Davis Benjamin: Guest Post, Aubrey5:31 PM
It has been a joy to to meet & connect with other mamas who share in the joy of mamahood with me. Equally, it has been a joy to connect with mamas who have experienced deep, heart-wrenching sorrow. I feel privileged to be someone they feel they can share with. This story touches me because it's every parents' worst nightmare, but I have the pleasure of knowing that Aubrey's story has a happy ending.
It is in these moments that we can connect & love other people with our own tragedy.The tragedy would be in not allowing these moments to shape us, mold us, & allow our stories to touch someone else's grieving heart, letting them know that, this, too, shall, pass.
Thank you, Aubrey for sharing. You are a treasure.
Staring at the cursor blinking at me, trying to figure out how to start this story…I guess I’ll start from the very beginning so it makes more sense.
I was 17, and I was a bit of a rebel. I pretty much did everything I wasn't supposed to do. It was the summer after I graduated high school (yes, I graduated a year early) and I met a boy and he was in college (I actually had met him before I even graduated). It was your typical 17-year-old relationship that was in a constant state of on and off - your feelings are much more than they really are. You generally don’t follow what’s in your head or what you know is right. Well, like most young relationships, this one ended and didn't end pleasantly (that’s a whole other story).
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant pretty vividly. I was at my best friend, Lori’s, apartment, calculating things in my head. I remember telling her that I hadn't had my period for almost 2 months (yes, state of denial….). She did what any best friend would do and dragged my butt to the grocery store and buy a pregnancy test. I took it as soon as we got back. My stomach was turning as I waited those 5 minutes already knowing what the results would be. Glancing at the test it showed positive and I swallowed. 17 and pregnant.
Being 17, and obviously in denial, I proceeded to take another test. Obviously that one was wrong, there’s no way I was this young and pregnant. It’s not supposed to happen to me. Second test: positive. Third test: positive. Fourth test: inconclusive. Yep! That last one is the one I chose to believe. So, I stayed in my state of denial a few more weeks, truly believing my period was going to show up any day. When I didn't, I remember taking another test at my friend Cara’s house, and it was positive. That was the day I knew I couldn't turn back, and at this point, I had to be almost 12 weeks pregnant.
I knew I had to tell the guy, so I called him and told him we needed to talk. We chose to meet at a 7-Eleven parking lot early one morning. I remember the look on his face when I told him: fear. He then told me that he had friends who have had abortions, and I could talk to them if I wanted to. I just looked at him, astonished. Abortion was the one thing that never crossed my mind, so I told him there was no way I was doing that. He said that it was my decision, but if I decided to keep the baby, he wanted nothing to do with me - this was going to be our last conversation. An abortion was definitely NOT what I was going to do, so that was it. Done.
My second problem was telling my mom. I waited and waited. My mom called me one day, and started the conversation, saying she had a dream and my stomach dropped. She said she had a dream that I was pregnant and asked if I was. I paused and quietly said yes. She told me to go to the doctor immediately because I still hadn't gone and I was already in my second trimester. I made an appointment that day with my doctor whom I had seen since I was 5 years old. As I walked into the office, I didn't feel well at all, feeling like I was going to disappoint my doctor too. Thinking I was going to be questioned, “how could I let this happen? Why would I let this happen?” Of course, my appointment was nothing like that. My doctor was very understanding, and proceeded to talk to me about options. That was when I decided on adoption. I knew I wasn't ready to care for a baby at this point in my life, so adoption was the only choice.
Adoption is hard. I didn't even know where to begin, so I started with the phone book. Yeah...this is 1999, so Google hadn't taken over the world as it has now. I picked the first adoption agency in the phone book,called them, and set up an appointment. I didn't know what to expect as I sat in the waiting room of the agency. It was a small building, the people were nice to me as soon as I entered. I was overwhelmed when they gave me a huge binder full of pictures and stories of people looking to adopt. Every story touched your heart, and it was incredibly hard to choose. I narrowed it down to 2 families, one who already had 2 adopted children, and one who hadn't adopted yet. After a couple of weeks of debating, I chose the family who hadn't adopted yet. They seemed very caring and seemed to enjoy life from the pictures and stories I had.
My pregnancy, for the most part, was very uneventful. I found out I was having a boy, and the family I chose was very excited. I had chosen an open adoption, so as soon as I picked the family we started to get to know each other. They lived in Denver, so I would go and visit them every 2 weeks. My mom and dad even came with me to have dinner with them. They were just incredible people!
I was due February 22, 2000. That day came and went. This baby seemed to want to camp out forever! I remember swearing to my friends that I didn't I want to have this baby on Leap day (since it was a leap year) because the poor child would have to choose which day to have his birthday on.
February 28th was the beginning of a very scary day. I woke up that day just crying, not knowing why, just bawling. I chalked it up to crazy pregnancy hormones and thinking this baby was never going to come. Late afternoon rolled around, and I realized I hadn't felt the baby move all day. I started to feel nervous, so I called my mom. My mom was at work, but she told me to stay calm and call my doctor. The doctor told me to drink some juice, lay on my left side for an hour, and I should feel about 10 movements so I did just that. After an hour I felt one movement.
Something just didn't feel right. So, as soon as my mom got home from work she took me to urgent care. As soon as we got there, I was hooked up to machines to do some monitoring. The doctor was pregnant too. We found out from the monitors that I was having a few contractions (I had no idea I was), and with each contraction the baby’s heart rate was dropping just a little. The doctor didn't like that, so she made the call that she would feel a lot more comfortable if I went to the hospital tonight. I panicked, but she tried to calm my nerves by telling me it was normal for a bit of a heart rate dip with the contractions. She just wanted me to get a little monitoring than what was available.
Off my mom and I went to the hospital. I was nervous, I feared labor, and I was pretty sure that the baby would be coming that night. Once we got to the hospital, they hooked me up to more machines. My mom started making all the necessary phone calls to keep people up to date - my dad, the adoptive parents and my best friend, Lori, who showed up at the hospital within a half hour. My regular doctor was not on call that night, which would have made me feel much better. The doctor on call was awesome though (he will be known as Dr. F). They continued to monitor me for about 2 hours, and the results were the same, but seemed to be getting worse. Dr. F came in after seeing a drastic dip in the heart rate saying we would have to start inducing me because this baby was ready to come out. They hooked up the Pitocen and we waited. They watched the monitor for 10 minutes and as soon as the drug started the baby’s heart rate dropped below 30.
This is where everything got extremely fuzzy for me. I remember the doctor and nurses start pulling out the cords from the wall and begin to wheel me away. They said they needed to do an emergency C-section, and had to get me to the operating room immediately. As soon as I was rolled into the operating room, they completely knocked me out. Apparently, they had the baby out in under 30 seconds, but I didn't wake up for about an hour.
When I finally started to wake up, my mom was there in the recovery room waiting for me. She told me that the baby didn't make it, and I just started to cry. She knew something was wrong because she waited to hear cries as soon as they wheeled me into the operating room and they never came. Once I calmed down, the nurse’s asked me if I wanted to see him. Yes. I knew I wanted to see baby Davis so they brought him to me. He was perfect and cold. I held him, staring at his beautiful face that was a little bruised from where they tried to resuscitate him. I could see my mouth, I could see my eyes. He looked like he was sleeping peacefully, an angel.
Davis Benjamin became an angel that night, February 29th at 12:39 am. He never took a breath. We found out later that I had caught a viral infection (probably the flu) that went straight to Davis’s heart. There would have been nothing that could have saved him. I felt horrible for the parents who were going to adopt Davis, but what a support system they became. They were there at the hospital, and then at his funeral a week later. I felt bad for the doctor on call that day - it was the first baby he had ever lost. He was incredibly supportive, visited me everyday in the hospital, even called me a couple times once I got home to make sure I was still doing alright physically but mostly emotionally.
That’s the story of Davis Benjamin, who was too beautiful for this earth. I’m blessed to still be a part of the adoptive parents lives, who have now adopted 2 beautiful children. I’m blessed to have my daughter now and have another baby on the way, though I panic through my whole pregnancies. Thank goodness for my husband who keeps me grounded during my panicking. Thanks Andrea for making me ugly cry during the whole time I was writing this!