About three months after we were married, we found out that I was pregnant! We were very excited and nervous at the same time. We were thinking of names and had decided that we wanted to be surprised as to whether we were having a boy or a girl. Pretty quickly, we came up with “Sarah” for a girl, but couldn’t think of a boy name. Everything I liked, he didn’t…everything he liked, I didn’t… One night, as we were in church, my father-in-law (our pastor) preached about Caleb and Joshua. As he was preaching, I was thinking in the back of my mind…”I like the name Caleb.” When we got back to our house, my husband said, “You know, I like the name Caleb.” We finally agreed! Then, a few months later, he decided that he’d like to name his first born boy after him, so we changed from “Caleb” to “Mark Jr.”Soon after, we saw a midwife that had been a long time friend of my husband’s family. The pregnancy was actually a very “easy” one for the first few months. I rarely got sick…I can only remember one time! As the pregnancy progressed, I was measuring bigger than I should have, but I hadn’t gained that much weight since the beginning of the pregnancy…so, the midwife thought that I could be pregnant with twins, but she was never able to hear more than one heartbeat. So, she sent me in for an ultrasound.
The ultrasound technician started the ultrasound. As she moved over my stomach, she started asking me questions with a confused look on her face. “Have you emptied your bladder?” “Yes, ma’am. Just before I got here.” “Do you feel like you need to go again?” “No, ma’am.” “Alright, we are going to schedule a visit for you to see the high-risk pregnancy doctor. I think you have a cyst on your ovary. Everything is okay. The baby looks great…but I just need the doctor to check on the cyst.” I could have been knocked over with a feather at that point. I didn’t understand. I saw that one side of my belly was all black…and on the other side, I saw my little baby. I made an appointment to see the doctor the following week.What a long week it was! Waiting, wondering, trying to figure out what would happen. This was my first pregnancy, so I had very little knowledge about the whole “process” of things anyway. The day of my appointment finally arrives. The doctor does an ultrasound as well, and explains things a little more in depth. “You have a LARGE ovarian cyst. We have to remove it because it is so large that the baby will eventually not have enough room to grow in there. We will schedule you for surgery.” And I thought that last week was a shocker! Not only am I pregnant for the first time ever, a newlywed (my husband and I had been married less than a year when all of this started), but now I am going to have to have MAJOR surgery. They have to cut my belly open and remove a cyst while there is a living baby inside there. For a long time, I was in shock. I didn’t say much…I didn’t react much…I just knew that it was going to be very different from everything that I imagined for my first pregnancy. Surgery was scheduled for mid-April…my baby would be at 28 weeks gestation when the surgery was performed.
The day of the surgery came… I was admitted at the hospital…and my husband stayed by my side until he could no longer… My in-laws prayed with and for me and the baby before we went into the operating room. My husband was able to pray with me and our doctor before the doctor and I went into the operating room. I remember little from that point on. I know that I was put to sleep, and then I woke in the recovery room. The nurse came over and said, “You finally decided to wake up, huh?” I didn’t care how long I'd been asleep because of the intenses pain that I was feeling. The nurse said, “How are you feeling? Are you hurting.” I said, “Yes.” She asked me on a scale of 1 to 10, and I told her that it was a “10.” My stomach was hurting worse than any pain I’d ever felt! She got some morphine for me, but the pain never really subsided. It was lessened, a little, but not anywhere near me feeling “okay.”Soon, they moved me into a “regular” room. No one was there. I was so excited to be able to see my husband…but I waited and waited. The nurse came in about an hour later and said, “Can I get you anything?” I said, “My husband. I don’t know where he is…and I really want to see him.” She said, “I will see what I can do.” A few minutes later, he showed up. He apologized and said that he and his parents were in the cafeteria eating lunch…that the nurses had assured him that they would call him when I was out of recovery, but he never got a call until just a few minutes ago. The pain was still horrible, but having them there helped me to feel more “safe” and “comfortable.” The nurses kept checking on me…eventually putting in a morphine drip…”Just press this button whenever you are hurting, and it will give you another dose of the morphine.” Being me, I never pushed the button. I was worried that my baby would get too much pain medicine. I was worried that I would get too much of it. I didn’t want to push it. So, the nurse came back in…I was still in pain. She asked me if I had pushed the button, and I told her that I hadn’t. She picked it up and pushed it three times! She said, “I am serious. Push this when you are hurting.” I think I might have pushed it one more time before they discharged me. Also, the doctor came in and told me that the cyst was a large one….they had taken five and a half liters of fluid out of it. Before we left, we asked the nurses to bring in a set of scales. Since we had been monitoring my weight gain during the pregnancy, we knew what I weighed when I came in for the surgery. After the surgery, I was 15 pounds lighter! I had been carrying around a 15 pound cyst….they said, “for no telling how long.” Amid all of the pain, I also started contracting. The baby was not responding well to staying in there after my stomach had been so “invaded.” So, they gave me medication to stop the contractions and also constantly monitored the contractions and the baby’s heartbeat.
My mother-in-law and husband took care of me for a long time. I couldn’t walk when I came out of the hospital. I could barely do anything! It was terrible. I had to have help with showering, help with using the bathroom…everything. I couldn’t be shy…and this lady had only been my mother-in-law for less than one year. Talk about bonding! LOL! So, I finally get to the point where I can take care of myself…things are going well. I still have to take meds every day to make sure that the contractions don’t start again. So, one typical day, I was at my house. I started feeling weak. I felt like I had a fever. Instead of taking my temperature, I laid down and took a nap. When I woke up, I was sure I was sick. I went over and got the thermometer. My temperature was 101.7. I called my mother-in-law, who lived just up the road. I told her what had been happening. She came and picked me up and took me to her house. She got on the phone with the high-risk pregnancy doctor who had done the surgery. They said to call back in about an hour to let them know how I was doing. My sisters-in-law began wiping me down with cloths soaked in cold water. They also moved a fan to blow directly on me. My mother-in-law took my temperature again. It was over 103. She called the doctor back. They said, “Get her here as quickly as possible.” I went back in, and turned out that I had a kidney infection. I had to stay in the hospital for two days for that…until they got the infection under control and my temperature down to normal. So, I was again discharged from the hospital.
Not too long afterward, I started having contractions…very regularly. So, we went back to the hospital. They began monitoring me, but the contractions stopped on their own. The high-risk pregnancy doctor asked me if I was still wanting to have this baby at home with the midwife. I said that I did. He said, “If you can go to 37 weeks, I will be okay with you having it at home.” At this point, we were at about 33-34 weeks. So, the midwife suggested that we stay in a home next door to hers…that she owned, but no one was living in at that time. So, we did…instead of driving over an hour to the hospital and back every few weeks. I made it to 37 weeks! The next day, contractions started…my mother-in-law was with me. She was timing the contractions…as they came closer and closer together, she called the midwife… Then she called my husband and her husband. Everyone started making their way to the midwife’s house. By 10:10 that night, I had my baby! Mark Jr. was 5 lbs, 5 oz….a very little guy! So little in fact, that pushing him out was less difficult than I expected…I was in shock. My mind was saying, “Is that it? That wasn’t so bad. Is he really out?!” I never said anything…I just sat there…silent. The midwife kept us there for about a week to make sure that baby and mommy were okay. Then, we were on our way home…to start our new life as a family of three!Mark Jr. is now 9 years old. His birthday is June 5. His favorite color is red. He likes to eat pizza, hamburgers, and salad (with ranch dressing). He is a blessing to his daddy and me. He is very smart…has a great memory. He enjoys reading. He is very active and loves to play sports. He enjoys going to church…and sometimes cries if he can’t go due to sickness or some other reasonable reason for missing church (which doesn’t happen often). He has a soft heart…recently crying during a commercial about pets without homes. He says that he either wants to be a fireman, a preacher, or a missonary when he grows up.