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Juniper Ann

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Hope Remains: A Mother's Story

May 17, 2015

Its been one week. Almost to the hour. One week. How much can change. How life can be completely altered. But the story doesn’t begin one week ago. Our story has been set out longer than we were ever aware. Before conception. God had a plan. Unknown to us. A perfect plan. A plan that altered our life as we know it but ultimately brought glory to Him. God had us in the palm of His hand every second and it wasn’t until one week ago, that we realized it.

 

 

Here is our story….
Conception. I don’t need to go into detail, but it happened. A life. A life that had a purpose beyond what we could fathom in our own heads. We dream, we plan, we expect. But there was another plan. A good one. A difficult one. One that even now, if I knew the whole plan from the beginning, I would still allow to happen. Probably not something a grieving mother would normally say or think but His plan was SO much better than ours.

With any story, there is an introduction. Our introduction began when we learned we were unexpectedly pregnant last September. Five kids….five. How were we going to do this? This changed a lot. While the shock never seemed to settle, we were excited. Our children were thrilled. We were soon introduced to our new son. We decided on a name. Macklin August. He was perfect. He grew and grew and the weeks went by with much excitement. The kids prayed for him every night by name and had many kisses and “I love you, Macklins” for my belly daily. Our plans had begun. Plans for a new vehicle, plans to repurchase everything we had previously given away, plans to bring our new little man home to his brothers and sister who couldn’t wait to meet him. There were nights of feeling baby kicks and hiccups, watching mommy’s belly grow bigger and bigger and the joy from the latest ultrasound picture where we got a little glimpse of this little life growing so beautifully. Things were perfect. While my body was clearly exhausted from having now, 5 babies in 6 years, I pushed through. I pushed through the constant pain of carrying my boy. My body was not feeling the greatest, but it was doing its job. He was healthy and growing, so I kept on, telling myself that every ache, pain and early contraction would all be worth it. I knew it would. I’ve done this before. There was nothing different about this pregnancy than the others. Every test and ultrasound revealed perfection. And so we planned some more.

 

God’s plan, I now see, started to reveal itself about two weeks ago. Just after I hit the 30 week mark, I started getting this feeling that I needed to be ready. I needed to get my home ready, my supplies ready. I searched for all of the “stuff” we still needed, started organizing, started cleaning and preparing my home. There was a small chance that my body may begin labor sooner than full term so I wanted to be ready if that came. I washed baby clothes. I unpacked diapers. I prepared my nest. I wasn’t expecting to go into labor anytime soon, but I was ready if I did. I was coming up on 32 weeks when things got concerning. After lots of early contractions, I had a test come back saying that it was possible I could go into labor in the next two weeks. After a fetal monitoring test and a quick ultrasound on Tuesday, we were relieved that everything was fine and nothing was concerning. I got a quick glimpse of Macklin’s face during the ultrasound and was thrilled to see his chubby little face. He was SO cute. As cute as you could look immersed in fluid, but still adorable. My heart filled and my excitement grew to meet him. My friend and doula Emily awaited good news that baby would stay put a little longer. She was headed to Phoenix for the weekend and I jokingly promised that I wouldn’t have a baby while she was gone.

May 9th, 2015. That Saturday will forever be seared in my mind. I woke that morning to the kids in my room asking for the usual breakfast items and tv shows turned on. Chris had left early that morning for church. He was due back around 9. I made it through the morning and was anxiously awaiting my husband’s arrival so that our day could begin. He walked in the door that morning with a beautiful bouquet of brightly colored daisies. My favorite. Along with a beautiful card that professed his love and appreciation for me as the mother of his children. Mother’s Day was tomorrow. An early surprise was appreciated and loved. We started the day. Daddy headed outside to mow the lawn. I headed to the back yard with the kids to play. Midway through the morning I received a text from a friend. Ironically, I hadn’t saved this number in my phone so I was little embarrassed to ask the person who they were. It was Mandy. Ah yes, Mandy, the lovely soul whom we had met the day Chris and I got married. Who made me so beautiful the day I married my love. She was my hair stylist. I still blame her for my husband’s desire to see me with long, curled blonde hair. Mandy has been my friend since. I knew her story. One of heartache and pain when she lost two babies over the years, one full term. My heart adores her and her strength. Most of the time, when I talk with Mandy, its over Facebook messenger. I have never actually had her number. Once I confirmed her identity and saved her number, she had asked me if we wanted her adorable little yellow playhouse for our kiddos. We accepted and soon brought this cute thing into our back yard. The kids loved it. My heart was full watching them play. In the playhouse there is a little flower box. Mandy had a few artificial gerber daisies that could fill it, adding to its cuteness. She didn’t know that gerber daisies were kind of my thing. Its was a beautiful addition to our yard. My neighbor and her two boys came over to play and we laughed because we were starting to look like a daycare. How amazing this will be when all five of my babies can run and play back here. My heart was full. Soon after, we decided to head to Target for some groceries. We packed up the kids and went. I was feeling good. Oddly, good. We walked Target and got to the baby section. Perfect, I had a few more things to purchase to be officially ready for baby. A few more onesies, some swaddling blankets and all of the supplies I needed for breastfeeding. We walked the aisles and I told the kids to pick out a blanket for Macklin. It would be the first one he would use the hospital. A gift from his siblings. They were excited and picked an adorable, soft blanket littered with animals. We soon headed home with a large haul of groceries and baby supplies. The fridge and cabinets filled with food. My room with the rest of the essentials to bring home my little boy. We were ready. I was 32 weeks today. Our goal was to make it to 34 weeks without my sporadic contractions becoming regular. We were doing okay.

Around 5:30, I decided it was time for me to eat dinner. I was pretty tired, so I grabbed some food and headed to my room to put my feet up. Macklin had been unusually quiet today. He was normally always moving and squirming. His kicks were strong and purposeful. I figured he was quiet because I had been up and moving all day. Being busy on other things and not really noticing any movement. I wasn’t worried. I knew I needed to get off my feet, eat some food and surely within minutes his usual activity would return. I facetimed with my mom for a bit and told her all about the stuff we got at Target and how I was officially ready for Macklin to come. The shopping bags sat next me on my bed. I got off the phone with my mother and threw on Netflix for a bit. I ate and watched my show. After about 30 minutes Macklin still had not moved. Chris had come in and I told him I was concerned that he was so still. He brushed it off saying that he was probably sleeping. I supposed that was an acceptable reason. I asked for a big glass of juice and proceeded to do all of the tricks I knew to get him to move. Laid on each side, even physically pushing on my belly to get him to react. He was a strong boy and very rarely would allow me to push on him without giving me a good, strong kick back. This time was different. I could feel where his little butt was and gave my belly a good push. I literally felt him float to the other side of my stomach. No kicks, no reaction. I continued to push on my belly for a few minutes. Something wasn’t right. The stillness continued. My heart started to beat faster and a began to sweat. I called for Chris and told him I was paging one of the midwives. Within minutes, Shawn, my midwife called me back. I explained the situation. I told her I did everything I knew how to do. Being a doula and knowledgeable on birth, she trusted me when I told her that something wasn’t right. She told me to head to labor and delivery and she would be on standby to hear what was going on. I hopped out of bed, told Chris I was leaving and grabbed my keys. He was on the phone trying to get someone to the house to be with the kids. I was in a panic and ended up leaving him at home knowing he would only be a few minutes behind. I couldn’t wait. I needed to go NOW. I sped out of town, my heart racing. I called Emily, who was joyfully laying by the pool in Arizona and not expecting a call from me. She picked up and answered with an already concerned tone. I choked out as many words as I could to explain what was happening. I hung up with her and just started to pray. “Please Lord, let this be nothing. Let me be wrong.” After a few minutes, I knew I couldn’t walk into the hospital alone. I didn’t know how far behind me Chris was, so I called my friend Katie. She lived just minutes from the hospital and I knew she would be able to pick up and leave if I needed her. I told her what was happening. She was a about a half hour from the hospital but turned around and told me she was on her way. I started to feel stupid. I’m getting my friends and family in a panic about this and its probably nothing. As I drove, I continued to poke and prod at my belly hoping for one kick and then I could turn around and call all of this nonsense off. I pulled up to the ER entrance and power walked my way through the halls and up to L&D. I got the front desk where two nurses were waiting for me. Shawn had called them and they were expecting me. The two nurses were friendly and kind but I received some concerning looks from the other nurses behind the desk. I tried really hard not to say something to them. They weren’t making my anxiety any better. As we got into the triage room and the pleasant nurses started making small talk. I calmed down a little. I laid on the bed and then began the interrogation of the necessary questions. Necessary, yet in this moment, very annoying. I starred at the heart monitor and inside my head I was yelling at her to shut up and put the damn thing on my stomach already. She soon grabbed the monitor and placed in on my stomach. I knew it may take a minute to determine where he was. I made her job easier and pointed to where he was. I could feel him. She put the monitor in the place I directed her to. Silence. The seconds went by. She moved it around. No, I told her. HE IS RIGHT HERE. I showed her again. Silence. Seconds passed. I looked at up her and was ready to ask for the stupid monitor myself. She must have been doing something wrong. She handed off the monitor to the other nurse. More silence. They told me he was possibly in bad position to find his heartbeat. They would do a quick ultrasound to be sure.

No. No. No. What is happening?

One of the nurses brought in an ultrasound machine. She tried to warn me that she wasn’t an ultrasound tech and she may not be able to see anything. The first thing to pop on the screen was his face. I was oddly comforted by the image. He still has a face. He must be fine. Okay, now find