Last July, my husband Jake and I decided to start trying for another baby because our first son was going to be turning two and we knew we wanted our children to be close in age. In August, we found out that Jake had received a job he really wanted and that we would be moving farther north in our state. So, we resolved to hold off on the trying. Little did we know, however, we were actually adding in another addition on the move.
Our pregnancies weren’t easy ones as we had lost two babies before having our son. I have a condition known as MTHFR (Methylenetectrahydrofolate reductase) which is a rare genetic defect that can lead to complications in pregnancy. It is the name of a gene that produces an enzyme, also called MTHFR. If a person carries it, it can result in hyperhomocytenemia. That is an elevated level of homocysteine found in blood plasma. It also can affect the ability to absorb folate. On top of that, it can cause recurrent losses (which we had), Down syndrome and other complications.
Since we had to be cautious with the MTHFR, and because of the previous losses and the tough time we had with the last pregnancy and delivery, we knew it would not be an easy journey. Pregnancy this time meant Lovenox injections every day in my stomach for blood clotting, baby aspirin for the same thing, Folgard- which was 4 times the normal dose of folic acid, prenatals and progesterone. Even though it seemed like a lot, for us, it was such a small task to ensure that our little one would make it into the world healthy.
We started all the normal doctor visits and were able to hear the heartbeat. The baby was growing wonderfully and at our 16 week ultrasound, we were told we were having a girl. When our 20 week ultrasound rolled around, I was alone when I got surprising news, our little girl was actually a little guy!
That wasn’t the only surprise I found out at the visit. I was told that our son had a cyst on his brain and also what appeared to be an amniotic band. My heart sunk as the doctor started explaining things. Tears were flowing down my face and I didn’t have my husband’s hand there to hold. After he was explaining things he kept talking but I don’t think I heard any other words-other than he would be sending me to the University of Virginia for further testing.
“Why?” kept going through my head. Why were we not able to have an easy pregnancy? I was doing everything right—eating right, taking my medicine. I didn’t understand. I kept wondering if my baby was okay? I had to call and tell my husband and I just broke down. I was crying so hard it was hard for him to understand me. I was trying to explain what was going on, what we had to do and what could be an issue.
The amniotic band could cause amputations of limbs, club feet or other complications. The Choroid Plexus Cyst which can be associated with Trisomy 18 is a severe genetic disease. So how was I to wait a week until the next ultrasound? I did know that no matter what they found, we were going to love him. He, in our eyes, would be a gift from God and would cherish the blessing of being parents once again.
The date for our big appointment finally came and as we were on our way, nerves began to take over. Thankfully, Jake and my mom and step-dad were there with me. Once the ultrasound tech started, she said, “That cyst is so small, I can barely see it.” She reassured us that she couldn’t tell us for sure because she wasn’t the doctor, but that in her opinion, she couldn’t see the cyst being an issue. Then she started looking at the questionable band. She was looking for blood flow and let me know that if she could find it through the “band” that it would be an amniotic sheet and not a band. That meant it would not be a big complication as it may only cause him to have to be born by C-section, possibly be delivered preterm, or to be a bit smaller than usual.
Next, the doctor came in and started looking at him. “Don’t worry about the cyst,” she said, “it would be gone by birth.” And she didn’t see any other issues with the feet or head, which would normally be a sign of issues from the cyst. Then she got to the “band” and with the help of the tech, they were able to find blood flow and because of the placement of the band she stated that it was not a band but a sheet and that we could breathe easy. She explained everything to us and said that our primary doctor would still follow up but that she didn’t see it being an issue. She said she couldn’t give 100 percent as she wasn’t in there with him, but that she was over 99 percent sure that everything would be okay.
The next ultrasound proved that true. When we were closer to the end of 36 weeks, our doctor decided to set up induction at 38.5 weeks as a precaution because Gavin, our other son, had low fluid and had to be delivered at 37 weeks.
I went in on May 15 to start Cytotec all night to start getting my cervix ready for delivery. That allowed me to dilate to 2. At 8 a.m. the next day, he broke my water and started Pitocin. The contractions were fierce almost immediately. At 9:30 a.m., the nurse checked me and I was only dilated to 3. She kept saying “breathe through them.” I wanted to tell her to breathe through my fist in her face but I didn’t. I remained calm and kept breathing. They were getting stronger and stronger and I asked for an epidural. She told me to keep breathing and wait for a little longer. She would call them in a little while. The doctor came in at 10:30 a.m. and I could not even talk to him. He decided to go ahead and call anesthesia for my epidural. By the time the doctor came it was 11:30 a.m. and by 11:45 a.m., I could actually handle the pain because I wasn’t feeling any contractions by then.
The doctor came back in and at noon, he found that I was ready to push. That was a surprise to the nurse but not to me as I felt as though the contractions all morning were stronger that she thought they were. I started pushing for a few minutes and then the doctor told me to “labor down” for a few minutes. He came back in at 12:20 p.m. when I felt the need to push.
I started pushing and I noticed the nurse told me to put on the oxygen. I didn’t think anything of it besides the fact that it was just helping me to stay calm. Then the doctor told me that he needed to use the vacuum as the baby’s heart rate was dropping and my blood pressure was at an unsafe level. He kept trying to explain all about it and my husband and I just said “get him out”. He said I was too far progressed for a C-section, so he used the vacuum once and with a little more pushing, he was here. When I delivered the umbilical cord was wrapped around his body which was the culprit for the low heart rate.
The nurse laid him on my chest and I just cried as he was so beautiful and perfect. All the fears of the “could be’s” were gone. He was here. Jake cut his umbilical cord and that’s when we knew he was truly okay. He scored a 9 on the Apgar and was crying at the top of his lungs. Beckett Owen Williams was here at 12:43 p.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 14.5 ounces and was 21 inches long. He had a full head of hair and beautiful blue eyes like his brother.
For a scary nine months, we were filled with lots of crying, praying and tons of doctor visits, but suddenly, all the fears were gone. Beckett was here. He was so beautiful and I just laid there with him on my chest and stared in amazement. I was now the mother of not one, but two beautiful boys. All the shots and medicine were so worth it because they allowed me to give birth to the two most precious things in my life.
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