Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This time last year....

Micah's first birthday is just 2 days away (can you believe it!?!), and I have been thinking a lot about how insane life was just one year ago.  This time last year....
... I ate an entire bag of potato chips and my legs swelled up like two giant sausages.  No really, I had thigh-cles!
... I spent most of my days for three months laying on the couch, with a terbutaline pump injecting medicine into one leg, getting weekly injections of progesterone in my backside, monitoring contractions twice a day,  watching every episode of Bones on Netflix, and trying to find crafty projects that I could do whilst staying off my feet.
... I had the awesome experience of witnessing the most amazing, unbelievable provision of God.

On our journey to being parents, Jared and I couldn't have ever imagined how God would order our lives.  I've blogged about Jesse's adoption before here, but I have never really told Micah's story.

We had a really tough time conceiving.  Four years of craziness - 3 different doctors, a fertility specialist, rounds and rounds of meds, tests, diagnoses of a unicornuate uterus and polycystic ovarian syndrome,  and dreams of swollen bellies and tiny, soft babies were crushed every month when only one little line showed up on each and every one of dozens of pregnancy tests.

At that time, I worked at the hospital in ACU, on the same floor as labor and delivery, and every shift I'd see Mom after Mom holding their newborns as they were wheeled into the elevator to go home.  I longed to be one of those Moms.  Then Jesse came along (through his own set of trials) and I didn't even miss not having a baby.  I decided that I would never miss the feeling of a baby twisting and turning inside my belly, counting little baby toes, nursing, sleepless nights, or the pain of labor and delivery.  I was blissfully happy with Jesse, and if he was our one-and-only, then so be it.  I was blessed beyond measure   But then one night, not long after we realized that Jesse was eventually going to be ours forever, I was tucking him into bed, and after saying prayers, he said, "Mommy you're going to have a baby."  I told him that Mommy couldn't have babies, but if he wanted one, then he should ask God for a baby.  Jesse got down on his knees and said the best prayer I've ever heard - "Dear Jesus, Baby!  Amen."
A couple of months later I was tired, and not feeling very well at all.  I asked Jared to pick me up a pregnancy test on his way home from work.  He jokingly asked when I was going to stop wasting my money on tests.  I lovingly told him to shut up and bring home the test.  The test was positive and we couldn't believe it!  We were pregnant!  A miracle!  But a trip the doctor proved otherwise - a blighted ovum - an empty egg sack with no baby.  We were devastated.

Just one month later, in October 2009, I was stressed out!  On top of my miscarriage, I also had a new boss, who didn't usually use a nurse in pracitice, and I was exhausted trying to guess where my life and career were going.  I put my pregnancy behind me, and dove into work and Jesse, but I was eating constantly, and my clothes starting getting tight.  I joined a gym and got up every morning at 5:00 am to work out before going to work.  Then, in late January, I was working on a wisdom tooth case under sedation, and I just started gushing.  My cycles were never predictable, but this was different.  I immediately made an appointment to see my doctor again.

 Jared and I went into the doctor's office to see what had happened.  Did I have another miscarriage?  I was beside myself.  The doctor wanted to do a urine pregnancy test, but I just couldn't pee in that stinkin' cup!  The doctor took me back to the exam room, and got the ultrasound set up.  I donned a gown, and laid down on the table, eyes closed tight, fists clenched.  I couldn't look at the screen.  Then the doctor gasped, "OH!"  My stomach lurched.  I bit my lip.  Tears flooded my eyes.  "You have a baby.  A BIG baby."  What?  And there, on that little screen, a tiny little baby bean was flipping and jumping around.  He was a perfect 12 week, 4 day-old baby!  Jared and I just started laughing and crying hysterically.  I was pregnant!

Meet Baby Bean
That night, anxiety started to cloud my overwhelming joy.  My sister had miscarried 4 times before Molly was born (her awesome story here).  Could I even carry a baby to term?  The doctors had said that I only had a 10% chance of carrying a baby to term.  How were we going to be able to afford this baby?  I didn't get maternity leave at my job, and we had been working very hard to get out of debt, but still things were tight.  And what about Jesse?  His adoption was far from being finalized.  Ugh!  I was a mess.  I started praying.  I prayed for everything we were going through...prayed for forgiveness for doubting, for not trusting that God would take us through, prayed for Jesse, the bean, Jared, prayed for my womb to accommodate a growing baby, even prayed for my lack of a maternity wardrobe.  And afterwards, I felt the most incredible peace wash over me.  I was PREGNANT, and anything that was going to come up afterwards, was going to be just as God wanted it to be be.  God burned Psalm 139 into my heart, and he was knitting Micah together in my womb.

Thus began the craziest pregnancy, bathed in peace that passes all understanding, smothered in provision that could only come from God.  Without mention of need or asking, two days after God granted me such peace, two of my friends dropped off boxes of maternity clothes.  God was showing us He was in control of the whole situation.  We had nothing to worry about.

I had an absolutely awesome next couple of months.  On March 19th we found out that the Bean was going to be a boy.
It's a boy!!!
The day of my baby shower.
I was tired, but I felt great.  I did all of the cliched pregnancy things - posted pregnancy pictures on facebook, let complete strangers rub my belly, relished every movement that sweet little baby made...  But just 2 weeks after my baby shower, on April 24th, I started feeling like Micah was kicking in the same spot every 5 minutes.  A round of monitoring at the doctor's office showed that I was actually having contractions.  I was just 24 weeks along, 60% effaced, and dilated 2 cm.  I went to the hospital, where they tried to give me medication to stop the contractions, but nothing helped, and I was brought by ambulance to the closest level 3 NICU, 2 hours away from home.
Jesse visiting me at MUSC
I spent two weeks at MUSC Hospital, where I met with specialist after specialist.  They were able to stop the contractions, and ordered me on bed rest with medication and monitoring.  I met with a NICU doctor who explained to be the problems my baby would have at 25 weeks, if he were to be born then.  I was glad Jared was 2 hours away with Jesse for that conversation.  It was tough to listen to, but I still had peace that God knew what He was doing.  But again, God was gracious and provided friends to visit me in the hospital, and make meals for Jesse and Jared while I was gone.  He even ordered the days perfectly so that my friend from HHI would be in Charleston the same day I was being discharged so that I had a ride home- just one day before Jesse's 4th birthday.  I was on bed rest, with medication and monitoring, but I was home.

And any time I started to feel anxious about the pregnancy, God provided a tangible reminder that he cares for us and our miracle baby.  Jared's family helped us a ton getting our finances in order.  Our church made dinner for us every night for nearly 3 months.  Different families from our church took Jesse every day for play dates so that I could just rest.  (Jesse had a great time going to the movies, beach, pool, friends' houses, and kid's museum!)  And the craziest thing, the one thing that tickles me more than anything else, is the watermelon plant.  I craved watermelon so badly during my pregnancy, but at five + bucks a pop (and I could devour some watermelon!) I felt so guilty spending any extra money on myself, since we were down to one paycheck.  So, God provided a watermelon plant in my backyard.  I never planted watermelons; I never even bought watermelon seeds, and there it was, in my flower bed.  And that little sucker produced some of the most delicious watermelons I've ever had... just enough for the end of my pregnancy, and then the plant died.

So, for three months straight, I was hooked to a terbutaline pump in my thigh, and I monitored contractions twice a day using a satellite fetal monitor.  Then, weekly, a nurse would come and and give me progesterone injections and monitor me further.  It was a weird time in my life.  I hate sitting still, and my couch had a permanent indentation in it from my big belly.  Then, the doctors stopped my pump at the end of my 35th week.  I started contracting immediately.  By dinner, my contractions were 5 minutes apart, and Jared took me to the hospital.
Before the heavy contractions
I labored all night, contractions getting increasingly more intense, and by 6:00 am, my water hadn't broken yet even though I was 6 cm, 80% effaced.  So, the doctor broke my water, and I begged for the epidural that I previously didn't want.  And, after pushing for 2 hours, Micah Owen Plew saw this side of heaven.  Isn't he gorgeous?!
Sweetest baby ever!

He was pretty perfect as far as we were concerned, although, he did have his share of problems.  He couldn't maintain a healthy oxygen level for the first 24 hours, and spent a good part of his first day under an oxygen hood.  He also had failed his hearing test, had torticollis, and a club foot.... but all we went through before the pregnancy proved to us that God was in control, and we were blessed.

Family picture from my sweet friend, Jordan @ Landon Jacob Photography

And now, a year later, I can honestly say, it was all worth it.  Micah Bean is an awesome little guy, and we are still blessed beyond measure to have him in our family!  Happy (almost) 1st birthday, Micah!!!