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Jonathan's Story...our precious gift from God

by Rebekah Mitchell

Shortly after my husband, Byron, and I were married, I was diagnosed with a kidney disease. I was told that having children would be a risk. Nearly two years later, we conceived our first child. I was put to bed the last 10 weeks, but thankfully delivered a full-term, healthy baby boy. Shortly after Byron, Jr.'s third birthday, we decided we were ready to have another baby. One of my nephrologists (kidney specialist) told me she didn't think it was a very good idea. But my main nephrologist and my ob/gyn thought it would be okay. They reminded me of my risks (not able to conceive, miscarriage, premature birth, and KIDNEY FAILURE), but told me the decision was up to Byron and me and since I didn't lose any kidney function with my first pregnancy, hopefully I wouldn't this time either. At this point my kidneys were functioning at about 22%.

So in December 1994, we conceived our second baby. I began having trouble very early on. Before my first trimester was over, my blood pressure was extremely elevated. My ob/gyn told me we were definitely in for a long haul. In April, I was told our baby was a boy. I was so excited!! Two boys!! We decided to name him Jonathan Daniel. I have always loved the name Jonathan and when I discovered the meaning of the name (precious gift from God) I loved it even more. Daniel came from my grandfather. Anyway, I remained somewhat stabilized until 24 weeks gestation. At this point my ob/gyn put me to bed. He said he didn't want to take any chances of me not getting to 30 weeks. And when/if I got to 30 weeks, he would sigh a big sigh of relief. It soon became evident that the pregnancy was causing me to lose kidney function. How much? They couldn't tell for sure because the test that most accurately determines this could not be performed on a pregnant woman. So at 27 weeks gestation, my nephrologist called me and told me he was going to hospitalize me the next day. He said the baby would need to be taken within the next 2-3 days to prevent me from going into kidney failure. I was devastated!! Too early for a baby to be born;they can survive, but usually with a lot of problems. The next day I was admitted in labor and delivery. We met with all my doctors and the neonatologists. We were given all the stats on a baby born that early. In the midst of all this, my ob/gyn was clearly upset. He did not think it was necessary for my baby to be born. We were at the point of whose health do we consider here? I was NOT in kidney failure...yet. But how close do we push it? Well thankfully I was allowed to continue my pregnancy for 2.5 more weeks.

On Friday, June 23, Big and Little Byron spent the night with me in the hospital (Big Byron always did). Little Byron slept in my hospital bed with me; I truly needed that security. That night I had a dream that a baby died. It was so real. The next morning when I woke up I assumed the dream came from hearing "code blue...special care nursery" on the loud speaker during the night. Byron, Sr. had a meeting at church that morning and left little Byron asleep in my bed. I took all my vitamins and pills on an empty stomach that morning which led to nausea and vomiting. At around 10:00a.m. I paged Byron and told him to come back because I was really sick. I then got back in my hospital bed and cuddled very close to little Byron. At that point, Jonathan began to kick really, really hard. I remember thinking that I wished little Byron was awake so he could feel his little brother. Seconds later as I was lying on my left side, I felt his body move upward. I thought that was weird since I was on my left side, shouldn't gravity keep his body down? Later Byron came back, dressed little Byron and made me a sandwich. Byron's dad then came and picked up little Byron (thankfully he was not there).

At about 1:00p.m., my nephrologist came in my room and told me that my labs were not good. I would be 30 weeks in a few days so he was calling it "game over" and to expect a baby Monday or Tuesday. At the end of our conversation, my nurse came in to do routine vitals on the baby and me. Before she got started I asked her if a baby had died last night. She said no. I asked her if she was sure because it was so real to me. Seconds later, she could not find a heartbeat on Jonathan. She called in another nurse assuming it was her doppler. When Lyn couldn't get a heartbeat either, they ordered fetal monitors. I was still not suspecting anything. They immediately began closing my curtains, turning off the lights, and ordered my friend to leave the room. As my friend sat in the waiting room, she said my room # was coming over the loud speaker and staff began running to my room. About that time, my ob/gyn happened to walk in the room. He was not aware of the problem at that time. Then a gurney was wheeled in as well as an IV bag. This was all happening so fast! My doctor angrily ordered the gurney and the IV bag away. He knew this was upsetting me and could not jeopardize my blood pressure. By this time they were performing a sonogram and I was getting very nervous. I finally got the nerve to look at the screen and saw my lifeless baby. Then very slowly (it seemed), everyone began to drop their heads, turn off the machines, and file out of my room. My doctor along with two nurses remained. I asked him if my baby was dead (although I think I knew). He tearfully told me yes. I opted to have a C-section. They had to wait several hours since I had just eaten the sandwich. So at around 8:40p.m. my otherwise perfect 2lb 12oz, 15inch long baby was born. Five days later we buried our precious gift from God next to his great-grandfather, Daniel.

It has now been one year since my beloved baby died. It has been a long, hard road of grief, but with the Lord, we have survived.

I love you my precious baby Jonathan. Until we meet again...

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