Thursday, August 14, 2008

Morgan Kate's Story

Call it mother's intuition. About twenty-four hours after seeing the positive on our home pregnancy test I began to worry. Now, I realize that many women worry while pregnant, but I was borderline obsessive. For weeks I couldn't even enjoy being pregnant because I was consumed with this fear. The fear of something going wrong. The fear of something bad happening. Travis and my mom thought I was nuts. I am sure my friends were tired of hearing about all my worries. And my poor co-workers, bless them. I vividly remember praying to God and telling him how bad I wanted this and that I would be the best mom I could be. Around week twelve my mind began to ease and I began to feel more comfortable. However, it wasn't too long before the worrying began again. This time the worrying was around week twenty-three and I just couldn't shake it. I even scheduled a doctor's appointment to attempt to put my mind at ease. So much for putting my mind at ease. Looking back, I guess it was a mother's intuition.

Thursday, August 14, 2008
On August 14th, my first day back at work from summer vacation, I had an afternoon doctor's appointment. There were a few things I had questions about and a few things I wanted the doctor to "check out". You have to keep in mind, I was a worry wart my entire pregnancy, the whole six months that is. I guess in hindsight my worrying was for good reason. When the appointment was first made I remembered being very irritated because it was my first day back at work and I didn't want to have to leave early. I sure am glad I went and didn't put it off. Up until this point Travis had been with me at every appointment. This time I told him, "It will be quick. They're just going to check me out, answer my questions and I'll be home. I'll call you as soon as I am done."

Two and a half hours later I called Travis in complete despair with tears streaming down my face. I could barely catch my breath to get the words out. At only twenty-four weeks I was over 50% effaced and a centimeter dilated. As I look back I realize that I was probably in shock and for good reason. I didn't immediately freak out or begin to cry. I stayed calm and tried my best to take in everything the doctors were saying. I vividly remember Dr. H saying, "We want you on bed rest until we tell you otherwise." I politely responded, "Well, that's not possible. You see I am a teacher and today was our first day back and I haven't even met my children. I have so much to do." The doctors didn't seem concerned with what my occupation was. For the remainder of the appointment I was hooked up to several monitors. One monitor kept track of Morgan Kate's heart rate, the other checked for contractions. Thankfully, I was not having contractions and Morgan Kate's heart rate was perfectly fine. When I left that evening there wasn't another soul in the building other than the doctors and myself. I walked slowly to the car playing back all the events from the past two and a half hours. What was happening? What was going to happen? What was I going to tell Travis? 

When I got in the car I had over ten missed calls. I'm not very good about taking my cell phone with me and I had left it in the car during my appointment. I thumbed through the calls. My mom, Travis, my mom, Travis, Travis, my mom, Owens, Travis. With my hands shaking I picked up the phone and dialed our house number. Travis answered and immediately said, "Where have you been? Why haven't you called me? I have been so worried." At this point I finally lost it and in almost a whisper I said, "Travis, it's not good. I am already dilated and effaced. I'm supposed to be on bed rest and I can't go to work. What am I going to do about work?" Even with the severity of what was happening all I could think about was work and how I was going to explain to my principal and my children and my co-workers that I couldn't return. Again, I think I was in shock and in a way I'm kind of glad I was. Travis tried his best to calm me down and asked if he needed to come get me. Of course I told him no. I wanted to be by myself. I needed to be by myself. There were things I needed to process. Things I needed to think about. On my way home my mom called and Owens called. Owens also offered to drive me home, but I told him I was fine and that I could do it. I needed to do it. When I talked to my mom I could barely speak. I tried my best to get the words out and she tried her best to be strong. Unfortunately, it wasn't really working for either one of us.

The minute I got home Travis met me at the door. We just stood there for the longest time holding on to one another. I was a wreck. You see, we had been trying for quite some time to even get pregnant and now we were realizing it might all be in jeopardy. I then got in the bed. I was so numb. I tried to pray, but my mind was so foggy that it was hard gathering the right words. I stayed in the bed until the next morning when we were supposed to return for a follow-up appointment. 

Friday, August 15, 2008
The next morning we got "somewhat" good news. Things were the same and nothing had changed. Dr. R said she wanted me to stay in the bed through the weekend and return on Monday. I was still trying my best to convince her that I needed to go to work. She wasn't buying it.

Later that day my mom and dear cousin, Kelly arrived to be with us and to help celebrate my 28th birthday the following day. The last thing I could even think about was celebrating, but I was so glad that they came and that they were going to be spending time with us. My mom and Kelly did their best to cheer me up and they cleaned our entire house. I felt so bad that they were here and cleaning, but I have to admit the house looked a lot better. 

We made it through my birthday and through the weekend. My mom stayed with us Sunday night so that she could take me to the doctor Monday morning.

Monday, August 18, 2008
When I woke up Monday morning I felt really good about things. My mom and I made our way to the doctor's office. Things were still the same and nothing had changed, but I was still on bed rest. Pretty good news. Dr. S decided to do a Fetal Fibronectin test (FFN). Basically they swab you and test for this certain protein or glue that holds the baby in place. If the test comes back positive it means that the protein was present and you could deliver sometime in the next two weeks. If it's negative then you are okay for a while. The test is not 100% accurate, but they do take the results seriously. Dr. S performed the test and we left. He said he would call us in a few hours with the results. Mom and I felt really good. I just had this feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was certain that the test was going to be negative. 

On our way home we stopped by Chick-fil-A and grabbed some sandwiches to go. We then made our way home. As we were pulling into the neighborhood, only about two hours after my appointment, my cell phone rang. I actually had it with me this time. Amazing. The minute the phone rang my heart stopped. I answered and the lady on the other end politely told me that my FFN test had come back positive and there was strong possibility I could deliver in the next two weeks. I was supposed to go home, get in the bed and stay there. No work, no cooking, no cleaning, nothing. 

My heart sank. Possibly deliver in two weeks? I was only twenty-four weeks pregnant. This wasn't supposed to happening. I was devastated. I called Travis and tried to keep it together as I told him the news. Mom and I drove in silence the rest of the way home. The minute we got inside and got settled I lost it. I cried for a long time and told mom that she couldn't leave. I wanted her to stay and make sure things were going to be okay. I was like a little child crying to their mother. I wanted her with us and by my side until I knew things were going to work out.

Later that night mom cooked us a really good dinner. I say it was good, honestly I can't even remember what it was. That entire day is such a blur to me. All I am certain of is that I was in my bed talking on the phone to a very dear friend and co-worker when I felt a "gush". I remember running to the bathroom and calling my mom and Travis. I told my mom what I had just experienced and we all agreed it was time to call the doctor. 

Oh my goodness! Is this seriously happening? Did my water really just break at only 24 weeks? Can this really happen? (I assure you, it can.) As scared and confused as I was I think I was still in shock. I think God intentionally put me in shock during this entire experience. I would like to think it was my courage and strength and confidence, but I really think it was just shock. I don't remember thinking the worst. I don't remember thinking that things wouldn't work out. I just remember being scared and wondering what was going on. I honestly thought that I would get to the hospital and they would tell me everything was fine and that I could go home. 

My mom drove us to the hospital. Very quickly I must say. I think we even ran one red light once we got into town. All I remember about the ride was Travis saying, "Wait. We haven't even had our childbirth classes." 

When we arrived my mom insisted that Travis take me up in a wheelchair. I thought this was completely ridiculous and didn't want any part of it. But, what do you do when it's two against one. Mom went to park the car and Travis "wheeled" me up. He was driving the wheelchair like a maniac and I was actually laughing about it. When we finally made it to the nurse's desk I was in tears from laughing so hard. I think at first they thought we were out of our mind. Here I am only twenty-four weeks pregnant, I am claiming my water broke, but we are both laughing hysterically. Doesn't all add up. 

They admitted me and took us into a room. Of course because of HIPA or whatever it's called my mom was not allowed to come back. For the next hour they performed two different tests to determine whether it was indeed amniotic fluid or whether I had just wet my pants. I was pretty sure I hadn't wet my pants, but they on the other hand had doubts. They also asked me a million questions which in my mind had nothing to do with what was going on. Any piercings? Any tattoos? What in the world does this have to do with childbirth? After many, many questions and several hours later it was confirmed. The fluid was amniotic fluid and I had not wet my pants. I was relieved that I hadn't wet my pants, but in complete shock that my water had broken. The only good part about this was that I hadn't lost all of my fluid. There was still enough to keep Morgan Kate comfortable. However, I would be spending the remainder of my pregnancy in the hospital.

By this time it was after 11pm and my mom had still not been allowed to come back. A very good friend and "angel" in my opinion found my mom sitting in the waiting room all alone. This "angel" kept my mom company, came to check on me several times and reported back to my mom. Thank goodness for angels! Right before midnight my mom was allowed to come back. We both just held hands with tears streaming down our faces. Travis was on one side of me, mom was on the other and there were several nurses pumping me full of magnesium. Magnesium is a wonder drug that stops labor, but makes you feel like you are dying and that the room is over 1000 degrees. I am usually quite cold-natured, but after a dose of mag I was on fire. I also received my first round of steroids. The steroids were to help Morgan Kate's lungs, brain, etc. develop. 

I don't remember much about the rest of the night. It's all really, really foggy. I do remember that my Daddy was there, as well as Owens, Kyle, Mrs. Jackie, Mrs. Phala, and Mr. Lynn. Forgive me if I have forgotten anyone. 

The next thing I remember is it was 6am and I heard a knock at the door. I opened my eyes and saw Travis asleep on the pull out couch and Mom asleep in a chair with her head propped on the "Soiled Laundry" container. It looked like we had one wild night. The knocking at the door were two very, very dear friends, Jessa and Mrs. Ward. They were there to check on us and bring us breakfast. Bojangle biscuits. I might have been groggy, but I still had an appetite. 

I spent the next day or two in "La La Land" because of the mag. I also received my second and final dose of the steroid. For the next six days I was constantly monitored and on complete bed rest. And I constantly leaked fluid. Travis and mom took turns staying with me at night. I also received several ultrasounds. They wanted to keep a close eye on MK's position and size. I was not supposed to get up for anything, not even the bathroom. I"ll let you figure out how that all worked. I could only take sponge baths and by Thursday you would have never known I was a blonde. I begged my mom to wash my hair. Thankfully, another angel, Raven stopped by that night and helped my mom wash my hair. Relief. I had a lot of visitors during those six days. So many visitors that my doctor actually requested that I limit the number. He wanted me to "Be boring and incubate". 

Fast forward to Saturday, August 23.

Saturday, August 23, 2008 
During the day on Saturday I felt really good. I had several visitors and ate really good food. Most of the day was spent talking about what we were going to do for the next several weeks. Travis and Mom both needed to get back to work, but neither wanted me to be alone. We were trying to think of possible people to "schedule" to help keep me company. It's funny. Mom and Travis talked and worried about this a lot. I, on the other hand, really never even thought about it. I never worried about who was going to be with me or anything like that. It's almost as if I knew we wouldn't get that far.

Saturday night Mom and Dad brought us dinner from Lizard's Thicket. It was so good and the sweet tea was out of this world. I still remember exactly what I ate. I convinced Travis to go home for the night. I told him that I felt great and that he needed to get some rest before the work week. Mom stayed with me and we spent the night talking and watching TV. Around 9pm or so I got an excruciating pain in my stomach. I had never felt a pain like this before. It felt like something was being ripped from my insides. I took some TUMs, some Pepto Bismol, and something else, but nothing helped. Could Lizard's Thicket really be that bad? Finally around midnight I began to feel better and I drifted off to sleep.

Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sunday morning came and I was feeling even better. Mom and I ordered some breakfast and spent the morning laughing and talking about what it would be like once Morgan Kate did arrive. We talked about her nursery and how it would all get done with me cooped up in the hospital. A few minutes before noon Mrs. Jackie arrived to visit. Mrs. Jackie is a very close friend and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. She said she had been at church earlier that morning and just had this feeling that she needed to come visit. About five minutes after she arrived it was time for my sponge bath. She and mom walked down to the waiting room and I told them I would call when I was finished. 

While the nurse tech was helping me bathe she noticed that I was bleeding. The bleeding started off very minimal, but quickly and I mean quickly increased. Remember, it's right at noon during this time. Of course I tried to remain calm, but I knew this wasn't good. Several nurses came into the room to "investigate". I grabbed my cell phone and called Travis. Not two hours before I had called him and told him to sleep in and do whatever he wanted to do. I told him I was fine and I would see him later in the day. He had stayed up all night with my brothers and some of our neighbors painting the nursery. He wanted it to be a surprise for me. Now, I was calling him in panic mode. I told him to come as quick as he could. I then called Mom and Mrs. Jackie and they were back in a flash. 

In the next thirty minutes the bleeding increased a great deal. The nurses had already paged the doctor, but he was under the impression that the bleeding was minimal and he had a few minutes to get there. Around 12:30ish or so they paged the doctor again. Two minutes later he arrived, as well as my hubby. Whewh. Good timing. 

Dr. G (by this time I had seen almost every doctor in the practice and they had all been briefed on the situation) examined me and then did an ultrasound. Very calmly he told me that my placenta had ruptured and it would now be better for Morgan Kate to be outside rather than inside. He said that I needed a C-section and for the sake of time and safety I would be asleep. Travis would not be able to come in the operating room. He also proceeded to tell me the chances of Morgan Kate's survival and some of the complications she might experience. My brain was mush at this point and all of his words were running together.

The next five minutes were like a scene from ER. Numerous nurses ran in to prep me for surgery. There were nurses giving me pills, a nurse or two standing on my bed, there were nurses everywhere. Dr. G was giving orders. I was getting an IV and taking some pill or drink or something. They were all trying to keep me calm and reassuring me that things would be okay. I was terrified. I was calm, but terrified. Again, I was in shock. I felt so helpless. I was so scared. They immediately wheeled me to the operating room. In reality it was a very short trip to the operating room, but it felt like it took forever. Even with everything going on I stopped and just asked God to keep us all safe and get us through this difficult time. More nurses, more doctors, more noises and lights. Then, I was out. Poor Travis was left standing at the doors of the operating room all alone. He wouldn't know anything until it was all over.

At 1:04pm Morgan Katherine Callahan was born. She was born at only twenty-five weeks and four days gestation. She weighed a mere one pound and twelve ounces and was thirteen and three quarters inches long. 


Anonymous said...

So beautifully written... I remember it like is was yesterday, but thankfully it's been over 6 months ago!!! Little Miss Morgan Katherine Callahan is thriving!!!! It is truly an amazing story, she is an amazing little girl, and you're an amazing Mommy!!! I can't wait to see you both!!! Love you, Laura

Kathy Hardison said...

I can hardly see the screen for the tears....I honestly could feel the emotions as I read the story. Everything happened so quickly....your pregnancy, MK's birth, and the past 6 months. So glad you added "her story" because it is an amazing one and proof that God is in the business of miracles! Love to all three of you!

jan kessler said...

This is such an amazing story and my laptop is wet with tears and I feel every emotion expressed. The past 6and one half months have gone by so fast. You and Travis are stronger that you may think. Heather, you say that Morgan Kate is amazing and of course she is but you and Travis are SUPER amazing. I wished that I could have been there for you and Travis, but do know this that God had HIS plan for all of us. MaMa was in Georgia and had been there for several weeks and I was all alone that week. On Tuesday August 19th I came home from school and checked MaMa's messages on her answering machine she receives so many telemarketer calls and then Travis' message was on there I immediately fell to my knees and began to pray. I got up and felt good about it that God has a plan. I telephoned Travis' immediately. I telephoned MaMa and told her the news and immediately instructed her that we would not have any negative thoughts that God was still in the miracle business. My birthday was that Friday August 22nd and we will not discuss how old I am. Ha!Ha! I did not do anything special since I was going to have to go pickup MaMa on Saturday. I left Orangeburg around 4 am that Saturday and arrived in Georgia at approximately 9am. I quickly got MaMa in the car and while we were driving home I told her that I had a surprise for her. I had already discussed it with Travis for us to be able to come by to see you guys on our way back home. No matter How tired MaMa might have been her eyes sparkled when she knew we were coming to you. I praise God of how he worked everything out. His Love for us is so powerful. MaMa looks forward to Travis calling her on their birthday. We have so much to be thankful for and always know that We love you,Travis and Morgan Kate so much. The 3 of you are so special and mean so much to us. The blog of the recapture of August has brought tears to my eyes and to know that God has us all in the palm of His Hand. It is so good. Cannot wait to see you guys. Give Morgan Kate lots of Hugs and Kisses for us. Anytime you need me just call or email me at I love all of you so much. Love,
Aunt Jan

Justin and Jessica Jones said...

This is so beautiful. One thing is for sure. You will never be the same person after this experience. You were an incredible and talented lady before but now you have experienced a truly life changing event. I can feel from your writings and blog postings that God has given you a heart for families in this situation and a sensitivity to the tough circumstances moms face everyday. Your story...MK's truly incredible and a testement to God's amazing grace and power.
Love you...Jessica

Hollie Heming said...

It's so weird to think that at the same time I was giving birth to Will, Morgan Kate's journey was also beginning and I had no idea what was happening until the next day. I'm so glad you added this link to your blog. It is amazing to read where it all began and then look at her pictures now. WOW! God is good! Love you and miss you A LOT!

Kelly Lee said...

I'm so glad you wrote that. It took me reading that before church and finishing it after church. It's hard to believe it's already been almost 7 months...I remember your birthday weekend like it was yesterday. I remember getting done with LeighAnn's baby shower that Thursday and having 6 missed phone calls and them all being from family (you know that is never good). I couldn't even leave the drive way after talking to my mom and her telling me what was going on, then I got to the front of the neighborhood and stopped again and prayed for you, Trav and Morgan Kate. Needless to say your birthday weekend changed from it's original plans but I wouldn't have missed it. I think I was so in "shock" that all I could do was clean to help keep my mind of things and to know I was doing something that would help you stay off your feet. A week later we had our miracle baby and I've never experienced anything like that in my life! I've had friends have babies, but watching your cousin that you've grown up with for 28 years, "sister", matron of honor, best friend deliver a baby girl is indescribable. I know Miss Morgan Kate already knows but I can't wait to tell her how special and lucky she is to have you as her mommy. I love you guys so much! Love, Kelly Jean

Anonymous said...

I was outside that day when you all came out of the house and jumped in your mother's vehicle. I went in our house and told Melinda that something is wrong. Mary kept us updated and I spoke to Travis outside on trash night that week. I can't tell you how much we were thinking of you guys during that time.


Betsy Crawford said...

No words are adequate to describe MK's story - and your writing! As I read this story, the verse Matthew 7:8 kept popping into my head: "For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Your situation is a perfect example of asking, searching and knocking. . .

Anonymous said...

Your last years student Taylor Boling said...
Morgan Kate is the most beautiful baby. I visit this website daily.
I miss you a lot and hope to see you a whole bunch more. I hope to see Morgan Kate and you soon!

Donna said...

You write from the heart to the paper. I felt all the emotions almost as much as you going through them. What a beautiful story that speaks of so much love.
God bless you and Travis and your sweet little Morgan Kate. She is a beauty.

Avery's Mommy said...

Wow your story is amazing. I had a preemie - measured 27 wks 2 lbs 2oz but it was ER c-section. Still, so much of your story reminds me of our story. I found you through Campbell's blog. Nice to meet you :)

Cameron VSJ said...


I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?



Anonymous said...

I just had my sweet baby girl (Ava Isabella) 01/05/2013 at 25 weeks 1 day. She was also 1 lb 12 oz. She was only 12.5 inches long. She has been fighting hard this week. Your blog was sent to me by my aunt-in-love & this is so encouraging. I can't wait to read more about Morgan Kate!!!

Miriam Shevenell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miriam Shevenell said...

I found this anecdote regarding Morgan Kate. I really thought that this was an startlingly impressive work. You should write a few books and I'll be your biggest fan and buy all of them. I was gratified to be your student this year. You're more than a teacher to me - you're a role model.
"A teacher affects Eternity; she can never tell where her influences stops." ~ Henry Adams