It is hard for me to tell people that I had a crisis pregnancy. When you hear that phrase, you probably are like me and picture a young single girl, afraid to become a parent all on her own. But the truth for me is that I was already married, we both had great jobs, and we had a nice home. It wasn’t even my first pregnancy! But my life got so thrown off balance, it’s a miracle that I was able to stand back up again.
Let me take you back to 2012. I already had a beautiful daughter, and we were expecting the arrival of our son in early August. At my regular 38-week checkup, my doctor asked if I had felt the baby moving much. My doctor didn’t like the heart rate he was seeing and asked me to do some additional monitoring at the hospital. I actually called my husband—who was on the golf course an hour away—to tell him not to worry and that he didn’t need to come. After an hour of monitoring, a nurse looked me square in the eyes and told me that as soon as my doctor took one look at those numbers, we would be having our baby today. I panicked. This was not what I had planned!
Sure enough, my doctor came back in dressed in scrubs and said he needed to deliver him now. The baby’s heart rate was sporadic, and his amniotic fluid was dangerously low. By the time that everything was ready for me to go into the operating room, my husband still hadn’t made it to the hospital, so I was all alone and terrified. They ended up fully sedating me because the epidural wasn’t fast enough. Later, a lovely nurse would explain the term “Slash & Dash” to me when I wondered why my C-section scar was weirdly crooked and seemed so painful. She said when they are in a hurry to get that kid outta there, your vanity is the last thing considered. It officially ruined my chances of becoming the first short and chubby Victoria’s Secret bikini model.
It was explained to us during my son’s stay in the NICU that we had a blood incompatibility problem. Of the already small percentage of women who are negative for the RH antibody, I was part of an even smaller percentage that could not be helped by a Rogam shot. The whole latter part of my pregnancy, I was slowly destroying all my son’s red blood cells. He was born with severe jaundice, making him a yellowish-tan color that looked like a nice neutral paint color for a living room. He also had liver damage and underdeveloped lungs. We stayed in the NICU for almost six weeks. I held our little baby with wires stuck on everywhere, pumped milk day and night, and cried and prayed that he would not only live but grow up healthy and strong.
And ever so slowly, our son got better and finally came home. My OBGYN lovingly told me not to have any more children. And I was fine with that! I had a daughter and a son, more than I had dreamed of. So, my husband had a little procedure done. I had a whole person cut out of me, so I have only a tiny bit of sympathy for him. He went back six weeks later, and the tests all said things were just as they should be. I realized that I had spent many years of my life worried about not wanting to get pregnant, then wanting to get pregnant, then BEING pregnant, then DEFINITELY not wanting to be pregnant, then wanting to again…. It was exhausting.
I felt like I was back in control of my body! I trained and ran a half marathon, something I never would have thought myself capable of. I lost weight, worked hard at my job, and settled into life again. We planned to take a fabulous vacation for our anniversary. We dreamed of actually having disposable income….
And then in January of 2013, my doctor told me that my self-diagnosed “ulcer” was, in fact, another baby making me so nauseous. And I emphatically told him, “That is not possible.” He assured me it WAS possible. I asked him what in the world I was supposed to say to my husband. He said to say that nothing is ever 100% effective….
I am just going to pause here and let you imagine how well that conversation went when I told my supposedly sterile husband that I was pregnant….
Thankfully, a few days later his doctor’s tests confirmed that it was indeed his miraculous body parts that had grown back together. No joke. The odds are truly about one in a million. And then we were told by my very shocked OBGYN that this would be a high-risk pregnancy and would most likely result in a miscarriage. They knew that the same blood problem was inevitable.
We were numb for months. We didn’t want to tell anyone out of fear that we would only have to turn around and tell them bad news. I was so stressed about the whole situation that I broke out in hives and had to convince all my co-workers that it was allergies. (Sidenote: Husbands, do not Google “hives during pregnancy” because it may tell you that women who are having TWINS are more likely to break out in hives, and then it will cause you to almost fall off of the couch in a nervous breakdown.)
It was such a complete paradigm shift for us. We were so sure that we knew the direction we were headed in, and this was not only a detour, it was like switching from a bicycle to a rocket ship. We worried about my health, the medical bills, the possibility that we would lose a child rather than gain one. We cancelled our anniversary trip and withdrew from friends.
My specialist said if we made it to 28 weeks, it would be possible that the baby could be delivered early and recover. If we made it to 35 weeks, it would be a miracle. But there was no way that we were going to be able to go full-term. Which meant we were going to have to face the NICU all over again, and this time, we would be separated from two kids at home.
We told our families about 12 weeks in. We cautiously told our friends because we figured we would need support either way. We slowly started hoping for a future as a party of five. The weeks still crawled by, but we somehow felt the tiniest flicker of optimism. We found out we were going to have another son. At 35 weeks, we scheduled his arrival surrounded by a great team of specialists. He stayed in the NICU for five weeks, but we floated through with a sense of peace. We had already survived this experience once before!
This summer, our youngest Miracle Man will turn two, and his brother will turn four. Life with three children is crazy. People asked me what the change was like, going from two kids to three, and this is what I tell them: You just never have enough hands. I feel like someone is always crying in the other room, and sometimes it’s me! I would never make it without a supportive husband.
Experiencing the heartache of being a mother in so many different ways has shown me just how much we must not judge one another. I have been to both ends of the spectrum when it comes to pregnancy and preparedness. Every woman deserves honor and respect for the toll it takes to be a mom. Just like a warrior, that title comes with battle scars. Some you can see on the outside, and some are hidden in your heart.
Born in Abilene, Katie Kilpatrick is a small town girl raising a family in the big city. She came from a family of four strong women and one patient father. She met the love of her life at only 17, and they both later graduated from McMurry University. His job brought them to San Antonio, where she now spends her days doing property tax consulting and he is an Athletic Coordinator. Katie loves to talk about shoes, podcasts, rescue dogs, and her family of mostly redheads. She is mostly held together by espresso and Jesus.