29 weeks today!!! When I was laying in the hospital almost five weeks ago, the 29 week mark seemed so far away. A goal, but one I wasn't sure we would achieve. We made it. We are only 2 weeks away from our miracle mark. My specialist told us if we could make it to 31 (or 32) weeks it would be a miracle, but that if we did it would be possible to make it to full term. At that week mark often the pelvis structure will take over the role of holding the baby in and take the pressure off of the cervix. We have made it five weeks, why not two more? My cesarean was to be scheduled at 38 weeks, but our doctor fully supports it being scheduled at 37 weeks if we make it that far. That is only eight weeks away, eight more weeks and Tobin could arrive healthy and safe. I pray he is a July baby!
As with any week lately, there were also some low moments. Mother's Day was hard, heartbreaking to feel joyful on a day celebrating being a mom when I have one baby in heaven and another one fighting in my womb. Kevin and I joked that the novelty of breakfast in bed has lost it's appeal. I will be so excited to eat at a table!
Two weeks from today, on the 27th, is Koen's birthday. On Thursday, I had to go to the hospital, in Midland, for a NST (non stress test), where they monitor Tobin's heart rate, fetal movement, and any possible contractions. They do the monitoring in a triage-type room on the labor and delivery floor. There are three beds in this room, separated by curtains. This is the same room we were in when we learned that Koen's heart had stopped beating. The room where we broke down in sobs. The room where I felt my heart break into pieces. The room where my contractions started to amp up. The room I learned I was in labor and dialated. The room where I had to make the decision to deliver my sweet, precious, dead baby boy. Now I will go to that room every week and pray that the monitor provides us with the sweet sound of Tobin's heartbeat. My strong little Tobin Victor, who has a heart of a champion.
I awoke in a panic very early in the morning the day of Koen's funeral. In hours my baby would be buried in the ground. Our time was so short with him, and it seemed like this would somehow finalize his abbreviated life. I wanted to be his mommy, wanted to tell him things, wanted to hold him, wanted to watch him grow, wanted so much for him to live. I will always be his mommy and will always love him. I wanted to make sure he knew that. In my sorrow, in the middle of the night, with eight people sleeping under our roof, I wrote these words in a letter that I tossed into his grave, next to his tiny casket, before they buried him.
Mommy's Little Muffin
My sweet Koen Wayne Soper, my precious son, Mommy's Little Muffin,
There is so much I want to say to you, teach you, do with you, but sadly Mommy's time was cut far too short.
I wanted you and ached for you long before God blessed me by putting you in my belly. I will live my life longing and aching for you. Do you remember Mommy sitting in the rocking chair in your room? I would rock with you and dream of all the time you and I would spend together in that very place. I dreamed about snuggling you, kissing you, patting your sweet little bottom. I had big plans for our special times together and I couldn't wait to start making Mommy and Koen memories.
My mission in life is to be the very best mommy to you and your brother, Hackett, and the best wife to your precious Daddy. I promise I will take the best care of your big brother and your Daddy, but my heart aches knowing I won't be able to do the same for you - I want to so badly my sweet little Koen. God had you born into the most loving and fun family. We would have laughed and snuggled together every day.
Your big brother, Hackett, wanted you to know how very much he loved you. He could not wait to play with you, teach you new things, and make you laugh. He also couldn't wait to love on you - do you remember all the belly snuggles and kisses he gave you? Hackett was already the best big brother I have ever seen. He loves you so much Koen.
Koen, your Daddy is the best man I have ever met in my entire life. Mommy won the prize with him. Daddy would have raised you to have a strong, loyal, and loving heart. You would have gone to bed every night knowing that you had the best, funniest, silliest, loving daddy, who always watched out for you and protected you. You would have felt oh so secure and loved.
Mommy is sorry that something happened to you when you were growing in my belly. I am so sorry that you had to meet us before you were ready. When I got to see your precious face, you were perfect. You looked just like your brother, blonde curly hair, long eyelashes, and the sweetest button nose. I held your tiny soft hand and thought about how many times your hand would have been held tightly by mine. I tried to snuggle every little piece of your body, but our time was far too short. Koen you are such important piece of this family and will be thought of everyday. When you see Mommy thinking of you know that she is sending you a big giant hug.
You will always be my little muffin and I will love you so much through all eternity. Meet me at heavens gates with Jesus and I will run to you.
I love you my sweet son,
Last year on Mother's Day, Koen was still with us. This year I have so much to be thankful for - Kevin, Hackett, and Tobin still growing strong inside me, but I am missing dearly the other sweet boy in my life. I will love you forever, my Koen.
Today I am 28 weeks pregnant. Typing this sentence brings tears to my eyes. I was admitted to the hospital four weeks ago, tomorrow. What a shock that day was, and even more shocking was seeing the doctors concern for an early delivery. I didn't know if I would have Tobin that night, in which he would only have a 50 percent chance of just surviving. I was praying for one more week, then another week, and it was a dream to make it this far. 28 weeks. Thank you, Jesus. Tobin's chance of survival is high now, but still at risk for so much more.
On Sunday afternoon, I told Kevin, I am going to make it full term. It was the first time since being admitted that I thought that was even possible. But we have made it this far, and it is quite possible that if I make to to 31 weeks, that my pelvic structure will take over. If that happens it takes the pressure of carrying Tobin off of my cervix, and moms can often make it full term if that occurs. I have a very narrow pelvis, which has caused me issues in the past, but maybe just maybe, it is the blessing that I need.
With so much time to think, I sit and wonder. I could have had a very thin cervix while pregnant with Hackett and not known, because I was not under a microscope. Maybe this dream scenario occurred during my pregnancy without us knowing. Maybe Hackett is even more of a miracle than when already thought. Maybe with Koen my cervix thinned, and then I was dialated, allowing the infection in. The infection that seems to stump every doctor I have come in contact with this month. I am human, so I try to make sense of it all, but in truth we will never know the answers. But what I am really trying to do is find the hope I need to cling to. Even with our scary run to the hospital on Sunday, I am clinging to that hope and praying for more time.
As I approach Mother's Day this year it is with mixed emotions. It will be the third Mother's Day that I celebrate while pregnant. I found out I was pregnant with Hackett just a week before Mother's Day in 2006. I remember being filled with such joy at the promise of becoming mom. Last year I was pregnant with Koen, once again filled with the joy of another boy calling me mom and stealing my heart. In my mind we were just a few months away from our family being complete.
This past Tuesday, at 27 weeks, my doctor did his weekly examination of my cervix. The previous week his recommendation was that I stay there until we were able to get Tobin to 28 weeks. I didn't believe his stance would change and thought that no matter the result I would remain at the hospital for at least another week. Kevin had meetings at work that day with leadership that had flown in from around the country, so he was not present with me, we didn't think he needed to be. At 26 weeks my cervix was measuring 0.32 cm, at 27 weeks it actually got a tiny but thicker and was 0.45 cm, which is good! It is hard to get a completely accurate measurement, but what I learned is that I had once again remained stable. My cervix was stable, I was still contraction free, and had no other indicators of labor. With a smile on his face, my doctor told me I could remain at the hospital, but that he was very comfortable with me going home to be on bed rest there. He seemed encouraged and reminded me that if I made it to 31 or 32 weeks that often the mom's pelvis takes over the job of holding baby in and if that happens you can often make it to full term. Two weeks prior he said making it to 31 weeks would be a miracle and now he seemed to have hope that it could be a possibility.
There is no way to know what Tobin or my body will do in the next few weeks, but we now have some hope. Vastly different than learning the many risks and probabilities of survival for Tobin three weeks earlier, when it seemed that delivery would be in the near future.
Praise God for hope, praise God for keeping Tobin safe in my belly for almost four weeks now, praise God for all of your support, and praise God I am home!!!
I am Jackie.