This year I received the best Valentine's Day present a girl could receive: a seven-pound, nineteen-and-a-half-inch baby boy named Ethan, who came into my life that day. From then onwards my world changed and will never be the same again.
I tried to have him vaginally, but even after being induced with Pitocin, I could only dilate to 3 cm. My contractions were strong enough but I just couldn't do it anymore. I was screaming to God for help, so my doctor walked into the room and said, "Ok, lets do a C-section."
The operation started and I couldn't believe that I wasn't scared, I was so excited that I would finally see this baby who had been inside me for nine months, kicking me and moving, making me sick all the time. He popped out and started screaming. I was relieved and joyful; I wanted to hold him and kiss him and snuggle up with him. He was checked out and said to be okay while I was wheeled to my room and got ready to see him for the first time. The nurse brought him in and I started to cry. He was mine, all mine!
The next day my son was brought back to my room and I noticed that he was breathing very fast and seemed somewhat gray. I called her back, and asked her to take a look at him and see if everything was okay. She said that she would check him out in the nursery and bring him back. About an hour later the nurse returned and said that his oxygenation levels were very low. He wasn't getting enough air into his lungs and needed to be moved to the NICU so they could keep a closer eye on him.
Only one day after my C-section I was walking to and from the NICU to see my baby, and every time I saw him he seemed to be getting worse and worse. After he'd been in there for a day, the doctor decided that it would be best if another doctor checked him out. That evening a cardiologist examined him, and said he suspected that my son's heart was the culprit behind the fast-paced breathing. After two EKG's, my baby was diagnosed with an enlarged right side and a large leak in the left side of his heart. It was working at about 30% of what it should be. We were told that we should start to think about open-heart surgery for this two-day-old baby. Also the doctor thought that it would be best if my son was shipped to a larger, better-equipped hospital. So he went and I was right behind him the whole way there. Two days after the C-section I had my staples removed and was walking right there with my family and friends.
My son soon arrived at the bigger hospital where many tests were performed on him and he lost much blood. Along with his heart problem he also had a problem absorbing calcium into his body. We now know that when these two major problems combine it's called DiGeorge Syndrome. We also discovered that a third major problem could be associated with this disease: a missing thymus gland, without which our son would have no immune system, to where even a mild cold could kill him.
My son has these major problems, yet he looks like a normal baby and I wouldn’t have him any other way. He is my first child and he is the most precious sight that I have ever seen. When his big eyes look at you, you know that he is a miracle and that he is destined to do great things in this world despite the life-threatening problems that will always be with him. I thank God for my Valentine's Day gift every day...