This time six years ago, I was at the hospital. That was nothing new because I'd been at the hospital frequently with a little one who was itching to burst into the world early. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
In January of 2008, my husband and I had three children. Oldest was one month shy of 12, middle child was 10, and youngest was 7 years old. My husband and I decided we wanted to try for another baby. A few months prior to this, I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which is the main cause of infertility in women...though I'd never struggled with infertility before. Now that I had this diagnosis, we didn't know if we'd successfully conceive. Well. We did! We were very excited! I still remember the day we told the first person. We had a birthday party for our youngest, who just turned 7. I decided to tell my cousin, Ashley, that we were trying for a baby. She probably thought I was nuts, but she was very gracious and appeared truly excited for me. I still remember this so clearly.
When it was confirmed that I was expecting, we got a lot of "Are you crazy?!" type of comments. "You're starting all over again??" Really, all over again? I didn't see what the big deal was, nor did my husband and I care about the opinion of others. We. Were. Super. Excited!
I wanted to have a homebirth, something I had never had. It sounded lovely and wonderful and natural. My husband was not cool with that. What if....and so I respected his decision, which turned out to be a huge blessing, praise God. More on that later.
My pregnancy consisted of gaining so much weight, I gave Shamu a run for her money, laying around watching episodes of George Lopez, watching every single baby show imaginable and praying. Lots of praying because I was 31 years old, with PCOS and insulin resistance. I remember telling my midwife that I didn't want an amniocentesis done on me because we'd be having this baby no matter what.
I was so excited about this pregnancy. I wanted things to be different from my others. I wanted my water to break on its own, something that didn't happen with the others. And, more than anything, I wanted to be able to successfully nurse my baby, something I had tried with the others, but quit due to the intense pain it caused me.
My little firecracker was due to arrive on October 15th. Well. LOL is all I will say about that. Starting in July, I felt like this pregnancy was different. In August, we began our frequent trips to Labor and Delivery because I was having contractions. They'd monitor me, give me shots of turbutaline/brethine to stop labor and send me home. After a few of these trips, my doctor put me on procardia, which is a heart medication that I was to take daily until I reached the safe point in my pregnancy.
Finally, September rolled around and I was still going to L&D anytime I was having contractions. I was actually in the hospital on Saturday, September 20th, but nothing progressed so I was sent home. Sunday, September 21st, we drove back because this was just not normal. I was in pain with contractions. I was hoping they'd admit me because we live far away from the hospital and my labors are short (really...last baby was here in 1 hour and 17 minutes. Short labors.) I did not want to give birth on the way, no siree.
So on Sunday, September 21st, I was at the hospital and something was not right. Come one, this ain't my first rodeo, so I knew it was just weird but couldn't put my finger on it. My parents were there, as were my husband and children. My father kept pushing me to let them give me something for the pain. I was growing so agitated because I wanted a completely drug-free birth. They decided to admit me to the hospital but the midwife said they had time to go home and we could call them when things got more exciting. My parents left with my children, except for my middle child. My oldest daughter was 10 at the time and had watched the baby shows with me. She was born a little mama and wanted desperately to be in the room when I gave birth, which I agreed to. So she stayed at the hospital with me and my husband.
Well, my husband left the room and went outside to call his mother and probably to smoke. I went to the bathroom and all of a sudden there was a gush. My first though was, "Yay! What an answer to prayer. That must be what it feels like to have your water break on its own." but as I looked in the toilet, I could see how very wrong I was. It was blood, gushing, filling up the toilet. I freaked out a little. I don't remember this from the other labors, I thought. So I pulled the cord for the nurses to come and as I was hobbling back to my bed, I noticed I was bleeding all over the floor.
This is not normal. I told my daughter to run outside and get Daddy quickly! The nurses came and put me in the bed and it gets kinda blurry after this. My husband and daughter were back in the room and everything seemed kinda slow motion to me. I remember asking what was happening and was my baby ok, but in a calm manner, almost outside of myself. Then they were wheeling my bed out, telling me I was having an emergency c-section. I looked at my daughter and felt so terribly heartbroken for her, that she would miss out on seeing her baby sister be born. I remember telling her how sorry I was that she couldn't witness it.
Next thing, I am in an operating room. My husband was outside the room being instructed on how to scrub up (or whatever they call getting into scrubs.) While I was there by myself, the nurse and anesthesiologist were talking to each other, not me. I specifically remember the anesthesiologist asking if there was a heartbeat. For one split second, the implications of that question shocked me. For one split second. Because the nurse didn't answer right away. But then I was washed over with peace. I had prayed for this baby my entire pregnancy. My baby girl was gonna be just fine! Yes, there was a heartbeat. So I received a spinal or epidural, I forget which one.
My husband came in and I remember telling him he looked like a duck because he was all in yellow scrubs. I remember telling them I was going to throw up, but the assured me that disgusting medicine they just had me drink prevented that. Nope, I threw up. I remember wishing there wasn't a curtain blocking my belly so I could see what was happening. I would tell my husband to look every so often and he did. Afterwards, he confessed to me that that was tons of blood just pouring out of me and he was freaked out.
And then she was born. All mamas wait to hear that cry, that beautiful sound that lets us know our baby is alive. She didn't cry right away, but once she did, it was a healthy cry. I could not hold her right away but they showed her to me. She was taken to the NICU. I had prayed my entire pregnancy and things were going so differently than with my other pregnancies. I was so sad she was separated from me. I wanted to nurse her. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to breathe in her heavenly baby scent and feel her warm, little body.
She was born on a Monday, shortly after midnight. She stayed in the NICU, separated from me until Thursday. It was torture trying to go see her. At first, they wheeled me in the wheelchair, but part of my healing meant that I had to eventually get up and walk that looooong hallway to get to see my baby. The first time I saw her, she was hooked up to tubes and I remember feeling so sad. I didn't really understand what had happened. You see, I had placenta abruption. This means, the placenta tore off the wall of my uterus and that is how the baby gets oxygen and nourishment from mama. They were running tests on her to make sure she was ok. There was blood in her stool and they didn't know if it was hers or if she has just swallowed some of mine because, from what I heard, blood was gushing everywhere from me.
I was a bit discouraged as a lay in my own room, in extreme pain. The recovery of a c-section is NOTHING like the recovery from a natural, vaginal delivery. I was in extreme pain. I was discouraged. I knew they were giving her bottles and I was starting to lose hope that I'd be able to nurse her. They encouraged me to pump and I'd send my measly milk to the NICU and they'd add it to her formula.
Finally, on Thursday the 25th, we were able to come home. I continued to pump and give her my milk in a bottle, while still offering her to nurse from me. Finally, on the 26th, I decided I would not offer her a bottle anymore and that the only way to get her used to nursing strictly from me, was to only provide...me. :-)
To shorten this, it was painful, but we persevered. I nursed my baby girl until she was two years old! I give God the glory for that answered prayer and giving me the strength to keep at it!
My baby girl will be six years old in a few hours. Her personality has been very similar to how she was in the womb: excited, hyper, high energy, stubborn, gotta get up and go go go. She wanted to get here early and she did. She will be a girl who knows what she wants and goes after it. She is my firecracker. She is smart, smart, smart, too, which is a blessing because placenta abruption can cause developmental problems. I do see some....quirkiness...that I am sure might have been a product of her traumatic birth, but she is who she is and she is a joy to us. She is not only super smart, but extremely funny. Her memory astounds me.
I've never regretted having her "so far apart from the others" as some have suggested. I can't imagine my life without her. She is strong-willed and knows what she wants. She has taught me patience and how to show grace and acceptance to those who are different, even though they look "normal." I am a better mother because of her.
Because I have other children, I am well aware of how quickly they grow. Before I know it, she will be an adult, out in the big world, telling people what to do and making her dreams come true LOL! I don't ever want to squelch her strong-willed character because it's a good quality. It's tenacity. If properly guided, it means she won't go with the flow and that is a good thing. She wasn't going with the flow when she was in my belly either. She dances to the beat of her own drum and I love her for that.
So Happy Birthday to my sweet baby girl. I thank God for His protection over you in my womb and in your life. I thank God for choosing me to be your mama. You continue to teach me so much and make me proud. I love you my sweet, crazy T-bird!
Thank you, Lord, for the sweet blessing of ALL my children. I cannot thank You enough for allowing me to be the mama to my fabulous four. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for giving my husband the wisdom to share his concerns about homebirth with me. My doctor told me that had I not already been at the hospital, my baby would have very likely died because we don't live near it. I needed a blood transfusion and possibly would have died as well. Thank You for giving him that wisdom. I'm so glad I listened and submitted to his desires.
For His glory alone,