As hard as you may try, there are just some things that happen in life that no amount of preparation will ever make you ready for. This was certainly true in the case of the birth of my first child. Never, in a million years, would I have ever thought that something like this could happen to me. Nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster ride that I was on in the year 2000.
On February 28, I was having symptoms of a UTI. A typical situation for me. I hopped in the car and drove to the hospital for my usual blood work/urine specimen. When the results came back, I got a huge surprise. Not only did I have my suspected UTI, but I also had a little something unexpected…..I was 4 weeks pregnant! After walking out of the hospital with the “deer caught in the headlights” look, I proceeded to try and start my car with a tube of lipstick 🙂 To say that this news was a shock would have been a huge understatement. After about 5 minutes of deep breathing, and getting my car started with an actual key, I drove home and told Michael.
Over the next 5 months, everything was going pretty well normal. I had mood swings (0-satan in T-10), weird food cravings (drinking a bottle of A1 Steak Sauce while eating birthday cake at 5am), and weight gain. Ive gotta say that the pregnancy agreed with me. After 2 ultrasounds, we found out that our baby was a boy. Since we had already discussed this prior to my pregnancy, his name was already chosen. Our son would be named Michael Lee Dawson (nicknamed Mikey). Mikey was a breeze to carry. I had no morning sickness at all. I could not wait until October 22nd to hold my baby boy. Everything was right on schedule until early one August morning.
On August 1st, I woke up around 1:30-2:00 with cramps in my lower abdomen. My first thought was that I was feeling this way due to Mikey getting bigger. The cramps didn’t get easier, they got worse! Nothing that I tried helped at all. I tried walking around in the house, I tried having a bowel movement, and I tried soaking in a tub of hot water. The pain was the worst pain that I had ever felt in my life. After laying in the floor for a while, I stood up and saw something that terrified me. There was blood on my inner thigh. I knew then that something was terribly wrong. I stumbled into the bedroom and woke Michael up and collapsed into the floor. Michael called his parents who live next door to come over. When they did, they called 911. While waiting on the ambulance, I felt as if my water had broke….but it was pure blood! Ten minutes after arriving at the hospital, my precious baby boy was born. He was born at 28 weeks gestation, weighing 2lbs 12oz, and was 14 3/4 inches in length. He barely made a sound. I thought that he was going to die and he very well could have.
After the medical team arrived to transport Mikey by helicopter to the nearest hospital with a NICU, I was allowed to see him before he left. I touched his tiny hand with tears streaming down my face. He did something that I will never forget. He wrapped his tiny hand around my finger and looked at me with his right eye open but left eye shut. I wanted to feel hopeful, but I knew the odds were not good. As the helicopter lifted off of the ground with my baby, I just sobbed in Michael’s arms. A few hours later, the hospital called the hospital where I was at to speak to me about Mikey’s condition. Mikey’s right lung had collapsed, he had to have a chest tube, he had to be put on a ventilator, he had to have a feeding tube due to the fact that he had not developed a sucking reflex for a bottle, he had to have oxygen, and he also had jaundice. There was nothing that I could do from here for him except take this issue to the best power possible….God. Two nights after I was released from the hospital, Michael and I went to the church that his brother had been going to. They were having a revival. When I told the pastor about Mikey, he stopped the service and had the entire congregation pray in unity for Mikey 🙂
I had always heard the phrase “prayer changes things” but had not ever seen results happen this fast. The very next day, I got a call from the hospital that Mikey had been taken off of the ventilator and was breathing on his own 🙂 I was in amazement but ever so thankful for the grace of our Heavenly Father. Mikey wasn’t exactly out of the woods yet, but he was off to a good start. He would make progress, and have little setbacks over the following 5 weeks. Finally, on September 5th, 1 month and 4 days after his birth, I got the call that I had been aching for. The hospital called and said that he could come home. On that day, my miracle baby who only weighed 4lbs and 2oz and had only been bottle feeding for a week, come home for the first time 🙂
In the years that followed, Mikey has had very minor issues. He had ADHD, ODD, exercise induced asthma, and slow learning. He has been in special education classes for reading and math since he started school….until this year. Mikey, who is now 14 1/2 years old, who is 5ft 8 1/2 inches tall, and who weighs 158lbs, is now in regular ed classes for Science and Social Studies. Woo hoo!!! Mikey or “turkey” as I have nicknamed him, is a normal teenage boy. He will eat you out of house and home, loves his music and video games, and is girl crazy…..yikes! It has been a blessing and a privilege to have watched him grow into this amazing young man. I will never forget how far he has come. I will never forget the tiny wonder that first grabbed my finger 🙂