If you follow me on Instagram or my blog's Facebook page then you've already met our new son, but here he is for the blogging world: Thomas Emil.
Thomas, who I will now refer to as Tee on the blog, was born via a scheduled c-section the day before our 9th wedding anniversary.
Travis chose his first name in honor of Thomas Aquinas. Honestly, the only thing I know about Aquinas is that he was a great deal smarter than I am so, while I will make attempts to learn more about the saint so I can instill a devotion in my son, I'm letting the bulk of that work fall to Travis.
I chose the middle name Emil in honor of Fr. Emil Kapaun. I am still learning about Fr. Kapaun, whose cause is open for canonization, but the more I learn the more inspired I am. There are certain saints who seem to reach out to us at different times in our lives and Fr. Kapuan is definitely one of those cases. If you're not familiar with him, please take a minute to watch (or even just listen) to this video:
You can also learn more about him here.
But now back to Tee.
Look at those toes!
Tee's pregnancy was a surprise and one that sorta knocked us off our feet for a moment, while still making me really happy. And then, shortly after we announced the pregnancy, something happened. I mentioned it, but I am ready to tell the whole story now because of a comment our parish priest made to me last weekend. His words knocked me off my feet again, in a completely different way, and I felt like the story - which had been so painful and personal - should be told from this perspective that is filled with light.
One evening about half way through the pregnancy I started to feel a little ill so I went to bed early. In the middle of the night I woke up in pain - it felt like I was having a long, strong contraction. It didn't stop.
My womb, which reached the top of my belly button, was incredibly tender and tight. The contraction would increase in intensity, making me cry and feel nauseous, and because nothing made it improve and the contractions were time-able Travis took me to the hospital.
I was taken to labor and delivery and my midwife's ob happened to be the one who saw me. He had no idea what was going on. The high risk doctor came to see me and he had no idea what was going on. I was having contractions, it hurt like hell any time anyone touched any part of the lower half of my belly, and we didn't know why.
They started me on antibiotics and gave me and morphine for the pain, and the ob explained that they believed there was an infection in my womb, causing the pain and my low fever. Because of the infection they didn't know if they would be able to stop labor but even if labor stopped they didn't know how the infection would effect the baby. The doctor explained this and left. The nurse remained.
I asked her if my baby was going to die. She looked at me and told me that they believed I was in labor and had an infection in my womb. If the baby was born he would not be viable because of his gestational age. If the baby was not born the baby would probably still not survive because of the infection and the baby's gestational age.
She left the room and Travis and I called our parish to let them know that I was in the hospital and things were not looking good for our unborn child.
I began to drift to sleep because of the morphine and Travis left to find some coffee. The next thing I knew there were two nurses standing by me. They were talking over me, thinking I was still asleep and so I closed my eyes. My nurse said to the other, "I am having a hard time placing the monitor to find the fetal heartbeat. But really it doesn't even matter, you know." I opened my eyes just enough to see the other nurse nod and say, "Because of ... yeah." "We shouldn't even have to because it doesn't matter," my nurse said. She sounded annoyed.
And I knew what they meant. It didn't matter if they did fetal monitoring because the baby was going to die one way or the other. The morphine made me drift back off to sleep.
The next time I woke up Travis was in the room and I told him what had happened with the nurses. A sonogram and amnio had been ordered and so we decided to learn the sex of the baby so we could pick out a name in the time we had left. I sat and started to plan out the funeral in my head.
Shortly after our priest, Fr. W, arrived with the Eucharist. We explained the situation to him and he prayed over me and took the Eucharist out, held Him over my womb, made the sign of the cross, and then gave me and Travis Holy Communion.
The sonographer came and everything looked fine - our little boy (boy!) was kicking happily. They looked at my ovaries, appendix, and the whole of my womb - everything looked fine. The high risk doctor took a sample of the amneotic fluid (amnios hurt, fyi) and said the color looked good. Over the next 24 hours every single test came back normal, my contractions stopped, and the tenderness went away. They never figured out what was going on exactly but then it cleared up and I was discharged.
At home we quickly learned that if I did too much my contractions would kick in again so I was put on temporary bed rest and after almost two weeks of letting my body rest everything was back to normal. Travis and I just went on thinking it was this weird fluke. We were grateful that the baby was alive and well and we just fell back into the normal rhythm of life.
Tee was born (I'll tell that story another day) and, honestly, I didn't think of the illness and how we almost lost him except for one passing thought when he was a week old. But then last week, when Tee was two weeks old I saw Fr. W and he looked at my son and asked how he was doing.
"He's fine. A good sleeper and a really sweet baby," I said.
"You see," he said, "that's the power of the Sacraments! It's a miracle. The Eucharist did it. We thought he was in trouble but he's fine. It's the power of the Sacraments - and our faith!"
And I felt like an ass. A complete and utter ass. How had I missed that? How had I just assumed it was a fluke? My baby was likely going to die, but then my baby and my body were blessed by our Eucharistic Lord, and my baby lived.
Glory to God in the highest - my son lived.