I was overwhelmed with excitement and a little nervousness when I found out I was pregnant this time around. My husband, Floyd, and I were on a getaway to Brasstown Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. It was Labor Day weekend. We spent the weekend doing various activities including horseback riding and going to the spa. I don't recall exactly how it donned on me, but somehow it crossed my mind that my monthly menstrual cycle was late. Immediately, we jumped in the rental car and headed down the mountain to find the nearest store. We hoped that it would be open. We found a Dollar General. I anxiously stayed in the car while Floyd went in and got some pregnancy tests. I'd told him to get a cheap test, a mid-priced test, and a name brand test. I didn't want to take any chances, lol. When we got back to the room, I couldn't wait to take the test. After what seemed like a small eternity the first test resulted positive. That should have been enough, late period and positive pregnancy test, right? Wrong! I proceeded to take the next two tests which both resulted in positive results. We were hysterical with glee!
Before we left Brasstown Valley, I'd already calculated my due date and we were discussing names. I'd be lying if I didn't say that even with all the excitement, in the back of my mind I thought about the baby we'd lost after nearly 37 weeks of pregnancy. (Stillbirth is Still Birth) However, I'd been psyching myself up for over 4 years to not let fear rule during our next pregnancy. I constantly recited "God has not given me the spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind" throughout the pregnancy.
Shortly after my first OB visit, I was also sent to the maternal-fetal medicine specialist also known as the high-risk OB. This would be my life over the next several months, alternating between my regular OB and the high-risk OB. From the beginning, I was scheduled to see one or the other every 2 weeks. By the last trimester, I saw them weekly and got non-stress tests done weekly. My nurse was superb, down to earth, yet about her business. I had ultrasounds monthly. Going to the doctor often didn't bother me a bit. I looked forward to it. It was comforting to be monitored so closely because it provided the opportunity to see and hear him often. As an added bonus, he was extremely active so I never had to question if he was alive or not. To this day he is my most active child while pregnant and while not, lol.
The pregnancy went well! As I approached 37 weeks, I felt some unease, but each checkup was more assuring than the one before. I was told that I would be induced at 38 weeks unless I went into labor before then. This was a non-negotiable. My OB made it clear that she wasn't taking any chances so it was planned that I would go to the hospital in preparation for delivery on April 27, 2011.
However, we didn't make it to the hospital that day. I received a call from my OB saying to get in a safe location and to not come in until the next morning. The course of history changed that day. Tornadoes swept across the southeast, significantly impacting many areas including Alabama, and especially Tuscaloosa. In fact, we ended up running away from the tornado ourselves as it was to impact our area. I felt like we were in a high-speed chase only it wasn't the police after us. In the end, we were safe and traveled back to our home after the storms.
We now had to be at the hospital by 6:00 AM on the morning of April 28th unless I received a call saying differently. We woke up and headed to the hospital. The roads were mostly empty and the atmosphere was solemn. It was still somewhat dark so we were partially oblivious to the impact the storms and tornadoes had on the area. Also, as you may imagine, we were preoccupied with the birth of our son. I noticed the stillness of the hospital. As a usually jovial environment, everyone seemed obviously solemn. It wasn't until I was completely checked in and the TV was turned on that I realized what had truly happened. Our area had faced tremendous devastation that was sad, destructive, and deadly. Here we were preparing for one of the happiest moments of our lives yet despair was all around. It was a complex feeling.
One of my biggest supporters, my uncle, met us at the hospital in preparation for delivery. He prayed and was a source of strength and love. Other family members came as the day went on and eventually filled the waiting room. My labor and delivery nurse reminded me of a seasoned midwife. She'd been a labor and delivery nurse for over 30 years and was calm yet comforting. She knew my history and if she had any alarming concerns, I never knew because her game face was on point. Labor and delivery were fairly quick. Right before 1 pm that afternoon our precious son was born, moving freely and crying well! It was a beautiful sight to behold. Our OB was treated like a rock star as all of my family wanted to take a picture with her. Our son was a superstar too, as signs and balloons greeted us upon transferring from the labor and delivery unit to the mother-baby unit! He was truly a rainbow after the storm of my previous pregnancy as well as the storms and tornadoes of April 27, 2011.
My family and close friends knew I didn't want a baby shower before I was sure I had a healthy, living baby so they didn't give me one until after delivery. I learned that it probably was really considered a Sip and See, lol. Nevertheless, it was held sometime in July, and Eron was there to enjoy the festivities.
On April 28th, one of my greatest joys and biggest blessings will turn 9 years old. This 9th birthday is unlike any he's ever seen before given the coronavirus pandemic and sheltering in place. Nevertheless, we celebrate him and will make his 9th birthday as memorable as the rest!
Happy 9th Birthday to the one who allows me the full experiences of motherhood and keeps me on my toes, Floyd Eron Collins, II! We love you and pray that God blesses you with many more birthdays!
How do you combat fear and negative thoughts? Do you have a similar rainbow experience? If so how has it impacted your life? How have you handled birthdays during the pandemic?