Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From the Clark-ives III: R2 is born

The continuing historical series about our journey together as a family. The first two archives can be located over on the sidebar, under "The Story of Us".  I am skipping some chronology here, we actually went to Bible school next... but  I haven't finished that one yet. 
Our plan was to wait 5 years and then decide if we wanted to have kids. We were so happy doing ministry and so very busy with the youth, we really didn’t see how we could give any attention to a child.

Fortunately for us, I was too scatterbrained to remember to take a pill every day. We started suspecting I might be pregnant in January. I failed a home pregnancy test and I was so sad. That was when we knew we wanted to have a baby. Which was a good thing, because I was pregnant. I have learned since then that I don’t get a positive with an HPT until I am further along.

We were giddy. I told my dad, “Daddy, I’m pregnant!” and his response was guarded. “Did you want to be?” I had to reassure him and then he was excited. That night we told the youth group and they celebrated at Taco Bell well into the night. I craved strawberries. I bought a ton of pregnancy books, and a fetal heartbeat monitor. We were giddy.

When I was about 20 weeks, I started noticing a strange cramping feeling. Research in all my books left me unconcerned... I wasn’t having any symptoms of miscarriage. So we went on with our normal lives for another several weeks. We went to the Star Wars prequel opening... and 3 high school graduations.

Yes, we were that cool

On Tuesday, June 1st, my water broke. I was 23 weeks pregnant. We rushed to the ER, where they sent us to Labor and Delivery. Our doctor met us there and told me I was going to have a baby today. I was absolutely in shock. That was the first time I realized my pregnancy was over, but I had no concept of what would happen next.
After a couple of hours, they had me doped up enough that the contractions were pretty stable, and I was transferred to Houston.

I spent 4 days on bedrest there with little amniotic fluid, and then on June 5th I got a fever and went into labor. I was 24 weeks pregnant, just 1 day beyond what the hospital considered a viable baby. In other words, they would not have resuscitated him if he had been born earlier. 

Day 1

He was 1 pound... He was 12 inches long, you really can't imagine how small that is... it's as long as a Barbie doll. He was so skeletal and his skin was really red... his epidermis wasn't very thick yet. The first time I saw him, I panicked. He didn't look human and I was so scared. I had Richy wheel me out into the hallway where I melted down. My mom was waiting out there and gave me a stern talking-to. "That's your baby in there! Now snap out of it and go talk to that baby."
After the infamous "snap out of it" talk

It was good advice. I went back in there and talked to him. Then I sat 
right there by his incubator from about 10 am to 11 pm every day, for 4 
months. I read books, mostly. With all of my babies I haven't had a whole lot to say in their NICU stages, but I felt like my presence was enough, and that I should be right there and hold them as much as possible. Richy was there as much as possible, too, although he had to go back to work 

Our first time to get to hold him- 20 days old

I don't know how much to post about his NICU journey. Multiple times, the next thing happened that was supposed to kill him. And it didn't. One night we went back to our hotel and waited for the call to come say goodbye. It never came. He made it through crisis after crisis. He was, and is such a fighter.

We learned quickly not to think too far ahead. We took on that day's crisis, and hoped tomorrow would take care of itself.

After 4 months, we brought him home. He came home on an oxygen cannula and an apnea monitor. His head was huge, swollen from hydrocephalus.
For us, though... he was just our baby. We thought he was cute and sweet... took jillions of pictures and we were so thrilled to finally get to bring him home. I think I'll stop there for now because this is already a very long post.

The NICU journey has TONS more, medical, spiritual, emotional. I'm just condensing for the sake of my readers. If there is something you want me to expound upon, let me know.

Next part here


  1. You are all still so so kool.....

    .Little Richy is a strong little MAN...

  2. R2 has taught many people many things including his BEDSTE

  3. I truly love that you are posting this clarkives thing.

    It's very cool to be able to read about your journey etc.

    I think a lot of people (like me) would be afraid to ask you questions about your life and such because they are afraid of stepping on tender emotional ground, but it's a really beautiful story to hear, and I am glad you are sharing all of it.

    It makes me really glad we are blog friends. I also hope that all came out right. You rock Jessica Clark.

  4. What a guy! His nurse, a huge black fellow named Jihad, would say "My little man, my little man.That was the best nurse ever. Richy is a joy in my life like nothing else.

  5. That was me, mama.

  6. Why are you cold and starving? I know why you are bored.....

  7. I remember when we got the word in China. I told Leah, "Hey, Jess had her baby!" And she just looked at me blankly...I obviously had no clue how far along you weren't. Leah flew back to the States the next day, and that was the first time we were apart for more than a night since we'd been married. It was so surreal being so far away and helpless...not that I could have helped if I was in Houston...but Leah could, and I'm glad she was able to go!

  8. Just read.

    Hard to believe it's been 9 years. I remember comming to see you at the Conroe hospital, and then driving down to Houston to be as close as I could to you and Richy.

    R2 is such a great boy, such a blessing! I'm so happy everytime you write about him that he's made it, and doing well. He brings joy to all who know him.

    Love yas...

  9. Jess-
    RE: awesome, Josh. What about the diversity room?

    The diversity room was empty... so much for diversity.

  10. I was thinking more about R2's birth while brushing my teeth.

    I remember being one of the few non-family memebers you allowed to come see you in the Conroe room. I remember walking up to you as you lie in the bed and askiing you how you were doing. Your response was only one word, "scared," but your eyes said much more... with a fear I've only seen a couple times in my life.

    Amazing, looking back now, how the Lord held you and comforted you and Richy. All of your lives have touch many people.

  11. my heart ached and smiled while i read this..is so touching and for any mother something like that could be so spirt breaking but you didnt let it..THATS AMAZING truly awe inspiring jessica..thanks for sharing such an important part of your life to help others, like me, realize how gifted and priviledged we are...you should write a memoire or book about your life girlie..im interested now..lol


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