Completing Our Family, Part III {A Story of Loss and Hope in Three Parts}

Vanessa continues the story of her quest to complete her family. After two miscarriages, two complicated pregnancies, a traumatic and premature birth, she and her husband knew that, despite the warnings from family and friends, they were meant to have another baby. At this point in her story, she is in her third trimester, pregnant with their baby baby, who was diagnosed at 32 weeks with Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR).

Read Part I
Read Part II

“The weekend leading up to my growth scan appointment I started to feel sick like I did with Jackson and Eva when I had preeclampsia. I spent most of the weekend in bed resting. I had headaches, elevated blood pressure and pain in my right side. On Monday at my appointment my blood pressure was elevated again and Lincoln’s growth went from the 7th percentile overall to the 3rd percentile. In the meantime I hadn’t been gaining weight and my belly wasn’t growing and my doctor decided it was time to admit me.

I was admitted to antepartum because there were no open rooms in labor and delivery. Another doctor came in about an hour after I was admitted to discuss the plan for me. We would be moved to labor and delivery as soon as a bed was open and I would be started on the mag drip to help with my preeclampsia. It’s a nasty drug and I wasn’t thrilled about it.

This doctor had done my second D&C in 2010 and is one of the other high risk doctors. I was happy to know that if my doctor couldn’t deliver me that this doctor could. They worked together the whole time on the plan for me. So on Monday I just rested and waited for a room to open up. I was checked and to my surprise was dilated one centimeter and was told I was 50% effaced also. At 1am on April 1st I was moved to L&D.

Once in L&D they did one dose of Cytotec. I had been contracting regularly the day before so they hoped that this would be all that they would need to do. They had planned to administer three doses every four hours but after the fourth, my contractions were coming too frequently to do anymore. So they tried Pitocin. I had really wanted them to just break my water since that is what put me into labor with both Jackson and Eva but Lincoln was still high and they were worried about a prolapsed cord which would cause an emergency C-section.

So we did Pitocin, and there was no change – exactly what my husband and I expected. So we decided in the afternoon to stop the Pitocin and try to get my contractions to stop so I could try Cytotec again. The doctor said we’d be having a baby one way or another the next day and I was really hoping my body would just cooperate to have him naturally just as I was able to with the other two kids. I had a massive migraine all day on Tuesday which was awful. We were finally able to get it to calm down by the night. I was hoping and praying that things would go well the next day.

Starting the evening of April 1st they once again gave me my first dose of Cytotec and I was actually able to have a second dose. But after the second dose my contractions were once again too regular for a third. So that morning we waited to see what the doctor would decide. He came in just after 11 am and checked me. I was two centimeters dilated but still pretty thick and Lincoln was still high. He said, “Well, we’re having a baby one way or another and you said breaking your water will do it so that is what we’re going to do.”

At about 11:15 he broke my water and started Pitocin again. At that time I just rested for a few hours and changed positions in the bed often. I had asked Sheryl, my nurse, if I could take a bath and she found some cordless monitors so that I could. It was awesome. I spent an hour relaxing in there. {Side note, Sheryl was an awesome nurse I met when I was in labor with Eva and we had stayed in contact over the past two-and-a-half years. She was my nurse on April 1st and came in on her day off on April 2nd to be my nurse again!}

After the bath I go out and dressed again and Sheryl said it was time to walk. Matt and I spent half an hour walking the halls until around 4:15 in the afternoon. We came back in since I felt like my contractions were changing. Sheryl checked me at 4:35. I was a three and thinned out (FINALLY) and our baby had come down a bit. She said that he was feeling the contractions because he was having decels with them.

The doctor came in and had me wear oxygen for a bit. We were not sure which way it would go since at this point I was only three centimeters dilated and could be in labor for hours longer. I still didn’t have an epidural either and really didn’t want to but I had some incredible pain and finally caved and asked for it. While we waited the contractions were beyond intense. I felt like such a baby because I kept thinking, how can I be in so much pain and only three centimeters dilated?! Little did I know, I was progressing incredibly quickly.

It took the anesthesiologist a while to get to me. I thought about asking to be checked first but it hadn’t been long since the last check so I thought again, There is no way I have progressed that much. I remember saying to Matt that I felt like I was complete already. At this point Sheryl had to leave due to a family commitment. She thought I would be at least a few hours more. Once I had my epidural and the anesthesiologist was leaving I asked the nurse to check me and so she got the doctor and – what do you know, I was complete!

I, along with everyone else, was incredibly shocked. No wonder I had been in so much pain. The epidural never took effect because it was given too late when he was too low so I was feeling it all (my epidural didn’t work with Jackson either). Once the doctor checked me he told me that if I felt pressure to get him because it would be soon. I said okay and he went to leave. He got to the door and I yelled at the nurse to get him back because I had to push.

Image3 lincoln birth

She got him in and phoned NICU as I was doing my best not to push. The doctor and my husband got into position for Lincoln to be born and in two pushes he was out. Matt was able to help guide him out as he did with both Jackson and Eva. They cut the cord and had to take him away right away to work on getting him to cry. He was born at 5:33 in the afternoon, when less than an hour ago I had only been dilated to a three.

Since my epidural never worked I was sitting up on the bed when they took him so I could kind of see them working on him. It took just a bit to get him to cry by rubbing his back and then he did. He looked PERFECT! We knew immediately he was smaller than Eva and when they finally weighed him he was 4 lbs even. I was beyond thrilled because on Monday they had said he was 4 lbs 1 oz on the ultrasound and I was praying it was accurate (as it was for Eva). When I found out that he was really indeed 4 lbs I cried.

Image4 lincoln birth

image5 lincoln birth

It was a crazy fast labor and I felt every pain with it and I am SO glad that I got to experience that. This was not the labor I had hoped and dreamed of but out of my three, it was the closest I got to little intervention. I did not need the internal monitors like I did my daughter. I was not incredibly sick like I was my first son. I was alert the whole time and able to experience all of it including the pain.

After they got him cleaned up a bit they brought him to me to do kangaroo care for about 15 minutes. Ahhhhhh I was so thankful that we got to do that!!! After about 15 minutes, though, they had to take him to the NICU and Matt went with him. The nurse knew how bad I wanted to get over there so less than an hour after he was born I stood up and got in the wheel chair to go and see him. He was perfect and I got to hold his hand and be there with him while our kids were on their way to meet him too.

image7 lincoln birth

They came in and saw him and were in love! Especially Eva. She kept wanting to touch him and kiss him. It was adorable. They only stayed a short time and then we had them taken home. We were told in the NICU there was a chance that Lincoln would join me in my room that night. I could hardly believe It. There was no way! But I was so excited!

Lincoln was not able to join us that evening back in our room. In fact, he had several setbacks which kept him in the NICU for 17 days. He lost some weight and got down to 3 lbs 12 ounces and was not able to maintain his body temperature. He had to be in an incubator for a week. He had some issues feeding as well and was jaundiced and required a special blanket. The worst was apnea.

He had several spells where he stopped breathing and started turning grayish. It was incredibly scary. He was put on a dose of caffeine and I was told he would go home on a heart monitor. Thank God I was able to room in with my littlest man and we worked on breastfeeding. After 17 long days Lincoln came home the day before Easter. We were able to baptize our son on Mother’s Day which was incredibly special to me.

image8 lincoln birth

image9 lincoln birth

He is the missing piece to our family. His birth has completed us. Pregnancy and deliveries have never been easy on me but I would do it all in a heartbeat to have my three living children here with me today. I think about my angels in heaven every day and know that someday we will meet again. I might not hold them in my arms but I always hold them in my heart.

image 10 lincoln at 3 months

Like so many women, my pregnancies and deliveries were far from what I had hoped for but I made the best of my situation. I feel so grateful to have had a wonderful doctor and team around me as well as a great support system. My husband and I are thankful for these blessings and as I finish typing this and watch my littlest miracle sleep I feel humbled by what God has given me. I am truly blessed.”


Professional photos by Tera Ward Photography, Michigan.


  • Pamela

    I share this with all mothers of heaven born babies- I have 4 of my own- a daughter I delivered at 6.5 months knowing she would never see me with her eyes- Lauren. A set of twins that my uterus wasn’t constructed for after 7 years of endometriosis- and the baby I found out I was carrying on my rainbow daughters first birthday- he was born in heaven 3 days after we found out the gender at 19weeks. This song makes me feel a little better about it.

  • Sarah

    What a beautiful story of hope. God has certainly blessed your family. We lost our daughter the day after she was born at 41 weeks. My current pregnancy has been smooth, thank God, but I have been quite anxious about the delivery since my last one did not turn out the way we had hoped. Thank you for sharing your story!

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