Valor's Birth Story — Part 1

Some people have birth stories to share. Well, I have a life and near death story to share...with a happy ending of course. This is a scary story, yet wrapped all in love, faith and prayer. Because my son and I visited death's door during this story, it is difficult to recollect and write. I'll be sharing our birth story in a few parts. So here it goes...part 1.

Ps. 46:1 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Monday evening, August 25th, Husband and I were spending a simple evening at home. I grew to a very uncomfortable state. My parents came over to visit, my mom lightly touched my round 17 pound smuggled basketball-baby bump and I reeled back in pain. Something just wasn't right. But pushing it all aside, being in the home stretch of the pregnancy, we wrapped up the evening and went to bed. It was a torrential night's sleep. By morning I decided to call my OB, who was on-call for just another 15 minutes. I was having Braxton hicks contractions, but still in enough discomfort to stay home from work. As I spoke to my OB, she told me to come straight to the hospital's Labor & Delivery Unit for observation. I arrived, got to a room, hospital-gowned up and painfully climbed into bed. Monitors we strapped to my round belly and I heard the rhythmic heartbeat of my little boy. There were touches of contractions, but definitely not the real-deal. The on-call OB came for examination, preformed an ultrasound to rule out a placenta abruption. He mentioned the (low) possibility of kidney stones, or appendix issues. Not fitting the traditional symptoms of any of those diagnosis, he ruled it severe strained muscles. I mean I was in the nesting phase, right? So after a few hours of monitoring, I was sent home for rest, ice compression for my muscles and tyenol. My dad came to drive me home and helped get me settled. I spent the afternoon napping until Husband arrived home. We ordered in Thai but I could hardly take a bite. The pain and contractions were back. This was not a strained muscle. All I remember thinking and saying was, "This is not right. Braxton hicks shouldn't be this painful. This baby is coming." Trying to do diligence, Husband pulled up the timer on his iPhone and we tried timing out the contractions and figure out what was happening. After about 10 minutes, I called my OB. Something was not right. The OB, with concern in his voice told me to return to the hospital right away. Husband and I gathered a few items, got in the car and drove fast. For yet the second time that day, I arrived on the L&D floor, got into a hospital gown, was strapped to monitors and waited. I was placed on a 23 hour observation. By morning I had the two monitors constantly on my belly, an IV coming from my right hand, a blood pressure cuff permanently attached to my left bicep, a pulse monitor attached to my left pointer finger and continued to wait, trying to be calm. Listening to my son's somewhat rhythmic heartbeat.

First thing Wednesday morning I was wheeled around for a battery of tests - lab, ultrasound, MRI...the MRI found fluid filling the cavity around my appendix, and a surgical consult. A surgical team was swiftly compiled. The Director of Surgery, the area's top general surgeon for the appendectomy. OB and L&D support. NICU pediatrician. Neonatal support. And many other surgical and high-risk support staff. A few hours passed as the special team was assembled and an OR was set up for every possible situation that could possibly arise in the surgery. Finally about 2 pm on Wednesday they wheeled me into the pre-op area. As I held Husband's hand I looked at him, wearing a surgical gown and cap, knowing we would be separated for the next few hours and how dangerous of a surgery this was normally, but on top of that being 35 weeks pregnant. As we looked at each other and silently knew all the scary risks, we told each other how much we loved each other and that we would see each other soon. Not knowing the results. Not knowing if I had the ability to live. Not knowing if our little boy that was safely tucked in my womb could withstand the surgery. Not knowing if we would be parents that day. He squeezed my hand tightly and released as they surrounded my bed and rolled me back into the cold, sterile, yet very busy OR. All the medical professionals in that room and in the wings were there - just for me and our baby. My pain was growing worse and worse. I was so scared yet just so eager to be put under so I couldn't feel for just a little while.

After a few hours in surgery, my genius surgeon was successful. He completed an entire appendectomy - that had been ruptured. The entire cavity filled with infection and was able to do it all laparoscopically around my largely pregnant uterus. Unfortunately due to the severity, in surgery, I also lost my right ovary, right Fallopian tube and a section of my intestines. But praise to be alive! After waking, I was told that they were moments away from cutting me completely open and having to deliver our baby boy. But he is strong. Valor held on and was able to stay in-utero. We gave him the right name before we had any idea of the trials we would go through birthing Valor into this world. After the appendectomy, I was left with four incisions and a lovely jp drain hanging from another incision on my right side. After a few hours of recovery, I was returned to my L&D room for rest, healing and continued 24/7 monitoring of our sweet, strong, brave little babe.

To be continued.


  1. Kara, we shall never forget! Grandpa and Grama