Please Be Our 100

Last week, my husband and I marked our 13th anniversary as parents.  Put another way, our oldest child had her 13th birthday one week ago, marking the day we first became parents.  Many of you are familiar with our story.  The story that our daughter may have never been born and we would have never become parents at all.  The story that confronted our faith, stared down the doubt in our hearts and faced fear head on.

Brooklyn is a beautiful and healthy thirteen year old, and no matter how many years pass us by, I am still moved to tears to reflect on the moment when an obstetrician reviewed my medical history and advised us to consider terminating our pregnancy.  My burn injury is obvious, but it was the unknown condition to the repair of my descending aorta that had so much cause for concern.  I wanted nothing more than to have my baby, and having a physician lay out the risk of my death before my very young eyes was terrifying and infuriating all at the same time.

I had a plan.  And terminating our pregnancy was not at all part of it.  More importantly, God had a plan and His plan echoed the words of Jesus, “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 1:27).  We clung to that scripture, and on March 4th 2001 at 11:24pm our precious baby girl made her entrance into the world, weighing five pounds, nine ounces, five weeks early due to the onset of preeclampsia.

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5 days before Brooklyn was born.

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Became a Daddy…. Brandon holding Brooklyn March 4th 2001

It would have been foolish to proceed with our own family planning agenda without further investigating the condition of my aortic repair.  Therefore, a little over a year later, I had a transesophageal echocardiogram, or TEE, performed to assess the current state of my repair.  Following the procedure, in my drug induced state, I repeatedly asked the cardiologist one question, “Will I be able to have more children?”

The answer was, obviously, “yes!”  But my second pregnancy wasn’t without complication.  A mama’s body remembers pregnancy and is somewhat ahead of the game for subsequent pregnancies.  Every mama knows what I’m talking about.  That belly may not get bigger overall, than the last pregnancy, but one thing is apparent, that belly gets bigger faster, and that caused incredible discomfort for me the second time round.  I remember my husband getting home in the evenings and telling him that I just couldn’t stand to stretch anymore for one day.  It was so uncomfortable.  But it was well worth it, because I got one amazing little man.  My very first son was born December 23, 2003 at 7:26pm.  We gave him the name Jaron, which means “he will sing; he will cry out.”  Jaron was my largest baby, weighing in at exactly seven pounds; not large compared to many others, but large for me.  My narrow pelvis presented a challenge for every one of my deliveries, but since my abdomen is scarred, my doctor avoided C-Section at all cost in order to avert the likeliness of a skin graft.  Jaron was quite distressed upon birth and was taken to the NICU and placed on a ventilator.  Despite his arrival with respiratory distress, he was out of the hospital and home with us after eight days.  My now ten year old is strong and active, as any athlete would be.

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Expecting our first boy! October 2003

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Daddy holding Jaron for the first time in the NICU.

My heart held the dream of a somewhat large family, but I knew my abdomen couldn’t accommodate it.  I visited my plastic surgeon and he released scar tissue and did skin grafts to my abdomen, groin and inner thighs; the abdomen for previously stated reasons, my groin and inner thighs in attempt to help with the delivery process.  This made a tremendous difference in my third and fourth pregnancies.  Still yet, it was incredibly tight, but I carried Caden longer than any other of my children.  He arrived only eleven days early on August 15th 2006 at 8:40 a.m., weighing six pounds, eight ounces.  Caden did amazing.

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At the hospital ready for Caden!

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A long but good night! Caden brand spanking new with his proud family!

Our fourth child, Gavin was born July 13th 2009 at 6:32 a.m., weighing five pounds, four ounces, five weeks early; again, due to preeclampsia.  Gavin came out vigorous and strong, but it wasn’t long until the magnesium that I was on throughout labor started taking a toll on his little body.  Gavin also ended up in the NICU for respiratory distress, but came home on a monitor at five days of life.

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Getting ready for Gavin’s arrival at the hospital.

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Daddy getting a moment to hold Gavin, our smallest baby, right after he was born.

Every one of my pregnancies was a challenge.  None of them were easy breezy.  Every one of my deliveries were hard.  Each child was born with the assistance of vacuum and forceps.  I was quite consistent in my pushing, getting every one of them out after approximately two and a half hours.  It was exhausting, it was thrilling, and it was scary.  I had the privilege of bringing four incredible human beings into this world.  But again…..it wasn’t without difficulty.  It was actually laden with complication, and some my say, for that, I am foolish.  But I had a plan, remember?  I had a plan of a big family and I knew, with God, that was possible.

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Not one to share my body publicly, but putting it aside to illustrate the obstacles of burn survivors and pregnancy. Not much room left. This was at the hospital with Caden. Thankful to have had the large skin graft allowing extra give in order to grow.

Thankfully, there is an organization who helps babies born with complication.  They have developed materials to educate women on how to grow healthy babies; not merely just be pregnant, but how to grow a person.  This organization has researched and formulated drugs given to babies for their best chances of survival after birth.  This organization dedicates funds to continual research and development for babies.

There are many who have a dream to be a mom, but that dream comes with challenges.  Sometimes, despite doing everything right, things go wrong, and there are interventions utilized in those moments, thanks to the contributions from March of Dimes.

As you tuck in your children this evening, or ponder the memories of days gone by, please consider those families who haven’t had the opportunity and consider those families who do, because of what someone else gave.  Our goal is to have 100 friends support us.  100 friends giving $5 each, helping us raise a total of $500 for the babies.

Would you please consider clicking here and making a $5 donation on our behalf?  Your donation honors many families and it honors those of us who dedicate our professional lives to care for the sick babies, to make them well…..forever there is hope.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. NIV

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http://www.marchforbabies.org/personal_page.asp?pp=3709568&ct=4&w=6360721&u=meadows99    please be one of our 100 for $5

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personal messages welcomed to speaking@heathermeadows.com

One thought on “Please Be Our 100

  1. Happy to donate for such a great cause. Hoping you reach your goal for the babies. Your heart is certainly in the right place, and as little Grandma Ward would always say, “God will bless you for it!” Love you and all those babies. Mom

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