Y’all. My child will be TWO on Friday, December 29. How that is possible, I have NO IDEA. It feels like yesterday we brought him home from the hospital. And yet somehow, its been two years. The days are long but the months and years go by so so fast. Its amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time!
Marshall is a big, growing, thriving, baby boy. He is about 32 pounds and 33 inches. He wears size 3-4T. Size 7 shoe. He loves anything trains, cars, and big trucks. He knows about 75ish words and is starting to put two and three words together. He is extremely independent and thrives on learning how to do things. He loves to “help” with daily tasks and even has his own chore list that includes helping unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, feed the dog, and make his bed. He is very active and enjoys playing from sun-up to sun-down.
In honor of his birthday, I am going to share his birth story. Additionally, I am going to share the original version I wrote shortly after his birth. As many of you know, we had a very complicated pregnancy, a scary delivery, and an even scarier postpartum/post-birth experience. But, Marshall is our little miracle, and I thank the Lord every day for blessing us with him. We couldn’t imagine life without him. He’s my walking miracle and I fully believe he is proof that God works in miraculous ways and that he’s also living proof that there is a God. So feel free to read his brith story below. I hope you can appreciate the miracles that God works through us and that our story can give you a sliver of hope in a time of full of darkness in this world.
WRITTEN JANUARY 26, 2016:
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with everything that happened. I was also being very private about the events surrounding Marshall’s birth at first. But I realized I want to get it down on “paper” before the memories become blurry and less raw.
As many know, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia sometime in my 2nd trimester. The doctor gave me a goal of making it to 37 weeks, but did not have high hopes of us making it that far. He told me multiple times that he thought I would deliver by 34 weeks at a high risk hospital in Austin, Texas. Multiple hospitalizations and weeks of being very sick, we finally made it to 37 weeks gestation. I was induced on Monday, December 28, 2015. Adam and I reported to the hospital at 4am. Going in, I was very nervous about the process of childbirth, but not about the health of my child. Little did I know I should have been very worried about my sons health, because labor and delivery were a breeze. For some reason, I thought we made it to 37 weeks, so I thought that guaranteed him to be happy and healthy, right?
Flash forward to almost 48 hours of labor and we were ready to deliver. Marshall Bennett was delivered after 4 contractions and maybe 10 pushes. The whole process lasted 14 minutes. The doctor almost missed the delivery because it all happened so fast. Our little love got 9&9 on both APGARS. He had a loud strong cry. That meant everything was okay right? Not really. They handed him to Adam and I, and as I held our baby all seemed right in our little world. However I distinctly remember asking the nurses, “shouldn’t he be crying?” They said no, he is fine. So on came the recovery process. We were moved to a recovery room, I took a shower, and we began our life as a family of three.
However I knew something was very wrong with my child. When I would hold him, he was breathing 70-90 times a minute. He wouldn’t breastfeed. He wouldn’t even take a bottle. I noticed retractions in his ribs and he had the very telling “tracheal pull.” I called nurses in all day and asked them to check him. They would look him over and say, “he looks great. He’s just early.” So I would try to subdue my worries- with little relief. Finally my night shift nurse took me seriously and checked his O2 sat levels. He was in the 60-70’s. Normal is 90-100. The nurse said: “I think it’s just this machine. Let me take him to the nurses station, use a different machine, and I’ll bring him right back.” After a few minutes, Adam and I decided to walk out to the nurses station and check on him, while also walking a little bit for my own recovery. When we got there, my baby wasn’t there, and I just knew something was terribly wrong. Our baby was crashing.
He was immediately placed on CPAP. Transportation was arranged to move to the NICU at McLane Children’s Hospital. About a 30 minute drive. Adam and I just stood there watching all these doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists work to save our child. It was the most helpless feeling I’ve ever felt. The cries that came out of me were guteral and I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do but pray. Adam looked at me and said: “he doesn’t look good.” And all I could say was “I know.” I knew this wasn’t good. A part of me was trying to reassure myself that I’ve seen much sicker kids in my career as a pediatric nurse and I was trying to tell myself it was really that bad, but when I saw my husband break down and cry and quietly ask me if I thought his brain would be okay from the decreased oxygen levels, I knew. I knew our baby was sick. The ambulance came and Adam and I piled in.
Once we got to the NICU we were met with a team of nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors, and probably other people we don’t even remember. It was all a blur. But there were over 15 people set up and waiting for our child. The doctors met Adam and I and said “his X-ray is very concerning. We need to intubate him immediately.” I felt like I was losing my child right then and there. How was this happening to us? We consented and were sent to the waiting room during the procedure. Adam and I made the decision to go home (mind you we hadn’t slept since Sunday at 3am-and it was now Wednesday night/Thursday morning.) My parents stayed with him at the NICU. I remember collapsing in the elevator leaving the NICU, not sure about what would happen to my child or if I would see him alive again.
After tracking down a 24 hour pharmacy to fill my prescription for pain meds, and taking a shower, we thought we might try to get an hour or 2 of sleep. As I was getting out of the shower, the NICU was calling. I was praying for good news, but knew it probably wasn’t. They said the intubation went well, but that they discovered on X-RAY that Marshall had a partially collapsed lung. And I cried even harder. My 24 hour old baby was sick and there was nothing I could do.
The next few days were filled with positive news. Marshall was given surfactant for his lung development. And he started improving 12 hours later. He weaned down to CPAP again, and then to room air. He was on lights for jaundice, and that resolved in 24 hours. He was able to have his arterial lines and IVs removed. He was able to lose his feeding tube. Adam and I were able to hold him. Everyone kept telling us he was making such a quick recovery. Marshall ate like a champ for the first time. We were discharged home 5 days later. We followed up with his pediatrician 2 days later and got a “perfect bill of health!”
I have never prayed so hard in my life. I fully believe that the Lord saved my baby’s life. I am so thankful that my night shift nurse finally took me seriously and checked my baby out. I’m so thankful for the nurses and doctors that cared for him in the NICU. I will be forever grateful. I’m thankful for my parents who stayed with him at night so Adam and I could come home and get some sleep and so that Marshall was never left alone. I’m thankful for Adam who stayed strong for both Marshall and I. He put his needs last and stepped into the roll of fatherhood with such grace and strength. He is the best husband and daddy ever. I’m so lucky to do this with him. And most importantly I’m so thankful for my Heavenly Father who spared my baby’s life. I have drawn that much closer to the Lord throughout all this, so if there could be a benefit of all this, that would be it.
Thank you everyone for the prayers and concerns for our little man. We are on the road to recovery. And hopefully this is just a little bump in the road in the rest of his life.
So that is Marshall’s birth story. Today he is ALIVE and THRIVING. He is a spunky, sassy, full of life two-year-old. And proof that miracles do exist.
Thank you for reading! Comment below with your child’s birth story. I’d love to hear it!