So the Pregnancy Journey Begins
Over the next 7 months, I will be documenting my pregnancy: nutrition, exercise, doctor’s appointments, books I am reading, etc. getting ready for Baby Myers!
It’s actually a pretty amazing (and somewhat long) story of why my pregnancy is such a miracle. So instead of typing it, I’d rather tell it…
Noah’s Birthday As Told by Mommy
No, I thought to myself. Look again. This is not happening.
But it was. As much as I tried to imagine it away, there was definitely a little blood each time I went to the bathroom.
Scared, I called my doctor’s office and asked to speak with one of the nurses.
“Have you been more active than usual?” she asked.
“Not more than usual,” I replied back. “I mean, I did work out yesterday, but I’ve been working out my entire pregnancy. I did start to feel uncomfortable, so I stopped, but I think Noah has just dropped a little lower. I was supposed to teach TurboKick tonight, but I already got my class subbed for this afternoon.”
“That’s good,” she said, “Are you still feeling the baby move?”
“Yes,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief. Noah was still occupying his favorite position, which I called the “NASCAR position.” Noah likes to dig his hands into my lower left ribcage, like they are the steering wheel and push his bum into my right ribcage.…naturally, making my bladder the perfect gas pedal.
“Everything is probably fine,” she said. “Lots of people experience spotting. But if you start to feel him move less or if your bleeding gets heavier, give us a call back or head to the hospital. Just stay off your feet for the rest of the day, and we’ll work you in at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon just to double check and make sure everything is alright.”
When we got off the phone. I should have felt a little better.
I didn’t. In addition to the nurse, everyone reassured me that everything was fine: my husband, my sister, a few close friends. Why couldn’t I get rid of that awful feeling that something was wrong?
I knew how badly we had prayed for a child. I knew how deeply my heart ached to be a mom. But I didn’t realize how much I loved the baby inside of me until that moment.
I didn’t just want to be a mom. I wanted to be Noah’s mom.
The bleeding never increased, but I started to feeling cramping in my lower back and my tummy. It felt like menstrual cramps, but I knew it wasn’t labor. I figured I had just made myself physically upset since I was so emotionally troubled.
I tried to keep my mind away from the things I had read about third trimester spotting, but my brain would not rest.
James and I went to bed, but I never fell asleep. I thought maybe I could get more comfortable if I had some space, so I moved to the guest bedroom bed. That didn’t work, so I tried downstairs on the couch. I never fell asleep, but my sweet puppy followed me everywhere I went.
Bauer knew something was wrong too.
While I was up all night, I prayed that God would calm my anxious heart. Eventually, I started to cry every time I began to pray. I didn’t stop though, since I knew Romans is true:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
I contemplated posting on my blog requesting for prayer. Once I had talked myself out of it, I knew I had to post it. After all, the only person who would convince me NOT to post for prayer would be Satan. So, instead of St. Patrick’s Day, I declared March 17 as “Pray for Noah Jackson Day” on my blog.
After James left for work, I tried to keep myself busy for a little while. However, I noticed that Noah wasn’t moving as much, so I began to get scared. I thought maybe doing some kick counts would help.
Around your 28th week of pregnancy, most books recommend that you do kick counts twice a day. You should feel the baby move a minimum of 10 times within any given hour. Once you get 10 movements, you’re done. Normally, kick counts take me less than 10 minutes. After all, Noah is a VERY active little boy!
But after laying there for an hour, I felt Noah move twice.
I called my doctor’s office back.
“Hi, this is Michelle Myers,” I said to the nurse. “I called yesterday, and I have an appointment at 2:30 today…I’m still spotting, I’ve got some cramping, and now, I’m feeling the baby move less. Can I come see you, or do I need to go to the hospital?”
“I can work you in with a nurse to do an ultrasound with a nurse at 12:15. She can determine if you need to wait around to see a provider or how we need to move forward,” she said.
I called James to let him know I was on my way to the church so we could go to the doctor together. Our preschool and children’s director (and a good friend from seminary), Laura, followed us in her car.
Instead of an ultrasound, the nurse told me that our doctor wanted me to get a stress test instead. As soon as she hooked me up to the first machine and I heard a strong heartbeat from Noah, I immediately began to relax.
“He’s okay!” I exclaimed, taking in my first real breath in about 12 hours.
After 20 minutes of being hooked up to a machine that monitored his heart rate and movement, one of the midwives, Lisa, came in to read the report. After a few minutes of casual conversation about football and soccer, she told one of the nurses, “I think we may be headed to the hospital.”
When she saw the look of terror on my face, she explained, “I think we might be having a baby today.”
If I ever thought I’d experienced mixed emotions before, I thought wrong. I’ve never had so many different feelings going through my mind at my one time:
- Excitement: Am I going to be able to hold my little boy today?
- Fear: Why is he coming so early? If he does come today, will he be okay, or will we lose him?
- Despair: If I do lose him, am I prepared to handle that? Is my faith strong enough to take it?
- Panic: Have I even thought about labor yet? How bad is this really going to hurt? What if they have to do a C-section?
And that was just in the first five seconds.
James, Laura, and I headed across the street to the hospital. They were prepared for me when I got there and put me in a room. Within minutes, I was hooked up to several machine and given an IV and an oxygen mask.
“This might help us get more oxygen to your baby,” the nurse explained when she saw the terror reflected in my eyes.
Over the next 20 minutes, our missions pastor and his wife, Mike and Claudia Mericle, as well as our worship pastor and his wife, Terry and Debbie Hurt, had arrived.
My amazing OB-GYN practice, OBGYN-North, contains three midwives and two doctors. Over my first four appointments there since we moved to Austin in December, I’ve met the three midwives and one of the doctors.
The only doctor I hadn’t met yet, Dr. Andrea Campaigne, was the one on call at the hospital.
I could tell she felt awful, but she said, “I want to watch him for about 20 minutes, and then, I am going to make a decision about what to do. We may have to act very quickly and get him out of you, or we may be able to stop you from going into labor. I’ll know more after I see his patterns. I know we’ve just met, but if you see me come in here, and I tell you we need to do a C-section…just see the whites in my eyes and know that I don’t have another choice.”
She did everything she could to keep me calm. But when she mentioned the word “C-section,” I knew this was serious. My gut instinct had been right. OBGYN-North has about a 15% C-section rate. It’s reserved for emergencies only.
It finally sunk in with me that my uneventful pregnancy was turning into an emergency situation.
I knew I couldn’t allow myself to get upset. If I got worked up, that was only going to supply less oxygen and put Noah under more stress. So except for a few tears when Claudia hugged me and prayed over me, I tried to breathe as deeply as I could and close my eyes to help pass the time.
Twenty minutes passed relatively quickly. Dr. Campaigne came back in, took one look at the report, then looked at me.
“I’m so sorry,” she started to say.
“I trust you,” I reassured her. “Let’s go.”
She started giving orders to the nurses in the room. All I caught was, “OR in ten minutes, and baby to NICU in 20.”
They handed James clothes for the operating room while he started calling our families. They began wheeling me down the hall. I lost sight of James, which was the first time I really began to feel fear.
God gave me a verse, which I kept repeating to myself over and over again:
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14
The OR was not a friendly-looking place. Plus, this was not your standard scheduled C-section. I’d seen those on A Baby Story.
There were easily 12 people in the room: an anesthesiologist, a nurse anesthetist, my doctor and three of her nurses, a pediatrician from the NICU and two of her nurses, a guard by the door (which I later learned was actually a “runner” in case they needed any supplies from another room quickly, James, and myself.
The anesthesiologist introduced himself to me before he put in my spinal block. Though I had been prepared that it was the most painful process ever, I was impressed with his accuracy and professionalism. His instructions were, “Little stick, little pressure… lot of pressure… done.” (He was right too — that second dose of pressure made me gasp, but at least I was prepared for it!)
They laid me down on the table, and I finally saw James walk through the door. I could tell he was upset, and I learned later that it had taken him longer than he would have liked to find me. They put a sheet up right in front of my face so I couldn’t see past my upper chest.
I know I talked to James, but I don’t remember what we said. I just remember the comfort I felt as soon as he was near me.
I began feeling a series of tugging and pulling. I never felt pain, but I knew I was open, and they were working to get Noah out.
“He’s out!” I heard. “Stand up, Dad!”
James stood up quickly and caught a glimpse of Noah before he was whisked into the hands of the pediatrician.
“Is he okay?” I asked James.
“I think so,” he said. “He’s got a lot of hair though.”
Then, I heard him. It wasn’t quite a cry, but it was louder than a whimper.
“Noah!” I exclaimed.
After what seemed like forever, one of the NICU nurses brought him to me. I was finally able to kiss him and tell him how much I loved him. I only had about 15 seconds, and I couldn’t really move since they were stitching me back up, but seeing him for the first time was amazing.
James went back with Noah to the NICU, but he did kiss me on the forehead first. Before my mind could take me to all the possible “what ifs,” I began to listen into the conversation going on between Dr. Campaigne and her nurses. Once I realized they were chatting about healthy eating and fitness, I chimed in.
Isn’t God good to direct them to talk about the one thing that could possibly distract me?
I love that He’s in the smallest details.
Once Dr. Campaign assured me I had one of the best incisions she’d ever done, they wheeled me to recovery.
I was in the recovery room for about an hour by myself. No one told James where I was, so while I was doing my best not to worry about Noah and wanting my husband, he was impatiently waiting to see me.
After James showed me pictures of Noah and we spent a few minutes together, our visitors took turns visiting me while they were waiting to get me a post-partum room.
I was so thirsty, but they couldn’t take a chance on me getting sick, so they only thing they could do was bring me ice chips. I downed two big cups of ice chips…but I still wanted water.
Sometime while I was in recovery, I learned that my instinct was correct, and Dr. Campaign did exactly what she should have done. I did have a placental abruption, which meant Noah was not getting the nutrients and supplies he needed to survive. Based on an oxygen test they ran on Noah once they got him into the NICU, another 30 minutes in my womb could have made a difference in whether he lived or died.
Just 30 minutes.
James went home to pack a bag for himself and for me. (That was on my to-do list to do in Week 35, so needless to say, I hadn’t gotten to it yet!) I did find it pretty entertaining that he thought it was high maintenance that I asked him to bring me my hair dryer. Gotta love boys.
We got into a post-partum room about 8pm. I had another three hours to wait before James could put me in the wheelchair to go visit Noah in the NICU. And I thought the wait in the recovery room took forever!
But as soon as I caught a glimpse of him in his incubator…as soon as I stuck my hand in through the side openings…and as soon as he reached out his little hand for mine…
Every moment I had waited was worth it.
Not just waiting in the post-partum room.
Not just waiting in the recovery room.
Not just waiting in the eight months I had him in my womb.
But every moment waiting when I desired him and doctors told me, “No.”
But every moment waiting I prayed for him and God said, “Wait.”
But every waiting minutes after taking a pregnancy test only to see the word “Negative” come up…over and over again.
But every moment waiting when everyone around me was pregnant, and I still was unsure if I would ever be called “Mom.”
Each and every waiting moment vanished when his hand grabbed mine.
I don’t remember much of our conversation with the nurse that night. The only thing I remember was when I asked if I could hold him, she shook her head no.
“We still have a lot of unknowns about him developmentally. With him being 32 weeks, I’d go ahead and prepare myself that you may not be able to hold him for a few weeks.”
It hurt, but in that moment, I really was content just holding his hand.
On Friday when we went back, one of the first words out of our nurse’s mouth was, “Do you want to hold him?”
I cried for joy. Of course I did!
Noah was being pretty fussy, but as soon as they got him placed skin to skin on my chest, he got quiet. Within minutes, he was asleep.
And Mommy? Well, she was in heaven!
We went to go see him as often as we could between Friday and checking out early Monday evening. I found joy I didn’t know existed in diaper changing, temperature taking, and any other task they would allow us to help do.
Each visit, I leaned over Noah and made sure to remind him again, “God has a serious plan for you, Noah Jackson. You defied medicine not just once…but TWICE…to be here with us today.”
We had a lot of visitors, including a surprise visit from Jim and Elizabeth Parks and their three amazing kids from Fielder Road Baptist Church, the church where we served in Arlington until moving to Austin in December.
Leaving the hospital on Monday was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. No one plans to come to the hospital and leave without a baby.
I know the NICU is the best place he could possibly be, but I can’t help longing for the day when he can come into my arms, and no one has to take him back from me.
However, no matter how much it hurts, the emotion that fills my heart the most is still gratitude.
Thank you, God, for giving me a nudge that something was wrong and not letting me rest until I did something about it. Thank you for enlisting Your prayer warriors to lift us up all day on Thursday before we even really knew there was a problem. And thank you God for orchestrating every single person who follows:
Thank you, Tori, the nurse at OBGYN-North who never got impatient with me as I called a million times. Thank you for bringing my concerns to Dr. Sebestyen’s attention.
Dr. Sebestyen, thank you for realizing that we needed to do a stress test instead of an ultrasound so we could get to the root of the problem quickly.
Laura, thanks for coming to sit with me at the doctor’s office and help calm my anxious heart.
Lisa, thank you for reading the report and sending us to the hospital.
Mike & Claudia, Terry & Debbie, thank you for coming to the hospital as soon as you heard we were there.
Dr. Campaigne, thank you for acting so quickly and getting Noah out in time for us to have a happy ending.
To every doctor, nurse, and hospital staff member who cared for me and Noah, thank you for keeping my little boy and me safe and as comfortable as possible.
James, thank you for loving being a dad. I’m so grateful to be raising a family with you. I hope Noah turns out to be just like his Daddy. (And judging from his sleeping and eating habits, that won’t be a problem!)
Noah is making progress everyday. He’s currently on 20 mL of my breast milk every 3 hours and gaining weight. He’s down to needing only 1L of oxygen assistance per day. He took his first bottle yesterday and had a successful first attempt at breastfeeding. Everyone is confident that you’ll never be able to tell he had a struggled start to life.
So my crib at home may be empty for another few weeks, but my heart is full. I love you, Noah Jackson.
As of today, Noah has been in the NICU for 8 days. He is breathing on his own and amazing all of the doctors and nurses with his progress. His conception, birth & life are a testimony of the power of prayer! We are anxious to see how God uses him in the future. We are optimistic that we will be able to bring Noah home with us in about 2 weeks.
If this story touched your heart and you feel led to help contribute to Noah’s NICU bill, you may donate here. God bless you!
Noah’s Homecoming: Jack Bauer Style
Noah Jackson Myers was born on March 17, 2011, about 9 weeks early. He spent 5 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). James & Michelle (aka Mom & Dad) decided to commemorate his homecoming with an unforgettable “movie” depicting what they wanted to do the entire 5 weeks he was there.
Our medical staff was amazing, and we are so thankful he was there. If he couldn’t be with us at home, it was the best place he could have possibly been. Thank you!