Wednesday, June 20, 2012


When I decided to write a post about each child's birth, I knew that Micah's would be difficult to relive.

September 10, 2002 was the most difficult day of my life up to that point.

As soon as I was physically able, we tried for another baby.  Nothing happened, and each month would increase the pain in my empty arms.  In April, we resorted back to Clomid to aid our conception attempts.  Still nothing.

September 10, 2003 rolled around, and my arms and my soul ached for something I thought I'd never have again.  Had it really been an entire year?  I muddled my way through that day and to the other side, and I realized that the lesson was now complete:  One year of heavy reliance on God, even though my most heartfelt prayer hadn't been answered, had given me spiritual gifts I could never have acquired any other way--compassion, empathy, perspective, experience. 
 At Heidi's wedding--2010

I was deeply grateful for these new gifts, but I still ached for another child, and I had only one more month of Clomid left before we had to make the decision to up the dosage or to stop the medication altogether.  We talked with fertility specialists who discussed problems like fibroids impeding fertilization and complications from an incompetent cervix developed after Lily's quick natural delivery.  None of these analyses brought me to an answer.

October 2003 ended with a friend in our ward losing her full-term baby and Brad conducting the funeral in the bishop's absence.  With his new-found appreciation for birth and death, he was the perfect man to navigate this family through the turbulent waters of grief.  He was busy for most of three days helping the family plan, purchase, and organize a funeral and burial.  I was so glad they had his perspective.

As for me?  In the midst of this crazy time, I found out I was finally pregnant, and Brad was so busy that I couldn't find a moment to tell him for two days.

After the initial shock and joy sank in, I started to panic a little bit.  Now what?  I no longer trusted the doctor I'd been seeing, so I followed my instincts and started seeing Dr. H--a friend's doctor who had successfully helped her deliver twins after four losses similar to my own.

My first visit to his office gave me a few answers, an ultrasound picture of a little gummy bear growing inside me, but most of all, it brought me comfort that this was where I needed to be to get a healthy baby to our family.

Complications started very early--by the first week of December I had already been spotting quite a bit.  An ultrasound diagnosed a placental tear, and that diagnosis put me on bed rest at seven weeks.  Then, at ten weeks, Dr. H performed a cerclage--an outpatient procedure where the cervix is stitched shut until 36 weeks gestation to help prevent an early delivery.  My cerclage was far from textbook--an errant piece of tissue was removed, probably left over from my delivery a year earlier.  And the worst surprise of all . . . he discovered that a piece was missing from my cervix, making it difficult to completely sew it shut--and it was already open a tiny bit.
Christmas 2003--the beginning of 28 weeks in bed

All of this commotion pointed to one conclusion:  I would be flat in bed for the rest of the pregnancy, only allowed out of bed to use the bathroom and to shower--every other day.  The time dragged and dragged.  It was 2004--before blogging had become common, before reliable wireless internet could reach my bedroom, before Cake Boss and HGTV.  I still had four small children (ages 13 to 4) and I had to relinquish all my homemaking duties to others.  I never ventured to the kitchen for meals to see the disaster area.  I never washed or even folded laundry (that's when I learned that kids are fully capable of doing their own laundry at 8 and that's been the rule ever since).  My only adventures were to the doctor's office every week for an ultrasound and checkup on my sanity. 

Saying this was difficult doesn't even begin to describe this pregnancy.  I would go crazy from sitting still, beg the doctor for a few days out of bed, then I would be slammed back into bed when I would contract and the pressure of the baby on my stitch would ache.

On April 15th, after a cervical check showed that I was dilated to a 1 and 25% effaced at 28 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital.  IVs of magnesium sulfate would make me puke, shake, have hot flashes.  I couldn't sleep or walk or evacuate. I had terrible headaches and a stuffy bloody nose. It was miserable, and I was just about ready to give up.  Truly ready to let the baby come. 

Then, I had an epiphany, right there in that miserable hospital room.  This is what I wrote in my journal that week:

My time spent down sacrificing everything for this precious child puts the Savior's sacrifice in perspective.  I'd do anything to be sure this child is born as healthy as can be.  And now I understand a little better God's willingness in sacrificing one Son for the rest of us.

And just like that, the crisis was over, I was home and all was well in bed for the rest of the pregnancy.

Dr. H told me that taking the stitch out would send me into labor, so we planned accordingly.  Stitch out, Baby born, Grandma here.  It didn't happen that way. 

A full week after he'd removed the stitch, Dr. H made a special appointment to strip my membranes--and he accidentally broke my water in the process.  When I got home, I walked up and down the cul-de-sac, holding Lily's four-year-old hand, hoping the contractions would start.  They didn't. 

We made our way to the hospital, where I still refused to progress past a 6 until they started pitocin.  I had been hoping for a beautiful, drug-free delivery like I'd had with Lily, but the pitocin made it so much harder.  I begged for the epidural and was signing the consent form when sweet, calm, kind Dr. H came into the room to check my progress.  I will never forget what he said.  "Jennifer, Look in the mirror.  Baby's right there and he's face down.  You can do this."

And he was right.  Three pushes later, my sweet baby, the miracle I had waited almost two years to hold, was finally in my arms.  It was 11:47 am on Father's Day.

I knew the name for this child had to be something special--this miraculous gift from heaven that was sent to heal my broken heart.  When we assembled the family together to name him, Dad really wanted Thatcher for his middle name (after his favorite cousin), and the kids all had their own ideas--Jarrett, James, Jonah, Jack.

 My choice had been handpicked much earlier in the pregnancy.  If it was a boy, I wanted Micah because Micah means "Gift from God."

I got my gift--Micah Thatcher Denton 6 lb. 7 oz.  19 1/2 "

Even though Micah was born with a clubbed right foot and had to endure casts and braces and bars and therapy for the first two years of life, nothing has ever slowed him down.

Rarely does much time pass in my life where I don't reflect on the lessons I learned on this journey.  Every single child is worth whatever it takes to get them here.  I don't regret a single missed meal or concert or activity.

Happy Birthday, Mikes.  Forever and ever you will be that special gift from God, the gift that mended my shattered heart.

I love you more every day.


  1. Beautiful post Jen. Love the ephainy that you got!!

  2. Such sweet memories and beautiful thoughts.
    I have never had to go through infertility treatment myself, but I know the heartache and trials of it firsthand. I worked as the nurse coordinator in an infertility practice for several years. It's rewarding and heartwrehnching at the same time. I felt like I was going through it myself.
    So happy you got your little miracle.

  3. I met you shortly after this miracle arrived! What a blessing he was in so many ways!

    And again, (not sure I ever thanked you for this) THANK YOU for recommending Dr. H! Although I'm not on bedrest for my whole pregnancy, my pregnancies are tough and far from text book pregnancies. I am lucky enough to visit Dr. H. about once a week during my pregnancies! He's amazing and encouraging and honestly the best DR. EVER! :o)
    Thank you for sharing this story!

  4. I wish I had known about Micah's club foot when my grandson was diagnosed with two in utero. How encouraging to even know this now...that it didn't slow him down and that he is doing so well. Thank you!

  5. I love that you share so much about each ones story. So sweet.
    Where exactly will you be in NC and when. We will be vacationing some in July in the mountains. And if I had to I'd be willing to drive a ways to meet you! Please let me know details. Email if you want.
    :) jen

  6. I remember this time - beautiful *snicker* hand sewn nightgowns, worn for 2 pregnancies! A big bell on the front door and best of all a sweet little baby boy at the end!

    We love our Micah!

  7. Such a beautiful story. Your children will love reading these someday. I loved seeing all your old pictures. Micah is such a cutie!

  8. I love the photo of the five heads peeking out of the white posts.....may be one of my favorite pictures of yours.

  9. I love the photo of the five heads peeking out of the white posts.....maybe one of my favorite pictures of yours.

  10. I love getting all misty-eyed on a Thursday morning!

    Thanks, Jen.


  11. Jen, this was beautiful! What a beautiful story for Micah to have for his own. A mother's love is amazing.

  12. that must have been quite the toll just to write out all of that! thank you for sharing, puts a lot into perspective. another reason why you're so amazing!