Molly and Jordan Rogers were excited for the arrival of their son Jack, and a few weeks ago they thought they had plenty of time to prepare. With their first child due to be born in September, the young couple was dreaming of the seemingly distant day their family of two would become three, but Jack arrived much sooner.
On May 19, Jack Jefferson Rogers was born weighing 1 pound 9 ounces.
"The fact that we have a family now, it’s so weird that we are parents and that it’s real," Molly said. "It’s so weird because obviously we were not prepared for this quite yet. We thought we had all this time to prepare.
"I remember being in the hospital and I was like, ‘I never even opened my 'What to Expect When You’re Expecting' book because I thought I had all the time in the world to prepare.' "
It all began 24 weeks into Molly's pregnancy when the couple flew to Virginia to attend Jordan's brother's law school graduation at the University of Virginia. But within 24 hours of landing, Molly began to bleed, and they decided to make the 2-1/2-hour trip to the hospital.
Once they arrived at the hospital, Molly was immediately taken to the labor and delivery area for tests. She was told she was likely just dehydrated, but the doctor did an exam to be safe.
"So there we were just thinking that it's this routine thing. I was probably just not feeling good, to literally within an instant it was, 'Oh my gosh, you're here for the entire duration of your pregnancy.' "
At that point Molly was dilated to a four.
"Basically the doctor said, 'I don't know if you're going to have this baby today. I don't know if you're going to have it in the next month, but you're not leaving this hospital until you have it,' " Jordan said.
Molly was told not to move because doctors didn't want to cause any labor contractions, and the couple was told about a steroid shot that could enhance the lung development of the baby.
After waiting 48 hours for the steroid to take effect, Molly's doctor and the hospital's high-risk obstetrician did another evaluation. They found that the baby was breech and already in the birth canal, with the amniotic sac as the only barrier.
"They were in this moment of, we don't know what to do," Molly said. "It was kind of crazy. The high-risk OB and the doctor were having this conversation that they would have never had in front of a patient."
The doctors ultimately decided to move the baby up and were able to perform an emergency C-section. Before she went into surgery, Molly, who along with her husband is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asked for a blessing, which Jordan and his dad administered.
Also prior to the surgery, Molly and Jordan were told how things would be handled, which was helpful after the baby was delivered.
"The NICU doctor came down and talked to us and kind of set our expectations, and told us that we shouldn't expect to ask any questions or get any answers for at least a couple of hours because their main focus is on the baby and trying to stabilize the baby," Jordan said.
"So the nice thing was, at that point they had the baby out and were working on him, and a couple minutes out, one of the nurses working on him started chatting with me and asked if we wanted a picture and said that everything was going really good. I didn't even have my camera because we didn't have time. At that point I was really comforted because obviously things weren't terrible or else they wouldn't be talking or stopping to take a picture."
After their baby boy Jack was born, Molly and Jordan were given some encouraging news.
"They'd given us lots of things to think about, that there was a large chance that he could have brain bleeds or lung problems because he's so small," Molly said. "In the 24 hours that followed, they did a brain scan, and he only had a level-one bleed, which they said is really common in preemies, and that level of bleed doesn't cause any mental problems, which was huge."
"They scanned his heart and his lungs, and everything looked good," Jordan added.
Since his birth, Jack has steadily improved. While both Molly and Jordan have learned that time in the NICU often entails one step forward and two steps back, they continue to celebrate his progress.
"Each day everything is just passing the odds; it's unbelievable. Every day is a miracle," Molly said. "We really tried to prepare ourselves for there to be a problem, but it hasn't happened yet, so we hope we're prepared for it when it comes."
Although Jack is making progress, because of the additional care he needs, he will not be able to leave Virginia for a minimum of 11 weeks.
"That first night in the hospital after everybody left, and it was just Molly and me, we had an hour-long conversation about how this all plays in to our belief system and how everything was going to be OK," Jordan said.
"And how even if he didn't make it, and even if he had real problems, we knew that the Lord had a plan for us, and that's exactly what we needed," Molly said.
Coming to that realization allowed Molly and Jordan to accept what had happened and anything that still could take place.
"It became so much less emotional and sad, to being able to cope with it and even (feel) some sort of happiness and inspiration that everything was going to be OK," Jordan said. "And I don't know what that 'OK' means. Just the sense of peace and comfort that we got from that, you just hang on to."
The experience has not only affected the family physically and emotionally, but has allowed them to grow spiritually.
"We both have our share of meltdowns, but the first thing we do is we kneel down and we pray," Molly said.
"It's been so good for us. We've been married for 2 1/2 years, and we'll have this conversation every two months. Just that we really should be reading our scriptures more, we really should be praying more, we should be doing all these things more, and then a few months later we have the same conversation because we hadn't done it.
"But sometimes it takes situations like this, where the first thing we do every morning and every night is get on our knees and say a prayer — and that's not to count all the ones in the middle of the day. It just put our focus so much more on the Lord and on what we need to be doing."
Shortly after hearing of Molly and Jordan's situation, friends and family began to express their support and love. A Go Fund Me fundraiser was created to help with the mounting medical bills and the cost of Jordan's trips back to Utah for work. Others offered their homes and cars or sent notes of encouragement.
"I would just say how grateful we really have been, almost an overwhelming amount of gratitude," Jordan said. "There is no way we are ever going to be able to pay back all these people for their prayers and fasting and even all the thoughts and everything.
"It's funny because Molly and I had just talked a couple weeks ago, and we said to ourselves, 'Man, we don't really have a whole lot of friends in Utah.' So this has just been such an eye-opening experience of what does a friend really mean."
The Go Fund Me account has raised $8,000 from friends and family members, as well as strangers.
"It just goes to show how much goodness there is in this world," Molly said. "There are so many people who we don’t even know who are just so willing to be amazing for no reason. Just to be like, 'I heard your story. I hope this helps. I hope that you know that we’re thinking about you, and you’re in our prayers.'"
Through it all, Molly says the comfort, peace and hope they are experiencing comes from a loving Savior.
"I feel the Atonement so much stronger in my life," Molly said. "Just knowing that Christ went through this for us. He has felt all we feel and he has felt what Jack feels. It's just amazing to me that he knew that we would all suffer so much and he was willing to do it all for us. And when we can't take it anymore, the Lord takes it in the end. He takes the burden off our back. He can do anything that we can't do ourselves, especially if we ask."
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