I was six weeks when I found out that I was pregnant. Unfortunately, I struggled so much to get seen by an OB doctor because I couldn’t get medical for some unknown reason. Time goes on and I’m already 4 months with no ultrasound until I can finally get myself into a clinic where they were patient and understanding enough to take me in for prenatal care until I got my medical situated.
A week after I set up an appointment with them, I’m at their clinic getting my first ultrasound. So far so good; he was my first baby so I knew nothing about anything when it came to pregnancies. I noticed that the ultrasound technician’s face wrinkled in confusion and she suddenly left for a couple of minutes. She came back with a doctor showing him the pictures she took of my son and he confirmed the question she asked him in the other room. “Yes that’s definitely a bump there.”, he said.
Both the doctor and ultrasound technician looked at me and asked me if there’s any way I can make it to San Francisco’s UCSF: University of California, San Francisco. Mind you that I went to my first ultrasound alone because my husband was working at a place where they didn’t allow “days off”. I had no back bone, no support in what to think and how to react because of the concern the doctor and technician had. After asking them what’s wrong with my baby, they finally told me that he has Spina Bifida and explained to me what that was.
Spina Bifida is a condition that a baby can get within 1 to 6 weeks if they don’t receive as much folic acid that they need. Due to the lack of folic acid, a baby’s spine won’t develop and close all the way which leaves a gap in between the spine and his/her nerves will come out through his/her back. There’s many stages of Spina Bifida, and my son has myelomeningocele.
I honestly didn’t know how to feel. I just accepted his condition and accepted the trip to UCSF. Right after leaving the clinic, I called my husband and told him everything. He took it harder than I thought. He even asked me for space and time to process in a quake-y voice. After a good while, we finally accepted what we had coming. Him being 19 and me being 16-years-old and becoming parents for the first time, we were just terrified of any negative possibilities.
Fast forward and I’m at UCSF and I’m there to get more information on Spina Bifida. Had about 4 ultrasounds, 3 lectures, and spoke to more than 4 different doctors and professors about this condition. At last, I gathered that my son will most likely have clubbed feet, might or might not be able to walk, might not be able to use the restroom on his own, and will need a shunt which is a tube that will drain any extra fluids that accumulate in his brain due to the condition. At this point, it all hit me. I was scared and I was worried but I never showed anyone that fear. Not even my husband.
I ended up having a normal pregnancy; nausea, fatigue, big ol’ belly, etc. Only difference is that I had more doctor visits than most normal, healthy pregnancies. I went in for ultrasounds twice a week until my delivery. Months pass and I’m finally eight months pregnant. From there on, nothing but tests and supervision over my sons breathing and heart rate. It was a hassle because sometimes, we couldn’t hear my sons heart or it was just extremely slow. It was normally a 20-45 minute supervision but whenever there were complications, I had to stay for 3 hours and make sure everything was okay.
I’m now 37 weeks pregnant, it’s July 13, 2017.. a day after my birthday and I’m finally 18 years old. I’m at the clinic for my weekly visit but we struggled to hear my sons heart. The nurses decided, “we need you to stay for 24-hour monitoring”. Well, it was an unexpected plan but I was a bit glad I got to stay for 24 hours and monitor my sons health. I called my parents and husband and told them that I had to stay for 24 hours and why. My family’s coming to comfort me, my husband in the emergency room, 2 floors down because he was getting a procedure done on his foot. We were all together basically and I felt comfortable.
Eight hours of laying in that hospital bed, my mom is laying in a pull out bed and my husband was barely called in from the emergency room to get his procedure done. It’s 3:05am, July 14, 2017 and I’m barely falling asleep then boom.. my water breaks! I was freaked because my sons due date was July 31st, 2017! Haha. I text my husband and tell him what happened and he’s freaking out and wanting to run up here but the doctor was about to do the procedure. I wake up my mom and she’s freaking out and the nurses are confused but they start preparing for labor and all of that stuff. I kid you not, I was scared shitless. My husband comes up 30 minutes later in crutches and he’s so scared but he’s still there trying to give me a pep talk.
It’s finally mid-day, my family’s there, my in-laws are there and we’re just waiting on his arrival. For some reason, I wasn’t having any contractions so the nurses connected me to something so I can start feeling them. So painful, I couldn’t bare. I start crying because of the pain and so does my husband because he doesn’t like seeing me cry haha.
It’s time. It’s 10:42pm and I’m crowning. Here comes the pushing. I’m crying. I’m clueless. I just want to meet my son. My husbands too terrified to see me deliver the baby so he’s facing the wall and holding my hand. I don’t know how he did it but he managed to make me laugh while I was in all that pain. It’s 11:03pm and Danny’s here! Smallest baby I’ve ever seen.. ever held. It was exciting; but I wasn’t able to hold him like a normal baby. I couldn’t touch his back. Matter of fact, I only held him for 5 minutes. After that, he was taken to the NICU room because he had to have an IV needle in him. It’s 7:14am, July 15, 2017 and they took my son to another hospital and I wasn’t able to go see him for 3 days. It was HARD being apart from him for so long.
Since being born, my son was in a hospital for a month. He had 2 surgeries; one for the opening in his back and the other for the shunt he needed in his head. My son is now going to be 4 months in 9 days and we’re casting his clubbed feet to position them correctly. I honestly don’t know if this procedure is going to work and allow him to walk in the future. What I do know is that for far, the journey has been a bit tough but tolerable. My son is overall, a healthy baby. Danny might have it a little rougher than other kids but I know that his condition will make him stronger. I know I’ll be a proud mother. I already am.