All I ever wanted in life was to be a mom.
I never thought wanting to be a mom would be such a hard thing to make happen. After years of infertility, we never thought it would be such a struggle to stay pregnant. My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 8 years when we finally conceived our first child. Little did we know that I would go into labor at 22 weeks and deliver a healthy baby girl. Only, she was too small to survive. Our hearts were completely shattered to pieces.
In November 2013, we found out we were expecting our second child. It was just before Thanksgiving and we were headed out of town to be with family for the holiday. I called my doctor, and she got me in right away to get blood work done then sent me home with progesterone pills. We were going to do everything in our power to make sure the end result of this pregnancy was different. I was so nervous that I did not even want to take that drive.
At 8 weeks pregnant, my OB sent me to see a high risk doctor with a follow up at 11 weeks. She was the doctor that gave the okay for me to go ahead and have a cerclage placed. At 13 weeks pregnant, the cerclage was placed to keep the baby in for the next 6 months, and I was ordered to be on bed rest for the next 2 weeks, or so I thought. I would see my high risk doctor every week or every 2 weeks depending on how my cervix looked. Those appointments were so nerve wracking for me that my blood pressure was extremely high every single visit. It was so high that my doctor ordered a 24 hour urine test twice to make sure I did not have signs of preeclampsia.
After 4 months of bed rest, at almost 32 weeks pregnant, I went in to see my high risk doctor. Once in the room, she checked me via ultrasound and saw that my cervix was 4cm dilated so into the hospital I went. Since my baby was breech and I was 4cm dilated, we did not want an emergency situation to occur. So, my doctor ordered me to have a magnesium drip for neuro protection, and the next day I was going to have a cesarean section at 31.6 weeks pregnant.
Preparing for Delivery
All this news sent this already hormonal pregnant lady into crying uncontrollably. Why oh why did my cervix have to fail me once again? I knew that at almost 32 weeks pregnant that my baby was not going home with me. Not right away any way. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I had already been lying on my back for 4 months. NICU doctors were sent into my room to talk to me about all the things that could happen good or bad while my husband went home to pack our bags. I was scared and not prepared at all. All I could do was cry as they spoke to me. I was not ready to not be pregnant anymore. I kept thinking “what if this is the last time I get to feel him kicking me?” I did not want it to end yet. In my mind, I still had 8 weeks left.
After not sleeping at all the night before and preparing myself all day to welcome my son, I was taken into the OR and out he came. Our little Owen Michael Rich was born May 30, 2014 weighing 3lbs, 10oz and was 16½ inches long. His tiny, tiny cries sent tears rolling down my cheeks. I had feared he would come out and not take a breath at all, and they would have to whisk him off without me being able to hold him. To see MY son here, alive and breathing on his own was the greatest gift I could have been given. Thankfully, I was able to sneak in a few kisses and a couple pics before they rolled him out and into the NICU.
Our NICU Journey
Our first visit in the NICU was bit scary. By then, he had been intubated and had all kinds of wires and tubes going everywhere. It seemed like every couple seconds an alarm was going off which gave both my husband and I panic attacks every single time. He was breathing on his own but working really hard for each breath, so they felt it was best to intubate him. He was so tiny.
Four days after having Owen, I was discharged. I had to leave the hospital without my baby. I cried off and on at the thought of being anywhere else without my son. We were told that we could stay in my room till midnight, and I tried to stay but was so tired that it got to the point where I just needed to go home and rest so I could get back up there the next day. I was exhausted. One, because I had just had a baby and not slept the whole night before. Two, I wanted to breastfeed so I was up every 3 to 4 hours pumping. Wacked out hormones and lack of sleep is not a good combination for anyone.
The next morning, I woke up and rushed to get dressed, pumped, and out the door. I had planned to stay all day long. I did not want to be at home alone without my baby. But at lunch time, I was so mentally and physically exhausted that I had to leave early. I was so disappointed in myself that I could not stay the day with Owen. We went back that evening and stayed till about 10pm, and I cried when we had to leave him and cried till we got home. I hated leaving our sweet boy. He was so little and he needed me.
With being as early as he was, he had a long way to go. First thing he needed to do was breathe on his own without having to work so hard. Next was waiting for him to grow to 34 weeks gestation so that we could start bottle feeding him (they still used gestation weeks till he became what would be full term). Once he made it to 34 weeks, he had his first bottle of breast milk. Our goal was 8 bottles a day, 2 days in a row before we could go home.
Once he started getting those feedings down, we were scheduled to take a CPR class. When he was able to complete the second day of eating all 8 bottles, we got to room in with him. This is when they put us in a normal hospital room with our son for the night, and we do everything for him. It kind of made up for not being able to spend those first few days with him in the hospital. Owen spent 3 weeks and 3 days in the NICU before we brought him home, and even though it was hard, it was a huge blessing that it was only 3 weeks and 3 days.
Ana has been married to her husband since March of 2002. Ana was born and raised in Mobile, AL, and after one year of marriage, she and her husband moved to the New Orleans area. After 10 years of struggling to get pregnant and loosing one along the way, they decided to start an adoption process and are looking forward to the day when they can bring home their child from Ethiopia. Soon after they sent all their paperwork off, they found out they were pregnant once again and welcomed their son into this world in May of 2014, 8 weeks early. Ana and her husband are extremely active in their church and in the mission field, both domestic and international. She has taken several trips to Zambia, Africa, as well as a few trips to Honduras and Mexico.