I once again had suffered a placenta abruption. After a two week stay in the NICU, we came home without the cords and tubes.
After suffering a miscarriage when Ben was not even 6 months old, my very sweet, kind and smart doctor (who saved me and both of my children) told me that I was done having babies. My body just couldn’t do it anymore. I was blessed with the two that I had and that was it. That was a hard pill to swallow. It really was. My husband and I had only been married for a short time, and I had always hoped we would be able to fill up our 5 bedroom house in the country. After a lot of prayer and a lot of tears, I came to terms with this new reality that changed our future.
So how are my preemies? Well, Morgan ended up being 5’11” and healthy. Athletic. Smart. Beautiful. Sassy. Passionate about everything she does. She is a wonderful young woman. We like to tease her that she is named after Morgan Freeman 🙂 My son? Benjamin wears glasses. That’s the only thing that came from his early birth. He’s worn glasses since he was 18 months old. He is now, get this, a United States Marine who stands at about 6’6″ or more, with wide shoulders, a crooked smile, and has the most kind and gentle heart of anyone I know.
I feel blessed. Blessed every day that I was picked to be their mama. Blessed that they are healthy. Blessed that I had excellent doctors, nurses and wonderful loving family members to carry me when I couldn’t carry myself. I love my two preemies with everything I have. No, my birth stories weren’t nice, easy or happy. But the end result turned out to be pretty amazing.