3 years and 6 hours ago, I woke up in intense pain. My room was fairly dark and Dusty was asleep in the corner on the fold out couch. The light streaming from the hallway showed the monitors next to me. I was tempted to strap the monitors to my stomach myself to see if what I was feeling were strong contractions or something else. 5 minutes later I didn't need to, the pain and the tightening of my uterus made it clear that this was it, this time it was real.
I pushed the button for the nurse to come in and whispered, so I wouldn't wake Dusty quite yet, that I was in labor and they needed to call the doctor. The nurse came in, in my 10 week stay, I had met her for the first time at 7:00 PM the night before. She didn't want to call the doctor yet, she wanted me to get on the monitor. Sure enough, I withered there in pain for an hour with contractions every 2-3 minutes apart, shooting off the 100 scale they use on the monitors. I asked for pain relief, she called the doctor.
An hour and a half after the first pain the doctor called and I could have some pain medication and some benadryl to see if this was real labor or not. It was real. There was no mistaking it. This type of consistent pain didn't happen without progress. It couldn't. The medicine helped a little bit and I was still asking them to whisper, just in case they were right, why wake Dusty? It was in the wee hours of Monday morning and he had work to go to!
Another hour passed with contractions right on top of each other. We were 2 1/2 hours into this, it was 4 AM. I told the nurse I knew what this pain was, I knew what the pressure was. It was time. He was ready to be born. No, no, no, they said. You weren't dilated at all last night, we have to know for sure before we do another sterile spec exam. I told her I had pressure. At 4 AM, she relented. There he was, 10 cm dilated, at a +3 station, butt first. Now, we woke Dusty up. There was no denying it, he wanted out, right now, one way or another.
Dusty put his shoes on as they put in my IV and the nurse called for help. They didn't have time to call my perinatologist and have her there to deliver me. There just wasn't time. They were wheeling me into the OR before Dusty had his second shoe on. In the hallway, I was excited, dazed, confused and medicated. They happened to run into my regular OB in the hallway and grabbed him. At 4:20 AM, we heard the most amazing sound, the baby we had been fighting for, the baby we were told wouldn't make it, the baby we were told would have minimal, if any lung development came into this world and cried. After a quick look he was whisked off to the NICU with daddy following him.
August 6, 2007 Matthew Jackson was born into this world at 33 weeks gestation, weighing in at 4lbs 14 oz and 18 inches long. He had the proudest parents and most loving big sister. That was the first day of his short 70 day life, each day he was loved, cared for and appreciated in so many ways.
Happy Birthday Matthew. We love you and miss you more than words could ever begin to express. We talk to you and of you so often. We wonder how you would look, how your voice would sound, how you would react to the puppy, what kind of birthday party you would want, what kind of toys you would ask for, how you would feel about becoming a big brother, if you would be ready to start playing sports or preschool, and what you would want to do today to celebrate. We never have to wonder how much you would be loved, spoiled and cared for. We never have to wonder how different our life would be if you were still here.
Today, daddy, Kaitlyn and I will go to the cemetery. We will take you balloons and flowers and wish you a happy birthday. Our hearts will be heavier today, knowing how much harder days like today are without you here. Knowing how much hope and promise we had on this day 3 short years ago.
Tomorrow, the friends and family whose lives you touched, who love you and carry you in their hearts will send you balloons. We will celebrate your life with those that mean the most to us. We will remember how happy we were when you were born and we will wish you the happiest of birthdays as you watch down on us.
We love you.