*This is just a small excerpt of Zion’s story, written by his momma. You can find the complete story on her blog, sierraleisinger.wordpress.com*
The Joyful Birth & Life of Zion Jeremiah
We went to the hospital the next morning. I got all checked in and got into the hospital room. They got my IV hooked up (ew), did blood work (ew) and we waited. My mom, her boyfriend, Keaton’s parents and my grandparents all gathered around us, anticipating Zion’s arrival. The c-section was supposed to begin at 1:30pm. I dwelled in hearing Zion’s heartbeat on the monitors and feeling each and every kick. It was eerie and calming and scary all at once.
Around 2:30p (because hospitals are late, always), I went back to the operating room. I had to go by myself, at first. It was cold and sterile and bright and scary, just like in the movies. I got my epidural (not that bad, other than not having any control over the lower half of my body), they laid me out on the table and the doctors, nurses, anesthesiologist, other people I didn’t know, all starting talking about me and Zion while I laid there. They almost forgot to go get Keaton, but at the last minute, sent someone to go get him. He came in and sat by my head, the rest of my body blocked by what looked like a blue tarp so we couldn’t see them open my body and squish my organs (how kind).
I couldn’t feel the pain but I could feel my entire body shaking and being jostled while they pushed and shoved all up on it. It was distracting and a little concerning. Keaton, being the major sweetheart he is, sang Oh How I Need You to me. Oh my lanta, how does he always know what I need? I closed by eyes and listened, only getting distracted once when a giant rush of water came out of my body (ew).
Can you tell I hate medical things? It’s gross. My body was punctured so many times in just a few hours. But here’s the really cool part:
They said it was time for us to meet Zion. They dropped the tarp thing and held him up. He looked so cute and perfect to me. Tears welled in my eyes and I wanted to hold him immediately. The NICU stole him for like 2 minutes, which felt like an eternity, then brought him back and placed him on my chest. His face was so stinkin perfect, like literally. He was the CUTEST. The NICU doctor told us that there was nothing that they could do to help him, so they were going to leave him with us. We just stared at him. He was beautiful and it was crazy to see him after being hidden in my belly for the last 30 weeks. He took gasps of air every few seconds, made little cries when I touched his nose, opened his eyes to see his mom and dad (cutest eyes ever award). He spit up and sucked on the little sucker as the nurse cleaned him up. Man, I just wanted to feed him. I wanted to take him home and give him a bath and dress him in cute clothes and watch him grow into a man just like his daddy. I didn’t know how long he’d be with us, but I knew he wasn’t breathing well. We literally just stared at him, refusing to take our eyes off of him, wanting to soak in every ounce of Zion’s life that was.
While we were experiencing one of the most incredible moments of our lives, they stitched me up. It was time for them to move me to recovery. I got to keep Zion on my chest while they switched me to the other bed. While they were doing this, I watched our son’s perfect face slowly turn blue. It started under his nose and spread from there. I just started weeping as I watched our son slowly leave this Earth. This, by far, has been the hardest parts of my entire experience.
Let me tell you, this little man was one heck of a fighter. We were in the recovery room, watching Zion’s heart continue to beat for another 30 minutes. You could see it through his little chest. We could see them slowly getting weaker and weaker. Eventually, the doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat anymore.
Honestly, Keaton and I were just so mesmerized with the last hour, that we were filled with peace. God had answered our prayers – we got to meet our son.
Sometimes I worry that people hear that our son has passed and are disappointed that God didn’t choose to perform a miracle, healing Zion.
Zion didn’t have a brain, had no heart chambers, was 8 weeks behind in size (weighing only 1.49 pounds and 11 inches in length). There were a lot of other things that hadn’t developed as they should have. Even still, I carried him in my belly for 30 weeks, held him in my arms, watched him breathe, listened to his cries. That’s insane. Most babies with Trisomy conditions pass away within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Even though we only got Zion for a little more than an hour, even though his body was imperfect, it was so clear to us that God is who He says He is.
He is a God who answers prayers – we got to meet our son, just like we asked.
He is a God who performs miracles – our son lived much longer than he should have, given his condition.
He is merciful, just, kind, loving, a protector, a provider.