On February 18th, 2022 Gunner James was born. His parents, Sarah & Jacob, had tried for 8 years to get pregnant, surviving through numerous and grueling IVF treatments that gave them several pregnancies, but the same number of miscarriages. They had one more embryo and this was their last chance.
To say he was welcomed into his parents’ lives – is a massive understatement. Yet, we (the women of our family) were scared… with no reason. We had a sinking feeling we couldn’t shake, couldn’t discuss, couldn’t fathom and yet, we had trepidation. No obvious cause, as Sarah’s pregnancy was straightforward and all the ultrasounds and tests were perfect. Aside from late in her pregnancy when she developed gestational diabetes, there were no complications.
As Sarah’s mother, I knew her desire to be a mother began when she was still a child herself. To see her go through so much difficulty getting pregnant tore me apart, but I had to manage that on my own. We are very different sorts of humans. I am an intuitive healer and astrologer and my daughter is pragmatic, practical and self proclaimed rule follower (when it makes sense).
We love each other deeply, but often didn’t fully understand each other. We struggled relating about her desire to have a family because I had been TOO fertile in comparison. If I had any issues with fertility, it was the opposite of her challenges making me unable to perceive just how difficult her journey was. That and other factors troubled our exchange as mother and daughter, but we respected each other, she helped me wrap my heart around her situation, we talked things through – ALWAYS – and our love was a gentle wave we have always ridden together. There is room for differences, but only when everyone involved creates space and remains kind inside it.
A few years ago, I had a clear understanding about one reason WHY they couldn’t get pregnant; which wasn’t scientific, but energetic. To both their credit, Sarah and Jacob understood what I ultimately shared with them and how to overcome it (which they followed), while they continued to use medicine and test tubes to create their child. With an abundance of courage, they implanted the last 3 saved embryos they had left… and Gunner’s first cells began to grow within her body. In 16 weeks, they announced to the world they were expecting a child!
At the turn of 2022, I made plans to fly to Maui in early March to spend time with Sarah while she was still pregnant and I would then be close by for the birth. When February rolled around, my husband and I made plans to drive to Tehachapi; about 6 hours drive from our ranch in AZ. After two years of being cooped up – as COVID forced all of us to do – it was our maiden voyage into civilization together. We were excited for our road trip and took our time driving there.
During our drive we got out for a walk with our Salukis, out in the deep wilds of Southern California, when I ‘saw’ something trying to hurt my grandson; punching him in his tummy. It felt like this ‘thing’ wanted to kill our boy, so I turned to my husband and told him as much. We both immediately & automatically sent protective love and it seemed as though my system worked on getting whatever this was, away from my beloveds.
In truth, I’d hoped I was just seeing things.
Two days later, we were driving home and Sarah called, saying she felt weird. She just wasn’t sure what was happening that day and promised to keep me close. Eventually it was clear she was in labor.
There was still over a month before Gunner’s due date which was concerning, but we were also excited. As the day progressed, the calls kept coming in from Sarah. Something wasn’t right and they kept having to relax their ideals for the birth, surrendering to more and more intervention. Then, after hours of labor, the contractions began to put Gunner into distress, so it was decided to do a C-section… THE OPPOSITE of what they wanted, but they both felt it was best for their baby. Still, this little man, born so early was a big 6 pound boy with a healthy pair of lungs on him!! Everything seemed fine. He was strong and he was BORN!!
Within minutes though, the doctors noticed significant bruising on his lower abdomen… which may be a minor issue, but not wanting to take any chances, they whisked him out of his mother’s arms and into x-ray.
Sarah reflected on the one perfect moment she had when she heard his first cry; a split second of joy and knowing her dreams were coming true, engulfed her heart. She cried bitter, sorrowful tears, as she told me this recollection, but also remembered how soothing and magical it was to hold him for the first time. Gunner’s first cry gave her the briefest of seconds where she knew all was well. She thought to herself, “He’s here… everything will be fine!!”
But there was a huge problem…
Within a few hours, it was decided that Gunner needed to be airlifted to Oahu where the hospitals were better equipped to diagnose what was going on and manage it, if it was serious.
Jacob remained near Gunner, while Sarah was prone, just out of surgery and still numb from the neck down. The realization that her child would be taken away from her and FLOWN to another island and they wouldn’t take anyone else on the helicopter was a staggering proposition to them both. Their tiny human would be taken from the only voices he would recognize … and things just kept happening.
For several hours, the hospital worked to get a flight for Gunner. Once they were situated and at the last minute, the transport team offered to bring Jacob with them. Such an enormous relief! Sarah couldn’t move, but Gunner would have his papa with him.
One miracle and another, peppered in with one trauma followed by another. We were all on the roller coaster of our lives, especially my daughter and her husband.
From 11 am, HI time on, the phone was always buzzing. Our big family were all communicating via text and calls, while the local Maui Ohana were busy gathering up stuff for the little family, while one sister stayed with Sarah in the hospital. Rob and I arrived home and we never stopped praying. Things felt really otherworldly for me, as though time was standing still and rushing by all at once.
Once home, we settled into our normal evening routine & I pulled out my suitcase so I could get ready to go meet my new grandson, only to have our lives and hearts completely shattered.
(To be continued)