Hi there 🙂

Bubba and I celebrate our anniversary sometime this week (counting by gestational age – if you don’t like that, don’t read any further). ❤

I’ve already taken him on one date to celebrate. We went to the library! 🙂 And, of course, he fell asleep as soon as we got there. 😉 We plan on doing some more dates this week with my husband while he is off work.

We’ve been through a lot together in this past year. Bubba has been my constant companion through so many things I cannot imagine life without him!

His conception was right before I started school at a big state university famous for its football team and on our honeymoon. We joke that honeymoons are dangerous, because honeymoon babies run in the family on my husband’s side! We took our three months after the wedding,and somehow the tradition still followed us. 🙂 I joke about the university I attended too, because I have never been on that campus while not pregnant!

I found out I was pregnant 4 weeks and 5 days in. My husband and I had been eating soup with cumin and turmeric spices in it and for some reason, it just made me super nauseous.

I felt okay, but a few minutes later we decided to dye my hair (red henna dye, in full crunchy style 😉 ). I’d never dyed my hair in my life, so this was a big jump for me. I wasn’t one to do something like this, so it was out of character for me, which probably should’ve been our first clue. We mixed in some nutmeg to help the color of the henna dye hold (the instruction gave a few other recommendations, but I didn’t want my hair smelling like cayenne pepper!) and just a few seconds after my husband applied it, I threw up all over our bathroom! I guess Bubba didn’t like the nutmeg/cumin/turmeric combo. I supposed I wouldn’t have either. 😉

We didn’t think to take a pregnancy test until the next day, we thought I’d just gotten sick from the food, but since he still felt fine the next morning, we were suspicious. We agreed that if we noticed anything else, I’d test the next morning.

I had to pee every 5 minutes that entire day, my boobs really hurt and seemed to have grown 3 sizes overnight, and I think I ran into every surface in our house. Plus I cleaned everything (highly unusual for me). We knew something was up then, but we patiently waited until the next morning.

Morning came and I was scared. I didn’t want to take the test. I had taken four pregnancy tests since we’d been married, all came back negative. I cried harder and harder with each one.

I’d been told I was going to be infertile from cyst after cyst rupturing and scarring my ovaries.The doctors wanted to take my ovaries out at 14 years old, but I fought them. My family had a history of fibroid cystic tumors, emergency hysterectomies and other reproductive problems. Each generation, the problems hit younger and younger. My twin and I knew the odds were stacked against us. After the third test came back negative, I called my twin and bawled. She did too.

My husband and I had not been trying yet, but we hadn’t been preventing either. I knew there was still a chance. I crawled out of bed and found my husband washing dishes. He told me to go take the test and I reluctantly trudged to the bathroom. After I followed all the instructions and placed to cap on the test, I started my phone timer.

As I looked up from setting the timer, I saw the sign. The plus sign. Dark and solid pink lines crossing each other. I looked at the test. I looked at the instructions. I looked at the five seconds on the timer. Time stopped. Tears flowed.

I screamed, “Dear, come look at this!”

My husband set down the dish he’d been scrubbing and walked in slowly. He was prepared for another negative, lots of tears from me, and the impending period that this would mean.

I showed him the test and the instructions. I laughed hysterically and told him it was positive. He fell to his knees, pretending to dramatically faint.

We told Bubba’s aunt and uncle, and asked them to be God parents after church that day. They were so excited!

That Monday, I called the school nurse and informed her of what was going on. She made me an appointment for the next day in between my classes. When I went to my appointment, the doctor didn’t believe I could have known when my last period was, let alone that I was pregnant. She ordered a test anyways and it was confirmed, I was pregnant.

I was told my son probably would not make it, I should consider my “options”, did I even know who the dad was. The doctor changed her tune when I told her I was married and although this was my first semester at this campus, these were actually my last few classes before I was going to graduate.

Then I was asked why I wanted to keep my son. I will never forget that question for as long as I live. No one should ever have to give a “reason” to “keep” their child. EVER. 

After having to argue with a doctor on why it is okay for someone who can legally do everything but drink to be pregnant, I decided I was going to seek out prenatal care of midwives instead of OBs…

I interviewed two midwife teams. The first told me I would lose my son because of my history of anorexia. I hired the second team, who told me they were trained at handling patients with a previous history of eating disorders. None of the midwives where at my birth. Long, long story.

My advice : get a doula. The first time I met my doula, we went to the ER together. And I hadn’t even hired her yet. She has been one of my best friends since then. My doula could’ve gone to a home birth, birthing center birth, and hospital birth. My midwives could only do home birth or birthing center.

The weeks went by with multiple ER trips, fainting spells, vomiting, and a diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum. Hyperemesis gravidarum is not “really bad morning sickness”. You can find information here on hyperemesis gravidarum.  If you or something you know has hyperemesis gravidarum, please give yourself or your friend/family a hug from me. I was in the hospital SO much because of it. I went into preterm labor at 18 weeks from the extreme dehydration it caused. I was told Bubba wasn’t going to make it, and placed on three different types of anti-nausea medications. Ultimately, one of my classes had to be dropped because I had been in the hospital so much, I was unable to make it to that class and come out of it with a decent grade.

Some of my classmates tried to physically assault me so that I would miscarry because I was pregnant and they believed, despite the fact that I was married and this was my last semester, that I was “too young” to have a child.  I fought for myself and my son, and I won. Never be afraid to fight for yourself and your child.

The second half of my pregnancy I developed ICP (extremely rare and dangerous, you can read more about it here) and then also had undiagnosed preeclampsia until I was 38 weeks to the day. When the OBs finally looked at my home blood pressure machine and the reading I had been getting, they immediately admitted me to the hospital for four hours of observation. They confirmed my blood pressure was dangerously high and told us to prepare for an induction, and a c section. I was informed my odds of a natural delivery were extremely low because I was a first time mom, only 38 weeks, and only a centimeter dilated when the induction started.

Our induction began at a few minutes after midnight on April 29th, 2015. After a cervadil, pit drip, and manual water breaking, I began pushing, without pain medicine at 6pm (the doctor was so angry, apparently it’s only “your body, your choice” when it suits them).

Bubba joined me earthside at 6:32 pm with his cute wrinkly butt and some good lungs. ❤ He was a bit tiny, but very feisty and hungry.

That night, my husband changed his first diaper and we snuggled in bed together as a family. We learned right away that Bubba was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a cuddle bug. He also liked to have parties at 1 am in the morning (something he did while I was pregnant as well). He loved being swaddled (but only for a few days).

Two days later, on my birthday, we were allowed to go home. The next day, we spent all day nursing and napping together.

Then, that night, on my husband and I’s wedding anniversary, our worst nightmare was realized. Bubba was sick, very sick. I drove as we transported him to the hospital, I didn’t look at the speedometer. I know it was over 100 mph.

We arrived, watched in horror as they drew blood from his foot, and then we waited for the results. The nurse came in, saying there was good news. It didn’t sound right to me, the numbers she’d told us, but they were the experts, right?

We drove home, still worried. An hour after we got home, I received a frantic call from the doctor we’d seen.

“Ma’am, I made a mistake. We need you to come back right now, your son needs treatment immediately.”

We arrived and I tore through the doors with Bubba in hand. We watched and sobbed as they tried, for twenty minutes, to place an IV on my three-day old son. It was unsuccessful. Then, the lady with a clear box came. A NICU nurse. I scream. I threw things. I knew that life as we had known it would never be the same again.

As we rode in the elevator, I felt the panic boiling inside. We made it to a room, and the doctor’s began his therapy.

“May we give him formula?”

“Over my dead body.”

“Well, maybe while you are gone?”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

I stayed awake for two and a half days straight. I sat in a chair right next to him, crying most of the time. I ate when I was reminded. I went to the bathroom when my husband came in from the waiting area. Friends brought me food and water.

I watched his vitals, day and night. When the machine went off, I rushed for a nurse. I pumped milk and fed him. I changed him. I nursed him when I could. We did kangaroo care as often as possible. I held him while they drew blood, my tears spilled onto his swaddle blankets until they were soaked.

We filled out the paperwork to go home. We watched the videos. We packed our bags. We left, broken. The doctors told us it’d be up to 12 weeks before he was better. During those weeks, his labs went up. They had promised they would stay down.  We went to appointment after appointment.

I took temperatures, checked his breathing and heartbeat religiously. Home health care was ordered and I made sure he got as much therapy as he could. I never put him down unless he was doing therapy.

At three months old, we were in the clear. He’s now in the 75 percentile on all his measurements,  which is an improvement from the 20-30 percentile he was when he was born.

We cherish every day with him, especially after everything we saw in NICU and what we’ve already been through. Bubba is our whole world.<3

Happy anniversary to us, Bubba!

Love,

New Crunchy Mom

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