Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Just Like Me

When I went to my appointment at the Medical Center of Plano on July 10th, the Labor and Delivery nurses told me about a lady (Kim) who delivered her baby (Stetson) there 6 months before and her son didn't have any legs and only his upper arms, just like my son! 

Today, I had the amazing privilege of meeting Kim, Stetson, and Kim's parents!! Their happiness is SO encouraging!! They were the nicest sweetest people. I feel amazingly blessed that I got to meet them.

When I saw Stetson, I had so many emotions come over me. I saw him and he brought a smile immediately to my face. I was so happy and excited that I wanted to cry, but I was so happy and excited I couldn't cry, all I could do was smile! Meeting Stetson made everything just that much more real for me. It was like a preview, an amazing preview that not everyone in my situation gets. I am very thankful for that.

Meeting with Kim and talking with her was so great! She was so informative about everything and had some good advice. She was the sweetest woman ever and I loved that! I just feel so blessed that I have someone that finally understands how I feel, where Im coming from, and to go through things with. People like that are very hard to come by. 

I learned today that if I would have never kept my sweet baby boy, I would have never had the great privilege to meet and have such amazing people in my life now. I learned that it was SO VERY MUCH worth keeping my baby boy, because Stetson was the MOST precious and encouraging blessing! He assured me in my heart that I made the right choice. Thank you Stetson! 

From this, I have gained a friend, Kim has gained a friend, and best of all, our sons have gained a friend! Friends like these are friends that you can never replace. Thank you Kim for allowing me and Camden to be a part of yours and Stetson's lives and for letting me meet your precious baby boy! Now my sweet Camden has someone that he can say, "Hey, he is just like me!"and you just don't know how incredible that makes me feel. I couldn't have asked for a greater blessing.

Me and sweet Stetson!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Maybe She Just Couldn't See the Sex of the Baby.

On May 13, 2013 I remember laying on the ultrasound table at the doctors office waiting to find out if I was having a boy or girl. I remember being SO excited!! I just KNEW I was having a girl! But when the ultrasound tech is looking around on the ultrasound and is very quiet, then tells you she will be right back, you know something isn't right. Maybe she just couldn't see the sex of the baby.

In January of 2013 I found out I was pregnant!! I was in such a rush to start taking prenatal vitamins and get to the doctor as soon as possible! I wanted to do everything right! I quit smoking the day after I found out I was pregnant. I didn't do drugs or drink alcohol. I wouldn't eat any of the things you aren't supposed to eat. I wouldn't use anything that had chemicals in it. I quit using my acne medication. I stayed away from everything possible to make sure my baby was healthy as can be. I always thought you could never be too careful! The truth is... You can be as careful as you want, you can do everything right, but that doesn't mean everything will be perfect and okay. 

When I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time, I was immediately in love! It was the most peaceful and precious thing I have ever heard. It was a good strong heartbeat. It was beautiful. I had a healthy baby.

A couple of weeks went by. I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't have an ultrasound!! Since my step mother works in Radiology at her hospital she took me in for a quick ultrasound! I was so excited I could hardly contain my excitement!! 
When I saw my baby on the ultrasound screen, all I could see was perfection! I saw my baby's little profile and a good strong heartbeat. I showed off the ultrasound pictures and videos to everyone! I was so proud!

I remember the first thing I looked at for my baby was shoes! I looked at girl shoes and boy shoes and I just had to have these crocheted shoes for my baby! They were so adorable I could have died!!

I felt my baby move for the first time when I was 14 weeks pregnant. I was so excited!! I couldn't believe I could feel my baby move! It was so amazing!! I kept wondering if it was a little punch or kick. I would feel my baby move every couple days after that. I remember when I saw my belly move when I was 16 or 17 weeks pregnant! I wondered... was that a punch or a kick?

I was 18 weeks pregnant. It was time to find out the sex of the baby!! Of course being a first time mom you worry about the health of your baby. You worry about if your baby has Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida. You know, the common birth defects you hear about. Going into my ultrasound appointment, I wasn't really worried at all. No one in my family has birth defects of those sorts. I was just ready to see my baby and hear, "ITS A GIRL!"

I was waiting for the nurse to come back. I was a little nervous. Maybe she just couldn't see the sex of the baby. I was fine though. I know nothing is wrong with my baby. I have a perfect baby! The nurse came back in... with the doctor. 
The doctor came in and immediately said, "Things aren't good. Things are really bad.
I still didn't think anything was wrong with my baby! Maybe she just couldn't see the sex of the baby.
"What?" I responded sarcastically. Maybe she just couldn't see the sex of the baby.
The Doctor told my sister to wait outside the room. At this ultrasound I expected to hear, "ITS A GIRL!" That isn't what the doctor told me at all...

When the doctor told me the news, I went immediately numb inside. I laid there while the ultrasound technician cleaned off my belly. While I was laying there, reality hit me right in the heart. I started balling my eyes out. I sat up and said, "I want my sister! I want her right now!
My poor little sister came back in the room and saw me crying. I couldn't even tell her what was wrong. We just held each other and cried. She didn't know why we were crying, but she knew it was bad. 

When you think about something being wrong with your child, you think about something being mentally wrong with them or that their heart stopped beating. You don't really think about anything physical being wrong with them. You also don't think about things like this happening to you!!! 

My baby doesn't have any legs, and only upper arms? MY baby? Things like this don't happen to me! Things like this don't happen to my family! Why me? Why MY baby!!! Why PERIOD!!!

He wont ever get to wear those shoes...

When you think about birth defects, you don't think about your baby missing its legs or arms. Not even a toe or a finger. I was more expecting to hear that my baby had a mental disability.

I went to see the specialist the next day. He did an ultrasound. He confirmed that my baby doesn't have any legs at all and only the upper arms. I didn't hear "ITS A GIRL!" either... Its a boy! I have a son. The specialist also did an amnio to see if my son had any chromosomal abnormalities.

My sweet baby boy is never going to be able to walk, he is never going to be able to ride a bike, he is never going to be able to brush his own teeth, he is never going to be able to bathe himself, he is never going to be able to go to the bathroom by himself, he is never going to be able to play like a normal child, he is never going to be able to hold someones hand, he is never going to be able to wear shoes, he is never, he is never, he is never... Those are the thoughts that went through my head. Is that a true quality of life? Would I want to live like that? Do I want my child to live like that? NO!!! 

All I could think about is how HORRIBLE his life would be. People would point, stare, laugh, and make fun of him. He would never be able to do anything for himself. He would be so depressed because he would look at everyone else and wonder, Why cant I be like that? I didn't want my son to live like that... I couldn't let my son live like that... I had to do whats best... FOR HIM!

I decided the day of my appointment with the specialist that I was going to have an abortion. I told my parents what I decided to do, and I made sure that they knew that I was NOT doing it for selfish reasons. I was not doing this for me. I was doing this for him.

I scheduled an abortion for the next Thursday. I was so sad. I cried all the time. I couldn't believe that my sweet precious baby boy didn't have any legs or all of his arms. It wasn't fair...

I went to the beach with my Dad and my siblings the Saturday before my scheduled abortion. I had a lot of time by myself. I had a lot of time to think for myself and to pray. I was praying for peace! I had no peace at all... I had hate and hurt... 

It was the night before my scheduled abortion. I was crying so hard. I loved my baby so much and I didn't want to lose him, but I also loved my baby so much and I couldn't let him live like this... I didn't know what the right thing to do was! I was crying and praying and crying some more and praying some more. I didn't want to kill my baby! I didn't want to lose him!! I told my Mom and my cousin how I felt. They didn't tell me what to do. They were just there for me. They listened to what I had to say. 

I had peace in my heart. I never felt so happy or relieved! I felt like I had this HUGE weight lifted off my chest! I no longer cried because I was sad. I cried because I was happy!! I chose to KEEP my baby and give him a chance at life!! I was so focused on the negative things, that I forgot that there was anything positive to this at all!! There are so many more positive things about my son than there are negative.

A couple of days after I decided to keep my baby I found out that there were so many people praying for me and my son the same night I decided not to go through with the abortion! My family, my Granny's church, my friends, and people I didn't even know. That's when I knew that there is truly power in prayer. If it wasn't for all of those people praying for me and my son that night, I don't think I would have ever changed my mind. I probably would have gone through with it and been miserable, had no peace, and felt guilty for the rest of my life.

I had my follow up appointment with the specialist and a genetic councilor when I was 21 weeks pregnant. I saw the genetic councilor first. I found out that my son had NO chromosomal abnormalities!!! They didn't find a reason for why his legs and the rest of his arms didn't grow. He does have a brain malformation called, Arnold Chiari Malformation, I have the same thing. It isn't anything to worry about right now. I was so happy!! When I got done talking to her I went back out to the lobby to tell my Dad the GREAT news. I bursted into tears and said "I am SO happy!!!" I have never cried like that from being so happy!! 
I went back in for another ultrasound to see how the baby was growing. His brain looked good and he still had a good strong heartbeat!! His right arm was growing a few weeks behind and his left arm was significantly shorter. I was still so happy!! I had a HEALTHY baby boy!!

I now had to do more thinking. Being a single Mom, I cannot do this all by myself. I have a special needs child to take care of, I need to work, and I need to go to college! I also needed to find an excellent doctor for my son! My Mom suggested that I move from Georgia to Texas, where she lives. She could help me take care of the baby, I could work and go to college, AND there are amazing doctors in Texas. I decided to do just that!! I moved to Texas on June 18th! I am so very thankful to have my Mom!!

I had my first appointments with my new OB/GYN at the beginning of July. I LOVE him! He is great! I met my Perinatologist and her team on July 10th. I LOVE them also!! I have such an AMAZING group of Doctors, Nurses, and Neonatologist!! I knew moving to Texas would be better, but I NEVER thought that my son and I would have such an INCREDIBLE medical team as we have now!! I feel SO blessed and I am so very thankful that we have them!!! My Perinatologist did an ultrasound to look at the baby. I was 26 weeks and 5 days pregnant. She said that my son has a beautiful heart and brain! She said he also has a beautiful profile! I very much agree!! His right arm is measuring at 23 weeks and his left is measuring at 18 weeks. Other than that I have a HEALTHY baby boy!! My next appointment with my Perinatologist is on August 8th.

Here is an ultrasound picture from July 10th

I had another appointment with my OB/GYN today to have a 2D/4D ultrasound done. The baby looks great!! The 4D ultrasound was blurry because his umbilical cord was on his face! He has the cutest little nose though!!!! I am so in love with him!!! I am SO VERY HAPPY that I chose to keep my sweet baby boy!!

Camden Lee