When I got pregnant with Josh, or rather when I found out that I was pregnant with him, my mind was instantly filled with all the hopes and dreams that impending motherhood brings. I could picture him as an infant cuddled up to my chest, running as child chasing a football or skating down the ice with a stick and a puck. I didn’t realize all the other things that go along with motherhood, I had no idea the amount of worry, anxiety or flat out fear that comes with it. No one told me that I would be forever changed, they told me that my life would change yes, but not me. I had no idea that from the moment I learned I was carrying him, I would never again be the old Laurie.
When I was just 20 weeks pregnant I learned that there was a possible complication with Joshua’s heart. Suddenly things changed. Gone was the excitement of a first pregnancy. I no longer thought about what it would be like to bring him home, instead I hoped and prayed that I would be able to bring him home. The doctors were not hopeful, we were told to prepare for the worst, we were told to decide about an autopsy, to bring a camera so that we could have some pictures of him. We were told to prepare ourselves. I couldn’t, what mother could? I refused to believe that I wouldn’t raise my child, I refused to believe that I wouldn’t hold his hand while he took his first steps, or that I wouldn’t feel his arms wrap themselves around my neck. I just couldn’t allow my mind to go there. So I prayed, I believed.
On January 1st 2008 I felt something strange happening, it wasn’t a physical thing. I felt nothing wrong, but my gut told me that something just wasn’t right. I went to the hospital and they began to prep me for a c-section at 29 weeks. It was way too early. Josh was way too small and his heart problems were just way too big. They wanted to take him none the less. I was told that I had an unfriendly womb, I was told that he would die. After much prayer on our parts the doctors decided to wait and see how things progressed. I still remember it… they were doing an ultrasound, no could find movement at all and they were seriously worried. Tim and I were watching and willing him to be okay… just when the doctor wanted to give up and take him out Josh’s arm shot out and punched me… really hard, right where the doctors hand rested on my tummy. My little fighter wasn’t ready yet.
On January 31st I woke up knowing that again something wasn’t right. At 1:PM I could no longer feel movement. I was in the hospital and OR prep by 7:30 that night. As Tim signed the consent forms and they wheeled me out of the room I could hear the doctor tell Tim that Josh’s chances were slim, that we should prepare for his death.
At 9:50 the doctors took Josh from me. He had wrapped the cord around his leg a miraculous 8 times. Doctors to this day still tell students about his birth, he had even made medical journals. He was just over 4lbs and remained that way for a month. He fought hard though, he struggled through heart surgery, heart procedures, he dealt with a stroke, physio & occupational therapy and now he is a happy 2 and a half year old. Though not healthy he is strong and he is a fighter.
I had realized during his struggle to live that I would always have to worry about his health, I knew that I would always need to trust my instincts with him and listen to my gut when it came to his health. It saved his life a few times.
Yesterday I learned that I need to trust my instincts with him (and Kaleb) in all things. I am a mother, I can’t ignore my heart when it comes to them. They were placed in my care and I am meant to protect them.
Yesterday I was in a second hand shop, I was going to look at boots, Josh was playing with toys in the toy section and Fizzy (my friend) was looking at books. I asked Fizzy if she would keep her eye on Josh for a minute while I went to another isle. As I walked away I passed a man, he was looking down, had dirty blond hair and looked scruffy. My first thought was that I had left Josh in the toy section, my gut told me this guy wasn’t right. My second thought was that Fizzy was there and was watching him. As it turns out, my gut proved right again. The man approached the toys, picked up a doll and played with it a little bit before slowly inching towards Josh who was playing unaware on the floor. Fizzy saw the man approaching and moved closer to Josh, talking to him at the same time. The man, realising that Josh was with someone looked startled and quickly left the store.
My heart is sickened by the idea of what could have happened. Yet here I am, able to write, able to tell you about my son and how my mothers instinct wasn’t wrong. I wanted to share this so that you other mothers out there, or fathers, could read and know that the gut isn’t wrong. Trust yourself, and love your kids.