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A Poem for Preeclampsia Awareness Month

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Matthew day one
Krystle’s son, Matthew.

On July 21, 2014 my second child was born via emergency C-section at a gestational age of 34.5 weeks due to severe preeclampsia. This was my second battle with preeclampsia and my second premature baby (my first son was born at 31.5 weeks). I also developed the much rarer postpartum preeclampsia a week after delivery. In honor of Preeclampsia Awareness Month, I edited the poem which was originally written for my son’s first birthday. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of premature birth worldwide. An estimated 76,000 mothers a year die due to this disorder, and 500,000 mothers a year leave the hospital with coffins instead of car seats.

On the night you were born, my head pounded with impending doom,

For I knew what it was like to have a child born too soon.

On the night you were born they said it was too late,

To give steroids to the life I worked so hard to create.

Therefore you were a baby born floppy, lifeless and blue,

Despite making it farther, my worst fears were coming true.

On the night you were born, I laid awake until dawn.

Afraid if I slept, by morning you’d be gone.

You took your first breath the day after your birth;

Yet from the very beginning you’ve been proving what life’s really worth.

Krystle's son at 21 months
Matthew at 21 months.

Seven nights after the day you started to thrive,

I found myself fighting once again to survive.

All I could think about that dark night in July, was you and your brother,

And the lives you would lead, growing up without a mother.

Thankfully science and faith collided once more,

And God gave me more time to live as a family of four.

It has been nearly two years since the night you were born;

And it seems like for now, we’ve both weathered that storm.

You appear to have escaped any significant delay or effect;

Of a life started to soon — a life I once failed to protect.

In the 21 months since the day you arrived,

No moment has gone by that I am not pleasantly surprised,

by the strength of your heart and your fighter’s soul.

Your birth my dear son,

has made my heart whole.

And in the end I hope you’ll always know,

in spite of any qualities I lack,

forever I’ll love you,

to the edge of the universe and back.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 31, 2016
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