THE STORIES \\ Kara Minor

Kara Minor

WHEN WE’RE PAID BACK WHAT WE’RE OWED

I have been married for 10 years to my high school sweetheart.  Together we have two sons, a six-year-old, nine year old, and a daughter who is four months old. We also have two babies who only graced this world for very short periods, but left a huge impact on our hearts.

In January 2011, we were expecting our second child and at 21 weeks gestation found out we were having a girl. We were over the moon excited since we already had our one and a half year old son. Only five short days later, my body began what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. We went to the hospital to make sure everything was normal, only to find out that my body had an infection, which caused my water to break and triggered full labor. We were in complete shock and frantically preparing to give birth to our daughter. Our doctor asked what action we wanted to take after our daughter was born, but we were at a complete loss at what to do.

“We knew we had already been through the worst that could happen and we knew if it happened again we would be able to get through it.”

She shared our two options – we could have the NICU come in, hook our daughter up to different machines and try to save her life, or, after she was born we could hold her and spend time with her while she’s here on this earth. We were informed her tiny lungs were not developed enough to breathe on her own since she was barely 22 weeks. I couldn’t believe I had to make this unimaginable decision, but as I looked up at my husband I felt a peace wash over me and knew in that moment what we needed to do for our girl to keep her from suffering. Just a few short minutes later, with one or two pushes, our daughter, Adelaide Katherine, was born, weighing 14 ounces. Her skin was so thin we could watch her tiny heart beat. We held her and loved on her, soaking in her very existence. It was the worst day of my life, but also the best because I got the gift of holding my first daughter, where so many don’t get that opportunity in experiencing baby loss.

Two months later we found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant again. I was completely terrified since we weren’t meaning to be pregnant, but elated that I got another chance. All I wanted in those passing months was to be pregnant again. I was certain this was my rainbow baby, my gift for which we had been enduring the last couple of months. Still so numb that I couldn’t feel much towards being pregnant again, I made myself have hope. We went in for our seven-week appointment and saw a beautiful little baby on the screen, but the news we feared was confirmed – there was no heartbeat. The grief enveloped in grief felt like too much to bear. Anger began to overcome our weary hearts. Yet, as time went on there was still something deep inside that drove a strong desire to have a baby. My body had been pregnant twice, but nothing filled the emptiness I carried.

Giving my body some time to heal from birth and a miscarriage, we were determined to try again. September of that year we found out we were pregnant. Anxiety, fear of loss, and grief controlled my emotions daily during the pregnancy. We weren’t sure if what happened with Adelaide was a fluke or something wrong with my body. We found out that we were pregnant with a boy, our Delton Henry! We were so happy, but at 22 weeks the exact same symptoms began happening that had happened with Adelaide. We rushed to the hospital fearing the end result was going to be losing our boy. My body began to go into labor again and the doctors said they would try everything they knew to save our Delton. I was admitted to the antepartum floor on strict bed rest and stayed there for seven weeks. They gave me medicine daily to help stop contractions. At 31 weeks I went home on bedrest and Delton was born healthy at 36 weeks.

“I have tried many times but can’t yet put into words what that day was like. In and since her birth there has been so much healing for my husband and I that multiplies each day.”

We decided we should be done having children, and I grieved that my body couldn’t endure  pregnancy any longer. I tried my best to change the desire for more babies and was determined to be okay with the idea. But, the deep yearning for a daughter never went away.

Five years later, I saw my doctor for a yearly checkup, and she asked if I was going to have any more children. I looked at her like she was crazy and said, “do you remember my history?”

She laughed and said that if we wanted to have more children, there were shots I could take to help me stay pregnant. When I shared this with my husband he opened up that the desire for another baby was still there for him too. All of the emotions came flooding – were we ready to try this journey again? What if we lose another baby? What if I am separated from my family again in the hospital? Am I strong enough to try one more time?

We discussed how we had already been through the worst that could happen and we knew if it happened again we would be able to get through it. We thought of other what if’s. What if this does work? What if I have a healthy pregnancy? What if we get our girl? I knew that if I could overcome all my fears and if good came from this choice, such great healing could happen.

In October of 2017 we got a positive pregnancy test. We chose in that moment to walk this next chapter trying not to let fear engulf us. Every hour of the pregnancy I soaked up as if it could be my last. This simple joy grew beyond our imaginations when we found out 18 weeks later that it was a girl!  I can’t honestly say it was an easy 9 months, and there were many moments, even whole days where I allowed myself to be engulfed in fear. But I chose to just sit with it. I knew somehow it was a part of the healing and would weave its way in and out life. The progesterone shots I received weekly beginning at 16 weeks kept our sweet girl safe until 37 weeks, and on June 13, 2018 our second daughter, Genevieve Claire was born. I have tried many times but can’t yet put into words what that day was like. In and since her birth there has been so much healing for my husband and I that multiplies each day. In some ways we miss our Adelaide Katherine even more now that we see what she could have been, but we count it as joy that we got the opportunity to have the dreams we did for Adelaide. Her life helped save Delton and Genevieve and taught us so much about suffering, healing, and true, life-shattering joy.

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