I am going to attempt to log my thoughts and feelings surrounding the birth of our sweet Eli, and the events that followed his early arrival. Bear with me, this will probably take some time, so I will break it up into several different posts, and will write them as time (and my emotions) allow.
Today I will begin with what I call "that still, small quiet voice"...i.e. the Holy Spirit. I am so very thankful that I felt His presence and the nudging to pay attention to my body, and for giving me the feeling that something wasn't right...even though I felt perfectly fine physically. Thinking back, I felt this same presence the day before Johnathan was born. I remember asking Aaron to check my blood pressure because I felt like it was high...even though I had no clue what high blood pressure felt like and had never had high blood pressure before at any of my check-ups...sure enough, at my doctor's appointment later on that day my blood pressure was pretty high and Johnathan was born the next day! Pretty interesting, huh?!! But now back to Eli...
...On Saturday night, May 22nd, I decided to sleep in the double bed in Johnathan's room. He had been battling some allergies and was having a tough time sleeping, and being able to be close by when he woke up always seemed to calm him down. Plus, Aaron was going to be working a full day the following day, and I wanted him to get some uninterrupted sleep in our room. During the night I noticed the absence of the baby moving, but I tried not to worry about it, thinking that he was most likely moving while I was asleep and knowing that his living quarters were getting cramped, so movement was less noticeable since there was less room to give a good kick.
In the morning I still hadn't felt him much much, just a few twists/turns, but not his usual active movement, so I checked out his heartbeat on the doppler that I had rented. I found it quickly and it was normal for him...between 130-140 bpm...so I went about my daily routine, taking care of sweet Monkey and continuing with my nesting, knowing that the time of the baby's arrival was coming soon...if only I had known just how soon! ;)
After Johnathan went down for an early nap, I contemplated whether or not I should keep on working or take a nap myself...the nap won out, and I fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke up I felt a weird panicky feeling like something wasn't right. I felt perfectly fine physically, no pain, no cramping, but in my spirit I knew something was wrong...that "still, small quiet voice" was speaking loudly to me. I tried to get the baby to move but to no avail, so I got my doppler out again to find his heartbeat...after about 5 minutes I couldn't even find it, and I started to get really worried. I squirted the ultrasound jelly all over my stomach and tried to find it again...after moving the doppler all over my belly I finally found his heartbeat and it was about 90 bpm, which was a sign that he was in distress...I was relieved that he was still alive, but freaking out about what could be happening.
I called Aaron and after trying to talk to him through my tears, I let him know what was going on and told him I'd try to find someone to watch Monkey while I went to the hospital to find out what was going on. Aaron was stuck at the hospital, finishing up with his own patients, but assured me he'd hurry as fast as he could and be back asap.
I called my uncle Robert, who, blessing of all blessings was right next door at his parents! He was over in a minute after I let him know that I needed to get to the hospital, and my cousin Arden and Granna (our neighbor, Robert's mom) came over to watch Johnathan who was still sleeping. As we drove to the hospital I still hadn't felt the baby move, and I was so scared that something was really wrong and that it would be too late by the time that I got to the hospital. I had started to feel some contractions, and although they didn't hurt I knew that my body was getting ready for something. The drive seemed to take forever, but in reality we were there in about 15 minutes, and I went up to L&D triage to get hooked up to the monitors.
Once I got hooked up to the monitors I was relieved to see the baby's hb, although it was still low...just above 100 bpm, but still, ticking away. My contractions were coming more regularly, about every 3-5 minutes and as I read my blood pressure number...160/96 I knew that the baby was going to come a lot sooner than his due date. I was still very scared and wished that Aaron was there with me, but he was about 45 minutes away working at a rural hospital. The on-call OB came to see me and said that she would have to deliver the baby and scheduled me for a 3:30 C-section. At this point in time it was about 2:00. I asked if they could call my OB, but they said he wasn't on call on the weekends, but that they would call his cell phone and see if he picked up, and if I was lucky he might come in. I just love my doctor, so I prayed that he would pick up his phone. Praise God he did, and within probably 10 minutes he was was already there, and as soon as I saw him I felt relief. The nurses said I must be pretty special for him to come in and see me!
My doctor felt that the need for the C-section was more emergent, and I immediately was prepped for surgery. The anesthesiologist came in, and talked to me about my options...and funny thing, he was the same guy who was there with me when Johnathan was born...even though it was at a different hospital. His name was Bill, and I immediately recognized him by his soft touch and quiet manner. It was another way that God was comforting me in the absence of Aaron. Before I was wheeled to the OR I let Aaron know that things were happening fast. It was probably about 2:15 or so at this point, and I was scared that Aaron might miss the birth. Plus, I didn't want to be all alone during one of the scariest moments in my life.
While Bill administered the epidural I started to cry...not because it hurt, I am used to being stuck and pricks don't bother me at all...but I felt so alone and so scared...there were so many unknowns, and I didn't want to face them by myself. My body started to go numb from the mid-back down, and my doctor was removing the cerclage I had in place before I knew it. The neonatologist and the supporting nurses were all there and ready, and within minutes my doctor was performing the surgery that would deliver my baby. The surgery was fast, super fast, much faster than when Monkey was born, and as I lay there I prayed for my baby and for myself. Bill was talking me through everything, and knew how scared I was doing this alone...he even told me "I'll be your husband, your Dad, your brother...whoever you need me to be"...it helped, but I still wanted Aaron.
I felt some pressure as they pushed the top of my belly to help push out the baby...and I waited for his sweet cry...and waited...and waited...but didn't hear anything. I started to feel some panic because all I could see was the blue sheet and couldn't tell what was going on. The doctors were quietly giving orders and all I could think was that something must be terribly wrong because my baby hadn't cried. Was he alive??? Bill continued to talk me through it, saying that they were suctioning the baby's mouth and that he was nice and pink. But I wanted to hear him. And I still hadn't.
Then Aaron showed up, looking as distressed as I've ever seen him, and I tried to get him to tell me what was going on. He said the same thing, the baby was nice and pink, but the doctors needed to help him out. What I didn't know is that Eli was being intubated, and so he couldn't cry with the tube down his throat. I felt so helpless and began to panic because I wanted to see my baby, and I started to cry and shake. Bill gave me something to help me calm down, and after briefly seeing my baby as they wheeled him to the NICU my body succumbed to the medicine and the next thing I remember (very fuzzily remember) is being in the recovery room.
While operating my doctor found that the cord had been wrapped around the baby's neck, most likely preventing the movement that I was used to feeling, and more importantly, my placenta had started to pull away from my uterus (placental abruption) and some of it had already come apart...Aaron was there my doctor delivered the placenta and he said that several fist-sized chunks had fallen off...that really scared him, and it is a miracle and blessing that Eli was born alive because even minutes later could have been fatal to him and to me as well. What a huge blessing that my doctor reacted quickly and got the baby out!
As I waited in the post-delivery/recovery room, I was able to call a lot of my family, and although I don't remember now most of what was said by me or them, I do clearly remember being completely surrounded by everyone's support, and I was especially relieved when I heard that my sweet, precious sister, Gwen, was flying out on the next available flight to come and spend a few days with me. As soon as I heard that I felt so comforted. There is just something about knowing that one of your very dearest friends who just happens to be your sister is coming. It had a very calming effect on me, and I knew that I could make it through the days to come much easier with her help. *Thank you, sweet Gwenny. You were and are such a blessing!*
That's all I have time for right now...more to come later.