I sat in a hospital bed as the snow gently fell outside my window. The world was so quiet and calm compared to the storm that was swirling inside. My tiny 21 week daughter lay in my arms. Her perfect little nose, 10 tiny fingers and toes, everything absolutely perfect about her, and my body had failed her.
When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. I grew up knowing that pregnancy, if possible, would always be complicated by that. With incredible advancements in diabetic care and technology, pregnancys were smoother and more successful then they had been in the past and I was determined to do everything I could. I had weekly appointments with my endocrinologists in which my blood sugars were heavily analyzed and insulin adjusted. I followed my strict diet exactly. My high risk MFM was supportive and told me I was doing and doing a great job. Around 19 weeks, my husband received a new job offer and we relocated to a new state. It was during the holidays and trying to locate a new high risk Dr who could see me in the quick time frame, but with everything going so smoothly up to this point, it seemed okay to have my 20 week scans done closer to 22.
I woke up January 6th feeling so sick. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get comfortable. Everyone I had talked to kept saying how physically uncomfortable the second trimester was, especially as you got closer to your third and chalked it up to that. As it became later in the night, it became clear that something was wrong and I realized I was having contractions. We jumped into the car and went to the closest hospital. It was confirmed there that I was in full active labor and that there was nothing else we could do. In the early morning of January 7th, Faye Dotty Ramsey was born and after a few breaths and some tiny wiggles, she left us.
I was later diagnosed with Incompetent Cervix, a condition in which your body is unable to accommodate the weight and pressure of pregnancy and causes premature dialation and miscarriage. When I became pregnant with our rainbow, a cerclage stitch was placed in my cervix to help support and to hopefully make it full term this time. My cerclage was placed at 12 weeks and I was closely monitored by MFM and my cervical lengths checked weekly to bi-weekly.
At my 20 week scan, we found out we once again were expecting a healthy little girl, but that once again my cervix was gone and that pre term labor was once again a incredibly high risk. I was devastated. I felt like a walking ticking time bomb. That at any moment my body would once again fail our little one. But this time we made it to 25 weeks and after 104 days in the NICU we brought our amazing Violet home who is now a thriving, amazing, smart, and hysterical 4 year old.
About a year after we brought Violet home, we received a phone call from a family member asking if we had ever considered adoption and were connected with a birth mother who was struggling with addiction and placing her child for adoption. She didn’t know how far along she was and hadn’t received any prenatal care. I helped her set up some appointments and we began the rigorous process of adoption and preparing to bring another little one home. I had always felt like I wanted another child but due to several high risk factors felt that it was not the best choice for me to carry and was so grateful for the opportunity to have another little one join us.
During one of the appointments it was discovered that the birth mother was in full active labor and she was moved up to labor and delivery. As she was hooked up to monitors it was discovered that the baby was in distress and she was prepared for emergency c-section. Holden was deprived of oxygen and was placed on a cooling regimen to try to prevent any further brain damage. He was suffering from very frequent and long seizures but we really didn’t have any answers for the first 5 days. He was transferred to a higher care NICU where more scans were taken. With those scans we learned that Holden had about 80-85% of his brain damaged from the injuries at birth. We were devastated. And at 12 days old, we said goodbye to our sweet boy.
Nothing about my journey into motherhood has been normal or easy. And nothing has gone as planned to say the least. I have learned to let go of the need to control so much. To be present. I have hurt so deeply, but I have also learned to love deeper as well. I feel sadness heavier but I also laugh harder too. You never really fully heal. There will always be a pain in your heart that you learn to live with and navigate around, but you think of them everyday.
“What is grief, if not love persevering?” -Wandavision
Photos taken by Nelsonrader.
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