Brynlee has been a little crabby today, not napping and being extra fussy. Typical 7 week old baby behavior. That's what I have to keep reminding myself, that is. She is SUCH a good baby, she sleeps well at night (she slept THROUGH the night the other night, from 10:30 pm to 5 am) and usually naps well during the day. She gave me her first smile on her 6 week birthday, and is just beautiful beyond belief. I often wonder HOW she could have came to be so gorgeous, I feel so unworthy. It's days like today that I have to remind myself how blessed I really am. Not just because God chose to give Ryan and me such a wonderful-behaving baby, but because of the fact that she is truly a miracle. A miracle beyond what I thought the miracle of birth and life could be. Let me explain...
At my 20 week ultrasound, we were blown away by the little hands, feet, and heart beating away so perfectly. I cried as the ultrasound technician smiled and said "It's a baby girl." I just knew it. I had felt that she was a girl with every fiber of my being since I found out we were expecting. I didn't tell anyone that though; I didn't want to say that I thought one way or the other just in case I was wrong. The ultrasound tech told me that she was going to show the results of the ultrasound to the doctor and we would be finished soon. My mom, Ryan's mom, Meghan, and Leah had all been able to attend, and they all went back to the waiting room, all abuzz from the ultrasound. Ryan and I waited in the room for a few more minutes, as we were instructed to do. The doctor appeared in the room a little while later. She said they were happy with everything, except concerned about one thing. My placenta looked a little "thick" to them. It was much larger than a normal placenta, but we were instructed to not be alarmed. Um, me... not panic?! Yeah right. We were told that I would have to come back monthly for ultrasounds to monitor the baby's growth. Of course, I was absolutely sickened by this news. Everyone tried to calm my nerves and reassure me, but inside I was just so torn up about the possibility of something being wrong with my baby or my baby not making it. My baby girl. This baby that we waited for and prayed for, this baby that we struggled to conceive. I couldn't imagine losing her.
I went for my follow up ultrasounds monthly, and everything seemed to be fine with the baby. She was growing steadily, though my placenta remained "thick." The doctors were less concerned with the situation since she was growing and her organs were developing normally. I prayed and prayed that she would remain "normal." Near the end of my pregnancy, I had to have weekly non-stress tests, which usually showed the results my doctor was hoping for. I had to get a biophysical profile in the last few weeks of my pregnancy since the non-stress test showed less activity that day. She got a perfect score and again I was put a little more at ease.
A little more than two weeks before my due date, I had been feeling weird in the few days prior. I went to the doctor so they could check me out, worried that they would think I was this crazy first time mom who was too critical about every little thing going on in my body. Kerry had convinced me to call, and boy, was I grateful that she had pressured me to do so. My water had broken just a tiny bit. It was Monday. My next scheduled appointment was not supposed to be until Friday. I asked the doctor if it would have meant trouble if I had waited and not called. She just raised her eyebrows and said "Umm... YEAH." I was sent home (in tears) to grab my suitcase and meet Ryan to go to the hospital. I was induced that evening at the hospital with a cervix softening drug, and they didn't expect me to have the baby until the next evening at the soonest. Brynlee wasn't having that though, and was ready to come by 8 the next morning. A few pushes, and she was out at 9:04 am. Ryan said it was less than 15 minutes. (Please don't hate me, all you moms out there.) I don't remember much (I was so loopy from the drugs and from not getting any sleep the night before), but I do remember my doctor holding up the placenta (kind of gross, I know) and looking at it with a very strange look on her face. Brynlee, however, was beyond perfect. I couldn't believe that she was here and safe and healthy.
A few weeks later, when Brynlee was 4 weeks old, I went back to my doctor so she could check out the itchiness I had acquired on my legs and belly since I had given birth. Turns out, it was a skin condition that pregnant women usually get, but I was lucky enough to get it after delivering! When my doctor first came into the room, she greeted me warmly and then said, "So, is everything okay with her? She's growing fine, right?" She gestured towards the baby, who was sleeping in her carseat on the floor. "Um, yes, as far as I know she is... she had gained weight at her 2 week appointment," I replied, my stomach knotting up a bit. My doctor explained to me that they had had to send my placenta to the Cornell hospital in New York City to be studied because it was so messed up. It was full of blood clots, abnormal tissue, hemorrhaging, and other medical things that I don't even understand. Basically, my baby should NOT have grown at all from the condition that my placenta was in.
2 weeks later, I had my 6 week appointment and was back at my doctor's office. She reiterated to me how crazy messed up my placenta had been. She said she had never seen anything like it and that they had to have a meeting at the hospital about it. 'Hey, I'm famous!' I thought. She said that normal umbilical cords are firmly attached to the middle of the placenta. My umbilical cord was kind of hanging off the side of the placenta, ready to break off at any time. She looked me in the eye and said, "Ashley, your baby is a miracle baby. There is no other explanation. She should not have grown at all. It is a miracle." After I swallowed the huge lump in my throat, I bombarded her with questions. She assured me that no, this was not a condition that I had that would threaten other pregnancies, one cell in this placenta just went wonky and grew out of control. She had sent me 2 weeks prior for blood work to see if my hormone levels had went back to normal, and if they had not, she would then be concerned about the possible presence of precancerous cells in my body. The results came back normal. I kept asking questions, and each answer ended with, "She's just a miracle baby." When the appointment was over, I practically flew out of that office and sped to Carrie's (I had left her for the first time, in more than capable hands, but I was nervous to leave her nonetheless) to hug my miracle baby.
I give no credit to luck in all of this. I give no credit to the doctors, only to the Great Physician that guided the doctors through dealing with my pregnancy. The doctors didn't even know the extent of the possible issues looming inside of my body (my doctor said that if she had known how bad my placenta was she would have had been doing ALL sorts of crazy tests throughout my pregnancy). Only God knew, and He let my little girl grow and thrive even though she had a placenta that should not have let her survive. Honestly, how can people not believe in Him and chalk things like this up to chance or luck? Brynlee will forever have a testimony of God's grace and power. And so will I. Every time I look at our miracle baby, every time I am up in the night with her, every time I am tickled by her little smile, every time I see Ryan interact with her, every time I watch her sleep and hold my finger under her nose to make sure she is breathing I am overwhelmed by His omnipotence and grace. I will always be reminded that miracles DO happen. Regardless of any turns my life may take, I will forever trust and know that God is in control, and I also pray that knowledge for my little girl, my miracle baby.