My induction to mommy-hood didn’t happen exactly as I planned. While I know that childbirth and parenting can be completely unpredictable and one has to remain flexible, there was no way that I could ever have anticipated this. I was all set to go through pregnancy with all the bells and whistles: baby announcement photo shoot, gender reveal party, maternity photo shoot, baby showers, etc. With all the plans in place, my pregnancy was turned upside down when I found out my beautiful baby boy was growth restricted and would likely need to be delivered at 29 weeks.
At 16 weeks, while on a work trip, I received a call from my doctor’s office saying I needed to come in for the doctor to have a conversation regarding my lab results. Naturally, I expected something must be wrong if they want me to come in, which caused me to request to have the doctor call me as soon as possible. The doctor explained that my alpha fetoprotein level was high and wanted to redo the test while also having me setup an ultrasound appointment with the perinatal specialists. It was at that appointment where my husband and I were informed that our baby was growth restricted and that we would need to have follow up ultrasounds with them in a few weeks and ultimately, they would need to make a decision on when to deliver since having him go to full term could potentially cause him to be stillborn. This was the true turning point in my pregnancy. The point at which I realized exactly how much out of my hands this would be and that I would need giant sized faith to make it through the days to follow.
My husband and I continued to make the various appointments and prepare for the arrival of our son in the weeks to follow. During our third ultrasound with the perinatal doctor, we were sent to the hospital and I was told that I would not be leaving without giving birth. Whether that meant that day or 20 days from that moment, I would give birth to my son. After a week’s stay in the hospital that included daily ultrasounds, consistent fetal monitoring, and a special diet, Emerson Neal Pounds was ultimately born at 26 weeks on August 8, 2017. Weighing 1lbs 1.5oz, Emerson came into the work via emergency c-section and seemed to have a decent set of lungs for a micro preemie. My husband and I began crying as soon as we heard his small, but strong cry. Immediately, he was whisked away by the neonatologist and they began life saving measures on him. My husband stayed by his side while the doctor completed my surgical procedure and had me sent to the recovery room. I don’t know how much time actually passed, but I was finally rolled down to the NICU in my hospital bed after I was deemed stable (we can talk about that process another day).
Finally seeing my Emerson was everything that I needed. He was hooked up to a number of machines, with lots of cords and things attached to him, but I didn’t see any of that. All I saw was the most perfect little boy and my heart was so full. All I could do was thank God for bringing both of us through. Like I said, I knew it was out of my hands, but the relief was knowing exactly whose hands it was in: God. Even when we were told that he was growth restricted, I always had the feeling that he was going to be okay. It’s natural to worry. I believe it’s in our nature as humans. However, knowing my faith and believing in it is completely what got me through (and is still getting me through) this time in my life.