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Jace Michael Lance Bonura

It's been 3 days since our world was completely flipped upside down. To say that this was unexpected is an extreme understatement. Since I was 18 weeks pregnant, and I first started feeling the baby move, he/she was very active. I never really had to worry about if the baby was okay because the movement was constant. There were certain times where the baby was more active than others, and one of those times was during my daily nap-time with Scarlett. Baby would always move after I ate lunch and laid down to nap, it never failed. On this past Wednesday, November 16, I noticed that there wasn't as much movement but I thought maybe my big lunch had made the baby sleepy. But as the evening went on I still didn't feel the usual amount of movement, which is a big deal because evening time was always another time that I could count on a lot of action. So I mentioned it to Jace and we both just thought maybe the baby was having a lazy day. But it was still in the back of my mind. Then, Thursday morning at work I was still noticing less movement. I even drank some coffee and ate some candy and still nothing. I felt small little taps here and there but I just had a weird feeling. I couldn't stop thinking about how this wasn't normal. I kind of joked about it with a few coworkers (which now makes me feel guilty to think about), but I was trying to just reassure myself that all was okay. But by the time I got home and laid down for nap and still wasn't feeling anything I knew something was up. I ate some candy, drank orange juice and cold water and nothing was working. I texted Jace and my best friend Lauren (who is a Labor & Delivery nurse in Houston) and told them both about it. They were concerned. And I was getting more concerned by the minute as well. It just was not normal. I knew deep down. I was so fearful. I didn't even want to call my doctor because I know that phone call would spring things into action and I just didn't want to go there. But by the grace of God, my own gut feeling, along with Lauren and Jace's gut feelings, I called my doctor and she told me to head up to Labor and Delivery at the Hospital just so that they could hook me up to a monitor and see what's going on.

So I left Jace home with Scarlett, and his daughter Makayla was there too, and headed to the hospital. The whole drive there, I kept waiting to feel some movement so that I could just turn back around. And the closer I got, the more I started to feel that something was going to happen. Once on the L&D floor, they checked me in and hooked me up to a fetal monitor to check the baby's heart rate and to see if I was having any contractions. The monitor picked up the baby's heart rate right away, which was a relief because I knew for sure that the baby was alive. But as the nurse explained, that didn't necessarily tell us the status of the baby. The other monitor was NOT picking up any contractions, so I was not in labor. That much we knew. After monitoring me for a few minutes they noted some decels in the baby's heart rate. That basically means the baby's heart beat was dropping below the baseline, which is the rate that the heart usually runs at. It generally indicates some type of distress. At this point, my mom arrived at the hospital and the nurse told both of us that because of the decels we needed to expect to be at the hospital overnight because they would want to continue to monitor the baby and do an ultrasound, and that there was a chance if we kept seeing decels in the heart rate that they would more than likely take the baby out. When they told us all of that, my mom called Jace to tell him so that he could make arrangements to come to the hospital. Meanwhile, they had brought in the ultrasound machine and had started the ultrasound. The monitor was facing away from me and I couldn't see a thing that was going on. But the ultrasound tech kept prodding my belly and so I knew that she was trying to get the baby to move and it wasn't working. I asked her if everything was okay and she said "I'm just taking pictures and radiology has to be the ones to read the images". So basically, I'm laying there for probably 30 minutes (longest ultrasound ever), and knew nothing except our baby was alive yet in some obvious distress. They finished the ultrasound and my husband and doctor both arrived at pretty much the same time. My doctor said the BPP score was 2, which is low, but that they were going to wait and see if they can stimulate the baby because if we could just get some movement that could improve the score. My doctor then left the room and literally not even 2 minutes later, my doctor and several nurses come back into the room and told us that the baby's heart rate deceled again and that the baby needed to come out now. It was then that it felt like all chaos erupted. They had a nurse from NICU come in and explain to me what it would mean for us to have a baby at 31 weeks. They had the anesthesiologist come in and explain to me the order things were done in for a c-section. That I would get a spinal tap and it would be weird and completely different (obviously) from the natural labor I went through with Scarlett. We had doctors pushing different drugs into my body (thankfully they had already pushed the drugs needed to help the baby's lungs just in case they needed to take him early). In all the chaos I managed to ask my doctor what the sex of the baby was. I was extremely scared. I was having these horrible images of me dying, of something going wrong and that this was it. I was so upset that I hadn't kissed Scarlett more than once when I left home earlier and I was scared that I would never see her again, and I just wanted to KNOW. I had to know what the baby was just in case. My doctor asked me if I was sure, and when I told her yes, that is when she told me it was a boy. I turned away from her and everyone else and just broke down. I can't begin to tell you all how that felt. We were finally having a boy. My husband was finally getting his son, and we had no idea how sick he would be or if he would make it or what. It's the most helpless feeling in the whole entire world and it felt incredibly unfair in the moment (and it still does). 

So Jace got suited up, they wheeled me into the OR and he had to wait while I got the spinal tap and epidural. I HATED that. I hated being alone and I hated once the drugs worked and I couldn't feel anything. Of course I'm GLAD that I couldn't feel the incision but I hated not being able to feel in control of my own body. Jace was finally let in and was at my head the entire time. The doctors were all amazing, of course, and it was over before I knew it. Because the baby was in such bad shape they did not hold him over the curtain for me to see. Jace was able to go and look into the room that they rushed the baby into and get a picture for me but that was it. I had arrived at the hospital at 4:45pm, Jace got there around 6:20 and we had our boy at 7:27pm. THAT is how quickly life changed for us. In a matter of hours I went from having 9 weeks of pregnancy left, to having a preemie baby at 31 weeks pregnant. Jace Michael Lance Bonura weighed in at 3 pounds, 12.4 ounces. He is 16.5 inches long and has a ton of hair. Despite his small size, he is perfect. And he is strong. And I'm so proud to be his mother. 

We found out later that the reason Baby Jace was in distress was because the cord was around his neck and there was poop in his water bag. My doctor told me I saved his life by coming in when I did. That my awareness of my body and my baby's movements (or lack there of) is the reason he is here and alive. There is no doubt that had I waited, this would be a very different story. I cannot tell you all how that feels. It makes me feel like a freaking warrior who knew exactly what to do and makes me so proud of my instincts. But it also shakes me to my core. The very fact that I didn't want to call my doctor because I didn't want it to be real is scary. The "what-ifs" keep me up at night. What if I hadn't come in? It's that simple of a decision. How many of us say "oh I'll just call my doctor in the morning", because we think we are overreacting and we don't want to be "that" person. It would've been so easy for me to say that I was "worrying too much", because the fact is that I *am* a worrier. But thank God that didn't happen. Thank God I came to the hospital. Thank God they got to Baby Jace when they did and thank God that he is alive. He has a long road you guys, that is undeniable. But he is here for a reason and he is so strong and so beautiful and I have so much HOPE for his life. 

Tomorrow will be THE hardest day of my life. Tomorrow I will be discharged from the hospital and I will go home no longer pregnant, and without a baby in my arms. He will be here, in the hospital. And as grateful as I am that he will be in the best of hands, it breaks my heart that we will be sleeping under separate roofs. It breaks my heart that he will not see me or hear my voice or feel my touch more than his nurses' voices and touches. It's all so unfair but so necessary. He is not ready to be home, no matter what I want. So while I pray for his life, I'm also praying for faith and strength to get through this. My husband and I will need all the support we can get. Baby Jace needs all the support he can get. The prayers that have been offered up for our family have been overwhelming in the best way. We are so blessed to have so many prayers being lifted up for us and for our son. Thank you all so much, and please, continue to pray. Prayers are everything. Prayers for health and strength and for Baby Jace's life are what we ask for. Amen. 


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