When My Life Became Meaningful by Kristen Wilson

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In November of 2015, I had a strong suspicion that I may be pregnant. So I did what every girl would do; I went to the pharmacy and bought as many pregnancy tests that I could carry to the register. Well, I went 6 for 6 that day; all of the tests were positive. My husband and I could not believe it! We were ecstatic. About 12 weeks later, we found out the gender. I was finally getting the little girl that I’ve always wanted. From then on, I rushed my pregnancy. Her nursery was finished a month later, and her closet was full of pink. We decided to name her Isabella Kate. Bella for short. Friends and family were all thrilled and patiently waiting for her due date: August 11th. I, on the other hand, was having a tough time with all of the not so wonderful pregnancy issues: elevated blood pressure, swelling, and clothes awkwardly fitting to name a few.

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On May 3rd, I decided to go to St. Francis Hospital for a few of the issues mentioned above, not the clothes awkwardly fitting part (although it felt like an emergency at times), but for swelling and high blood pressure. I was there for a few hours while hooked up to a baby monitor and blood pressure machine. After my lab work was returned with no indications of any potential issues, I was released and told to take it easy. On the following Saturday morning, I woke up with severe stomach cramps and blurred vision. I sat up in bed and began rubbing my eyes, trying to figure out why my vision was blurred. Why could I not see? I got up and grabbed my blood pressure machine. It was through the roof. I immediately called my doctor who told me to go straight to the ER. I stirred my husband while crying in pain and told him we needed to go.

We checked in at St. Francis Hospital, again, and waited for answers. The doctors determined that I had developed severe preeclampsia (high blood pressure and swelling). I was immediately hooked up to an IV while I was in nearly unbearable pain. We knew that my vision was blurred due to my high blood pressure, but we were unsure of the reason for my severe stomach pain. After reviewing my blood work results, the doctors informed me that I would need to be transferred to Greenville Memorial Hospital, where they would hopefully be able to postpone the delivery of Bella until 28 weeks. At this point, we knew Bella would ultimately be delivered prematurely.

When I arrived at Greenville Memorial, there were nurses and doctors everywhere. As the doctors were speaking with me about anesthesia, the risks of it, and how we were “going about it”, the emergency tone of my baby’s heart beat monitor pierced the noise in the room: Bella’s heartbeat was no longer detected by the medical equipment. After a few minutes that felt like hours of trying to relocate her heartbeat, the doctors decided to do an ultrasound. The doctor stared in confusion at the computer screen while taking pictures of it with his phone. I asked if everything was okay and was told yes, but he wanted to show the image on the screen to another doctor. He told me to plan on delivering via C-section within an hour or two. At 26 weeks, 14 weeks early, we were going to deliver Bella. Was this really happening? With the suddenness and uncertainty of the situation, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “will we survive this?”.

My husband, mother, in-laws, and husband’s grandpa joined me in the hospital room. My husband’s grandfather came to pray over Bella and I, and I couldn’t have been happier that he did. After he finished, the doctors returned to say I would be delivering within 30-45 minutes. The doctors began preparing my bed, and my husband received his blue scrubs. While looking around at a room full of worried faces, I told my family I loved them. At the time, I was experiencing fear. Not fear of the surgery or spinal tap, but fear for my unborn daughter’s life. After being moved to the prep room, the doctors prepared me for the spinal tap. After being pinched, pricked, and poked, they decided the spinal tap was not working fast enough, and I would have to be put to sleep. I asked for my husband and was told he could no longer be in the room with me. I cried as I felt the oxygen mask touch my face.

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Hours later, I woke up in the recovery room with my husband by my side. Isabella Kate Wilson was born that day at 2:54pm, weighing in at 1lb 14oz and 13.5” long. Although I wasn’t able to see her, I was assured that she was perfect and beautiful. That night was long; I was extremely sick from the medicine and sore from the delivery. It wasn’t until the next day, Mother’s Day, at 4pm that I was able to see and hold my precious, miracle baby.
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I was later updated with more details regarding my C-section. The severe stomach pain that I was feeling was coming from the placenta detaching. The rush to deliver was not only because of the placenta but my kidneys were releasing toxins into my body and starting to fail. Aside from occasional stomach soreness, I have since fully recovered.

Isabella Kate has been in NICU for 2 months and counting. She has been through two blood transfusions, three different oxygen machines, a ton of lab work, four different NICU rooms, two different NICU levels, and a lot of nurses. She has grown from 1lb 14oz to 4lbs 6.5oz and from 13.5” to nearly 16”. She has finally reached the weight requirement for clothes, and as of this week, she was moved to an open crib. Bella has not required surgery, and for that, we thank God. This little girl has been a true rock star since the day she was born!

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With her being in NICU, patience is of the upmost importance since we are unsure of when she will come home. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret rushing my pregnancy. Through this difficult time in our lives, we have witnessed a beautiful miracle. Bella is perfect, despite her sassy personality, and I could never thank God enough for blessing me with her.

May 7th was a life changing day for me, and it will forever play in my head like a movie. Something special was formed: a never ending bond between my husband, Bella, myself, and the Lord. On that day, my life became meaningful.

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From Faith: Kristen Wilson is a first time mommy to a beautiful little girl and an amazing wife to her husband, Austin. She is a believer in Christ, and through her story, I hope others in her situation will know they are not along. Premature births affect nearly 380,000 babies in the United States alone. March of Dimes has made one of the worst experiences for a mother more bearable. Not only did they help this family, but they continue to help fund research for other families who will undergo this same experience. Kristen has signed up to walk in the March for Babies in October 2016, and she is raising money for her walk. Here is a link if you feel led to donate for her cause or walk alongside Kristen. More than anything, please keep The Wilson family and sweet Isabella in your prayers as they look forward to bringing their baby girl home.

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The Ugly Truth About My Pregnancy

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When I see women with their cute baby bumps, I look back at my pregnancy pictures and wish I would have enjoyed it a little more.

I didn’t have the picture-perfect pregnancy. I became pregnant right before my college graduation, and my husband still had a year of undergrad to go. Once we found out, we frantically attempted to “figure things out”. I didn’t tell a lot of people at first. I’m not completely sure whether I didn’t because Evan and I weren’t married or what, but it definitely played a big factor. I was worried about what other people would say and didn’t really allow myself to be excited in the beginning.

Then came pregnancy issues. I woke up one day and couldn’t keep anything down. I was in so much pain and didn’t have a clue what was happening. Fearing something was wrong, I went to the emergency room later that night to find out that our baby was okay. As it turns out, I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. In short, it’s severe morning sickness that affects about 2% of pregnant women, and I just so happened to be one of the lucky few. So just when I thought about being excited, this severe morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to take medicine every time I wanted to eat and even had to wear seasickness bands, which were very attractive.

As the months of my pregnancy went on, my friends at the time began calling less and visits became scarce. I couldn’t do the things we used to do and didn’t have the energy to go places, when I was invited. My family was an hour and a half away, so I couldn’t make frequent visits. I felt isolated.

I worked at a resturant, and I was there almost every day and night. During my second trimester, the weight started to pile on quickly. By the end of my pregnancy, everything was swollen. At that moment, I felt so ugly. I was miserable. But why did I let those things bother me? I was carrying a human life.

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The day Ella was born, I completely forgot about the previous 9 months. Beginning with that moment, I was exactly who I was supposed to be: her mother.

I look back now and wish I would have done it differently. I wish I would have put forth the effort to be happy, to not worry about what others thought and focus on having a healthy pregnancy. I wish I would have eaten healthier and enjoyed myself.

My point in sharing this is to say: enjoy every minute of being pregnant. There are couples that unsuccessfully try their entire lives to become pregnant, and God gave us that opportunity. Friends will come and go, but family is forever. Cherish this time. Live in the moment and embrace your beautiful pregnant body.

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