The Journey Here

I found out I was, shockingly, pregnant in August of 2013. After many months of trying for Miss Sydney, the idea that I was — SURPRISE! — pregnant, was mind blowing.

But, cool, let’s roll with it!

At 20 weeks, they told me Jackson had (testicles, for one thing, since I was told he was a girl three weeks prior!) only one functioning kidney. His left kidney is completely cystic, and quite large. Every month I would make the trip to Fort Worth from Wichita Falls for the expert ultrasound techs to tell me, “Kidney is still doing good, everything looks great!”

Fantastic!

Fast forward to April 28, 2014.

I never felt right. Honestly, I never felt right during the entire pregnancy, but the night before I was induced, something felt off. The next morning, my mom, Justin and I drove to the hospital. They hooked me up, asked me a bunch of questions, shoved the damn IV in my arm, and we got the contraction meds going.

Fast forward 5 hours, and the contractions are ripping through me, yet I’m barely dilating. During each contraction, Jackson’s heart rate dips lower and lower and lower. I receive the epidural, and we wait two more hours. Now, we’re all three staring at the monitor, watching his heart dip from the 150s to the 60s during my contractions. You could hear a pin drop in my room.

Finally, after seven hours, and with me still not dilating, my doctor comes in and says that Jackson needs to come out, because he’s in too much distress. So, emergency c-section it is.

I was so relieved when the popped his sweet head over the curtain and I knew he was alright. It was going to be okay, he was here, and I could hear him crying! Justin leaned down and kissed me, we were so happy! Then, Justin noticed his hand, and our hearts fell. Not because he wasn’t perfect in our eyes anymore, because he was (AND STILL IS!), but because of the shock.

Everything else checks out, except an abdominal hernia we are told will require surgery. No one mentions his hand to us, no one examines it, no one even acknowledges it. Between the kidney, his hand, and the hernia, we are not sure how to feel.

We take him home from the hospital and try to get into a routine. Thankfully, my parents stayed the week and helped us get situated, as well as helped ease the transition of a family of three to a family of four. Sydney was in great hands with them there.

We noticed, though, that he was breathing quite fast, but I remembered that Sydney would breath fast, then slow, then stop, so I knew that was normal newborn behavior. We kept watching him, though, and at his one week appointment, that’s when someone finally heard his TWO heart murmurs. The doctor put in a referral for that, along with several others for his other issues.

That week I fought with insurance and referral management trying to get him seen by a cardiologist, all the while we were both very freaked out by his breathing. Finally, the evening my sister graduated college, we counted his breaths to be 128 breaths/minute, three times more than a normal newborn. We rushed him to the ER, and he was then care flighted with Justin to Cooks Children’s.

I drove from Wichita Falls at 3 AM to meet them there. When I arrived, the first question I was asked by the neonatologist was, “Are y’all first cousins?”

And, I’ve been living in the hell that that question insinuates ever since, and I will be until the chromosome results come back.

So, here we are. Day 6 in the NICU as of May 16. My son is 18 days old.

I just want to go home and worry about the laundry again.

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