Like many young parents, we didn’t plan to be parents when we were surprised with a baby. We were weeks away from beginning our senior year of college when we found out we were expecting. We thought, how can this be? We had used protection every time, except for that one night when I came home from my study abroad trip. Even then, we bought Plan B emergency contraception the next day. We were scared at first, but we made ends meet. We had an accident, but we were ready to assume the responsibility of being parents and give the best life possible to our little baby. Now that our son is a year old, I often wonder, will I tell him the truth about him being an accident or should we pretend like we planned it to save him from any potential heartache?
Call me crazy, but it’d be pretty hard to convince anyone that we planned on having a baby, out of wedlock, during our last year of college. So it’s hard to believe my son will buy it too. Plenty of babies are accidents, but that doesn’t mean they’re mistakes. Our son has been the biggest blessing of our life, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Because of that, I’ve decided it’s only fitting we tell him the truth, should he ask. We teach our kids honesty is the best policy, after all. In all reality, our son was a miracle baby, so why wouldn’t we tell him the miracle story of his birth?
We later found out during my pregnancy that our estimated date of conception was indeed the night I returned from Scotland. This would be the first time, EVER, that we failed to use protection. How lucky we must have been and how perfect was the timing that even Plan B didn’t work? Plan B is supposed to be 95% effective when administered within 24 hours. A whole day hadn’t even passed when we scoured the local pharmacy for the family planning aisle. Maybe it was because I used a coupon for that little, white pill, or maybe our little baby was just predestined.
Before our little "accident," I had tried so hard to get on birth control. I wanted to do it in a way to where my father wouldn't find out through his Explanation of Benefits, since he was the insurance policy holder. It's every girl's worst fear to have their father find out they're sexually active. So instead of going through a provider within network, I opted to visit the local college clinic. Everything was going well. The birth control shot wasn't going to be too expensive and it was going to last a whole 3 months. I was ready! As the nurse was washing her hands getting ready to administer the injection, she has some sort of epiphany and asks me if I've ever considered getting the arm implant instead? She tells me it will last a lot longer and I can get it at a local free clinic. I ask if I can still get it for free if I already have health insurance. She says it doesn't bother to go in person and ask. And at the moment, I think she's right. So we hold off on the shot and decide if they turn me down, I'll return the next day.
Well, I head over to the free clinic and am met by a very rude woman who tells me their services are reserved only for patients without health insurance. I thank her politely for her time and decide I will go back to the school clinic the next day. Except it wasn't open the next day. Or the day after that. Or the weeks leading up to my study abroad trip in Scotland. As I would find out months later, the clinic shut down for the majority of the summer due to the unexpected death of one of the directors. It was truly a sad coincidence. I look back on this incident and think because this one person died, my son lived. I could be upset by the whole situation, but I take it as another sign that my son was just meant to live this life.
I remember on different occasions little signs hinting at my pregnancy. One time, for no reason at all, my boyfriend rubbed my belly lovingly. He immediately apologized saying he didn’t know why he did that. On another occasion when I was terribly sick, I joked that I was probably so sick because I was pregnant. Little did I know at the time, I was. I had even been given a pregnancy test at the clinic when I was sick, but it was too early in the pregnancy for a positive.
By the time I found out I was pregnant, I had managed to find a clinic that would see me and provide me with birth control after passing yet another pregnancy test. I had been taking the birth control pill for over a week when I found out the big news! Our son had defeated all the odds.
Our little miracle baby fought so hard to be in this world countless times. When our results were in for the quad screen, we got the call no expecting mother wants to answer. We were asked to come in person for our results. Nothing good ever comes out of that, I thought. Our obstetrician had me sit down and explained that my results came back abnormal for Trisomy 18. We asked what this meant, and she explained that should our baby have Trisomy 18, our baby won't survive. We were devastated, to say the least. The doctor offered us further testing to confirm or deny the results, and we agreed to it. After more than a week of waiting, we were told the results came back as normal. Our baby had beaten the odds again!
Fast forward to approximately two weeks before my due date, and I was about ready to pop. On April 14, 2018, I was leading a volunteer group at a local beach clean up. The weather was gloomy and rainy, but we persisted and carried on with the clean up. After a long day of hard work, we ate some lunch and went home. As I was lounging around, I began to notice a lack of movement in my belly. I immediately started to worry, so I drank some juice to try to stimulate some movement… nothing. I really became concerned after an hour had passed, so I called the on-call nurse and was told to come in to be checked. When we arrived, I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and my son’s heartbeat appeared as normal. Finally, we could breathe. But the tide quickly turned when my son’s heart rate began to dip. Nurses rushed in and I was immediately taken in for an emergency C-section.
When my baby was delivered, he was pale… very pale. A quick test revealed he was very anemic and it later became clear, our son had suffered from a condition called fetal maternal hemorrhage. This occurs when blood fails to recirculate back into the placenta resulting in a very anemic baby. Some believe it can happen due to trauma or without cause at all. Many babies don’t survive this condition, as mothers realize the situation when it’s already too late. For over a week, our son was being treated for his blood loss in the NICU. He needed five blood transfusions and a breathing tube. But our little fighter never gave up. Everyday, he showed signs of improvement. Finally, after a long week of ups and downs, our little baby was able to come home.
So yes, we could lie and say we planned on having a baby our senior year. Or, we could be honest and share with Maxon his pretty kickass story of how he beat Plan B, Trisomy 18, and fetal maternal hemorrhage. I think we’ll go for the latter. Just because he was an accident doesn’t mean we have any less love for him. I want my son to understand that even accidents can be beautiful and can lead to something great. I am thankful everyday for this “accident” that led to the most wonderful thing in my life.