Monroe Dior Johnson -- This is Your Birth Story (Part 2)



The Night That Changed My Life

On August 9, 2021, the nurse came in around 9pm like they normally would to hook my belly up to the heart rate monitor to make sure Monroe was doing okay. My Mom left as soon as they got me hooked up. She liked to hear the heart beat and then she would go home. I remember this particular night, I really had to use the bathroom when the nurse came in, but I was like it's fine, I'll just wait until after I come off of the monitor. I figured it would be about 10 minutes and I'd be done. I was wrong. Monroe's heart rate had a couple of concerning dips and this had happened before. They always would say "oh she's probably kicking or holding onto your umbilical cord, but we will keep you hooked up and little longer tonight just to make sure she's okay". She would always be okay and they would come take the monitor away and I'd go to sleep. This night was different. They were really concerned and they left me hooked up for a LONG TIME. I remember being so irritated because I REALLY had to pee so badly, but they didn't want to take me off of the monitor. I was thinking, hopefully just a few more minutes of this!

 Time kept moving and before I knew it, I had been hooked to the monitor for over an hour and I was so mad! In hindsight, it's silly because they were obviously concerned for Monroe and I appreciate it, but you have to understand the context. This was my normal, so I didn't think anything was wrong! I just wanted to go to the bathroom, lol. It was at about 10:15pm when the nurse came back in with a hospital gown in her hand. She held it up in front of me and said only a few words, but I'll never forget them.

"Alright, it's time."

I was sitting there confused and I said "time for what?" She literally didn't say another word and just gave me one of those looks like "I'm sorry, I know this isn't the way you wanted it to go, but it's happening", and I lost it. I started crying uncontrollably and she was so kind to me. She said "Hey, it's going to be okay. You are about to meet your beautiful baby, come on it's going to be fine". It didn't feel like things were going to be fine though. It felt rushed, scary, unknown, and just wrong. I don't know what came over me, but after those initial panic tears, I was able to pull myself together. On the inside, I was numb. On the outside, I kept a calm demeanor. I wasn't quite sure all that was going on, but I knew I needed to hold it together so that my baby had the best chance possible at being okay. I was still only 29 weeks pregnant. Far from where we started at 21, but also 11 weeks early. The odds still were not the best.


This wasn't how my birth story was supposed to go. I was supposed to make it to the 34 week goal the doctor set for me. Monroe was going to come out at least 5 lbs, she would do great and only need a few days in NICU (or none at all) and we would go home. That was MY plan. Not God's, and I couldn't handle it in that moment. Everything started happening so so fast after that.

Marcus jumped on the phone and called my Mom and told her to turn around. He then called my cousin Sa Cara just to keep her in the loop. He was scared too, I could see it in his eyes, but he was definitely trying to be strong for me. One nurse walked in the room. Then another one. Then the anesthesiologist, then the doctor, then some other people. It was insane. Everyone was talking to me at the same time, trying to get me to sign paperwork, trying to get an IV started, trying to explain what was about to happen, trying to get me out of my pajamas and into the hospital gown, trying to keep me calm, it was a mad house. Marcus was getting upset because he felt they were overwhelming me, but I know they were just trying to move as quickly as possible because it was an emergency situation. Honestly, I just wanted to use the bathroom and thankfully, they let me, lol.

Here's a funny part of the story. This is how you know things were moving extremely fast and no one had time to explain anything fully. The nurses were so kind to me and were trying to keep my spirits up when everything was happening. It was about 10:30pm when they got ready to take me to the operating room. I remember Marcus said something like "Wow, so our baby may be born on August 10th or 11th". The nurse laughed and was like "Oh no, she will be born TONIGHT. Like within the hour!" His face was so stunned, haha! He was thinking I was about to labor and do all the things that you do in a normal circumstance, but I was like yeah they are about to cut me open, take her out, and sew me back up again, lol. Amazing how we still found a moment to laugh in the midst of chaos.
My Mom made it back to the hospital just before they wheeled me away to the operating room. She hugged me so tight and told me everything was going to be okay. They gave Marcus all of the operating room protective gear to put on and told him to come on. My Mom stayed behind and started packing up the hospital room. Remember, I was basically living there so we had stuff everywhere and they told us that once I delivered, I'd be moving to another room in another part of the hospital. So thankful for her being able to help us with that!

Once we got to the operating room, they told Marcus to wait outside the door while they got me situated. I didn't realize I would be alone when they took me in the room and gave me the epidural. Another part of my plan that didn't happen. I just knew I'd be able to hold Marcus' hand while they stuck me, but nope, I had to be strong by myself. I sat up on the cold, hard table and they explained what I needed to do in order to have a successful epidural. They gave me a pillow to hold and told me to relax. Relax? Sure, yeah I'll relax, lol. I remember just closing my eyes and breathing slowly. Thinking about Monroe the entire time and wanting her to be okay. Before I could think about it too much, it was over. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or what, but I don't remember feeling the epidural at all. Before I knew it, I was on the table and Marcus was walking in to sit next to me.

I think we were both very much in disbelief as to what was happening. Less than an hour ago, we both thought we were going to have a baby in September, not August. Less than an hour ago, we were watching TV in our "Hotel Hospital" room, eating and thinking this was just another night. This wasn't our plan. This was God's plan, and he was showing us that he plans our every move and step throughout this entire situation. I don't remember a lot about what Marcus and I talked about while they were operating on me, but I do know it was very casual normal conversation. I couldn't feel anything at first other than some pulling and tugging, but nothing too crazy. Before giving birth, I always imagined it to be this magical experience where we cry and they immediately put her on my chest and we have this instant bond/connection and it's just like a fairy tale. Unfortunately, this wasn't our story. I wasn't sure if I'd share this part of the story, but I have always been super transparent with you guys, so I'm going to tell my truth.
While laying on that operating table, I felt no emotion.
Nothing at all, and it kind of scared me. I had watched many videos of Moms having c-sections and feeling emotional and crying when they saw their baby come out and all of those things. I am the Queen of taking pictures/videos, but I never asked Marcus to take any pictures. In hindsight now, I wish we had taken one of the two of us while waiting for her to come out, but I did not think to do that in the moment. I guess I was just more scared than excited and I hated feeling that way.

After about 10 minutes (felt much longer), I started to feel extreme pressure in my chest and the doctor was literally pulling and tugging so so hard. I knew he was trying to get my girl out. Within a few minutes, at 11:01pm, she was out and I barely saw her. I wanted to cry and felt a lump in my throat, but the tears didn't come. The room was kind of eerily quiet and she didn't cry. She was SO tiny. The NICU team immediately took her and placed her in an incubator and it was so many people surrounding her that I couldn't really see her even though she was right next to me on the left. After she had been out about two minutes, I heard the quietest whimper! She tried to cry, but her little lungs just wouldn't let her. That moment let me know that I had a fighter. Within five minutes, she was gone to NICU and Marcus and I were waiting for me to get sewn back up so that I could go to recovery.

A lot of what happens next is a complete blur.

Once I was ready to go to recovery, Marcus was sent to be with Monroe and I was wheeled to a small room. I remember going in and out of sleep and every 15-20 minutes, someone came in and pressed on my stomach. I think I had water? I'm not sure. Like I said, blur. At some point, Marcus came back to be with me and he showed me pictures he took of Monroe. She looked so helpless and small. This wasn't supposed to be her story. This wasn't what I had planned. I was numb, literally and figuratively.

An hour or so later, Monroe's Neonatologist came to see us. She was very grim.

"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. I've been seeing your baby girl. Things aren't looking too good. She's on the highest level of oxygen with the ventilator and she isn't taking to it very well. If she doesn't take to it soon, there won't be much else we can do for her. I will update you guys again in a few hours."

My response was... "Okay."

I remember Marcus telling me later that he couldn't believe how calm I was and honestly, I couldn't believe it either, but I felt very calm and something was telling me she would be okay. That whimper I heard her let out while in the operating room was her indication to me that she was a fighter, so I was not concerned. She just needed a little time to adjust to the outside world and my girl would be fine.

Once they were ready to move me to a room, they told me I was going to be able to go see my baby in NICU first. They wheeled my bed into the NICU and right up to my baby's incubator in spot #44. I was stunned. I felt everything and nothing at all at the same time. She was so small and surrounded by so much equipment that I could barely see her. I cried. All of the tears I didn't shed in the operating room came out in this moment. I was a Mom and my baby was struggling to breathe. It didn't feel fair or right and I was so upset. All I could do was look at her in this big clear box. I couldn't touch her or hold her or anything. It didn't feel right, but it was our reality.

Around 4am, once they got me settled into the hospital room I would be in until I got discharged to go home, the Neonatologist called us and gave us the best news. Monroe had stabilized and was finally taking to the oxygen so well. They were even able to turn the ventilator down to like the first level. She couldn't believe it was the same baby because she was doing so well from just  a few hours prior! I knew my baby would be okay, but hearing it from the doctor just made me so happy! I knew we had a long road ahead of us, but that gave me hope!

I was discharged from the hospital on August 12th, after a long 60ish day stay.
However, our birth story did not end here.
As a lot of you know, Monroe spent almost two months in NICU, but I'm going to stop here because that whole NICU journey could be a blog post itself, lol. Let me know if you guys want to hear about our NICU journey/experience and I may work on that next.

I am forever grateful for every person who prayed for us during this extremely hard and emotional time and showed us love. I can't believe our girl is almost one. She is proof that God loves us unconditionally and his plan can in the end be better than any plan we could have thought up ourselves. He is forever faithful!

Thank you so much for reading! xo

1 comment

  1. Anonymous8/04/2022

    Awesome story what a blessing grateful


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