Kelly :: How I Became a Mother

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Kelly’s Story

How did I become a mother?  Wow.  Such a simple question with such a complex answer.  My story is unlike anything I had ever imaged for myself, and certainly not anything like I had ever read about in all of those What to Expect… books.  It is filled with unbelievably exciting highs and incredibly sorrowful lows.  It is MY story of entering into motherhood, and I am so honored to share it with all of you…

On August 10th, 2010, my whole world changed.  After a few months prepping and only two months of trying, my husband and I saw those two beautiful pink lines staring back up at us.  We were going to be parents.  It was a moment that we had both longed for almost all of our lives…but were scared out of our minds for all at the same time.  We hugged each other.  Rejoiced in the moment.  And then called each of our parents to let them in on the joyous news.

Soon morning sickness kicked in and food aversions took over.  Even looking at a piece of grilled meat made my stomach turn, and I hung up my apron in the kitchen and finally claimed my spot on the big couch.  Which is a good thing because I was beyond exhausted after coming home from teaching special education each day.  {Who knew growing a baby would drain every last bit of energy from your body?}  The first trimester was going along just as it should, and we even saw the most precious black blob on the ultrasound screen at my first OB appointment.  And the sound of the heartbeat?  Oh, I just melt thinking back to that beautiful “lub-dub, lub-dub…”  Everything was perfect – Preggie Pops, Bellabands, and all.

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That is until one day when I was chatting with a friend in the halls after school.  All of a sudden I had the sensation of … well … I felt like I had involuntarily wet my pants.  I looked her straight in the eye and said, “I think I just peed on myself.”  We both kind of laughed, and then I snuck off into the bathroom.  But what I saw took me by complete surprise.  I was bleeding pretty badly, and my heart sank.  No.  It couldn’t be.  I had already seen the little black blob growing inside of me.  I had already heard the heartbeat.  I had already fallen in love.

I drove the few blocks to my house and immediately called my husband.  He tried so hard to be strong for me and said he would meet me at the hospital right away.  My sweet, sweet neighbor picked me up and away we went.  We were silent the whole drive there – neither of us knowing what to say or what to do.  The ER nurse got me into a private room immediately, and my husband showed up shortly after.  After a quick examination, the ER doctor noted that my cervix was still closed – which was a good sign, but the bleeding was so bad that everyone was sure of what was happening.  I was taken back to have an ultrasound, and I will never forget the moment of staring at the screen.  Holding my breath.  Gripping my husband’s hand.  The ultrasound tech looked around … and there it was.  My sweet black blob.  It had grown so much since the last time we saw it.  It was beginning to take the shape of a baby, and more importantly, it had a heartbeat.  My baby was still there, and it was beautiful.  I could finally breathe again after what felt like an eternity.

The ER doctor called it a threatened miscarriageI called it a little fighter.  Only I had no idea just how true those words would be.

From there, everything went back to being pretty normal.  The morning sickness continued.  The exhaustion ever present.  I scheduled my first trimester screening, partially to make sure everything was okay … but mainly to discover the gender.  I found a place downtown that would do a blood draw and could tell you the gender at only 12 weeks gestation, and I was beyond excited.  My OB warned me not to go, but I was stubborn.  It was my first baby, and as naive as I may have been – I really wanted to know whether I should start shopping for blue or pink.

So off I went to a strange office with strange people all alone for the moment that would forever change my life.

When I got there, I was taken back to talk with a counselor who explained the screening and did an informal survey to see if I was at a heightened risk of birth defects.  I literally laughed my way through it.  After all, I was taking immaculate care of myself.  No caffeine, no junk food, not even a dose of Tylenol.  Plus, I was a special education teacher; I knew everything there was to know.  My baby was perfect.  This was just a formality and a way to pass the time before I could start shopping for big pink bows or handsome little bowties.  The counselor agreed that my risks were definitely low, and she sent me on my way to see the ultrasound tech.

I laid on the table, and the tech started with an abdominal ultrasound.  She instantly spotted that sweet little baby growing in my belly, and she began looking at it closely.  Very closely.  A little too closely.  She decided she needed to do a transvaginal ultrasound to get a better look.  Slightly annoyed, I said okay.  After all, it gave me a better glimpse at my sweet baby too.  We saw its two little legs.  And then she looked up close and focused on something else between those two legs.  It was a boy.  I was having a baby boy.  My heart melted in disbelief, and I could not wait to tell my husband.  I knew he would be so excited.

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But then the ultrasound tech kept looking at him.  More angles.  More views.  For over an hour.

Eventually, she told me to go sit in the hallway and that they would be taking my blood next.  “Is everything okay?” I asked.  She smiled kindly, but didn’t really answer.  I sat in the hallway and watched moms shuffle in and out of the ultrasound room.  Much quicker than I had.  Moms were called in and out to have their blood taken, even though they had arrived much later than me.  I just sat there in the hallway.  All by myself.  Wanting to believe everything was okay, but knowing deep down that it wasn’t.  Finally, someone came out and told me that I needed to schedule an appointment with my OB … soon.  “IS EVERYTHING OKAY??” I asked a little more firmly.  They smiled kindly, but didn’t really answer.  So I had my blood drawn and went home.  Unsure whether I should be excited about my precious baby boy or scared of what his future holds.

That evening, I stopped at Target on my way home to buy some boy clothes and a little baby football, and I had another wonderful neighbor come over to write on my stomach that it was a boy.  My husband got home right as she was sneaking away, and I surprised him with the news.  We both cried tears of joy, and then I broke the news to him that I thought something might be wrong.  He assured me that everything was just fine.  That his boy was perfect.  That there was nothing to be worried about.

The next day I went to see my OB, but as hard as I try – I just cannot remember the details of that appointment.  I remember having yet another ultrasound … and then being taken back to her office … and then hearing the words “we found something” … and “abdominal wall defect” … and “high risk” … and “surgeries” …  I went numb.  My heart stopped.  To this day, I have never been more terrified in my life.

Of course, she instructed me NOT to go home and do any research on Dr. Google.  But what did I do?  I went home and got straight on the computer.  My husband and I typed in those three little words – abdominal. wall. defect. – and hit the search button.  Let me just tell you… We were NOT prepared to see what we saw.  Our stomachs dropped.  Our hearts sank.  Our world ended.

No.  This couldn’t be happening.

Not us.

Not our baby boy.

The longest week of our life went by before we could get an appointment with the high risk maternal fetal medicine {MFM} doctor, and I don’t think I slept more than a few hours each night.  I would go to bed sobbing and wake up in the middle of the night with tears rolling down my cheeks.  My eyes fill up with tears just thinking back to that moment of helplessness.  It is like nothing you could ever imagine unless you have been in those exact shoes.  Thankfully, the MFM doctor was amazing – so patient and so kind with these two broken parents.  She explained everything so eloquently, and we finally got a diagnosis.  Omphalocele.  Basically speaking, his abdominal wall did not close all the way during development and his internal organs were protruding into a thin sack outside of his body.  She wasn’t sure, but she thought she could see liver … and stomach … and bowels.  All outside of his sweet little body.

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The next few moments were some of the absolute most heart wrenching of my life.  A genetic counselor sat down to talk with us about our options.  We could do nothing.  We could do further testing {in our case a chorionic villus sampling or CVS}.  Or we could……….  I can’t even type those words.

We opted for further testing since babies with omphaloceles often have other {much more serious} chromosomal abnormalities as well.  So the very next day, I went to meet Dr. Friel {who would later end up delivering my sweet baby boy} to have the CVS done.  I will spare you the details on this one, but I will say that a CVS is definitely not a pleasurable experience.  I am just so grateful for my aunt who went with me and literally held my hand the entire time.

I got the preliminary results just a few days later, and they came back showing normal chromosomes.  Then, we got the official results about a week after that – normal, once again.  And so began the climb out of the darkest days of our lives.

From there, it was a whirlwind of appointments … and testing … and more appointments … and a countless array of doctors.  We met with a pediatric cardiologist to check his little peanut-sized heart and found everything to be okay.  We met with specialists to check each of his teeny-tiny fingers, sweet little toes, and everything in between – and found everything to be okay.  We met with a pediatric surgeon – OUR pediatric surgeon, Dr. Tsao, our life-long hero – and knew that in his hands, everything would be okay.  With each passing day, and with each passing exam, we slowly began to feel somewhat normal again.

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For me, my whole pregnancy was a fine line of having faith and guarding my heart.  I had joined a support group online filled with some of the strongest, most courageous, most amazing women I will ever have the pleasure to know, and I learned that the prognosis for these sweet little O babies {as we like to call them} is never certain.  There are babies who go on to live full and happy lives.  And there are babies who are called up to Heaven all too soon.

There are absolutely no words to express that fear.  The fear of carrying a baby in your body who you are so madly in love with – but unsure whether you will ever be able to bring them home.  It is almost too much for a mother to endure.

But I did … for some of the most agonizing months of my life.  And someway, somehow, I even managed to create a registry and attend three beautiful baby showers and pick a name for the little miracle boy growing inside of me.

Hayes. Robert. Davis.

A name of strength.  A name of honor.  A name of love.

My belly bump continued to grow, and we put all of the finishing touches on the nursery.  The countdown to delivery day was drawing near, and I knew from all of my pregnancy books that this is the point in time where most moms really start to get excited and are oh-so-ready for their babies to be born.

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But not me.

All of my bravery and all of my confidence seemed to be slipping away from me with each passing minute.  And instead, my heart was filling with anxiety and concern and worry.  Worry about the unending medical bills that were already starting to pile up in our mailbox.  Worry about the delivery and my recovery.  Worry about whether or not my sweet baby boy would even……….live.

Finally, my scheduled c-section day was upon us.  Due to the fact that babies with birth defects are at a much heightened risk of being stillborn, I was scheduled for delivery three weeks prior to my due date.  I was also going to have a classical c-section {sliced from my belly button down…} to ensure that they had enough room to get him out without causing harm to his omphalocele.  With this delivery, I was completely sacrificing myself and my body for him, and I was proud and honored to do so.

March 25, 2011 was the day.  The day that they were going to remove my precious son from the safety and security of my body and surrender him to the doctors … and the hospital … and the world.  I was scared and excited and anxious all at the same time.

We got to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital well before the sun rose, and I was taken back to triage to prep for surgery.  My parents arrived shortly after, and I will never forget the tears I saw in the corner of my typically very level-headed mother’s eyes.  They wished my husband and I well.  I said a quiet prayer to myself.  And then I was wheeled back to the OR.

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I will never … EVER … forget lying on that table.  There were at least 30 people in the room – from countless doctors and nurses, to a film crew who was documenting our journey, to the most good-looking anesthesiologist I had ever seen.  {…a much needed distraction in an angst-filled situation?}  Everyone was there, and everyone was ready to meet Hayes.

I received my spinal block, laid down on the table, and tried to remain as calm as I possibly could.  Everyone kept telling me how proud they were of me and how brave I was being – but the tears that just would not stop rolling down my cheeks proved otherwise.

It only took a few minutes for them to make the incision and prepare to pull him out.  I remember turning to my husband and saying, “This is it.  Here he comes.”  I could feel as two OB’s fit both of their hands entirely inside body – one holding him … and one holding his omphalocele.  They gently pulled him out.  All 5 pounds 15 ounces of him.  And he instantly began to cry the most beautiful cry I had ever heard.

It meant his lungs were working.  It meant he was alive.

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The neonatologist quickly whisked him over to the exam table where they secured and protected his omphalocele, cleaned him up, and performed the Apgar test.  He was doing well.  So well that they were able to bring him over to me.  I was able to ever-so-gently cradle him in my arms.  My husband and I were able to take our first family photo with our son.  And I was even able to kiss his little bitty lips.

And it was in that exact second.  That exact moment in time.  That I became a mother.

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My story of entering into motherhood may end here, but Hayes’s miraculous story of hope, love, and beating all odds has so much more to hold.  Read the rest of his story here.  Then, be sure to join me in shining a light on other babies like Hayes through our Birth Defect Awareness Series.

[hr] Please Note :: Bassett Baby Planning is graciously sponsoring our ‘How I Became a Mother Series’…and we would not have it any other way!  We are passionate about all that they are doing for new and expecting moms, and we encourage you to contact them to help in your journey to becoming a mother too.

To learn more about Bassett Baby Planning

or schedule an appointment, please contact ::

855.455.BABY or info {at} bassettbabyplanning {dot} com

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Kelly D
Kelly is the founder of Houston Moms Blog and has lived in this beautiful city nearly all of her life. She has a degree in education from Texas State University and was honored to teach special education for eight years to some of the cutest little kiddos you could ever meet. While teaching, Kelly met Cody – a tall drink of water and country boy to the core – and together, they fell in love, got married, and decided to start a family. In March 2011, they welcomed Hayes into the world, a silly but smart little boy with a story you have to read to believe. And in April 2013, their family was complete with the addition of Hadley, a super gregarious and oh-so-cute baby girl. Now, Kelly devotes her days to caring for her own little ones…and would not trade this new job of hers for the world! In her not-so-spare time, Kelly loves meeting up with her girlfriends for margaritas, failing miserably at Pinterest projects, and exploring this big old city with her two favorite little side-kicks in tow.


  1. A very touching story, Kelly! What heartbreak we are willing to face in the name of motherhood. That moment your son cried must have been the sweetest sound you have ever heard. Thanks for sharing your amazing journey!

  2. Both your story and Brooke’s are so beyond touching. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety you had and only wish I has known you then to cover you in prayer!

    • Thank you, sweet Ashley! We are so blessed to have found each other and to now be connected forever and surrounded by such inspirational women like yourself. To say we are blessed is a wild understatement!

  3. Thank you for sharing your story and spreading Omphalocele Awarness! You are my inspiration and I will soon be on the OR table with the same thoughts in my head, can’t wait to welcome my “O” baby! I have been up and down on this roller coaster and met some amazing women from around the world but the best part has been bonding with you and meeting Hayes! He truly is a miricale! My friends and I will be wearing black and white on Omphalocele Awarness Day 1/31!

  4. Is it creepy that I googled you and watched all the videos I could find and went back and read on your personal blog? What a beautiful story of triumph!! Amazing.

    • Thank you so much, Meg! I love having the opportunity to share our story with others…it make everything we went through all seem worth it in some strange way. Even if those people do stumble upon it from creepy Google searching. 😉

  5. This brought tears to my eyes! What a courageous Mommy you are!

    It was lovely to meet you after the show today! Many thanks to HMB for coming to Girls Only!!!

    • Thanks so much for your sweet words, Tracy! It was absolutely my pleasure meeting you yesterday…and I am so inspired by your story as well. Looking forward to staying connected with you!!

  6. Beautiful story! Random, but I’m a nurse in the NICU at CMHH. You look familiar and I remember the name Hayes. I would have been hugely pregnant with my daughter who was born in June 2011. We may have crossed paths!


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