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Wednesday, June 8, 2011



Sorry it's taken me forever to post Joe's birth story! We have been soaking up every single moment with this little guy. I'm not the best writer so if you have any questions please comment and I will respond :)

On May 11th I was getting ready to take a shower around 8:30pm. I noticed some fluid running down my leg. It was not a ton, but I called L&D and told them what happen and that it wasn't a lot of fluid. I did not think it was my amniotic fluid and they told me I could come in, but I told them I'm sure it's not and if there's more I'll come in. In all of my pregnancies I have had fluid that looked similar to this throughout the pregnancy and every time I had it check it was not amniotic fluid. So I got in the shower which looking back was not a wise decision. I think I continued to leak a lot fluid, but I didn't notice because I was in the shower. So I went to bed that night and the doctors think Joe's head shifted over my cervix and slowed down the leak. When I stood up the next morning on the 12th I had another gush of fluid, but still not a ton. At this point I decided to go L&D just to check. I left Jack with some friends and then called Josh at work to tell him I'm going in for a quick check, but I'm sure it's nothing.

When I walked in to L&D I tried my best to keep my cool. It's hard walking in the same doors where I found out Jonas died. They quickly got me in a room and did a pH strip test that came back inconclusive. So the nurse decided to do a more comprehensive test. She said it would take about 15 minutes for the results. In the mean time I asked if my favorite nurse in the whole world was working...Codi. She is the one that was by my side with Jonas and helped deliver him. They said she was working and I was so excited to see her again. Codi came in a few minutes later and I immediately started to cry. She asked if I was in pain and I said no, I'm just happy to see her :) I know I gave birth to an Angel, but people like Codi are also Angels here on earth. I don't know how I would have made it through my delivery of Jonas without Codi. So back to the story. Codi said she was going to hunt down the amniotic fluid results. She left and about 5 minutes later she walked back into my room and said, "You're staying!" I said, "What?!? Your kidding right?" She wasn't... I couldn't believe it! I walked in there with flip flops and chapstick, I was not ready to have Joe today!

Everything from this point forward is kind of a blur. I was super nervous because I kept thinking I'm only 36 weeks, Joe should not be coming yet. The nurses and doctors said he will probably be fine, but his lungs may not be developed enough so they will have the respiratory team there when I deliver. Since it was my water that broke the night before at 8:30pm there was no time to get me the steroid injection to help Joe's lungs. Once your water breaks you have 24 hours to get the baby out before an infection sets in. This brought on great guilt and I thought I should have came in last night! But the doctor said you actually need to be on the steroid for 48 hours and they wouldn't have been able to give it to me. Usually the steroid is given much earlier in pregnancy and at 36 weeks there is still a GREAT chance he will be perfect and not need help with his lungs. I hoped and prayed that everything would be ok with Joe, but I could feel in my gut he was going to the NICU. My husband, family and friends that were there while I was being induced kept telling me to not worry about that till we know he does have a problem. But I kept saying I just know something is wrong.

The induction process was started at about 1pm and it seemed like it went super fast. Many family and friends tried to keep me super positive and I appreciate that so much. I have made many friends now that have had stillbirths and the ones that have had a rainbow baby said it's so hard to believe that you can have another child that will live. I found myself in that mode. I could not bring myself to believe Joe would be born alive. I knew I would believe it once I heard him cry, but until that moment I kept thinking he could die any time like Jonas did.

Around 9pm it was time to push. I found myself in a different zone. I remember being in the same place just less than a year ago with such different circumstances. The room was solemn last year. It was just me, Josh, Codi and the doctor and we all knew I was delivery my son who was dead. I had to keep my mind from going there but it was so hard. I remember Codi saying take a deep breath and PUSH. I snapped back into reality and 3 pushes later Joe came out. I remember propping my head up and looking at him and he let out the most beautiful scream in the world! I started crying so hard because truly there is no better sound. I just wanted to grab Joe and hold him, but I knew the respiratory team had to check him. He sounded fantastic then about 30 seconds later his scream turned into a whimper. I could see his whole chest and stomach cave in super deep every time he tried to breathe. I knew this was a bad sign.

The respiratory team worked on him for probably 10-15 minutes. It seemed like forever.

We watched and tried so hard to stay calm.

My sweet nurse Codi came over and told me they are going to life flight Joe to a different hospital that has an excellent NICU. At this point I really started to freak out inside. I just keep thinking he is going to die too. The nurses and doctors all kept telling me he will be fine, his lungs just need to get stronger. They told me I could hold Joe for a couple of minutes before they took him away. I was so scared to hold him because I thought why should I hold him when he can't breathe!! They told me he would be ok for a few minutes. I don't really understand why...so there was total excitement and complete fear the first time I held Joe.

I have not held another baby in my arms since Jonas died. I cannot even begin to explain how much it meant to me to hold Joe.

The one moment I was waiting for was to have Jackson hold Joe, but he was not allowed to, no one was except for me. That was really hard. The number one reason Josh and I decided to try to have another baby after Jonas died was because Jackson asked us if we could try again to get him a brother or sister that would stay here on earth. I told Jack I promise we'll try, but there is no guarantee we will bring the baby home. This whole last year has been so hard trying to explain everything to Jackson. My heart aches the most for him because he was so excited for Jonas and it has been so sad to watch Jackson grieve. The little guy has learned a lot at such a young age. My sweet neighbor Melanie was watching Jackson while I was delivering Joe. Josh called her when it was time to bring Jack. She told Jackson it was time to go to the hospital to see Joe! He got in the car and asked Melanie, is Joe alive? Melanie told him yes and he had a huge smile on his face. I wanted those precious hospital photos of Jackson holding his new baby brother. I was so terribly sad he wasn't allowed to hold him. Then the next day I found out Jack wasn't even allowed to go to the NICU and I really wish I would have let Jackson hold him for a least a few seconds.

So the next thing I knew they took Joe away and Josh ran off with them while they prepped Joe to get in the helicopter. I was left in the room with some dear friends.

This picture of me and Leith is after they took Joe away. I couldn't believe I was emptied handed again. Thank you Leith for staying with me. I love you.

This is Joe being prepped for life flight. By the way my friend Jen took these amazing photos. She was my photographer from NILMDTS when Jonas died. There is no doubt in my mind that we were to meet. Jen will be my best friend forever.

The life flight crew was amazing and so kind. It was so hard to see them fly away with my little boy. I told them before they left..."Please don't crash." My mind constantly goes to the worse case scenario now. I guess it's hard to not do that when one of the worst things in the world has happened to me.

They would not let me transfer to the hospital where they were taking Joe. So I slept that night in a mother/baby room. Well I didn't actually sleep, I cried all night because I could hear all the babies crying and I knew mine was not there with me. Josh really helped me so much to stay calm. I was such a mess. When I was discharged out of the hospital the next day I left the hospital empty handed. We drove home and we pulled into our driveway empty handed again! Oh I was hysterical and extremely sleep deprived, but Josh just kept his arms around me and said, "Joe is going to be fine, I know it Jen...he will be coming home." It took several days for me to believe this.

Seeing Joe in the NICU the first 3 days was so hard. He was super swollen and not doing so well because he still never pooed. On the forth day they were able to give him some of my breast milk through a tube and they let me do skin to skin with him finally. This is when he started to turn around. The NICU said he would be in there most likely till his due date which was June 11th (the day Jonas died) and that was 4 weeks away. The thought of having him away that long was so hard, but I knew the NICU was doing everything to help him. By day 8 in the NICU Joe was off of all medication and only had an iv for nourishment. He got strong so fast! The NICU told me all he has to do is learn how to consistently eat without the iv and he can come home! Joe picked up breastfeeding like a champ and day 11 he was able to come home!!!!

Josh and I drove Joe home and then I left to go pick up Jack from a friends home. I told Jackson we have a surprise for you at home. He was so excited, but had no idea what it was :) It was incredible to see the look in Jackson's eyes when we walked in the house and he saw Joe. Jackson has been kissing and hugging Joe every day. Seeing those 2 interact has helped my heart heal the most.

I'm doing great and sad at the same time. One of the best things I learned from the therapist I have been seeing is you don't have to be happy or sad, you can be both and I truly feel that way. I miss Jonas so bad. When he died it felt like I was cut right open and with Joe being here it feels like I have a big bandaid wrapped around me. I think of my fellow BLMs (Baby Loss Moms) everyday. I pray for their rainbow babies to come ( a rainbow baby is the successful birth after the loss of a child whether that be miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, etc). I still have nightmares of Jonas dying and new ones of Joe dying. I wake up in a deep sweat several times a night thinking Joe has stopped breathing. I assume this will stop in time.

I think of this picture everyday, I can't get it out of my head. I see my amazing husband carrying my son to his burial spot and my sweet little Jackson walking so close by...you've heard it many times...parents are not suppose to bury their children.

It will be a year this Saturday since Jonas died. The pain has not lessen one bit, but I have gotten used to it. I know the pain will always be there. I still can't believe Joe was due to come out the day Jonas died. It was an incredible miracle. I do not know why Joe came a month early. I was racking my brain the whole pregnancy with Joe wondering how am I going to survive those last 4 weeks. I didn't know what I was going to do to stay calm and not worry that he could die any second like his brother. Joe definitely took my anticipation away and threw it out the window :) I wonder if he came early to calm my nerves and gave me a different kind of a freak out with him being in the NICU. Looking back now the NICU was not a bad route, it is way better than dead.

I feel peace and so much love around me, despite the fear. I feel Jonas so close by and it was incredibly comforting knowing he was with Joe while he was in the NICU. I think it's awesome I have 3 boys. I want you all to know I love to talk about Jonas too. Please don't be afraid to ask me about him. It's actually comforting because you acknowledge that he existed and he is apart of our family. I think Joe looks a lot like Jonas and I truly believe Joe got to spend a lot of time with his brother. It will be a great day when we are all reunited again. Till then we are so blessed to have Jonas watching over us.

I'll be sure to keep you all updated on Joe. Lots of pictures to come!


Em said...

Beautiful Jen, you wrote that perfectly. I'm anxious to see you on Friday! Let me know if you need me to do anything before then.

Brittney Paul said...

Jen, I am in tears as I read your story-so happy and sad for you all at the same time. You are an amazing, strong mother and have the most darling boys! Tell Josh hi for us and hopefully we can see you next time you're in CA!


Hi Jen...
Do you remember me?? Glendale ward.... :) Congratulations on your new little guy. He's gorgeous!

I just wanted you to know how much your story has touched me. My sister-in-law lost her baby about 18 months ago at 37 weeks. It was her first pregnancy and she's really been struggling. She is currently 26+ weeks pregnant... and I know she's worried. Would it be alright if I shared your blog with her? She belongs to a very small "club"... as do you... and it's difficult for other family members to help her or say the right thing. I know your blog would help her immensely. I'm not sure if she belongs to any other support groups. Anything you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your experience Jen. You're in our prayers.

Jenny Wilson

Sarahzina said...

I am so happy for you!

Anonymous said...

Jen.Reading that will help me to forever cherish those I love. You are so amazing and I am overcome with emotion, i needed a good cry after having a difficult day. Now I can think of your hardships and know how blessed I have been when times are hard. Thank you for the story, You have a beautiful family and I'm glad to know you the little bit I do. I can't tell you how happy I am for you. Can't wait to see you at the wedding!

Anonymous said...

Jen. Reading this will now help me to always cherish those I love. I am overcome with emotion and needed a good cry after having a difficult day. I can always think of you when times are hard and know how truly blessed I am. I am so glad to know you the little bit I do. You and your family are beautiful. I can't wait to see you at the wedding!

Maria said...

Wow- so sweet, inspiring, and heart-wrenching all in one! Your spirit amazes me and I am so happy that you have a healthy beautiful baby boy to help you heal! You and your family are in my prayers!

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Congratulations again. Now we have to come up to meet Joe (and to spend some time with you guys).

angelique said...

Excellent recap...and your photographs are perfect. How do you manage to photograph perfectly during all you were experiencing?!?? Bravo! I love you!!!

Leith said...

Huge hugs my love! You were amazing the whole time. I get a big lump in my throat everytime I think about this happy ending. Jonas is hanging with the family on the other side and my Ouma is telling him rude stories - I just know it. I love you!

Stephanie said...

You are such an amazing woman. I don't think I could ever have the strength that you have. Thank you for being so open and sharing your story. I'm so glad that I got to meet you, and hopefully it won't be too long before we see each other again :)

Cheri said...

Thank you for sharing and letting us be a part of your lives! Jen, you are strong, resilient, and beautiful! Your boys couldn't have have asked for a better mom!!