Monday, August 25, 2008

Great Expectations

Getting pregnant wasn't as easy as I expected and being pregnant was not nearly what I expected,. Being a Mom, however, is so much more than I ever could have expected.

My husband and I struggled with infertility; I was diagnosed with PCOS and we found success with injectable fertility medication and IUI. On June 21, 2007 I got my first positive pregnancy test, three weeks later we found out that we were expecting twins. We were blessed with not just one baby, but two!

Besides a bit of morning sickness and occasional fatigue I felt terrific. I never felt more alive than I did when I was pregnant. Knowing that you're growing two human beings who will change your world for the better is an indescribable feeling.

For reasons that we still don't know, I went into pre-term labor and was hospitalized at 19 weeks pregnant. It was one of the most terrifying days of my 19 weeks, my babies did not have a chance of surviving. Seven weeks of bed rest and medication gave my children a chance.

I delivered Dylan Anthony and Cassidy Nicole on November 26, 2007 at 26 weeks and 1 day gestation. Born 14 weeks early and weighing 1 lb. 13.5 oz and 1 lb 13 ounces, they both came out of me fighting for their lives; they both came out crying. My daughter spent 88 days in the NICU and my son spent 80 days in the NICU.

I still grieve the loss of a "normal" pregnancy and delivery. I still struggle with the pain that my body gave up on them. As a Mom you will do anything to keep your children safe; I was unable to safely keep them inside of me. Dylan and Cassidy both experienced the "normal" ups and downs of NICU life, and my husband and I watched them through major growth and minor setbacks. Within the first 24 hours of life Dylan suffered a Grade 1 brain bleed and a Pneumothorax that required a chest tube. Both babies needed multiple blood transfusions from donors that I wish I could find to thank. My daughter and son struggled to breathe and fought to eat, they had to learn all of the things that most babies know innately. I watched my children have episodes of Apnea and Bradycardia. I watched them as they were intubated and extubated. I saw them turn grey, blue, and purple. Even on the scariest of NICU days, I saw them progress. I never thought I could have been strong enough to watch them hurt. I knew in my heart, that my strength needed to outweigh theirs. I read them books through their isolettes; I sang them my favorite songs; I told them stories of the world outside of the NICU. I spent their first Christmas and New Years by their side in the hospital. I prayed so hard I knew God would hear me.

Today I'm often stopped by strangers who want to know more about my children. They tell me "you sure have your hands full"; my response is always "full of love". I share their story often, so that people know that they are in the presence of greatness...that they are in the presence of God's work. The doctors and nurses at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ saved my children. They cared for them and loved them as if they were their own. They worked God's plan.I am the Mother of two miracles! I am the proud Mother of two happy, healthy, and heavy 9 month old children.

April Quartell Erck
Westfield, NJ

No comments: