As many of you know, Joe and I have been on quite the fertility journey from 2 ectopic pregnancies, one miscarriage and eventually the $25,000 venture of IVF. We finally got our dream, a beautiful baby boy, though he came to us in the most traumatizing and heartbreaking way.
At about 6 months pregnant, 23 weeks, I developed preeclampsia and was admitted to the hospital. We were concerned but our faith did not waiver. My blood pressure was very elevated and there was protein in my urine, which definitely meant that I needed to stay in the hospital as long as possible to keep both the baby and I safe up to delivery. I was monitored closely and at various times told that I was developing HELLP syndrome, but the perinatologist was able to keep things somewhat under control with medications. I was insistent that I did not want my son born early but the doctors said not at the cost of my life.
***Sidenote: HELLP is unpreventable and still highly misunderstood in the medical world. It is life threatening and can cause many medical complications, such as morbidity, seizures, lung failure, renal failure, reputed liver hematoma, placental abruption and many more.
HELLP only affects 0.2-0.6% of pregnancies!***
After 7 days, the doctor drew labs, which were declining and my blood pressure increased. The doctor said my liver could no longer support the pregnancy and that I was in imminent danger. We had to deliver immediately. I knew something was wrong as well because of the intense pressure between my ribs-apparently an inflamed liver.
They wheeled me into the operating room and it was completely surreal, a combination of feeling elated, terrified and hopeful all at the same time. Joe and I sat together in 'cap and gown' as they began delivering Everest via c-section. I just remember tears streaming down my cheeks with the excitement of meeting him and the horror that he was only 23.6 weeks.
After they closed me up, we went into the recovery area and eventually got to meet him. Everest Valor, our one pound prince, was more beautiful than I could have EVER imagined. He was literally perfect. He had beautiful hands, feet, tiny little head of fine hair and overall innocence that I couldn't really even take in. He was so proportionate and delicate, just like a little doll and so soft to the touch. I was in awe of this little marvel of ours.
Everest Valor Saad
1 lb, 10 inches
The first few days, we learned later, was what is called the "honeymoon phase" in the NICU. Everest performed relatively well, with decent oxygen levels and blood pressure. He was wrapped up in tons of tubes and lines with fluids and medications but he was "stable".
After that, it was a steady decline. His oxygen, his blood pressure, his levels... he just wasn't maintaining and we started getting "the talks" letting us know statistics, possibilities and potential of death.
All the while, we were believing. Don't get me wrong, I was breaking down in tears and overwhelmed with emotion but my faith never waivered that God was going to heal my baby! He was going to show us His power by performing this miracle and I had no doubt though I was afraid. The days went by and he continued to go downhill. We were getting anxious but still had faith in His irrefutable ability to heal Everest and give us the desires of our heart.
By day 7, he no longer had a readable blood pressure. We happened to be in the NICU and the neonatologists informed us very lovingly but urgently that it was time. Everest could not fight any longer.
The pain and devastation was overwhelming like a bulldozer ran right through that NICU. We could not believe it and initially asked for chest compressions or more medications but alarms started to sound on his machines and everyone looked frantic. They said he could not recover and we needed to hold him NOW.
We sat down together beside his incubator with nurses urgently grabbing at all of his tubes and lines, handing him to me with the most saddened faces and tears. They seemed to feel as much empathy and compassion as people who had personally experienced this loss.
Both his eyes were tired but open and he looked up at us so sweetly. We kissed him and told him to go be with Jesus, and that we love him so much. We told him he was so very special and strong, and we thanked him for fighting. We asked him to visit us and to be the one to greet us in heaven. His eyes gently closed, the doctor confirmed time of death and we just sat there hollow, burdened with pain because even up until this moment, we believed God would resurrect him. Why wouldn't He? We prayed day and night, and we were faithful.
After awhile, they brought Everest to us in our hospital room. We were able to spend several hours with him, holding him and kissing him. These were the most adorning, precious and also traumatizing hours of my life. It was such a shock holding our beautiful son with such pride and anguish at the same time. I still can't fathom how or why any of this came to be.
Eventually they took him away and we were left with nothing but a box of keepsakes from his short time here on earth; a hat, his gown, his footprints, some balloons... As women were being wheeled into the hospital and out with their newborns, all I could do was cry in hysterics, feeling like such a huge part of me was missing. My body having been butchered, my breasts running with milk and my heart broken I could not and still cannot fully understand what the purpose of all of this was or how our sweet angel could not be with us any longer.
We have prayed much over this and we are choosing to believe that there was a reason and a purpose for all of this. We believe God is in control and Everest's life held more meaning than we can even know. I know that I was chosen to be his mommy. I can definitely say that his name and his sentiment brought so many people together in prayer and definitely strengthened our faith as well because we have to believe through this crisis that God is good! We have to believe that the bigger picture is what it's all about.
God has already put things in motion for surrogacy in the future and we have been praying for both the connection and the signs. God has already divinely given us a surrogate and this is one of the most complicated pieces! She is a young, healthy woman who has been following our story since the beginning. Please pray that God puts His hand of favor over us as we continue.
God has equipped us now and as we mourn we look to the future with the belief that God will use my remaining frozen embryos to bring us the child we have dreamt of. Everest is rejoicing in heaven as he watches us walk in faith with our new reality now. I know he is with us in spirit and I know he wants us to be happy.
Below is a button that says "donate" for the Gofund me that was set up to help us in our journey to have our miracle baby. If you feel compelled to give, please click the link below. We will treasure and appreciate this blessing more than you know!!
Thank you for all of your prayers and please continue to be with us as we grieve for our Everest.
With the divorce rate at 50%, that means many blended marriages and "step" children to follow..Someone needs to voice this! It's tough! Nitty gritty! Hardcore and without exception of blame! This blog is to not just inform but solidify how difficult, awkward and how severe the power struggle can be as a "step-parent"