On March 11, 2015 I was 34 weeks and 5 days pregnant when the contractions started. At first assessment I thought I was having Braxton Hicks (practice) contractions. I thought that my body was prepping and practicing for labor. As the hours went on and the contractions started to follow a pattern and slightly intensify, I realized this could actually be it. Suddenly fear based thoughts began to roll in: “He’s not even 35 weeks yet. It’s too early! We aren’t fully prepared. The nursery is a mess. I thought we had more time! He needs more time to grow in my safe warm womb! I need more time to share my body with his. I thought I had 5 more weeks to keep him wrapped up within me and safe from this world. I We need those five extra weeks to be as one.”
Suddenly I heard a voice say, “today is the 11th”. Then I remembered that early on in my pregnancy I saw an image of the 11th in my minds eye. I assumed it was my intuition telling me that my baby would be born on the 11th. Since his due date was April 17th I automatically assumed that he would be born on April 11th. So in all actuality I was given a heads up early on in pregnancy that he would be born on the this day. This was the plan all along. I knew then that today was most likely the day.
I labored a while in the quite of home. I took a bath to try and soothe what I still thought could be practice contractions. We called my mother in law to come watch our almost 3 year old. We ate breakfast together while I took short breaks to walk to the living room and get on my hands and knees to breath and ride the contractions. The contractions continued to get closer. So we decided to leave and head to the hospital. As we drove to the hospital it all started to feel more real in my body. Once at the hospital, we were given a temporary room and the doctor checked me. I was 5 centimeters dilated. She confirmed that I was in fact in labor. She also informed me that my baby upon being born would need to go to the NICU for an unknown length of stay. She informed me that any baby born under 35 weeks is required to go to the NICU. All I could really hear from what she was saying was that my baby and I would need to be separated. I was stricken with sadness. This wasn’t in my plan…
I was assigned a labor room. Like my first birth with my first son, I planned on delivering him naturally as I wanted that raw connection with this sacred experience. I labored in the room for about 45 minutes before my main doctor came. She walked in the room and I began to weep. I laid out my fears upon her willing ears. “Was my baby going to be ok?” “How long would he need to spend in the NICU?” “Why am I going into labor early?” “How long will I have with him before they take him?” She was gentle and loving. She assured me with her words and her essence that everything would be alright. With the energy of her gentle permission my body let go the hold it had over this unplanned scenario. I surrendered to the unknown. To the unplanned. And just as I emotionally surrendered so too did my body. My water broke right then and I had a swarm of labor hormones rush in that were so intense that I got physically sick. My contractions started to swirl and intensify. I allowed my body to soften into the space of the unknown. I rode the current of the contractions and allowed my body to take the lead. I then allowed my son to emerge and make his unexpected yet perfectly beautiful debut. He was beautiful! I was able to hold him in my arms for a very short time. Maybe just 2 minutes. Then they carried him off to the NICU for tests and monitoring. My husband went with our new angel. Suddenly, I was alone in the labor room. My body was shaking and shivering. I was in a state of shock that all of that had just happened and so quickly and unexpectedly. I felt, joy, pride and gratitude. But I missed him already. Oh how I missed him!
After about two hours I was allowed to leave the postnatal room and visit my sweet little blessing. He was perfect in my eyes but because of his gestational age the doctors felt they needed to keep him for further monitoring. The next day I was discharged, but he had to stay. That day leaving the hospital without him felt like I was leaving my heart behind. I carried him within me for almost 8 months and now, just like that, I was without him and I was away from him all at once. It felt unnatural and gut wrenching. For 10 days I drove 30 minutes each way to visit him in the NICU. I held him, nursed him, watched him sleep and I prayed. I prayed for him to stay healthy and for us to be reunited soon. I prayed and asked that angels stay by his side during the times I had to be home with my toddler. I did feel that he was being divinely watched over at all times. The feeling that he was being protecting and loved by the nurses and angels provided me comfort.
One evening as I sat behind a curtain in the quiet NICU room nursing my sweet babe an alarm went off and nurses went running. A baby boy had just been born. From the shouts and rushes I gathered that he was going to be rushed to the NICU. I also gathered that his state of health seemed like it was an emergency. Within minutes they had brought him to an operating room right outside of our curtained off room. I could hear one of the nurses talking to the new father whom was right outside. She was explaining to him what was happening. I felt that the matter was serious. I also felt that by my very presence to witness this that I had a responsibility to do whatever I could to work to aid in the positive outcome for this little boy. And so I started to pray. I prayed for his healing and for his strength. I prayed that his father and mother be comforted during this very tough time. I imagined that the entire area around all of us was surrounded in a healing bubble of love and healing light. I asked that angels come to aid the doctors and nurses in their work.
Because of the privacy protection of the NICU I was never told what became of that sweet new baby. But I do know that there was love and healing all around us all that night. It made me feel deeply grateful for my baby and the healing that is done on a behind the scenes realm. Great healing is always present to those in need but it is certainly amplified if we ask.
After my baby and I had been separated for 10 days we were told that there was possibility that he could go home the next day. I was offered an opportunity to stay the night in an overnight NICU room with him. We spent the night together. Just the two of us. We were together again. It was perfect. The next day we had to wait around several hours for the doctor on call to evaluate him and give us an answer. Again I prayed. To my absolute amazement the doctor cleared our sweet baby to be discharged. I called my husband to tell him the news that our baby was cleared to come home. Gratitude and joy floated through every fiber of my being. Walking out of the hospital with him felt so right.
We pulled up to our house where our 3 year old Colin was waiting with my sister in law to meet his baby brother for the first time. Since the NICU has very strict policies about allowing children in the NICU for the safety of the babies, our toddler had to wait to meet his new brother. We walked into the house and Colin was beaming. He immediately walked up to Asher and started doting over him. He laughed about Asher’s “funny hat” and kept repeating, “look at my baby. He’s so cute!”. He was instantly smitten and in love. And it has been that way ever since.