Willa + Chance

Today Chance and Willa turn one! Last year on this day we never could have anticipated what would come on this day, and it will always be a day of full hearts in our families. If you're new to the blog you can read here about how Willa (Liz's daughter who was a week late) and Chance (Sam's son who was 4 months early) were born on the same day. You can also see a little story GMA did about the babies at Christmastime here. They are the most special kindred spirits and we love them so. 

And since today is a special day we thought it would be the perfect opportunity for Sam to tell her birth story! The details of the days prior to the birth and everyday since are so big and complex that the story could go on for days, so she will give us a more condensed version. I will never forget the call that baby Chance was coming and Sam's insane capacity to handle so many unknowns. I get chills whenever we talk about it. It is so beautiful. 

(Read Sam's birth story and see more pictures of Chance the Miracle Baby by clicking "read more!")

I was just over 25 weeks pregnant on March 10th. Without going into too much detail, I had some bleeding that day, wrestled back and forth with whether or not I should get things checked out, and ended up going to see the doc on the 11th. After getting in that oh-so-vulnerable position on the table in stirrups, I was told my membranes were bulging and I would need to go to labor and delivery as soon as possible. She stepped out of the room to make a plan, and I called my husband in tears and horror, gave him the very little information I had, and told him to hurry to the hospital. 

Alex got there soon after, and I went into shock. I remember laying in a bed with nurses running around me and things being blurry. I was really cold and shivering and the bed was tipped backward so my feet were higher than my head and there was a rolled up towel under my side to keep my from laying flat on my back. I was being hooked up to IVs and monitors and being undressed and given shots and asked lots of questions. The doctor came to speak to us and filled us in on what was ahead of us - we would be transferred to a hospital better equipped to take care of a micro-preemie; they were working with the hospital to get us transferred, which would take time; they would keep me on bed rest in a hospital until the baby came, and it would hopefully be at least 4-5 weeks, but they didn't know how much time we had; they were going to put me on medication to relax my uterus because I was contracting every minute; they were going to give me steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop and magnesium sulfate to reduce the baby's chances of cerebral palsy.

When we were finally transferred to the other hospital, I was hooked up to new monitors and given more medicine. I was contracting like crazy, and I was sure we wouldn't make it through the night. Our new doctor checked me and told us I was dilated to a 2-3. They would continue the medication to relax my uterus, and check back the next day. They did an ultrasound, the baby looked good, and he was head-down. We slept very little that night, but the contractions slowed down, and it seemed like we would have a little more time. I will spare you the details of the next week in the hospital. Basically, I laid there for 8 total days with my feet above my head, doing my best to not have a baby. It was scary. And it was really really hard. Every day that went by was such a victory for the baby, but was a little bit of torture for me both emotionally and physically. 

After everyone left for the night on Tuesday, March 18th, I started to have some pain in my lower abdomen. Nothing was showing up on the monitors, so the nurse didn't think they were contractions and I suffered through it all night. The nurse came in to check on me early in the morning on the 19th, and she hooked me up to the monitor again. This time there was no question I was having contractions. I called Alex and told him to drive fast because it was go time. 

I was taken to labor and delivery, where they did an ultrasound, and found that the baby was breach so I would need a c-section. I was taken into an operating room, prepped for surgery, and given an epidural. On the wall of the operating room was a window to another room where the neonatal nurses and doctors were preparing for the baby. My mom got there just in time to be with me. They started the surgery, but I couldn't see anything over the curtain they put at my chest. After a few minutes, I remember my mom saying, "Oh my gosh there he is! You're a mom! He just opened his eyes and stretched out his arms!" He was handed off to the NICU doctors who got to work helping him breathe and getting him warm. Alex got there just a few minutes too late, but was able to see Chance being taken care of in the other room while I was being stitched up.

I was being rolled out of the operating room to a recovery room when I saw my dad in the hallway. He was on the phone with Liz, who was in labor with Willa! I remember feeling so happy and so relieved at that moment... like the burdens of the days before were gone and somehow, somehow everything was going to be okay. Later that day I was able to go see our 1 lb 11 oz boy that was born at 26 weeks. He was so tiny, and I remember thinking how cute he was and how I felt like I knew him already. And I did. He was my Chancey. 

A lot has happened since that day, one year ago, and today - a long NICU stay, c-section complications, a difficult intro to parenthood when we brought the baby home, and other challenges that may never end - but we love our Chancey so much and are thrilled with how he is doing. 

Happy birthday dear Chance (and dear Willa)! We love you!

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