In honor of Thanksgiving and other events in our family, I’m focusing on two big reasons to be thankful. One today and the other on Friday.

Six years ago, I woke up on November 25th with a stuffy nose, nagging cough, and a headache. Followed shortly by body aches and a general overall impression of feeling lousy. By afternoon, the aches shifted their intensity to my lower back and wrapped around my belly.

I guess I should mention that I was also largely pregnant. A few hours later, the painful aches settled into a rhythm and our evening plans changed. My in-laws arrived to pick up our two other children for a sleepover while my husband and I headed to the hospital for bloodwork and a C-section delivery.

I guess I should also mention that during the birth of my second child, we had the shocking discovery that my platelet count dropped during the last trimester. To the point that I developed hematomas, required emergency surgery after delivery, received 5 units of blood via transfusion, and spent three days in the ICU.

Planning to avoid that experience again, I had blood drawn every week. While the counts were lower than they should have been, they were holding steady. With under three weeks to the due date, we planned to have an amniocentisis test done on the day before Thanksgiving to check if our baby boy’s lungs were mature and then planned for a C-section on the day after Thanksgiving.

Premature labor changed those plans.

At the hospital, bloodwork revealed that my platelet count had taken a dramatic plunge. (One of those, if-we’d-waited-until-Friday-I’d-have-needed-another-transfusion type plunges.) At 11:00 p.m., our little boy was brought into the world and whisked down the hall to the nursery while I was stitched back together.

Back in my room, I waited for the anesthesia from the spinal tap to wear off. And waited for them to bring my son for me to hold in my arms.

They didn’t.

Joel was working hard to breathe and needed to stay under an oxygen tent. By morning, he had a device in his nose to help him breathe. By the following morning, he was on a respirator and in an ambulance (with his Daddy) headed to Children’s Hospital in Denver while I was stuck in a different hospital an hour away. Happy Thanksgiving Day.

My parents busted me out and drove me to the NICU. Before leaving to find a 24-hour pharmacy to fill my pain medication prescription.

Our adventure continued when Joel was taken off the respirator two days later. Only to go back on the respirator when his right lung filled up with fluid – from the IV that was feeding him. Days of me sitting in the NICU all gowned up because of widespread flu. A change in IV location. Drainage with a giant needle. Off the respirator again. Our first attempts at nursing around a multitude of tubes and wires almost a week after he was born. Being discharged without oxygen and headed home.

So, on Joel’s 6th Birthday, I’m thankful for his precious life including all the laughs and snuggles. And the fact that premature labor may have saved my life so I could be around to enjoy his. We are bonded in a special way by the scars that mark us.

Thankful – Part 1
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5 thoughts on “Thankful – Part 1

  • November 25, 2009 at 7:19 am

    I had a similar delivery with my third son. Truly, there is a special bond. My preemie will be 17 in January and I, too praise GOD for seeing us through those difficult days, weeks, and months.
    Hope you have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.

  • November 25, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    >Oh, wow, Candy, that brought tears to my eyes…especially that last line and the picture of your little boy.

    Blessings to you both! Enjoy your thanksgiving!

  • November 25, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    >Hi Candee –

    I'm so glad everything turned out well for you and your son.

    Holidays and life events seem to merge in our memory. My late husband and I married on the day before Thanksgiving, which happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year.

    Susan ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 25, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    >What a remarkable Thanksgiving story, Candee! Thanks for sharing that inspiring story! Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  • November 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    >Both of you are fulfilling God's purpose for being here. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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