To Dasher: 13 Years Ago Today

13 years, 6 months ago, we moved to our home where we are now. We spent the beginning of the summer painting, arranging furniture, and settling down in a new area.

{A last trip to the beach before we moved}

Little did I know that I was already pregnant with you.

Your sister, Bookworm, was still a nursing babe and so I missed a lot of those early pregnancy signs.

I finally got a clue in early July, when we made deep fried veggies one night and my stomach turned completely over. I headed into the doctor's and was surprised to see you there, a little 9 week-old peanut.

The rest of the summer was uneventful....I didn't have much morning sickness and no other complications.

At the end of September I had my 20 week ultrasound and we decided to find out what you were. Another GIRL. Dad said he definitely needed a shotgun now. And I was very happy to see your fluid levels up at a perfectly normal amount of 13. (Because of your sister's complications we were really watching the levels.)

{Your sister's first birthday. I was 21 weeks along}

Three weeks later at another ultrasound they noticed that your growth was slowing and that my cervix was starting to get much shorter. So home, to the place that was to become quite familiar, my bed. (Or the sofa, depending on my mood.)

Bed rest.

I look back at this time; when I had a 3 1/2 year old boy and a 12 month old girl, and wonder how I did it.

In November I went in for a level three ultrasound and saw that the cord was inserting at the edge of the placenta. (This explains why you were not growing as well.) My cervix was also so short that she had me go to the hospital and be monitored for the day. But no changes so home again to bed.

Each week I went in for ultrasounds to check my cervix length; it did improve a teeny bit with the bed rest.

In the middle of November, when I was 27 weeks along, there was another complication. My cervix was slowly dilating and now your umbilical cord was sneaking down to where it shouldn't be. I was put on very strict bed rest and told that if my water broke I was to call 911. If the cord compressed (or got squished in the cervix), you would die in 7 minutes.

The only way that I got through this time was by God's mercy. I remember times when I struggled, trying to have peace, and trying to trust that God's plan, whatever it was going to be, was perfect. But I also remember being comforted by scripture and songs, and a feeling of hope.

Your dad was my stronghold during this time; we still hadn't found a church family in the area, and didn't really know anyone. But looking back, I don't think of it as the worst days, but days of anticipation and hope.

Starting at 28 weeks I went in twice a week for non-stress tests. (Where they hooked me up to a monitor and watched your heartbeat for a while.) I also had ultrasounds to check growth and fluid.

{Since I, the photographer, was always laying down 
and never wanted my photo taken, there are no photos. :-)}

The routine came to a halt on December 6th.

At that non-stress test I had dilated to almost three centimeters and now was having regular contractions. So they admitted me to Labor and Delivery, where I would stay for the next 9 days.

{And that is why I didn't get any last minute photos of 
being preggo with you....I was now flat in bed.}

In the hospital I got the nasty stuff: Magnesium Sulfate. Let me tell you, it makes you feel horrible.

After a couple of days I got used to it; and started to settle into the hospital routine. The hospital I had you at was an old one, and the room I was in was only meant for a mom to be in while she labored. It was the size of a large closet, with only one small window that looked out into the nurses station. But your dad was there in the evenings and we would talk and play cards or Yahtzee.  And the nurses would come in, from time to time and  keep me company. One of them even painted my toenails and another decorated my window for Christmas.

There were a couple of day your heart rate kept going down so they put me on oxygen and tilted my bed at a steep angle. I felt like I was standing on my head. But then the next day your heart rate was fine, so it was back to the waiting game.

Early in the morning, 13 years ago, something woke me up. All of a sudden, I felt something gushing out of me.

I started panicking, remembering how important it was to get you out fast, and started hitting my call button. They quickly came in, and in a flurry of activity, they found out that my water hadn't broke but I was actually bleeding. I called Dad, and in the shortest conversation ever, told him to get to the hospital.

They waited a few minutes, and when the bleeding started getting worse, they whisked me off for an emergency C-section.

I remember that Dad got there just in time.

I don't remember much else, I had lost a lot of blood. I do remember that you didn't cry when you were born.

You were 2 pounds, 12 ounces, and needed help breathing.

I was in a deep fog all day. My temperature went down to 93 degrees and my blood pressure dropped very low. I remember they told me that they might transfer me to the ICU, but after 2 blood transfusions, my blood pressure came up.

Late that night, the nurses brought me this photo of you.

Finally, late the next day, I got to come see you. You were still too unstable to hold, but I got to touch your little hand.

You were off the ventilator by the second day and off all oxygen a day later.

Finally I got to hold you.

You were not eating at all yet, so they put a central line in so you could get nutrition. After a week or so, they started gavage feeding you. (Through your nose.)

We got into a routine of coming each night to the hospital to see you...siblings under eight were not allowed so Dad and I took turns.

 {Dad changing your diaper}

Each time we would come in, we could take your temperature, change your diaper, and then if you hadn't spit up or your heart rate was normal, we could hold you for a while.

{Fun hats for Christmas}

In early January your central line came out, so all you had was your gavage and heart/oxygen monitor. You also graduated to a crib.

You were doing great. You were holding your temperature and eating almost everything by yourself, but the thing keeping you in the hospital were your A's and B's. Those are Apnea and Bradycardia, and were when you would forget to breath and your heart rate would go down. They started to talk about sending us home with a monitor, but all of a sudden you stopped having them and went the required 7 days without one.

Finally, on January 23 you came home.

You were six weeks old, and not even due to be born for another 3 weeks.

There were a few times when I thought I was going to lose you to heaven. And I know, that because of God's mercy, He gave our family strength to persevere during this time.

God is so good, Dasher. Hold onto His promises and know that He has a perfect plan for your life. Trust in Him my little one, and rest on His faithfulness.

Happy Birthday, Dasher-Dasher.


  1. What a miracle! And such a sweet story.

  2. So tearfully beautiful! Thank you for again giving us glimpses into these most intimate of experiences (esp for those of us who didn't live through them alongside you).
    Thanks be to God for His incredible mercies.

  3. Thanks so much for reading, guys. At times this was hard to write. God was so merciful to our family and it was emotional for me to re-live it.

  4. "God was so merciful to our family and it was emotional for me to re-live it. "
    I can understand that. (((HUGS)))

  5. Wow! God is so good! I'm so thankful that you and Dasher are here today!


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