Our little Bodhi. I knew you were a boy from the very moment I found out I was pregnant. Girl names were easy to think of, but we just couldn’t land on a boy name that felt appropriate for how special we knew you are. When we stumbled on the name Bodhi, before we even knew you were a boy, I fell in love and knew that is your name. You have been our Bodhi ever since that day. Every scan we saw you and beamed at our little Bo growing so well.
I knew you’d be a special little man as you continuously did Michael Phelps laps in my belly. So it isn’t a surprise that you wanted to make such a dramatic entrance into this world. You just couldn’t wait to make your debut.
You were born on October 8, 2021, at 8:35 PM via an emergency Caesarian section with your mum and dad both by your side who were and continue to send an enormous amount of love. I don’t want to forget the journey to get you here, because although it was incredibly painful and full of trauma, it brought you to me.
On October 5, I went into the hospital at 1:00 am with back pains, which I now know where the initial start of labour. I went there because my OB was on call at the time. The on-call resident checked me out and said everything looked fine, and that I had a UTI. She sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics that I needed to fill myself.
We went home to rest. But by 8:00 am, I knew something wasn’t right. I went back to the hospital to be reassessed because my back pain was intense and coming every 3-4 minutes, but I assumed they were gas or kidney pains. I had also started bleeding a small amount. Once we got to the hospital the nurses told me to “go home” because that it was “just a UTI,” and “go fill your prescription because yeah UTIs hurt”
They told me this was a “brilliant plan.”
I told them no. I didn’t care that the OBs were all busy, my pain was intense and needed to be seen.
Finally, a resident saw me and said, no you seem fine, but let’s get a senior resident to look at you. The two residents did a pelvic on me and realized quickly that I was in early preterm labour and I was 3 cm dilated. The message we received was painful and not well delivered. We were told at 23 weeks 5 days, Bodhi was coming today and that was it.
The scene turned into chaos. The two original residents’ who had been examining me, now turned into an assortment of 20 some including nurses, Doctors and EMS, who were prepping me for the hospital transfer. I was signing paperwork, being jabbed with needles and injections, all in an effort to be transported immediately to a different hospital via ambulance. All I kept saying was that I was so sorry. Sorry that I couldn’t keep you safe little Bear. I was so scared and this all felt surreal and like a nightmare.
10-minutes later I was on my way to the hospital all while having contractions in the back of an ambulance. I was terrified.
Once I got to L&D, another 10-15 doctors/nurses assessed me. These doctors were calm and the nurses held my hand reassuring me that I was in the best care possible. They determined that yes I was dilated and in labour but that was okay and it didn’t mean that Bodhi was gone or even that he was coming today. We had to make tough decisions because I was so early in my pregnancy.
They ultimately gave me medications to stop the labour. The ultrasounds showed that Bodhi was perfectly happy swimming laps in me and was in no distress. I had no further bleeding and felt pretty well, the same as I did before the labour had started.
While I was in the hospital, Bodhi and I made a pact on the night of Week 23 night 6. It was a New Moon, and I told my little man that you keep growing, and I’ll do whatever I can do to keep you safe. The nurse and I phoned my husband at midnight to celebrate the turnover of Week 24 by letting us hear the Doppler together.
Things seemed fine and stable and after 4-days in the hospital and no further symptoms, the team decided that the best treatment for me was to have antenatal care follow up with me at home and monitor my symptoms.
I was discharged at 2:00 pm on October 8, 2021.
When I came home, I tried to rest, but I couldn’t. I kept getting these pains in my back. But again, I thought they were just gas pain. When my husband came home from doing errands for me, like getting prescriptions, I started to bleed quite a bit and the pain started to get more intense.
I was in labour again and I started to cry.
I said to call 911, and within 5-minutes the fire department and then EMS came for me. While my husband was calmly on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he held me through all the contraction pain and reminders to breathe. At this point, I am bleeding excessively and our neighbours were watching. I was in disbelief this is happening again.
EMS rush me once again to the L&D unit at the same hospital I had only been discharged from 2-hours previously. I was bleeding profusely during the ambulance ride and all I could muster the courage to say was that I was scared.
The OB who had previously taken over my case was still on shift and was there to monitor me as I arrived. After an hour of hard contractions, she decided it was time to move Bodhi out of me because he was in distress.
We were having an emergency cesarean section on October 8, 2021. They made me sign a consent form, which to what I said, well why would I sign that “I don’t care, do whatever you can to keep him safe”.
The scene was a blur to me, but the team was so calm and well organized. The anesthesiologist walked me through everything and Bodhi was born minutes later. My husband was beaming because he was the dad he always knew he was destined to be. He escorted our little peanut to the NICU where was treated so lovingly.
They determined that the placenta detached, and my membranes had ruptured and there was nothing I could have done to prevent this. We don’t know what caused this, and likely will never know.
I lost a lot of blood and felt very sick after the procedure. It is standard for babies this little to have transfusions and Bodhi and I were twinning, receiving ours at the exact same time. I ended up with two blood transfusions and two iron transfusions.
Up until October 16, 2021, Bodhi’s heart, lungs, brain were all strong and in the clear. His muscles were incredibly resilient and we knew he was a tough little dude. The Doctors were impressed with his progress. He was pooping and peeing on his own, and we got to change his diaper. Anytime we would talk to him and go see him, his oxygen levels would increase — which we learned meant he was happy!
I was scared to see him at first because I felt like I had let him down. I have a lot of ongoing guilt for not being able to keep my little Bo bear safe because the safest place was in me. But my husband reminds me that I saved his life and gave him a chance. If I had listened to those original nurses, this would have been a different story. Had I not called 911 when I went into labour again, this also could have been a different story for both of us.
When I saw Bo for the first time it wasn’t scary at all. He was so beautiful. He looked like a little baby, with 10 fingers and 10 toes! We could see his little heartbeat and he had a good chunk of hair on his head. He held my finger when we visited him and kicked around when we were near.
I had a really rough day on October 16, but my husband spent the entire day there. I found some strength to go to the hospital at 5:00 pm. I went down and things suddenly changed for Bodhi. We don’t know why. His blood pressure dropped drastically out of nowhere and 30 different clinicians were around his bed while they prepared us that this was the end. I cried and screamed into my husbands’ side. As his BP fell further, my husband put his finger on Bodhi’s hand and said “I love you, little buddy.” Bodhi’s BP and other vitals instantly normalized after he did this. It was insane, unexplainable and a miracle. It was the most magical thing I have ever witnessed. The Doctors had zero explanation for why this happened. But I think Bodhi was not ready to go out that way. He was a fighter.
20-minutes later it started happening again and we, along with the head doctor decided that this was enough. We were able to go to a private room with a bed and hold Bodhi in our arms as he was able to pass gently and in a less clinical setting. My mum was able to make it in time and we all got to hold, kiss and give love to this beautiful little boy as he transitioned.
As Bodhi was on my chest in my arms, I felt him pass at 7:35 pm. Just shy of his 9th day on earth. Even tho his little heartbeat was so slow already, I knew when he had gone. I felt his energy go and he said to me, “I’m okay mum.” The nurse asked me if we wanted to check if he was gone, but I said, I knew he was and he’s okay. They of course had to confirm and determined he was at peace.
We were able to cuddle, bathe and dress him in sweet little clothes. The NICU nurses were crying along with us and holding our hands. I know this was hard for them too. But they gave us space and time to spend with our little bear.
My husband is the strongest, most loving caring dad in the entire world. All the nurses kept saying to me how lucky I am because he’s an amazing dad. I was always scared I wouldn’t be a good mum, but I always knew in my heart he would be an amazing Dad.
I wish more people could have met our little Bear, but he had incredibly loving and sweet energy. He loved to sit in the Buddha lotus pose with his hands at prayer. He loved to wiggle around in his bed and scoot his bum around. He also loved to pee on the nurses, which apparently wasn’t common for babies so little.
We are still in shock and can’t comprehend what has happened. It doesn’t feel real. Although we only had 8-days with him, every day was a blessing. On the night Bodhi passed, we decided that after 14-years, we wanted so badly to make our union legal, so on December 4, we officially tied the knot and celebrated our love for each other and Bodhi. I want his story to be remembered because Bodhi is an incredibly special boy.