For those of you who know our family in person, you will have heard this story…a few times, but I felt it necessary to bring it to the forefront again today.
I have another place where I have been writing on and off for a couple years. While I won’t be bringing over very much from that site, this one is important.
I saw news again of another baby, full term, taken before she could be delivered. Each time this happens it makes me ache and makes me wonder with immeasurable thanksgiving, why me. Not all of these babies can be saved, I know that. But I truly believe mine was, in part, because I read Samuel’s story months before my youngest was born. The rest only God can know.
This is our story, written a week after our youngest was born. It was made possible by his story.
She had been a mover and a shaker, especially at night. As soon as I would lie down for the evening, my belly would begin to do the wave, almost always for a good thirty to forty minutes. Last Wednesday night was different. She was suspiciously quiet and when I woke at three o’clock and she wouldn’t respond with her regular predictability to my push and squish reindeer games, I knew something was wrong.
I woke Seth up with the words, “I can’t get the baby to move,” and within minutes he had called our night-time-on-call-in-case-the-baby-comes-early friend and had our almost packed bags in the car.
On our way to the hospital I felt her kick. It was small, but it happened twice and it was enough to question whether or not we should be making this trek to the hospital in the middle of the night. I burst into tears, for what would be the first of many many times that day as Seth continued driving. “Let’s just go and get things checked out.”
We arrived at the hospital and were taken into an exam room on the labor and delivery unit. Crackers and juice, I.V. fluids. We found a strong and steady heartbeat that accompanied some mild braxton-hicks contractions, but still things didn’t look quite right. Baby was not responding to the contractions as anticipated. “I’m not comfortable sending you home without seeing some accelerations.” Our first nurse’s name was Stephanie. She was a cautious yet calm gift those first few hours. A biometric sonogram was ordered and my Dr. was contacted and Seth prayed.
4 out of 8 was her score. The 30 minute sonogram measured no large movements and no lung function. “You’re gonna have this baby today.”
I had my heart set on beginning labor on my own. This was not what I had planned. Plans change.
Parents and friends were contacted and our other prayer warriors were on it, casting all our anxieties on Him.
Minutes later the pitocin was dripping and the contractions had begun, my doctor by our side. “Do you have any questions?” I had been through an induction before and could think of only one that was of any significance, “If something happens, can Seth get in to baptize the baby?”
His words were reassuring. “If I thought we were at that point, baby would be here already.”
Ok. Breathe. Cry, but breathe.
One of the nurses from the doctor’s office came by. She’s a part of the one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith too. Her presence was one of many other gifts that day.
I had had an epidural with three of my other children and thought, since I was being induced, I would probably want one this time too. The very real prospect of a c-section meant though that sooner rather than later would be the way to go. My contractions were not strong, but the desire to be ready for anything was. The epidural was in.
Seven more hours. Seven more hours of watching the monitors. Seven more hours of snail’s pace progression. Seven more hours, and then Addi, our new nurse, came running into the room. Baby’s heart rate had dropped during the last contraction. Really dropped.
More intense watching. More waiting. More dropping.
Pitocin off. Oxygen on. Still occasionally dropping. Too often.
Words of calm urgency from my doctor. “I think there’s probably something going on with the cord.”
Seth was given a gown.
Monitors were unplugged.
The Lord’s Prayer was all I could think of to say, and I’m pretty sure I only made it about halfway through before my mind wandered through pieces and parts of other prayers and words from His word, and then back again.
I was moved just across the hall.
The curtain was up and the c-section had begun.
I was surprised at how many people were in the delivery room. This time it was going to take a village just to get this baby out. I was comforted by the kindness of each of the doctors, specifically the anesthesiologist. From her play by play of what was going on behind the curtain to her calming voice telling me I really was breathing when my almost entirely numb body couldn’t feel it, she was my lifeline for our time in that place.
Once the knotted cord that was wrapped twice around her neck was removed, our newest baby girl worked those previously quiet lungs to sing the song that every mother longs to hear.
I didn’t get to hold her right away. That part stunk, probably more than any of the other unexpecteds of the day. The initial bonding was different this time and when they first placed her in my arms back in my room, she felt a bit like an alien baby. I wasn’t sure I knew her. I wasn’t certain she was mine. Rest assured, this lasted a fairly short period of time, but it was in fact different, and it is part of her birth story, so it is noteworthy.
At home, the big kids and grandparents raised their sparkling cider filled glasses in a toast to their new sibling and topped off the celebration with a sprinkle drowned bowl of ice cream.
From the hospital Seth texted and called family and friends to share the news that prayers had been answered in the form of a perfectly healthy little girl.
In the days since her birth, thoughts of “What if” run rampant. What if we had turned around and gone home? What if she had been my first and not my fifth?
Blessedly those are quieted by the words of my doctor. “Baby’s gonna make her baptism. You’re the hero here, Mom.” I feel like the new poster child for trusting your instincts.
She’s one week old today.
She took her first bath at home this morning. She has cried her way through every diaper change with the exception of one. She doesn’t sleep on her own…yet. She has been starving since the moment she was born. She has been rejoiced over by our church family. She has been held and is adored by her siblings more than any child could possibly hope to be, but just as I would imagine God intends all of His children to be.
She is after all His unique creation, and she is without question, Wonderfully Made.