My name is Mel. I am the mother to 3 boys ages 11, 9, and almost 5. My youngest, Crew, has Cerebral Palsy and severe hearing loss.
Our story begins February 2004. My husband and I eagerly awaited the arrival of our 3rd child. At 39 weeks gestation I awoke sometime after 4 AM with what I thought were labor pains. I was so excited that our baby was almost here. I got up and puttered around the house, played some solitaire on the computer and waited. Well, I didn’t have to wait long until the pain became so intense that I had shortness of breath. My stomach was hard like a giant contraction and I felt very lightheaded. I woke up my husband and told him to grab the overnight bag. As he was getting ready I headed out to the car. I was so weak that I ended up crawling out to the car. My husband jumped in and as we backed out of the driveway we immediately noticed we would be traveling through a blizzard.
The roads were deep with snow and it was falling quickly. Apparently, we beat the snowplows that early February morning. The interstate hadn’t been plowed at all and I remember clinging to the door handle thinking that if we slid off the road I was going to die. My stomach was still hard and I mentioned to my husband that I couldn’t time the contractions because I couldn’t tell when they stopped and when they started.
The 25 minute drive to the hospital took over 45 minutes. We promptly checked into L&D (I had to use a wheelchair) and I asked to be checked immediately. Because of the pain, I expected the nurse to find that I was dilated to an 8 or more. Unfortunately, she found that I was only dilated to a 3! She checked for the baby’s heartbeat and I immediately knew something was wrong. It took the nurse some time to find a heartbeat and when she did it was very faint and SLOW.
Within seconds my room was filled with various medical personnel and they were wheeling me into the OR. I entered the OR at 6:06 and Crew was delivered via C-section at 6:11 am. The long anticipated moment when the doctor would exclaim, “It’s a BOY, or It’s a GIRL” never came.
My baby was whisked away before I ever caught a glimpse of him. I was paralyzed with fear not knowing if my baby had made it and didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know. As the doctor was sewing me up, a nurse asked if I knew what gender my child was. I told her that we wanted it to be a surprise. She said, “You have a very beautiful baby BOY but he is very sick”.
Medical staff worked for 25 minutes to stabilize Crew. He spent the first 3 weeks in the NICU. I held him for the first time when he was 6 days old. His NICU nickname was “The MOOSE” because that’s what he looked like next to the preemies. One doctor after another commented that at first they wondered what he was doing there until they read his chart. Medically there isn’t an explanation for his survival. A complete placental abruption is to blame for his extended period without oxygen.
Five years later I can finally tell his story without trembling. We have gone through all the stages of grief. Also, I have experienced the love of our Savior like never before. Crew is a wonderful gift and I love him just the way he is. Yes, he does struggle to ambulate and communicate but I’ve seen how his spirit touches people like no-one else can.
Today, Crew uses a walker for short distances. At a recent IEP it was reported that his word bank has hit 60 words (75% ASL). The sign language is just now taking off so I look forward to an increase in communication over the next little while.
I look forward to getting to know all of you and learning from you.