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Early Arrival #1 and #2

Aug 28, 2023

“You’re going to have this baby today; it’s going to happen today.” These words coming from a nurse friend replayed in my mind.

It was happening all too early – seven weeks to be exact.

My mind was going a hundred miles an hour with more questions than answers and some of them involved death.

Was it too early for the baby to live?

Did my water break too soon, and the baby would suffocate?

Would we get medical attention quick enough?

Was the baby going to be delivered while we were driving to the hospital some thirty-five miles away? 

The questions stopped with another onset of pain; it startled me back to reality. I remembered I was to track how far apart the contractions were coming. They were so inconsistent I thought I was going crazy – fifteen minutes, then five minutes, then ten minutes.  What did this mean? 

The fear settled in deep, I was in a daze having an out of body experience.

It had to be a bad dream. 

We arrived!  The drive took us twenty minutes, making it nearly half the normal time it would take. There were three or four nurses waiting outside the Emergency Room doors with a wheelchair. 

It was like a dream or a television show as I was quickly rushed down the cool feeling hallway being asked all kinds of questions. I didn’t want to talk. This was all a bad dream.

The next hour would be one etched in my mind forever.

I was hooked up to all kinds of monitors and machines to determine the status of our baby. Nurse silence is what brought emotions and tears rolling out of me. Then, what no parent wants to hear was said by a nurse, “I can’t find a heartbeat.” 

Seven long months of waiting, not including the six years’ prior of trying to get pregnant.  This day was not supposed to be like this, I had anticipated a much different entrance into the world. Tears kept on coming from both of us. My husband was trying to hold and comfort me through the mess of wires and tubes from all the monitors and machines.  But no words, no embrace, no touch would stop the numbness settling in and taking over. I was slowly moving into silence……until the nurse yelled, “I found it. I found the heart beat!” Gasping from everyone’s breath being held and sighs of relief is what you heard when the nurse found the heartbeat. Smiles were on everyone’s face. 

It was determined an emergency delivery was needed and the baby would come by cesarean. All I wanted to hear was a whimper, a cry, and to hear the doctor say the baby was alive!

At 6:34 p.m. August 28, 1993, the loudest scream from a newborn was heard along with joyful congratulations from doctor and nurses. A baby boy! Our tears of sadness quickly turned to tears of joy. The baby was very much alive and was screaming like crazy. He had a full head of black hair but was very small, 4 lbs. 5.5 oz.

It was determined that our son, Phillip James Hamilton would be taken to a larger hospital for neonatal intensive care by air ambulance. I still hadn’t seen my baby boy for several hours. Worry began to take over my thoughts when suddenly the doors of my room opened. In came so many people – nurses, doctors, personnel from the air ambulance team, and a gurney with an incubator on it and our baby boy. 

My eyes were focused on our baby inside this plastic incubator lying on his stomach. I faintly heard from one of the many medical people standing in this small room that we could spend only a few minutes with him. Everyone left the room and for the first time we were alone with our son.  We looked at each other with tears in our eyes, not knowing what to do or say.  I wanted so desperately to hold him; I hadn’t even touched him yet. This was not how the ending of the story was supposed to go.  I held back more tears that just couldn’t seem to stop but I wanted to be the best, strong mom I could be.

The first touch of our son that I so long awaited was like stroking a small baby animal.  So, tiny and frail, he looked like a baby robin bird, weak and helpless. The feeling was like that of the softest velvety material I’d ever felt. He was so warm. His chest was moving up and down, but his breathing was labored. I spoke words of love and encouragement to say I’d always be there for him no matter what happened. I told him to not give up and to stay around long enough for dad and me to hold him and cuddle him in our arms. Just while I was getting comfortable talking to him, the kind doctor said, “We have to go.”

At 10:30 pm the sound of the helicopter blades lifting the air ambulance off the roof of the hospital was the eeriest sound for parents to hear. It’s a sound that stays with a person for a lifetime. 

Life given and life taken away - - - away by air ambulance. A life we had so patiently waited for and now we didn’t know if this was the first and the last time we’d see our precious baby boy. We were being carried by faith.

Today, August 28th, 2023, we celebrate 30 years of this Early Arrival #1 who is now a father to Early Arrival #2, his son Silas, born nine weeks early. Stay tuned as this grandma now has his story to wrtie about. 

Happy Birthday to my son that changed my life forever! Love you more then words can express. MOM

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