Mother of Garrison Terrelle
Born Sleeping at 17 weeks 2 days
On December 26, 2010
St. Petersburg, Florida
I am Tabitha Shorter mother to Garrison Terrelle Shorter who was born sleeping December 26, 2010 with my nose and his father’s lips and mouth. Gary and I met the summer 2008 while I was teaching and coaching basketball in South Carolina and we talked a couple of times during the summer. Gary is professional photographer as well as a Networking Engineer so he always had a busy schedule. It was not until November 2008, that he just happened to call me as I was coming home from a basketball game which we had lost miserably. He had decided to end communication previously because we lived in two separate states. I lived in South Carolina and he lived in Georgia, but actually we were not that far away. So, when he called me he told me that he investigated the distance through Google maps and concluded that it was not that far.
After a couple of months we knew that we wanted to be together forever and we were married on April 3, 2009. After several months of experiencing being downsized, Gary was blessed with a great job in Virginia so I resigned my position as a teacher in South Carolina and we moved the last part of June. My son decided he did not want to come to Virginia and after much rebellion from him and family members Jalen lives with his grandparents in North Carolina. We stayed in Virginia for about 10 months, and then Gary was downsized again. So, we decided to move back to his hometown in Florida and we have been here since May 2010. We have both found jobs and found a nice three bedroom house in a very nice neighborhood. His mother is only minutes away so we make sure that we are nearby in case she needs anything.
We have a wonderful time together and we had been actively trying to conceive since we were married because we were ready and even though Gary is 51 and I am 40 we are a very healthy couple and take care of our bodies because we are very athletic people. Especially Gary. He has been a vegetarian for about 25 years so he is extremely health conscious. October 2010, my cycle is very regular and after one missed period, I knew that I was pregnant. I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, so I went to the drug store after work and purchased two boxes of pregnancy tests and tested each one and every last one of them came up positive. I text Gary and told him and then I ended the conversation with Garrison’s mom and he replied, What!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He arrived home and I showed him the positive test but I had already made a Gyn appointment to get my annual checkup and he came with me and my Doctor let him know that I was pregnant!
Early in my pregnancy I had several episodes of heavy bleeding and spotting but each time I was checked Garrison’s heartbeat was strong and my doctor assured me that he was okay. We had passed our first trimester and I was really starting to enjoy my journey. About the 1st of December I started having Braxton Hicks so the doctor called me in to get an ultrasound and Garrison always checked out okay. We made our announcement on Christmas Day that we were having a boy and we had named him Garrison Terrelle Shorter because I wanted him to have his father's middle name. We had a long day and night because we went to a relative’s house for a Christmas party that night.
I was extremely tired that night but Garrison ( 17 weeks 2 days) was kicking as usual. That morning I woke up and noticed that I was extremely wet and I told my husband. He and I assumed that it was because I was drinking so much water because our doctor suggested that to ease the Braxton-Hicks contractions. I still did not feel easy about this and I called the OB doctor on call. While I was awaiting my call back, the most dreaded thing happened. I felt a strong urge to go to the bathroom and as I was on the toilet, my water broke. I pleaded with God telling him no, no, no!!! Please don’t take Garrison, I love him so much!! I asked him, “Don’t you know how much I love him!!!! Garrison, please don’t leave mommy like this!!! My doctor called back and I told her I was going to the hospital. I drove myself to the ER and left my husband a note about what happened. He came about 15 minutes later as I was waiting in the ER and it took those hours to get me back to a stretcher because the ER was really busy that day.
Finally, we were sent to ultrasound and we saw the very thing we dreaded we would see. Our son kicking away but no amniotic fluid around him to keep him thriving and surviving. My husband immediately started to cry but I was overjoyed that he was still kicking away and his heart rate was 163 bpm and this let me know that he loved me but I knew that this would be the last time I would see my Garrison alive.
We were transferred to the Labor and Delivery unit to be induced and our doctor told us that Garrison would be born sleeping. My husband and I both cried and our doctor told us to take our time but we decided to be induced and start the procedure. He inserted the tablets into my cervix and performed an exam. He told me that I had dilated 5 cm and asked me if I felt pain and I told him no. I delivered our baby boy Garrison sleeping about three hours after that. The doula who was with me, and I shall never forget her, she cleaned him up for us and my husband took pictures of him sleeping so peacefully with his hand across his stomach. We held him and stroked his head and observed that he looked like both of us and we cried for about an hour.
After that I was sent down to the OR for surgery because the placenta would not separate and so I went for a D&C but had several complications: extreme bleeding and trouble breathing. My husband was scared because he thought he was going to lose me too. Fortunately, I was blessed to come through it just fine. Our doctor who is so sweet and caring urged us to try again and maybe we will. I am thankful for my children but I am saddened by the fact that Garrison will never meet his big brother and sister and they will never get a chance to meet him.
Gary and I love our children very much and we will never ever forget Garrison Terrelle Shorter. He was born perfect but now I know I have incompetent cervix and I hope to start a support group for those who have experienced a pregnancy loss due to this condition.
Tabitha can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org