a birth {love} story.

On Wednesday, October 1st, Andy & I left our home in NC for a brief ‘babymoon’ trip to visit my mom & dad  in southwest Florida. Andy drove down from NC and I flew. Andy drove through the night Wednedsay night and arrived at mom and dad’s Thursday morning about 5 AM. We both slept in Thursday and were pretty lazy all day – fishing on the dock, swimming in the pool, and just enjoying some down time.

I began to experience discomfort in my abdomen and chest Thursday mid-morning. After a few hours of downtime and no relief, and a decreasing appetite, I phoned my doctor’s office back home in NC and spoke to one of the midwives. Based on the symptoms I was describing, she suggested taking OTC heartburn medicine and if I didn’t have find relief by the following morning to find an urgent care doctor to see before I got back on an airplane that following Monday morning. After an almost sleepless night Thursday, I did feel a bit better Friday so we decided not to worry much more and instead spent the next 2 days fishing, swimming, and exploring the Pine Island area with mom & dad.

Sunday morning I woke up with similar pains- only much, much worse and I wasn’t able to find relief on my own. By mid-morning there was so much pain in my abdomen and in my chest that it was causing me great pain to take a simple breath. Andy immediately put me in the car and took me Cape Corral ER.

{I remember on the drive over, I asked begged Andy to pull over and let me die on the side of the road. The pain was so intense, and I felt so helpless and saw no sign of relief that that was the most logical request I could make at the time.}

Once at Cape Corral ER the staff was speedy to check me in. Once I explained the pains I was feeling and let them know I was pregnant, the staff went into a new level of “speedy” that frankly, I have never seen in a hospital back home in NC. They administered some pain mess quickly so I was able to get some relief before running some tests to see the cause of my pain. Within 1 hour of being in the ER, Andy and I were met by Dr. Cowdin, an OBGYN, who removed me from the ER and took me to OB Triage in the hospital. Dr. Cowdin explained to us that I had developed HELLP syndrome, an extremely rare pregnancy disease that occurs, often times without any warning. He let Andy and I know in no uncertain terms the severity of my condition and that the only way to save mine and baby boy’s life was to deliver the baby. Now. Not in a few weeks. Not once we got back to NC. Delivery here in Florida, within the next 48 hours was the only thing that could save us.

Dr. Cowdin made arrangements to send me Golisano Children’s Hospital down the street in Fort Myers so that once baby was born, we would be at the NICU that would be best be able to handle our situation.

I was transported to Golisano Children’s Hopsital by ambulance. Andy and mom & dad followed close behind. Once we arrived, we were met by a team of nurses and PAs who quickly went to work checking my vitals and finding baby boy’s heartbeat. They were hopeful that we they could stabilize both baby and me for at least 24 hours so baby boy could receive a round of steroids that would help prepare his lungs for his arrival. As they were working to stabilize both of us, baby’s heartbeat quickly dropped significantly. At that point the lead nurse Angela (more on Angela and how thankful we are for her later) told her team to call OR and tell them we coming. Now. Not in 1 day once baby boy got steroids to help ease his transition. Now.

I was quickly rushed into The OR. Andy was not able to be in the room with me. Due to the severity of our situation, and the fact that they were placing me under full anesthesia, Andy had to wait outside. By himself. This is just one of the many examples of how strong and amazing my husband is. He held it together all day and only showed love and strength around me, his incredibly scared wife.

At 7:51 PM Nicholas Christopher Szapacs was born. He was 36 cm long and weighed 1 pound 12 ounces. Even for such a small bundle, he came out with eyebrows, eyelashes, and a full head of strawberry blonde hair. And, let me tell you how handsome he was. When we met him later that evening in the NICU, we were blown away by him. Much like his daddy, he was moving all of his limbs, feeling his face, and kicking and stretching his legs. And he looked happy. Oh so terribly happy to be here with us. And we were over the moon to have him, even if he did arrive 12 weeks early and several states away from home.


nicholas foot

6 thoughts on “a birth {love} story.

  1. Nicholas is so blessed to come into such a beautiful and loving family.
    All of us who know and love Nicholas’s family are blessed that this love story, which began sooner than expected, is growing and will have a happy ending. 🙂


  2. Jaclyn, it warms my heart to now that young Nicolas is thriving and growing. What a beautiful story and I’m so happy for you and Andy.


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