Caden’s birth story starts over a year before he was born. He doesn’t know it yet, but his birth and life healed pain, answered questions, and provided reassurance that God hears me and sees far beyond what I could ever dream of for my life.
I used writing as therapy when recovering from a loss of a pregnancy. [See the 2 previous posts] I held on to my faith knowing that one day the pain, confusion, and hopelessness would be replaced with purpose and joy.
After a molar pregnancy, I was healed through writing, prayer, and time. After recovering from the D&C, I turned my focus to my health and the weekly blood work that I now had to do. Once the Hcg levels in my blood were down to zero, I only had to get my blood drawn monthly to ensure they did not rise again indicating a cancerous mass growing as the molar mass did. I was strictly instructed by my doctor to not get pregnant during the next year; if that had happened we could no longer look at the Hcg levels to detect a mass. Even more frightening, a mass can grow regardless of a pregnancy and overtake the baby again.
Another focus of mine was applying to graduate school. Before finding out I was pregnant I had been debating and praying. My prayer was “God what’s the next step in my life. Should I have another baby right now, or…. go back to school?” I took the pregnancy as an obvious answer- baby time! Then after that pregnancy was lost, it only made sense to me that now the answer from God was- school time! So I went through the vigorous application process for a Nurse Practitioner program here in Jacksonville.
In the summer of 2013, about 6 months into the blood work monitoring, I got a phone call from the Nurse Practitioner from my Drs office asking me to come in right away- my serum Hcg level showed a rapid elevation. “Ok”, I said feeling nervous about her stern request, “the only problem is that I am out of state”. (I was back home in Texas working a summer travel job for the first half of my husband’s deployment.)
I found a local Dr and made an appointment, then called my Florida Dr and requested to have my records sent so the Texas Dr could take over my treatment and investigate the elevated levels. As I told her the Texas Dr’s information, she stopped me. “Wait, who is the Dr you’ve made an appointment with!?” She made me repeat the Dr’s name. “Oh my gosh, Lindsey! She is my friend! We went through medical school together at the University of Florida! In fact, my husband and I were just at her house last month!” My jaw dropped. A peace washed over me giving me goosebumps. Of all the Drs I could have made an appointment with… Of all the Drs in the area… Not just an acquaintance, but a good friend of my Florida Dr! Not just in Texas, or just in the DFW area, but in my hometown located FIVE minutes away from me. There are no coincidences. God knew. He set this up long before I even got to Texas. “I’ll just call her real quick and get everything worked out. I’ll tell her all about you for a seamless handover of care, dont worry about a thing!”. After we hung up I felt comforted and its like I could hear God whispering to me, “I’ve got this. I do not exist just in the present, I have already been. I already know. I have you where you’re supposed to be.”
That afternoon I got a letter in the mail, I had been accepted into the Nurse Practitioner graduate program! My excitement was short lived as anxiety creeped in leading up to the appointment the next day. I really had high hopes, I didnt feel like there was anything bad going on with me, but it was still nerve wrecking knowing what the possibilities were. Finally, I had a huge relief when the Dr did the ultrasound and saw a sac, not a mass! Keeping a close eye on it for the next 10 weeks with ultrasounds, it was evident that a mass was not forming, but an embryo was! I didn’t have cancer, I had a baby! A sweet baby with a strong heartbeat!
By the time I got back to Florida to start school I was 16 weeks and the horrible pregnancy symptoms I experienced were subsiding. The morning sickness, or more like “all day sickness,” had been so horrible I could barley function, thank God I was in Texas during that time and my mom, step-mom, and sister watched my son as I had no other option but to sleep, puke, repeat. My living situation that summer was another blessing God had foreknown. It had gotten so bad I even debated going back to Florida for school. But my dad, who is one of my biggest supporters, told me, (an adult woman) I HAD to go. He said I had to try or I’d always wonder if I could have done it. He packed my little Honda Civic full and drove me, my son, my cat, and plenty of vomit bags halfway across the country to get me here the day before orientation for school. My dad believed in me more than I did.
My husband was still on deployment and that first semester of school was tough, to say the least. Alone, pregnant, and with a toddler; God gave me the strength to push through. I did it! My husband finally got home from his deployment when I was 7 months along.
The rest of the pregnancy went smooth, until the last month when the baby was not growing and I had a relentless cough. I had another ultrasound done to make sure a molar was not growing and invading his ‘home’ the placenta which would indicate emergency c-section. The ultrasound showed no molar mass forming, whew! However, the baby was small and not growing anymore. My Dr didnt know why, but since I was so far along and his heartbeat was good they said it was up to me if I wanted to induce or not. I went back and forth on that idea because I did not want to be induced.
A week before the due date I had some contractions and signs of labor. I knew this was it and was so relieved I didn’t have to be induced. I am so so thankful I my mom was visiting that week to help me get ready. I went into labor in the middle of the night, if she had not been there, we would have had no one to stay with our 2 year old. And the last thing I wanted was to wake him up and have him afraid and in the middle of all the commotion at the hospital with us. My husband got me to the hospital very quickly. Its no joke that second babies are super quick, he was ready to be here before we even got to the delivery room! The labor was so intense, way worse than I remember with my first. Or maybe it was just as bad, but you kind of forget how bad it was so you’ll have another. I dont know, but that pain would take over my whole body and I felt as if I had no rest in between contractions this time. My Dr who had delivered my first son and got me through the miscarriage, was on that night. Another God send! On the morning of Valentine’s day 2014, our beautiful son Caden was born. Words can’t express how amazing he is.
During the labor my blood pressure was at a concerning high level and did not return to normal for about a week after the delivery. The Dr determined I had undiagnosed pre-ecplamsea. My blood pressure was always good in the office, and it just got missed. Having high blood pressure when pregnant is dangerous to the baby because the placenta can not give the baby nutrients due to not being perfused by the mama’s cardiovascular system. No wonder he was born so small! Poor baby looked like a premie with skin too big for his little body, because he had stopped growing at 34 weeks so it was like he was born at 34 weeks even though it was actually 39 weeks. Since he was low birth weight, his glucose levels had to be checked every 2 hours for the first day and a half of his life. It broke my heart for him to have his little heal stuck every two hours. I tried to remain calm and focus on mothering him as best as I could. I would breastfeed him, pump, supplement him with my pumped colostrum and formula, then breastfeed him again, then he’d get his glucose checked. That cycle repeated over and over with no time for sleep or rest. I was exhausted, but after 36 hours, all of that work got his glucose levels high enough for me to just feed him then rest, allowing us to bond and finally have some peace.
All the anxiety I felt from the molar pregnancy, the blood work, the second molar scare, the morning sickness, the semester of school alone and pregnant with a 2 year old, the deployment, the pre-eclampsea, the painful labor, the 2 hour glucose checks… all faded away and I felt like I could finally breathe. Such a long road, every day of it worth it for this sweet, blue-eyed baby boy I now held in my arms. I never could have imagined such a perfect sweet baby for our family. He just fit right in, like he was always meant to be ours.
My prayers about either having a baby or going back to school had been answered. I just never in a million years would have thought the answer was to do BOTH! I wouldn’t be that crazy to even consider that as an option. If I had not experienced the miscarriage I would not have applied to school making my chances of being accepted 0%. I would not have the lessons I learned, or gained the strength I had during my husband’s deployment. And most of all, I wouldn’t have my sweet son, Caden.
Summing it up, it all works out. No matter what pain, loss, and trials we go through, there is a reason. There is hope in God’s plan. He knows beyond what we could even think our options are. He has set my path straight ahead of me without me having to anxiously worry.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”