By Jessica Brouillard-
An eternally grateful mama says thanks... From the depth of her soul...
My whole life I dreamed of marrying my best friend and becoming a Mom….
I met an amazing man - instantly he was my best friend and very quickly we fell in love - we were married, bought a house, both had jobs that we loved, an amazing family around us and the most fantastic friends anyone could ask for - we had it all…. A few years went by filled with friends getting jobs they loved, others getting married to their best friends, and even some were welcoming beautiful babies into this world - it was time, time for us to start the family we had always dreamed of having.
It was February of 2011 and the blood test (you know, the first one of a million) confirmed it - WE WERE HAVING A BABY! In all our lives there had not been a day that we had been happier - we were over the moon! Our pregnancy continued without a single bout with morning sickness, not one single problem - besides a few days where I couldn't keep my eyes open - pregnancy was bliss. We found out we were having a boy, and he looked PERFECT!
On July 5, 2011 our world was thrown for a whirlwind…. I woke up in the morning to a gush - "What is this? Did I just have an accident? What is going on? It can't be my water breaking - I'm only 25 weeks pregnant!" My husband, Keith, was already off to work (an hour away) so I called the doctor and tried to figure out what was happening. They wanted me to come into the hospital to be checked out - so off I went. I sent Keith a quick text letting him know and told him not to worry, I'm sure everything was fine but he could come back down if he wanted to. Premature birth - what was that? I had never known anyone to have a baby early, maybe a few weeks, but 15 weeks early?? That's just not possible - so I must have just had an accident…..
As the doctor started the ultrasound - I trembled, not knowing what he was going to say. They wouldn't go through all of this if it was something simple - so something must be wrong. Just as he uttered the words, so quietly and gently, "There is no water left…." - my husband walked in the door just as my whole world fell apart - I cried harder than I ever knew possible - WHY???? There was no answer…. Sometimes, bad things happen that you're powerless to prevent and this was one of them.
But there was my husband, holding my hand, listening to the Doctor when I couldn't bare to pick my head up, calling our parents for them to meet us at the hospital that we were being transferred to, gathering my things, and calling my boss to let her know what was happening. It was effortless - he kicked into gear and took a world that just fell apart and put all the pieces back together.
Our son didn't come that day, they were able to stop my labor and after a very long day and a half, they put me up into a room where I would stay on bed rest until 34 weeks (if our son would stay put). Well, he didn't wait that long, but it was a VERY long 2 and a half weeks - we lived for each 12 hour mark. Keith was there and his strength never wavered. I had good days and bad days - but he was there, sleeping on a couch day in and day out, making sure our house was still in order and the lawn was being cut and the mail collected, and in between it all working his full time job without skipping a beat. It seemed like every other day we were being shipped down to Labor and Delivery to just be sent back to sit in my bed and wait - wait and hold on for dear life to keep him in my warm, dark, safe belly.
On Wednesday, July 20th, Keith woke up and started getting ready for work - I got up to use the bathroom and felt that same "gush" all over again - did my water just break again? I didn't think much of it - so off to work Keith went and I, as I had for the past two weeks, just sat and waited. They did my morning tracings and saw that I was having some contractions - news to me, cause I couldn't feel anything. Well, I couldn't at that moment....but then they started, it felt like there was a tennis ball inside my belly pushing to try and get out through my belly button. I called my Mother In Law, because now, I was scared and she lived closest to the hospital - and I needed someone, anyone, to come and tell me everything was fine. I text Keith too, but told him to stay at work, I'm sure this was the same thing - send me down to Labor and Delivery and I'd be back before lunch time.
Just over an hour later, as I sat in silence with my Mother In Law - in walked my husband. "I couldn't just stay at work and wait, what's going on?" There he was again - in a moment when truly, all I wanted was him to hold me (but of course, being me, I never really say what I want because I didn't want to bother him) - he was there - and I didn't even have to say it. Down we went, just like we suspected to Labor and Delivery - in went the Magnesium (again - for what felt like the thousandth time) - and we waited. The nurses loved when we came down - it was nice and easy - throw a bunch of Magnesium in me and just sit and wait for everything to stop. My husband sat next to my bed with my Mac and typed a paper for a class I was taking for me as I gave it to him verbatim. He got me water when I felt flushed, rubbed my back when I was uncomfortable, and took away my worries with just one kiss on the forehead. We stayed down there until about 4:30pm - and they said, OK, you're going back to your room. So up we went again, to sit and wait.
Dinner came and I wasn't that hungry so I didn't eat. Then I started feeling contractions again - the nurse told me after my most recent tracing that if they got any worse to call them right away. I think I held my breath a few times to pretend it wasn't happening - again! Keith sat by my side, timing my contractions minute by minute and keeping track so he could tell the nurses whatever they needed to know. In they came, and I had to tell them that they were worse - so down we went again..."This is an extreme precaution, I'm sure you'll be back up here again tonight, just want to make sure everything is OK."
Down we went for the second time that day - but this time was different, this time I felt different. This was really going to happen - we made it two and a half weeks - but this little boy of ours was ready to enter the world. Keith held my hand the whole way - and while we sat there - hoping that my intuition was wrong - my contractions got worse. I told him it was time to make the call - so off he went to call our parents, to wake them out of bed at 3am for them to come to the hospital, but this time it was real.
They gave me my epidural around 5am - we started pushing at 5:31am, and at 5:39am the most beautiful, perfect little boy came into this world. Weighing in at 2lbs 7oz and a mere 14inches long - he kicked his way into the world and our hearts. I sobbed when I heard him cry and just held onto my husband with all that I had. As they wheeled him past us and off to the NICU, they turned his head towards us - and he stared directly into my eyes, directly into my soul - like he was telling me, "Hey, Mom & Dad, I got this!"
My husband, through every up and down - through my laughter and my tears - stood strong and never waivered. Through 56 days in the NICU (I don't know what we did, but our son read the handbook and flew through his time there) - weight gains, weight losses, 1mL feedings, quiet days, feisty days, room changes, cheering for bowel movements, late night and early morning phone calls, my own unpredictable mindset, and some of the hardest days of our lives - my husband was my constant. No matter what I said, how much I cried, how much I laughed - he was right there through it all - showing a strength that I had never seen from him before.
I always knew he was an amazing husband, and I knew he would be a great Dad one day - but I never even imagined how great of a Dad he would be. He puts 150% of everything he has to give into his family, he ALWAYS puts his family first, and even though he works 60-70 hours a week - you would never know it, because he is our sons best friend, and he is my superhero.
Thank you is not even enough for my dear husband, as I don't think I will ever be able to come up with the right words for all that he's done and how much it all means. The funny thing is, he does it all and doesn't even realize he's doing it - it's just him - strong, compassionate, loving, selfless, hardworking, giving, honest, and the rock that holds our family together! Thanks to him - our son is 21 months old and shows no signs of being born 13 weeks early - and I attribute that to the fact that my husband was every bit of involved as possible - and worked with me and our specialists to achieve great things with our baby boy.
Keith, you completed me the day that we were married - and since then, you have made every dream I have ever had for my/our life come true. There is no man in the world that could ever compare to you and all you have done and continue to do and be for our family. From the depths of my heart - I'm thankful for you....In no way, would I ever want to live a life without you by my side. I look forward to new and exciting adventures with our family and to one day, a long time from now, be rocking on the front porch together - still holding hands and laughing. I love you babe - more and more every single day!