by Jess Walnofer
Valentine’s Day is notoriously known as the holiday of love. I’m sure you can just imagine how perfect it was that our sweet baby boy decided to make his entrance on this very day.
My due date was on February 6th, 2017.
On February 13th, I finally started having small contractions around 8:00pm. I tried timing them, but they were very sporadic at first. I assumed they were just more Braxton-Hicks contractions, and had no idea this was going to turn into the real deal!
After a sleepless night full of contractions, we decided to head to the hospital. I was thankful to have such a great hospital staff around us! Once there, we were dilated to a 4 and I decided to go ahead with the epidural. They administered it and I got some relief for the next couple of hours, which I am SO very thankful for. Soon, my nurse Charlie asked if I wanted to use a “peanut ball” to help my labor progress. Mama’s to be, I definitely recommend using this! It helped tremendously and I progressed very quickly with it! Within no time I was at a 10.
Right before we began pushing, I started feeling each and every contraction. The epidural machine began beeping and my epidural wasn’t working as well as before. Perfect timing, right?
We moved onto pushing and soon our baby boy would be in our arms. Or so we thought. I went on without a working epidural, while my parents and sweet husband read scriptures over me and fed me ice chips. (You mama’s who do this by choice are some strong gals, ha!)
The nurses and doctors knew that something wasn’t right, though.
Sometime during delivery I began running a high fever, 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and our little baby started producing meconium while still in the womb. I am so thankful that the hospital staff was aware and prepared to help our baby as soon as he entered this world. I am even more thankful that I didn’t have the faintest idea of anything other than laboring, so that I was able to focus all of my energy onto pushing.
At 10:37pm, Liam Michael Clifton Walnofer entered the world at 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
The doctors and nurses cut the cord and rushed him over to the table so quickly that I didn’t even catch a glimpse of him. I still had no idea what was happening, or why they needed him over there. I remember telling John that everything was fine and that they surely would bring him over to us any minute.
After what seemed like forever, we finally heard a pitiful little cry that didn’t last long at all. The pediatrician approached us, asking which hospital we would like Liam to be flown to. At this moment our hearts were breaking. We weren’t sure if our little guy was going to make it or not. The doctors quickly explained that Liam had suffered Meconium Aspiration Syndrome. His breathing was extremely shallow and they were worried about many different possibilities, like pneumothorax.
They wheeled my bed over to Liam and I got to hold his sweet little hand before he would be flown almost two hours away from me. John quickly got things ready to drive up to the children’s hospital where Liam would be going.
What should have been one of my happiest moments turned into one of my hardest goodbye’s.
The next day held even more bad news. Liam had suffered a pneumothorax that night and wasn’t doing very well. Meanwhile, I anxiously waited to be released myself. Not being able to be with my baby was the most agonizing feeling!
On February 16th, 2017, I was finally able to hold my precious little boy. Liam was taking a turn for the better and would make a complete recovery within only 5 days of NICU care.
Our tragic little beginning had actually turned into a miraculous one.
We finally were able to begin our journey home as a family of three for the first time.
Even though it may seem that Liam’s birth was a traumatic one, I am still able to find things to be thankful for in spite of it. I am thankful to know firsthand how skilled our local labor and delivery hospital staff is. Second, I am thankful that God created our bodies so strong and resilient. Even though I opted for the epidural this time, I now know that my body can birth a child without it. Lastly, I am overwhelmingly thankful that our little guy overcame all of this. Even from day one, he has been a fighter and I cannot wait to watch that trait blossom and grow in his life. Being a mama is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn’t trade our story for the world.
Our Valentine’s Day may never be the same, but that’s just fine with me!