We are continuing our story from last week regarding the birth of our son – Josiah Mark. This is part two of three. the first several paragraphs in italics are repeated from last week’s story to give context – but we recommend you read part #1.
One year ago, we came back online. Seriously. Five months prior to that date on February 2011, we quit posting on our site and even told everyone we were doing so. We completely unplugged online. Not a single post on The Thrifty Couple, not a single email answered, not a single email newsletter sent out, not a single Facebook post on our page, not a single Tweet. We literally completely unplugged virtually and fell off the face of the World Wide Web.
It came as a shock to many. We had shared our reasons at the time, and although they were a part of why we disconnected during that period of time, we didn’t share the primary reason. There was something going on in our lives that we were not sure how it would turn out nor even how to best explain it. It was a stressful and very trying time in our lives. We came back on June 23rd with an extremely special announcement of the birth of our son Josiah Mark. We started posting again as normal on The Thrifty Couple on June 24th, 2011 and have now been back for one year after our online disappearance. We wanted to start sharing the context of what happened.
We are sharing the story of the birth of our fifth child and our second son – Josiah Mark. The reason we are sharing this story is for four reasons:
- My pregnancy with him and his birth had a big impact on our time here on The Thrifty Couple.
- We pray the problems I had and the warning signs of the risky pregnancy and birth could be helpful to someone else. I had no idea what was going on, nor had I ever heard of someone with my issues. It scared me and I wish I had some information from someone else’s experience. I know that birth stories are the worst when you are pregnant and wonder why everyone tells you their horror stories while you are pregnant. I hate that myself, but at the same time, some of them can be a huge help to give you have a better idea of what could be going on.
- Many of our friends and extended family have asked for the story and so instead of retelling over and over again, they can read it here any time
- It is a story that I want to document. It is a story with a beautiful and wonderful outcome and this seems like the best place to do it since this site is not only how we save, ideas to help you save, but it is also us sharing our lives with you online!
We also know that our story isn’t the only one out there that is truly miraculous. In fact, every birth story is an absolute miracle whether there is an exciting story or the “normal” birth from a humanly perspective! When studying the entire process from conception to birth, every birth story is nothing short of a miracle! We just want to share our story.
The following was shared last week, but placed here for context:
A few days later I started kinda cramping. It wasn’t the same cramping I had many months before, but it was a type of cramping. I went to the bathroom trying to rule out miscarriage possibility by checking for evidence of spotting/bleeding and there was nothing. I was trying not to worry as I also have digestive issues that can often feel the same. But I was feeling uneasy. I called Alex who worked 45 minutes away. I told him that something wasn’t feeling right, but it wasn’t the same kind of cramping I experienced with the last pregnancy. He said “why don’t you just call the doctor and see if we can get an ultrasound today when I get off work to help you feel more at ease and just check.”
I agreed that this checkup would make me feel better. So I called the doctors office to talk to a nurse first and then planned to make an appointment for that day. I was sitting down when I was talking to Alex and when I called the doctors office. I was on hold for a few minutes and my stomach, or something down low in my pelvis just felt crampy and irritable.
The nurse picked up after a few minutes. I started to explain the situation about being just over 13 weeks and experiencing a weird crampy feeling……… and then I stood up………
I felt a more intense cramp and a warm sensation as I stood up. I paused….. I then said, “I think I am bleeding”. My heart started racing and I was visibly becoming very paniced even over the phone and she said “okay, calm down – this could be perfectly normal, how bad are you bleeding?” I rushed to the bathroom while staying on the phone with the nurse. It was bad…….
Part #2 continued below:
It was a very heavy and steady flow of blood. I told the nurse about the blood amount and then explained that I had my first miscarriage at eight weeks earlier that year and I think I was having another one, but at 13 weeks this time. She said, “Well, let’s not jump to conclusions as this could be normal, but why don’t we make you an appointment. Can you come in right away?”
I was in the bathroom trying really hard to have a conversation without jumping to conclusions and not burst out bawling. I told her that Alex was 45 minutes away at minimum. We set an appointment for an hour later, but not with my doctor who had delivered every pregnancy up to that point. And in that many pregnancies, there was never a time in which I had to see another doctor. It just added insult to injury. I made the appointment and hung up!
I called Alex. He picked up and I was so upset, I couldn’t even tell him what was going on – I couldn’t get the words out. He was trying to calm me down to tell him what was going on but I could tell he was starting to freak out, knowing that something bad was happening. The last he knew, only a few minutes before that, was that I had some different type of cramping and I was not feeling like it was normal and was just planing to call for an evening appointment. I finally spit it out, the fact that I was bleeding and it was very heavy, like 5 – 6 times worse than the first miscarriage. He said he was on his way. We hung up as I needed to call family to come over and watch the other kids. I couldn’t contact my mom so I called my sister. I was crying and briefly told her what was going on and that I couldn’t go through this again! She was on her way and got there very quickly.
Alex called me back and said to get in the shower (he knows that makes me feel better). As I was in the shower, blood was pouring out. I have never bled like that from anywhere in all my life. The bottom of the shower was red, it was literally like straight blood was going down the drain. I cried and cried and thought “this can’t be normal, no baby can survive whatever this is!”
I got out of the shower, dressed and it was only a few minutes before Alex arrived. In that few minutes, the bleeding was so bad that I soaked a heavy pad. I think I was just in shock myself as all I was saying over and over again was “this can’t be normal, no baby can survive whatever this is!” to myself and everyone that I came in contact with the next few minutes.
We got to the doctor’s office, again disappointed that we couldn’t see our normal doctor as she was in a delivery. Here we were very vulnerable and emotional and the only one that we had for all of previous children and births was unavailable. It really devastated me. But I needed to see someone. You need to know that my doctor is also a female and a mom, so that had always made a big difference to me (which is one reason I picked her with our first child). Well, today, I had to see a male doctor, but it was fine – I wasn’t going to wait.
He came in the room, was very quick, unemotional and very business-like. He hooked up the ultrasound machine and checked the ultrasound. We couldn’t believe it – there was a heart-beat! I about fainted! Both Alex and I must have been holding our breath for the last several moments as we both let out a large gasp of air.
Okay, so there was a heart-beat – but just what does all of this blood mean. Will there be a heart-beat in a couple of hours. We saw him, he was moving, his heart was beating strong. None of this made sense to me.
He stated, “Maybe you have a tear or something that caused the bleed and it should heal just fine,” and then he started to leave the room. We both looked at each other was not about to let him just check heart-beat, tell us it’s fine and walk out! Alex said, “Wait, what should we be watching for? When should we come back in? And just how NORMAL is this.” So he turned back around from the doorway, shut the door and was started to clear up some of our confusion.
He said I would probably bleed for a few more days, but it would slow significantly and just become spotty. If it increases, or goes on for a long time, then to come back in. I did have my regular appointment the next week, and so he said my doctor can just follow-up then unless the bleeding increases. He then said, it CAN be normal, but it is also rare in this case. In addition, he did think my bleeding was a bit excessive, but that I probably just tore something inside “real good.”
So he was right, I did bleed for a few days more, then spotted. As an aside, I’ll mention here that I actually spotted and bled for the rest of the pregnancy – in fact, the whole time I had various degrees of spotting which kept my nerves on edge and the whole pregnancy a question in my mind. I was unnerved and a mess the whole time with fear that at any time I would lose my child.
I went to my regular appointment the next week. I finally got to see my doctor and told her all about it. She was really hesitant as the whole thing seemed abnormal to her. She explained that normal bleeding can happen from left over menses or other things like this, but the amount and length was unusual. She conducted an ultrasound and she examined things very closely. She found a pocket of fluid, which was most likely blood that was between the uterine wall and the water sack. She too thought that I may have injured myself, tearing very badly with the result of creating this pocket of blood – and as my abdomen grew it was shifting the pocket to allow good spurts of blood out. She said we will keep an eye on it and to come in whenever for a quick ultrasound if something didn’t feel right or if that excessive bleeding started again.
I did go to the doctor one more time as she wanted to see me a week after that. This time the pocket was smaller, so it appeared as if it was healing and the placenta was re-attaching. But I started to feel him move around 17 weeks.
Once I could start feeling him move, this made a night and day difference to my own outlook and my own feelings about the pregnancy. I felt much more at ease – well, except for that continual spotting and cramping.
Week 20 came and I had my next appointment for the large scheduled ultrasound with the ultrasound tech; I was nervous but excited hoping they could tell me more about what was going on because of the clearer machines. I told the ultrasound nurse about the incident that occurred at 13 weeks and the pocket of fluid my doctor had found. She couldn’t initially find the pocket but after several minutes, she did see a very small pocket type section. Thankfully it appeared as if it had completely healed and reattached entirely. What great news – it brought a great amount of relief knowing that things were healing and that I could feel him moving! But it was bittersweet because of the continual spotting and odd feelings and cramps here and there.
With the bleeding incident mostly behind us and seemingly healed and now that I could feel him and really starting to show well, it was time to make a public announcement.
So on February 16, 2011 we shared how excited we were that we were expecting our child on our site. Shortly after that, my stress level continued to rise because I was still paranoid and I was counting how many times each hour I could feel him. My life was seemingly on hold. I was so nervous about our baby having a seemingly “near death” experience, and having these thoughts with the previous miscarriage brought a lot of stress, tension and anxiety into my life and ultimately into our entire family’s lives.
It was at that time that we decided I needed to cut things out of my life until after the pregnancy. Our site, The Thrifty Couple was one of them. We told you on February 21, 2011, that we would be taking a break for a while. I honestly wasn’t sure how long this break would last and I almost felt like it was quite possibly the last post on our site with what was going on in my life at that point.
March – May 2011
Over the next few months, life went on as normal as we could make it. I tried to be careful with my stress levels and my activity levels as it seemed the more active and stressed I was would cause the spotting to increase. My appointments were all normal just as any healthy pregnancy would have been. I enjoyed those last two trimesters now that I could feel him and “feel” whether he was moving and happy. I was very in-tune with his movements. He had a pattern of movements that I essentially memorized; I filled my time counting those movements. But don’t think all was calm – yes, I was still very much paranoid! But I felt like I had good reason to be paranoid with the previous miscarriage and the “bleeding like I have never bled before” in the first-trimester that seemingly never really went away.
Our dear sweet children would spend time everyday praying for their baby brother. Our son especially as he wanted a brother so badly since he already had three sisters. They actually would specifically pray that he wouldn’t die like the other baby did. They were very diligent with praying, much more than myself who seemed to be more consumed with worry and paranoia instead of fully trusting and continually praying. What diligence and faithfulness they had! While in the womb, Nathan would talk to his baby brother in the womb and the baby would respond in a very excited and happy way to Nathan, unlike his response to any of his sisters or anyone else. It was one of the sweetest bonds. If and when our baby seemed not very active in the womb, the best way to test was by bringing Nathan over and have him start talking to him and he would respond with movement right away! What a joy and true blessing this was to see this bond developing! I prayed that God would preserve our child even more as I knew Nathan would be so devastated if anything happened to his little brother.
We now fast forward to the end of May 2011. It was my birthday and I was 35 weeks along. Alex was going to take me to dinner and a movie. But I woke up that morning feeling like I was having contractions. I at first figured it was practice labor. But as the day continued, the contractions increased and they were getting closer and closer in time. We got down to 7-minutes apart and then they started getting closer. I called my doctor and was told it was too early! I was only 35.5 weeks along.
They gave me medicine to stop the contractions. I took the medicine and then continued with the plan for my date with my husband. I did not enjoy it. I tried – but I was worried and stressed the whole time. I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t stop thinking about and honestly it really sucked! I was still having some contractions. But the thing that was the most obvious that I mentioned to Alex a number of times was that the contractions where my entire abdomen would harden and contract had significantly slowed, probably because of the medicine, but I had a deep contraction in my pelvis that would never let up. It would stay contracted. I just thought it was possibly a normal reaction where the rest of the abdomen would relax, except the pelvic floor and area. I mentioned it at least a dozen times to Alex that night. He thought it was strange, but as long as the whole abdomen stopped contracting, then all must be fine and normal. This day was a Thursday, my birthday. I really thought I might be sharing my birthday with our new baby boy. But Thursday passed and Friday came with rare full-abdomen contractions, though when they came, my pelvis “contraction” still not letting go.
Alex took that Friday off to make sure I was going to be okay. We took the kids to the museum and just tried to relax and enjoy our day together. It was a very nice day and it was very relaxing – other than this continuous nagging pelvic contraction! I didn’t want to call my doctor as I had called her so many times during this pregnancy out of paranoia that I figured our baby wasn’t going to make it full-term. I figured it wasn’t going to be long anyway! My main source of comfort was that he was still moving like he always had. All seemed to be somewhat normal.
Saturday came, I had some projects I wanted done. I wanted the house cleaned spotlessly, but no matter how much my nesting instinct kicked in, Alex was sure to not let me do much. It was very hard to rest, but resting did slow down any contractions I was having.
We went to bed on Saturday night. I woke up around 3am to go to the bathroom. I stood up from the bed and walked to the bathroom. The baby hadn’t moved at all yet. Perhaps he was in a deep slumber himself, but every night for the last few months, I would wake to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and this would cause him to wake and move immediately. This time it didn’t. After going to the bathroom, I started walking around to wake him, nothing!
I started to panic, I couldn’t feel him and I woke Alex up! Alex was gently pushing on my abdomen and trying to talk to him. Nothing. I tried the orange juice test. Nothing! The way he was laying in my abdomen was like he had floated to the bottom and Alex could feel him, it was like a lifeless person just laying there with the weight pressing against his hands as he gently pushed against him.
Still, there was nothing. We were both in a full panic. We called my parents and they came right over so we could rush to the hospital. I was completely freaked! I was still experiencing contractions off and on and that nagging pelvic contraction that never stopped. Something was wrong, and now it is affecting him, I thought.
We got to the hospital very early Sunday morning and immediately hooked me up to the monitor. It did take them several minutes, but they found a heart beat finally, though very faint. The nurses were a little concerned at the difficulty in finding his heart-beat and how faint it was. I was hooked up and monitored for several hours and the longer we were there, the stronger and clearer his heart-beat became. I was scared and I just told them I wanted him out because I would feel so much better to have him in my arms at that point after all of the stress, worry and paranoia during the pregnancy!
I had just hit 36 weeks that day. They said that they want him to be in there as long as possible and since he was a boy especially as boy’s lungs develop slower than girls. I honestly didn’t like this answer and I felt something was wrong and wanted him out. They did take my concern seriously as they left me there for several hours and ran every possible non-invasive test they could do to ease my anxiety about it – to let me know that he was fine and I could go home the next several weeks and let him finish growing inside of me!
They even conducted a pelvic exam and I was not dilated or effaced at all. Labor was not imminent, even though I told them that I felt like I was having a constant nagging contracting pain in my pelvis. The nurse said this could be normal and it must be because everything they tested, checked and ran was completely normal. It was probably just me. I haven’t had any of my kids early, so it wouldn’t have been normal for me to go into labor early even though the monitor was indicating I was having irregular contractions.
Well, I left feeling better as he was moving. We had confirmed he had a heart-beat that was monitored for hours and he was seemingly under no stress. And labor did not seem to be imminent. I just needed to calm down and stop stressing. That same Sunday, we were invited over to some fellow church member’s home for dinner. We kept this invitation, besides neither Alex or myself felt like cooking. It was an enjoyable evening and we enjoyed one of our family’s favorite meals prepared by our sweet friends!
So after dinner, we went home and went to bed. I was very tired after being up most of the night. Before bed, I noticed I lost my mucus plug, probably due to the pelvic exam earlier that morning. But since you can lose your plug up to a month before, it wasn’t alarming.
This time I slept all through the night. I did not need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. So I woke up at around 7 am to go to the bathroom. I stood up from my bed and I immediately felt a lot of liquid, and it was running down my leg.
I stood there and thought my water broke. I had this happen with my second baby, I stood up from bed and had the same exact experience in which warm liquid was running down my leg because my water had broke. So I ran to the bathroom to confirm my water breaking, only to have my heart drop with complete shock to find that it wasn’t water pouring out of me, but blood, tons and tons of blood! I started screaming and crying and Alex woke up and ran into the bathroom and I am standing there with blood all down my legs, my pajamas, all over my hands and arms, the floor – everywhere. It looked like a murder scene. And it was just was pouring out of me uncontrollably. It was happening again……..
The final part coming next week……