The Last First Birthday…More Than Just a Gift.

Today is special for many many many reasons. It is a birthday. It is a first birthday. It is the last first birthday. We are both alive to share it.

When I was pregnant with Tank they found blood in his bowels, too much fluid in his kidneys. Symptoms of all kinds of scary birth defects, and Down syndrome. So I did genetic testing, filled out papers, had blood drawn and many ultrasounds until I gave birth. They broke my water and he’d been in my oven dry as a fish out of water for hours, his heart rate and mine quivered up and down. Tank was born healthy, lovely, three weeks early and fought to the bitter end to stay safely hidden away.

I had complained from about my sixteenth week of pregnancy of not being able to breathe. It wasn’t my anxiety. I felt like I had COPD, lung cancer. Stairs were nearly impossible to take on. My doc never listened. By the half way mark of my pregnancy I was grabbing the headboard to stretch out my torso…all in an attempt to breathe. Still, nobody would listen. I was sent to the ER for high blood pressure a few times, pain in my upper right abdomen, and my right shoulder. Nothing. All anyone told me was that ‘I was older/the more babies the harder on your body it is/you’re just fine dear.’ So when I gave birth I just knew I’d be able to breathe again. That final push was, in my mind, curing me of this terrifying suffocation. No.


Nine days, and two pain pill prescriptions later I begged to be seen by the doc. Apparently not understanding my plight they put me in a room with a nurse practitioner who, to my surprise, listened more than any of the doc’s I had seen in the last 10 months. She told me to go straight to the ER, and assumed I had a clot in my lung. No.

I was admitted after a few hours, and after blood work, scans, ultrasounds, pee-in-the-cup-tricks, and poking/prodding they realized I had fluid around my heart which was struggling to beat, and had been for some time apparently. I had fluid around my damaged liver, which caused my liver enzymes to sky rocket, and my gallbladder, which was not functioning-at all. So they started me on a diuretic, which blessed me with the super woman power of super long potty trips, which was the color of shiny new pennies, and I lost 11 lbs. of fluid in under four hours. My diagnosis was HELLP syndrome. All because I was ‘whining’. Alas the symptoms have lingered and I often feel out of breath, tired, and catch every cold that comes my way. My gallbladder is slowly healing and the fluid in my legs is receding day by day by day….so there’s that to be thankful for on my end.

I could have had so many terrible things come out of all of this, but instead I had my last baby, perfect in every way, given to me, as if I was worthy enough. I’m so blessed.

My son JJ came to me a few months ago and we had the sweetest, most telling and wise conversation I think I could ever have with him…

“Mama, I know why you are having another baby…”
“You do? And why do think I’m having this baby?”
“Because you don’t want to be lonely.”

That just cuts deep. So true. So sweet/sad.

I can’t imagine a life without Tank, or any of our kids for that matter. This birthday is more than just my last first birthday. It is my last time to BE here, with my young one, and not be lonely. This fact is so very sad for me, but also, it is one of the most revealing, and by far the larger whole of my heaven.



***Happy First Birthday Tank. You are my heart, and you keep me beating. ***


13 thoughts on “The Last First Birthday…More Than Just a Gift.

  1. Happy belated birthday to Tank and delivery day to you! With all those children, you’ll never be lonely, Bits, even if they spread themselves across the country (or even the planet). No matter what happens, they’ll always love you.

    I was so lucky my preeclampsia didn’t lead to HELLP, but I feel for you so much on being ignored by doctors. They ignored me about the preeclampsia symptoms right up until I was brought in for an emergency induction. The kindest doctor I had was a resident who not only cared for me, but made me feel like she cared *about* me. That quality can be so rare in the medical field, and yet I can only imagine what they’ve gone through and had to become to be able to see and handle so much suffering…

    Ultimately, all that matters (as you’ve written) are your and your son’s life and your gratitude for both. And for what it’s worth, I imagine anyone who’s ever known you (and those of us who are only luck enough to “know” you through your words and blog posts) are grateful to have met you.

    As you celebrate Tank, we celebrate you. Thank you, as always, for the beauty of your words and your wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truly, I’m very blessed. I just went to yet another doc, who was astounded at all my ob/gyn missed.
      We have so many birthdays, and I never get tired of the decorations, the love, the time shared. At this time last year I was still in so much pain…physically and emotionally. My situational depression just sucked what little I had in my heart right out of me. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
      I’m blushing because of your kindness, and the acceptance you and so many others have shown me. I’m not use to it! (I’m giggling. So embarrassing! Glad nobody sees me just now!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really a heartwarming story, I am so glad that you and your baby are ok..I hope your health continues to get better. I see from your other posts that you have a number of large challenges that you and your family are going through. I will pray for you all to get through it with God’s grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh he’s just beautiful. Happy belated Tank.
    I’m sickened that no one heard you out. I personally deal with this often, because I’m agoraphobic, I’m automatically dismissed as anxious or a hypochondriac. The last time no one listened, I too got a nurse practitioner. She was great. It turned out I was extremely anemic and my body is not storing iron. Sour now they are taking me seriously, and I have a hemotologist. It’s sad and so scary when no one really listens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy 1st Tank! My gosh, he is a beautiful baby and so glad he’s healthy! So all along, there was nothing wrong with him, but rather your heart? My gosh, you must have been in a panic! You poor thing. I’m glad you are ok too- too bad they couldn’t just have listened. You know your body better than anyone and it wasn’t your first rodeo!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. His sweet smile tells it all — love!!
    PS Consider going to a naturopath for ideas on how to boost your immune system and heal those hard-hit organs. I am no health guru , but had good success when my body was weakened by overuse of antibiotics.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so saddened and frustrated at how long it took someone to listen to you, but glad someone finally did. (On a related note, I’d highly recommend the book How Doctors Think.)

    I’m glad you and your baby are both here and here, and I hope there are many wonder-filled years ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All’s well that ends well right?!? Thank you! I don’t think my post does nearly enough to show how grateful I am that we are both well. But I am. And now I must prepare for round two of birthday fun time! Yay!

      Liked by 1 person

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