We arrived at the hospital, I began having contractions. I was trembling from the clash of so many emotions! I couldn't wait to hold my baby! I waited with intense anticipation as they gave me the epidural and I remember the mild anxiety I couldn't shake over the thought of the scalpel and the operating room. They gave me some meds to help me relax and they said it was time. I looked at Brian Pratt and he squeezed my hand promising not to leave my side. They wheeled the oversized bed out the door and I rolled past my mom and dad, and all 4 Grandparents. My Grandmother was smiling and giddy with excitement and my heart was full knowing that they were all here, waiting with excited anticipation!
I remember the ice cold against my skin in the operating room and the bright fluorescent lights giving the tiled room a crisp, sterile feeI. I spotted the baby "station" and the nurses walking back and forth checking to make sure everything was prepared and ready to get started.
The meds were helping me relax and I felt foggy and light. I heard the music playing softly in the background and the doctors walk in and talk to Brian. Then they started! They started the process that is not the natural way to bring a baby into the world but by c-section.
I was so so young, 22 years old, I had no idea how drastically life was about to change! As I stared at the ceiling, I felt a tear run down my face. This was it...the biggest, most incredible gift God had given me in my life. I prayed. I prayed hard and thanked Him! I held Brian's hand and a few more tears rolled across my skin.
The doctor warned me that I would feel a lot of pressure but then Mason would be here! I held my breath and felt the strangest sensation of extreme pressure, not pain, but heavy pressure! I heard tons of commotion and they were calling for the pediatrician, nurses were running back and forth. I head the words from the doctor's mouth, "Amy, everything is going to be okay. Just hang in there. Mason is going to be okay." My eyes darted around the room, I felt like I was going to hyperventilate. Brian wasn't there anymore, I could see his back as he was standing over by where they had taken my baby! I was in a daze, asking what was going on. The doctor came by my head and said the words that I never expected to hear, "Amy, Mason has a cleft lip and palate. He is going to be okay. You are going to be okay."
My mind went blank, my world was spinning. I knew what this was, but I couldn't wrap my head around what this meant. How bad was it? How do they fix it? How was this happening? I didn't know anything. I cried, I was scared, and I was confused.
Brian turned, they brought Mason over to me and put his head by mine. I couldn't see him because of the tears, I could smell him and I could feel his precious, soft skin against my lips as I delicately kissed my sweet boy for the very first time. Then he was gone. They rushed him out of the room and Brian looked into my eyes, fear written across his face. I told him to go and to not leave Mason's side. I closed my eyes, and prayed.
They took me to recovery and I was alone. I asked for updates, but the nurses just told me they would let me know as soon as they could. It felt like an eternity. The door opened and I could hear foot steps approaching the curtain and my mom appeared. I still felt so groggy but the sight of her was such a relief. She simply gave me a comforting grin and placed her hand on mine. She quietly whispered that everything was going to be okay. She said that they were cleaning Mason up and that Brian was not going to leave his side. My mom softly attempted to explain to me what Mason looked like and what I could expect when I saw him. I couldn't picture him in my head.
After an hour or two they wheeled me out to my room. I was surrounded by family and friends. I still hadn't held my baby but everyone was telling me how beautiful he was and that he was going to be okay!
Then, the nurse came in and said that they were going to bring Mason to me. Brian and the nurse walked in with the rolling bassinet from the hospital nursery, family and friends were standing all around my bed, in the room, and the hall. The nurse lifted Mason out and gently placed him in my aching arms. The first moment I saw him, I was speechless, I couldn't breathe...he was absolutely the most beautiful, precious baby I had ever seen in my entire life. I wept and held him. They weren't tears of sadness or pain, they were tears of gratitude and I was in awe of the little human being, my son.
In a split second, my life was changed. God was blessing ME with the responsibility for this child. This was absolutely the best day of my entire life. Yes, there were tears, there was fear, but there was also incredible joy, excitement, gratitude, love, support, and family.
My friend, Amy and her mom, Denise got us the number for the International Craniofacial Institute in Dallas and I was on the phone with them that day. We had an appointment set up in a week and they assured me that everything was going to be okay!
We learned a ton over the next few days. We educated ourselves and embraced this wonderful journey that God laid out for us. We grew up over night. At 22 and 23 years old, Brian and I thought we knew everything we needed for life! We had no idea what we were doing...but God provided and we stood in faith, wrapped our arms around our little family of 3 and marched forward!
Today, December 10, 2014, my angel baby is 10 years old. I have learned an incredible amount from this amazing kid. His strength, resilience, his love of life inspires us. He is a leader, loves sports, loves school and excels at anything he sets his mind to. I look at Mason in awe and there are no words to describe how sincerely grateful we are for him and we so very proud of him.
Mason's cleft lip and palate do not define him but the journey that he has been through and will go through have definitely impacted who he is and the passion that our family has for certain things in life.
Happy Birthday to our sweet boy, Mason Lee Pratt. We love you with all of our hearts and we thank God every single day for you. He made you perfect in his eyes and in ours. He has BIG plans for you and we cannot wait to see the amazing things you will accomplish in this life!