Margaret Esther

In order to really understand why my Maggie is such a miracle, you need to know that for a long time I thought I would not be able to have children.

With the severity of my Crohn’s disease and the intense treatments I’ve been on, and the surgeries I’ve had, I was under the impression that I would never be able to be healthy enough to be pregnant. It was something I came to terms with, but something that was hard, and became more difficult once I got married and really wanted to have a baby.

My doctors gave us the green light.  And we didn’t expect it. The medicine that I’m currently on and put me in remission, I was told to stay on.  We did lots of research and the doctors didn’t even consider me to be high risk.

Throughout my pregnancy, I felt good overall. Once Maggie started to get bigger she began pushing on my ostomy. I ended up in the er one day because she started to force my intestines out of my body- prolapsing them. I sat in the er with my husband  for hours until someone could help us, and we had a series of doctors who ended up pushing them back in with sheer force. And then they told me that there was no way to know if it would happen again, and if it did the best option would be for me to push them in myself.  Throughout the rest of the pregnancy I had several times when I had to do just that, always with a sense of panic. I kept track of the weeks; every week we got through meant Maggie would be more healthy and if something happened she would be more ok coming early.

And then we hit 36 weeks and I could take a breath. We started to get more excited and set up the nursery and instead of worrying about intestines I started to worry about labor. I really wanted to try without an epidural. I did research on what to expect and started watching for contractions. And in week 38 they started in the middle of PARCC testing my students, and quickly were about 5 minutes apart consistently. My husband and mom told me to go to the hospital even though the nurse on call said it was too early- we went in and I expected to be turned away. We checked in around 6 that night, and the contractions went from being manageable to severely painful and close together, but I wasn’t progressing. I threw up and the nurses went from saying they would probably keep me to calling the doctor in and rolling me over in the bed, trying to find Maggie’s heartbeat better. Her heart rate started to drop and they took me away for an emergency c section, where they didn’t have time for an epidural, they just put me under.

Maggie was born at 8:40pm, April 17. Her full name is Margaret Esther. She is named after my grandma, a woman that I loved and admired deeply. Her middle name is after the biblical Esther, a woman that I respect. Caleb’s family uses biblical names and we wanted to respect their tradition in our daughter.

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Maggie is our miracle, and she came into the world quickly and with force. She seems to already know what she wants.

I am so blessed to be her mom. I am so blessed to have the love and support of our family and friends as they have surrounded us with help as we’ve transitioned our way into parenthood. It isn’t glamorous. Just a few minutes ago she spat up milk all over me and she has a blocked tear duct so I am wiping goop out of her eye. She seems to have a knack for knowing when I’m changing her diaper so that she can aim an extra helping of whatever is filling her diaper for me to catch. She screams bloody murder when she figures out it’s bed time but she’ll sleep for hours in my arms during the day. She’s so boring sometimes and so infinitely interesting in other moments; her personality is beginning to flesh itself out. She has no patience, just like her mother, and when she’s fast asleep nothing wakes her, just like her dad. When she wakes up she stretches in every direction, her legs sticking straight up in the air and her toes outstretched. She loves to stare at the blinds in the window and the patterns on the couch and at Caleb’s eyebrows.

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She made me into a mom, over the course of nine months and a couple of very scary hours of labor and surgery. I went to work one day and everything was normal, and at the end of the day a brand new person was here, and our lives will never be the same.

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So welcome to our daughter, our lovely little Margaret Esther. May you be filled with joy and wonder like your great grandmother, may you build community like her and build a tribe of people in your life that love you. And may you be brave, like Esther; may you do what is right even when it’s terrifying. May you know that you were born for such a time as this. You are so loved, and you don’t even know us yet.

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