I’ve already attempted to write the first sentence to this numerous times…and I’m not happy with anything, so I’m just going to jump right in.
Newlyweds. Young. So excited for the bright future we believed in store for us. We enjoyed our first year of wedded bliss settling into our very first home, working in our careers, and talking about the future. Then the time came and we found out we were going to be parents for the first time.
For me, motherhood was a lifelong dream. It sounds silly, but I spent my days of childhood playing “house”, taking care of baby dolls, and through my teenage and young adult years mothering anyone I could…I just knew it was a matter of time before my true role of motherhood would begin. And then it did…
Kendrick’s pregnancy started off pretty typical and as a first-time expecting mom I was doing things to the book. Prenatals immediately, no more deli meat, all healthy and organic foods, and I started to buy parenting magazines on the regular.
No magazine, no page in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” could have me ready for what unfolded.
As my pregnancy progressed we started to get ready for baby! At 20 weeks we found out we were having a boy and couldn’t have been more surprised, and of course happy! I had been convinced I was having a girl, but having a son was the new and equally wonderful plan. We started talking names, eventually keeping that a surprise until his birth. We started painting a blue and white striped nursery, a hot air balloon theme, and I was a first-time expecting mom so over the moon, waiting (sometimes impatiently) for my little boy to arrive.
27 weeks…something just isn’t right. My blood pressure gets a little whacky so my doctor sends me to a high-risk practice. We see a doctor who is amazingly talented at what he does, but does lack a little bedside manner. First the tech comes in and takes some pictures of the baby and I feel ok. Seeing him moving inside, the tech seemingly unconcerned, all appeared well. The doctor walks in, says a brief hello, and then says “I’m sorry, but….”
It was very hard to listen after those first words were spoken, but I tried to stay attentive, choking back tears which eventually took over, and learning that our little baby boy had organs in wrong places and that his heart was not all it should be. I won’t go into the medical details, but what every doctor from that point on said to me was that technically our baby boy was safest while in utero & the challenges and answers to the unknown would come at birth...
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that the excitement of bringing a baby boy into this world, and our family, turned into an equally dreaded and fearful thing. Heterotaxy Sydnrome was the official diagnosis, a rare genetic disorder, no rhyme or reason as to why it happened, and no telling what was in store for our baby boy. The appointments increased ten fold, we immediately started our work at Children’s in DC.
We met with cardiologists, geneticists, various organ specialists, and the list goes on. I continued my normal OB appointments and high risk appointments as well. It was exhausting and emotionally draining, but then again, looking back now, it was nothing compared to his story after he was born. It was unknown if he would need heart surgery immediately upon birth, it was unknown if he would survive birth, but we had to be hopeful. WE HAD TO.
I kept on planning for our baby boy. His nursery was set up, we were fully stocked with baby supplies, I had an amazing baby shower, and I found a way to believe in my heart that we would get a miracle.
We would come out of this ok, and we would have a tremendous success story to tell of our little boy, a fighter, who survived. Let me tell you, he was a fighter, and he was a miracle, and there is no denying that.
36 weeks…Rogan is about to head out to play basketball and I’m lying down. He’s about to be gone for a couple hours with his phone laying on the ground somewhere while he shoots baskets, so I kindly ask for a hand up since I feel like a whale and literally can’t move…but I’m determined to make some mac and cheese. He pulls me up, and it’s a different kind of go time, as my water breaks!
The panic set in…we had a 20-minute drive to DC since I had to deliver at Washington Hospital because they have a connecting tunnel to Children’s to transport children who are going to need immediate care after birth. Rogan clocks record time as my contractions get pretty intense, he even manages to get a ticket via speeding camera, but the way to get out of those is to have a lady in labor sitting next to you! We get to the hospital, I feel like I’m put in a closet, I beg for an epidural…it’s too late, and then he’s here! Kendrick arrives and everything I was scared of for him, for us, melts away in that moment and I get a split second to hold him on me. They take him right away and Rogan follows. Kendrick is crying and looks strong, but he’s quickly put in an incubator and we get to see him one more time before he’s sent over to Children’s.
He’s here, he’s finally here, and we are so very happy. We are happy, but as the adrenaline settles from his birth our reality starts to set in….and we know an arduous road lies ahead. We are still hopeful, we are so in love with him, and this love breeds a tremendous amount of hope…but things are a little dark and we can’t see the path in front of us…