The blood was pooling. I tried reassuring my wife while rushing her to the hospital, but she knew what was happening. The admitting nurse validated our fears by asking, "How far along were you?"
The word miracle is overused. However, few others describe our daughter, Skylar Nicole. You can see the photo on the left. So you know we could not have asked for a better ending to this story. However, a better beginning and middle would have been effing nice.
According to our IVF doctor, there was only a 20 percent chance of the embryo implanting, much less attending college. (I won't bore you with the specifics, but my wife and I are the Baron and Baroness of barrenness.) The day before our appointment with the adoption agency, Jo Ann called me weeping even more inconsolably than after being quoted those odds. She was pregnant.
The midnight dash to the hospital was a false alarm. The fetus had tapped into a blood vessel. However, my wife's cervix was the real emergency. It was practically nonexistent. (Most was removed due to cancer when she was 22. But she was assured by the oncologist that she would still be able to bear children.) An emergency cerclage was required, followed by six months of strict bed rest.
At 3 a.m. on a random Wednesday, Jo Ann flicked on our bedroom light and asked if I was ready to meet our daughter. A clear, odorless liquid drenched her legs. She was just shy of her eighth month. A nurse at the same hospital tested a sample of the liquid. We were then discharged because, we were told, her water hadn't broken yet.
On Thursday, the flow increased. Freaked out, we returned to the hospital, but the discharge was again followed by a discharge. What was this clear, odorless liquid? "We don't know," a nurse said. "But it doesn't test positive for amniotic fluid." (The test, we discovered later, is only 95 percent accurate.)
On Saturday afternoon, the baby stopped kicking. Jo Ann didn't want to return to the hospital just to be sent back home again, but I insisted. Glucose and electrical stimulation were administered. There was no response. A NICU doctor was summoned to resuscitate.
Holding my wife's hand while she was sliced like a brisket, I made a promise I wasn't authorized to make: that everything would be OK.
This pool of blood was a more welcome sight. Our daughter was being plucked from it, pink and crying.
To all those hoping for their own miracle, it can happen. Skylar Nicole, who turns 3 on February 12, is proof.
Has someone in your life beaten the baby odds, too?