Many people have asked us where our baby girl’s name came from. I’ll answer that by telling you her story. I need to write this down in order to remember…and give thanks…and process the last 10 months.
We found out that I was pregnant many days before any “signs” would make us wonder. I took a pregnancy test many days before it should have accurately indicated a pregnancy because I was just feeling “off”. Sure enough, the little pink plus sign showed up IMMEDIATELY…no waiting the 3 to 5 minutes for an answer. That should have been our first clue that the next 10 months were not going to be “routine”.
We decided to wait to tell our news until I was well into the first trimester, but I was so sick by 5 and half weeks that we had to tell people much sooner than planned. I was pretty sick with Jonas, but that paled in comparison. At 8 weeks, Paul had to take me to the emergency room because I was so dehydrated from throwing up so much. Anti-nausea medicine was like candy to me, and it really only worked to take a little bit of the edge off. I was miserable. Jonas watched A LOT of TV. And, my dear Paul worked during the day as an IT professional and as a housekeeper, cook, nurse, and parent by night. I would sit in the bathroom and beg God to let the sickness end. It wasn’t until about 18 or 20 weeks that I felt good again.
Just as we had done with Jonas, we had a genetic test done at the end of the first trimester. This particular test measures the risk of neural tube defects and down’s sydrome in the baby. We had this test done because we wanted to be prepared if our baby was going to have health concerns. A week later, I received a call from the doctor’s office informing us that our baby had a 1/58 chance of having Down’s Syndrome…positive is considered 1/50. That call was probably one of the most devastating, heart wrenching calls I’ve taken. Still, the emotion of it is super raw as I am crying as I type this. We were told that I would need additional blood work and the doctor would then advise us how to proceed. Two long weeks later, I went for my bloodwork which came back at a risk of 1/81. This meant that 1 woman out of 81 with my exact same results would have a baby born with Down’s Syndrome. We were a little encouraged that the risk was decreasing, but this was still a significantly high risk. Just a few days later, 0n October 8, 2010, we went for an ultrasound that would give some more definitive answers. As this was going on, Jonas came down with a cold, and in the very early hours of October 8, his breathing became worrisome. So, we headed to the emergency room which resulted in his second hospital stay for breathing/asthma issues. While we were waiting for a room to be ready, I had a pretty raw conversation with God about what I could handle. And, I could not handle all this…my boy being in the hospital and my baby’s health in question.
Because of dear friends coming to the hospital to sit with Jonas, Paul was able to go to the ultrasound with me. It was during that doctor’s appointment that I first felt the presence of the Lord in all of this. Our doctor came in to speak with us about all the results and how the baby looked, and he told us that our risk for Down’s Syndrome with the ultrasound measurements had gone from 1/81 to 1 in over 200. He looked me in the eye and said, I think you have a perfectly healthy baby, and I would not advise you to take any more action at this time (like an anmio). We also found out during that ultrasound that our baby was a girl. And, I secretly wanted a girl. God honored the deepest desires of my heart that day.
Because of the early bloodwork that indicated something could be wrong with our baby’s chromosomes, I was considered to have a high risk pregnancy. This was great and a little bit of a pain at the same time. From then on, I saw a doctor almost every week or 2 and had a lot of ultrasounds.
In early December, I noticed a knot by my knee that was really tender and almost felt like a bruise. I dismissed it at first but then decided at the spur of the moment to mention it to my OB at a regular check-up. She sent me for a doppler of my leg which indicated that knot was actually a blood clot. The doppler technician told me that it was superficial, and I shouldn’t worry about it. So, I didn’t. The very next day while we were eating dinner, my OB called me and told me that I was to check into antepartum at the hospital that night because I had a blood clot. WHAT? I thought it was no big deal, but I guess when you are pregnant (and any other time) blood clots are a big deal. This was 2 days before Christmas.
After a night in the hospital and a visit from all of my doctors, including a new hematologist that was added to my list, it was determined that I would need to take blood thinner shots for the next 4 months. Yes, Paul gives me a shot in the belly every single day. Additionally, it was determined that I would not be able to go full term because I would not be able to have any drugs during labor while on this blood thinner (there is a risk of paralysis if given an epidural while the medicine is still in your body). So, my doctors needed to control the birth as much as possible. We set the day of induction to be March 11, 2011.
At the beginning of February, we discovered that our main sewage line was broken and needed to be replaced which would involve a rather large trench in our backyard. The company that did the work for us did not finish the job properly which resulted in a month of headaches and stress. As “Baby Day” fast approached, our plumbing was a mess and our whole family struggled with colds, the flu, strep throat, and colds again. In fact, the weekend before “Baby Day” I came down with the worst cold and sore throat that I’ve ever had. I couldn’t swallow for a full four days.
On March 8, 2011, I went to bed early because I felt horrible. At about 2:30am I woke up because my throat hurt so badly. I was going to get some tea when I noticed “things” seemed different. I told Paul that my body was strange but went back to bed. As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I started having contractions. For about an hour and a half, I debated if they were “real” or not. I finally decided that I thought they were, so I woke Paul up. This was not going as planned. Since I had taken my blood thinner less than 18 hours before, I knew I would not be able to have an epidural. Therefore, we just waited until it was time to take Jonas to PDO to go to the hospital. When we got to the hospital, it was confirmed that I was in labor. It was totally not surprising because that is how our whole pregnancy had gone. God was continually calling us to trust him.
After getting checked in at the hospital, a bunch of labs were drawn to determine if I would be able to have an epidural. The anestigiologist informed me that my blood was clotting like I’d never been on a blood thinner. YAY! I could have an epidural. An hour later, it was go time (and BTW, the epidural only worked on half my body).
Our baby girl was born after a short 20ish minutes of pushing, but she aspirated fluid as she was born which caused some breathing distress. We were able to hold her for a few short minutes before the nurses whisked her away to the nursery to be put under oxygen. She stayed there for about 2 hours and then proved that she was fine…or so we thought. Very early the next morning after the nurse brought her into us, I noticed that her breathing seemed “off”. After an x-ray and labs, her doctor admitted her to the NICU where she stayed for the next 5 days. Those days were hard, very hard. Paul and I and my parents were the only people allowed at her bedside. We couldn’t hold her and could only really touch her feet for 2 full days. She had tubes and monitors all over the place. It was really difficult. And, we had to leave the hospital for home without her.
Very early on, my mom needed a name because she wanted to call her by name as she petitioned God on her behalf. So, my mom aptly named her “Faith baby”. You see, never in our lives have we been asked to walk through such a difficult season. Paul and I KNEW that God was doing something in us and in our family. He was calling us to FAITH. So, as a remembrance and a testimony, we chose the name “Faith” to be our girl’s middle name. The name “Collins” actually comes from the movie The Blind Side. We love what the family in that movie stands for – loving people – and pray that our Collins does just that. The name Collins actually means gracious spirit. And, we know that the Lord has been gracious to us. Our daughter is a testimony to that grace. She is, in short, a miracle and a “YES” to the many prayers that have covered her little body!
(a side note…At my follow-up appointment with my hematologist, I found out that the labs to test for my specific blood thinner were not drawn. So, the miracle is that I am still walking around!)