When we went to bed on Tuesday, November 26,th our main concern was Reagan being discharged from the Children’s Hospital in Greenville. On Monday she had her ureters re-implanted into her bladder, and our prayer was that we could all be home by Thanksgiving.
Early Wednesday morning Alicia left the Greenville hospital and went to Spartanburg Regional to see her doctors at the Maternal/Fetal Medicine office. I stayed with Reagan, and her doctor came in and said he would like her to stay one more night. I crawled in the bed with Reagan and turned on the new Sophia the First movie, and when I looked out the window a heavy snow had begun to fall. “It’s going to be a good day,” I thought. Reagan was feeling better and we had nothing to do but relax and enjoy the snow.
That was the text message I sent to Alicia. I began to record the snow falling on my phone as I awaited her response. The response I received was not at all what I expected. Instead of a text, she called, interrupting my video.
“Are you ready for this?” she began. “We’re having a baby today.” She went on to explain how her amniotic fluid was too low and that the doctors said she needed an emergency C-section.
I was excited to know that I would be meeting my son shortly, but my first thought was about my daughter: how could I be in two places at once? After hanging up the phone I ran out to find Reagan’s nurse. I told her she needed to call the doctor, that Reagan needed to be discharged. My next call was to Brad, my pastor and boss. I told him something that made me sound like I was in junior high school: I need a ride.
We arrived in Greenville in one car, and now that car was in the hospital parking lot in Spartanburg. Alicia was being admitted into the Labor and Delivery Unit, so she wasn’t coming back to get us. Brad told me not to worry about it, and that he was on the way.
The nurse came in and took Reagan’s catheter out. “If she uses the restroom, she can leave with you.” After a quick pep talk we made a successful trip to the bathroom, and the nurse went to draft the discharge papers.
I quickly packed up our hospital room and got Reagan dressed. In the meantime Alicia told me that her surgery was scheduled for 12:30, which would hopefully allow me time to make it there. Alicia’s doctor had his last patient scheduled for noon and then he was heading off for Thanksgiving, but he generously agreed to stick around for us.
I got the call that Brad was five minutes out right as the nurse came in with the discharge papers. I signed them, gathered our bags, and carried Reagan downstairs. We rushed to Spartanburg Regional, and about ten minutes after I arrived at Triage, Alicia was taken back to the OR. Forty-six minutes later our son took his first breath outside the womb. He weighed 5lb 6 oz. and was 17 ½ inches long.
Thomas Charles Mann, Jr., or “T.J.,” was not due until December 26th, making him 4 weeks and a day early. We thought he would be a Christmas baby, not a Thanksgiving surprise.
T.J. was taken to the NICU shortly after his birth, with is common for preemies. He was having a little trouble breathing and needed to receive oxygen for a few hours. As of right not he is still there because he will not eat, so we are praying that he learns to take his bottle soon. He also has reflux, so we are praying that he will keep down the food that is administered through his feeding tube.
While we wish we could take our son home with us right now, we are trusting God. The events of Wednesday showed that God’s sovereign timing was at work through it all, so we are keeping our faith in Him still.
T.J.'s first picture