In my twenty-seventh week of pregnancy, I was in the midst of decorating our son’s nursery and planning the “baby shower of the century.” My biggest problem at the moment was party favors: succulents or local honey. At least until that fateful Friday afternoon when my phone rang and displayed my doctor’s contact information. The results arrived from my appointment earlier that week and some of my levels were so abnormal, namely my proteinuria and platelet count, that an error in the lab was seemingly the only explanation why I was still alive. Not only was I alive, I was happy, healthy, and enjoying my pregnancy to the fullest. I was asked to head to triage at the hospital to have the labs repeated, only for the results to be even higher the second time. My blood pressure was through the roof as I filled out my admission paperwork to begin my extended hospital stay. Preeclampsia had hit me like a brick – quick, hard, and out of nowhere (because who throws bricks, anyway?). Our Valentine’s Day weekend celebration suddenly transformed from a romantic candlelit dinner, our last as a family of two, into a whirlwind of DNRs, consent forms, steroid injections, and magnesium drips. By Sunday morning, I was whisked off to the operating room to deliver our son via emergency c-section, just beyond the 28-week viability milestone.
Flynn Reilly was born at 10:34 am on a sunny February morning, weighing just over two pounds and measuring about fourteen inches long. I wouldn’t get to see him for the next two days but, boy, did I love every ounce of him. Love truly can be blind at times and without ever seeing his face, I knew that I would stop a moving train for him.
In the NICU, I saw things that I wouldn’t wish on any parent. I witnessed things that I’ll always wish I could unsee. Every single part of me was tested: my hope, my will, my strength, even pieces of me that I didn’t know existed before ached so deeply. Through it all, for each one of those forty-nine days, this tiny little person contained a soul too big to contain. I’ll never forget the fight that lived in the smallest body I’d ever seen. He seemed so frail, yet even in the moments when I had just one small sliver of hope left, he’d show me what strength truly is. I’d given birth to a superhero, one that would not only teach me how to be a mom, but what the word “mother” truly means. Through association, I learned how to be a Supermom, a mom fit for a child who exhibits the inspirational qualities and tenacity of a true superhero.