Several years ago, I was diagnosed with a degenerative kidney disease. I knew any child I had would be a miracle. We had our first son, Byron, Jr. November 1, 1991. Although I had some complications, he was full-term and very healthy. Three years later we decided we were ready to have another baby. My doctors were a little more concerned this time since I had lost some kidney function since my first baby. But they told me of my risks, reminded me that I was very high-risk and the decision was up to Byron, Sr. and me. We prayed about it and in faith conceived our second child.
I began having problems very early on. Before my first trimester, my blood pressure was drastically elevating. However, thankfully that got under control and I was fine until about 22 weeks. At that point it was becoming evident through blood tests that the pregnancy was causing me to lose kidney function. At 24 weeks I was put to bed. We moved in with my parents where I received a lot of pampering and care. (We had to do this when I was pregnant with Byron, too). Three weeks later my kidney doctor hospitalized me with the intent to have my obstetrician take the baby within the next few days. My kidneys were still losing function and he was afraid I would go into kidney failure. Although a baby born at 27 weeks can survive, there are a lot of risks. I DID NOT want a baby that soon. The thought of him being born that early and seeing him hooked up to all the machines was very difficult for me to even think about.
Miraculously, my kidney function somewhat stabilized. I was told I would be in the hospital until the baby was born. That was fine with me--it was worth it to have a healthy baby. I was given steroids to help mature his lungs and various other tests were performed regularly to insure he was growing properly--and he was.
On June 24, I had been in the hospital for over two weeks and was just about to reach 30 weeks gestation when the very unexpected happened. My doctor came in my room and told me my labs weren't good. He could not let the pregnancy continue much longer and to expect the baby to be born within the next day or two. I was okay with that. Although still early, a baby born at 30 weeks was much better than 27 weeks. However, not five minutes after he left, my nurse came in to do routine vitals on the baby and me. She could not get a heartbeat. I began talking to him and rocking my stomach trying to arouse him. Another nurse came in and she couldn't get one either. I still didn't think anything of it...I just thought they weren't listening good enough or something was wrong with the doppler. The next thing I knew, they were closing my curtains, turning off the lights and asked my friend to leave, but thankfully allowed my husband to stay. They then brought in a NST machine and hooked me up to fetal monitors. The nurses sighed with relief when they picked up heart tones. However, their expressions quickly changed again when they realized they were picking up my heartbeat. About that time, my doctor came in--he had no idea what was going on. He immediately ordered a sonogram. It didn't take long for me to realize there was something terribly wrong. Within seconds my room was filled with various medical personnel. After a while I got the nerve to look at the sonogram screen and saw my lifeless baby.
Several hours later I had a C-section and my otherwise perfect 2lb 12oz, 15inch long beautiful baby was born. He had lots of hair, tiny features and the exact profile of his big brother. When he was delivered, the umbilical cord was around his neck, body and leg. His death had absolutely nothing to do with my kidneys. We spent a lot of time with him--actually three different days. We also have several pictures and videos of him for which I am very thankful. Five days later we buried him next to his great-grandfather, Daniel, after whom he was named.
It's hard to understand why these things happen. But I am filled with great peace in knowing that we will spend eternity with our son--what a blessed assurance!
WE LOVE YOU OUR PRECIOUS GIFT FROM GOD! UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN...
JONATHAN DANIEL MITCHELL
JUNE 24, 1995