|Connor's first pic|
Friday July 27th 2012 started like any other day, my wife and I got up, got ready and we headed off to work. I work in Marion county Kentucky and my wife was working in Washington county Kentucky, so she would drop me off at my office and she would continue on to her office, it was on the way anyway so we thought why not save the gas money. Taryn called me during the day to the to let me know she was just feeling off. She told me she was really tired, couldn’t say seated, and was just uncomfortable. I was worried to say the least and as a rookie mistake I googled the problems. It pointed to preeclampsia.
We had been going to an OBGYN in Elizabethtown, KY and the pregnancy so far had been a very healthy one. My wife was and is a very healthy person; she took every step to ensure that Conor would show up on time and be a healthy baby. On the 27th I told Taryn to contact our OB office and speak to a nurse. The nurse told my wife that everything would be fine, it was normal to have these feelings at this point in her pregnancy. WOW! Was she ever wrong!
At 4:45pm on the 27th Taryn picked me up from work and told me she couldn’t drive home, I would have to do it. Okay no biggie, I’ll drive home. We arrived home and I worked out in my in home CrossFit gym. After that I came back in to the living room and Taryn was just restless. We made the joint decision to go to our local emergency room. The plan was to go to the ER, get treated, get something to eat, and come home and watch the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics. Little did we know that we wouldn’t be returning home that night, or that week, heck that month!
The feeling the whole time we were in the ER was a little off. I felt like someone wasn’t telling us something, I just had that feeling. At this point neither Taryn or I had contacted our parents to tell them what we were doing or what was going on. Finally the ER doctor came in and sat down, it was time it was zero hour and the truth was about to come out, she told us that my wife was suffering from severe preeclampsia and we were being transferred out of Taylor Regional Hospital to our OB’s hospital Hardin Memorial in Elizabethtown.
Okay, slow down here we are going to be admitted to the hospital!? Yep, that’s the story. But wait there’s a catch. They have talked to the on call OB at HMH and they won’t take us because Taryn is only 32 weeks pregnant. So this is how we make the trip to Norton’s Hospital in Louisville, KY right next door the Kosair Children’s Hospital. Oh, the hour and a half trip to Louisville was to be made by ambulance.
After the doctor leaves it is mine and Taryn’s first moment alone. She looks up at me in tears “Jake, I’m not ready for this, I’m not ready to be a mom just yet.” Fellas, let me tell you something, you have never felt so powerless in all your life than to hear the woman you love tell you something like that. I reverted back to training I had as a 911 dispatcher I went emotionless, calm, and faced the problem. I assured my wife everything was going to be fine. I told Taryn I needed to call our parents. I called my dad. To this day I haven’t had a conversation this tough. After explaining to Dad what was going on I finished with four words “I’m really scared Dad” and I stayed that way for the next 27 days.
The ER staff called in the OB group from Taylor Regional in so we could have an OB nurse make the trip to Louisville with us, I knew at this point things were getting real, and moving at the speed of light.
The whole family was at Norton’s Hospital when we arrived. It was around 1:10 a.m. when we finally got to our room. Taryn and Conor were under constant monitoring, dings and alarms went off all night. I slept about a total of 15-20 minutes that night. So morning came and this whole time Taryn wasn’t able to eat, so me being the genius I am I decided I’m not going to eat until my wife can. Fun fact: IV’s provide fluids and necessities your body needs, which Taryn was on an IV drip the whole time and I was not, I really did think that out!
The most two vivid conversations with doctors I can remember would be with our new High Risk OB doctor, Dr.How and Dr. Joan Stapp from Neonatal. Dr.How started off with telling us what my wife was suffering from. “Well, you have preeclampsia and only about 3% of women will suffer from HELLP syndrome, and you are in that 3%” I was positive she was going to say she wasn’t in that 3%. She then went through everything that was going to happen with us, she explained the best she could what was going to happen and we would look to deliver around 4:00p.m. Then Dr. Stapp went through everything, how they would help him breathe if he needed it, what we could expect with a NICU stay and she closed with a powerful statement , “With a facility like Kosairs right across the street Conor has a 99% chance of survival.” Those words still ring in my head daily.
The time has come, it was time to have Conor Wayne Hedgespeth make is entrance into this world. They prepped my wife for surgery and I was left to wait outside the OR. A million thoughts running though my head, my son is about to be born, 2 months ahead of time. How? How is this possible? The whole time I am alone waiting, I don’t have my Dad to give me the advice I need to hear, I don’t have my wife and best friend to talk to so I can calm down. It’s just me and God. So I prayed, and I prayed hard. At the time I said “Amen” if felt like a weight was taken off me I literally felt lighter, now I know that was God’s hand resting on my shoulder, assuring me that all was going to be fine.
While waiting I met the NICU team. There were about 5 nurses and 2 Neonatal Doctors; they are the best people in the world. They let me know how everything was going to go, what steps were going to be made and how Conor was going to be treated once out. We walked in and I saw my beautiful wife, I could see the fear in her eyes. I grabbed her hand, kissed her on the forehead, and told her everything was going to be fine. All the sudden there was a rush of commotion, then I heard Dr. How say 16:55. I knew my son was out; Conor was born at 4:55pm July 28th 2012. Taryn looking right at me said “Where is his cry!? I don’t hear him crying!” I can see the shear panic on her face. Then I hear my sons faint cry, I have yet to lay eyes on him but I can tell he sounds tiny. The NICU team gets him breathing his o2 sats were at 90% at room air so they ran oxygen to get him at 100% Then Dr. Karen Bibb who was stepping in for Dr. Stapp told me I could come see him.
I walked the 10 feet which was a mile in my mind. I could see him, I could see my tough little man! I reached out my finger to his hand and said with eyes full of tears “It’s ok buddy, Daddy’s here.” Those little eyes shot open and his cries stopped as to say “Hey! I know that voice! That’s my Daddy!” After that; one of the most awesome yet terrifying hours in my life my Son was whisked away to the Level IV NICU at Kosair Children’s Hospital and would start a journey that would forever change my life.