...the birth and coming home story of Justice and Josiah...
When we found out we were pregnant, we immediately thanked God. Even though I had just barely become "ok" with trying again and it happened sooner than I anticipated (i.e. no trying necessary, ALREADY pregnant!) we were so thankful. I prayed for 3 things:
1. That I would get to bring my baby home; where most pray for a healthy baby, and of course that's what I ultimately wanted, I really prayed just to be able to bring them home.
2. That the birthday would not be July 12 (Malachi's heavenly birthday, I wanted him to keep that as his special day we remember him on)
3. no NICU time.
One of these requests wasn't answered, but we'll get to that in a bit.
I calculated my expected due date and saw it was August 8, 2016; I knew I'd be delivered at least 2 weeks early, leaving us mid-end of July. When we learned it was twins, I knew that there was an even greater chance of a July 12 possibility of delivery. At my last appointment with my high risk doctor, he made the decision to deliver 2 weeks from then, our repeat c-section was set for July 18. Perfect I thought! I could get through the week remembering the anniversary of Malachi's passing, then our boys would join our family. The timing was so perfect, the plan was right in line with everything I wanted.
But I also know, that not all of our plans happen the way we think they will...
Wednesday July 6, 2016 I was horribly uncomfortable. I was having braxton hicks contractions all day pretty much non-stop. Hubby and I decided to make a date day to get out of the house. We took Deuce to school and went and saw a movie and had lunch together. We picked Deuce up from school and came home. I crashed on the couch because I was in so much pain I could hardly move. That night I went to bed early. I remember thinking to myself "I wonder if my body is getting ready to have the babies" Though I'd had painful days before, there was just something different about how I was feeling that night. After I went to bed, I was up nearly every hour, having to pee, having contractions, unable to get comfortable etc. In order to not wake up hubby I went and laid on the couch at about 3:30am (July 7), I began to count my contractions and they were coming pretty steady and were pretty uncomfortable though not worse than they'd been before. At 430am a contraction hit me harder and more painful than I'd had before. It rendered me unable to move. Once it passed I went to wake up hubby and told him we probably needed to go to the hospital. I called L&D and they said to definitely come in. I threw together a hospital bag (oops...hadn't planned on using it that soon!) and we were off. My contractions were coming closer and closer together and becoming more and more painful. By the time we got to my parents house to drop Deuce off, I couldn't even walk through them and had to stop and wait them out. We got to the hospital at about 6am; they hooked me up to the monitors and let me know I was in fact in full blown, active labor. The plan was to admit me and have the boys that day! My pain however was intense, SO INTENSE. If you've been there, you know. The gracious doctor that was in that morning (who was literally about to go home) decided to push back one of the other scheduled c sections and get me in for delivery. I remember looking at LaRon and saying "we're going to meet our boys today!"I had hoped and prayed we'd make it to our schedule c-section date as that would give our smaller twin (Justice) a bit more time to grow, in hopes that he wouldn't need any NICU time. But; that wasn't the case, today was the day.
Before I was taken back to be prepped for the c-section; a familiar face came into our room, one of Malachi's NICU nurses, Carrie. She gave me the biggest hug and said how excited she was that she was working that day in delivery and that she was going to get to be there for the boys' birth! It made my thoughts about possible NICU for Justice a little easier; I knew she'd only send one or both down if they absolutely needed it; as she knew how much I didn't want to go back there. Carrie was there for me in every moment. When they took me back to the operating room she held my hand until LaRon got there. What stuck out to me most was how peaceful it was; no emergency, no one was sick, everyone was excited. The anesthesiologist had a bluetooth speaker and said I could connect to it to play whatever music I wanted...."No Longer Slaves" by Bethel Music was the song I chose my boys to be born to. It's such an anthem cry about not being a slave to fear and it was my battle cry throughout my pregnancy. How perfect that the sounds they'd hear at birth would be those words. LaRon was brought in and the procedure began....I waited with bated breath. You see, my last c-section I was close to dying (no joke, I was) and the ONLY thing I remember from that was not hearing Malachi cry. I waited with bated breath to hear the only sound I'd waited so long to hear....Justice was born first; they announced his birth "time of birth 8:22" and then I heard it; the most incredibly beautiful sound my ears could behold...his cry; I looked at LaRon and said "he's crying, he's alive...." and I broke down. Years of heartache felt healed in that moment. His perfect newborn cry was what my heart needed. Another layer of healing was taking place in that moment. Josiah was then born "time of birth 8:24am" and then the other most beautiful sound; his cry. Our boys were here. Early, tiny, but perfect in every way. Relief, joy and healing washed over us as they first placed Josiah on my chest. I looked over to Justice's warmer and caught eyes with Carrie, his nurse and asked if he was ok...she said he was perfect but was having some rapid breathing that wasn't calming down. Because of that and his teeny size, 4lb 1oz, he had to be taken down to the NICU. Before Carrie took him she reassured me she'd stay with him the entire time. She also did something I will never forget, she gave me a moment that I didn't know I'd have; before taking him down to the NICU she placed him on my chest with Josiah. Both of my perfect boys, right where they should be, if just for a minute. THIS was the moment that for so long I had waited for.
Josiah was able to stay with us and the precious moments we had just him and I were unforgettable. My heart was still broken for my baby in the NICU though, my Justice. I knew he was OK, but traveling that path again, going back IN to the same place that Malachi died, was something I didn't know I could do. Oh the strength a mother's love will give you. I was determined to see my baby that day. By the time they were wheeling me up to our room, I was able to lift my legs, the nurses were impressed; but I know it was my desire to go see Justice that helped me bounce back. A few hours later I was able to be wheeled down to see him. Walking those halls again, going down the elevator, I began to have anxiety, I took deep breaths, LaRon held my hand, and once again we entered the place of our deepest sorrow. The place that held our greatest pain, now held one of our greatest joys; I was going to see my healthy, whole, ALIVE baby, and in that moment, there was no room for fear.
Juggling twins in the hospital, one with us, one in the NICU, and recovering from the c-section was no easy task. Actually a day or so into our stay I got incredibly overwhelmed and sent all our visitors away. Trying to split my time and 'host' guests was just too much for me. Josiah did great with us and Justice did great in the NICU. We were told it would likely only be a couple of days, but also could be up to 2 weeks until he was home. We contended in prayer for the prior. Josiah and I were discharged on Sunday. Leaving the hospital, without one of my babies, again, was the last thing I wanted to do. I kept begging the NICU doctors to release Justice (I know, totally irrational) but he had to prove he could gain weight appropriately before coming home. We went down to the NICU and were able to take Josiah in with us to have some time, the 4 of us, together before we went home. Leaving that day was so hard. So incredibly hard. I was angry and bitter that the birth I had prayed and longed so hard for, was ending up with things I so desperately didn't want.
Josiah and I at home.
Justice alone in the NICU. My heart broke for him. I still feel we were cheated of such precious time together and in ways I feel my body let him down.
Monday morning when we went to see him a new doctor had come on. She was a god send. She had been told our story of Malachi; as Justice had become somewhat of a "celebrity" in the NICU with all Malachi's nurses coming to see him and coming to see me when I was there. When we walked in she told us she was turning his IV off and that if all went well (as she suspected it would) I would be taking him home on Wednesday morning. Joy flooded us. Monday was July 11. The realization then hit me, that Justice would be in the NICU, over the anniversary of Malachi's passing, July 12. When we left that day I spoke with his nurses and let them know I didn't know if I could be there the next day. Stepping foot in there on the anniversary of his passing was just something I couldn't do. They hugged me through my tears and let me know he would be incredibly well taken care of, loved on and snuggled for me. July 12 we spent at home. Remembering our Malachi; and cherishing the quiet times with Josiah.
Then the next morning came; we got to the NICU as soon as we could, the doctor had already done the discharge exam and he was cleared to come home. We packed his things up as fast as we could and made our way out of the NICU. With both of our alive, healthy and whole babies. I titled this blog "Justice came in the morning.." because it's not lost on me the timing; the day after remembering the day Malachi died, Justice came home to our family. Justice, our tiny 4lb son, and justice for our family for what we've been through, in the form of the most redeeming moment I've ever known.
Justice Anthony and Josiah David:
You will never know the depth of my love for you. You have healed places in me I thought were forever broken. You will never wonder if you are loved, cherished and wanted. You are two of my greatest treasures.
I love you.
"And you will receive a double portion blessing, and everlasting joy will be yours" Is. 61:7
|Justice Anthony (top) & Josiah David (bottom)|