I suppose most birth stories end at the baby’s delivery, but due to the circumstances surrounding Paul’s birth, the story just feels incomplete without including the next couple of days. So I guess this is Part 2 of Paul’s birth story: the hospital stay.
It was close to midnight before we were settled into our room on the mother-baby unit. Dan had run down to the hospital coffee shop and store to find us some dinner (finally!) and, after quickly feeding Paul, we scarfed down some food and got ready for bed.
The nurse gave us a brief explanation of what the next 24 hours would look like for Paul. Babies born at 35 weeks often have problems with their blood sugar. The problem is, the fat stores that get babies through those first milkless days just aren’t there on a 35 weeker. There’s nothing to keep the blood sugar up, and once that drops too low a lot of other problems can follow. So, every three hours Paul was going to have his blood sugar checked. As long as it stayed above 45, everything was fine. If it dropped below 45, he would get one more chance. If it dropped below 45 again, it was off to the NICU to be put on an IV. Paul had to make it 24 hours with good blood sugar levels and the last 12 hours had to be consecutive.
That night went great. Paul’s first blood sugar was 67. For several readings he hovered in the fifties. It wasn’t until his second to last reading that he dropped to 40. Our nurse gave us a bottle of formula and explained that, by taking in about 15 ml of formula with each feeding attempt, Paul’s blood sugar level should stay high enough. So we reluctantly gave him the formula and I started pumping to try to encourage my milk to come in faster.
The formula did the trick and the next 12 hours went smoothly. Well, it was a sleepless nights (aren’t all nights in the hospital?) but as far as blood sugar levels, everything went smoothly. By Wednesday morning our nurse took the last blood sugar level. It was high enough and she declared, “We’re done!”.
Rooming in with your baby is entirely different from having a baby in the NICU. No rushing back and forth to and from the NICU trying to make it for nurse reports and “hands on” times. No trying to squeeze in rest between meals, showers, visitors, and trips to see Baby. I hardly even had to get out of my bed! Every time I looked over to see that little Baby bed next to mine, my heart was just so happy. I kept reliving the whole birth experience over and over, hardly believing things turned out the way they did.
We snuggled Paul almost all the time. Even in the middle of the night it was hard to put him down. After two NICU babies, we just couldn’t fathom leaving him all by himself in that little bed when he could be in our arms.
Wednesday brought it’s own handful of trials. Because Paul was born early, and because he was born quickly with a lot of bruising, and because he had a high blood count at birth, he was bumped up several risk levels for jaundice. Whether or not a baby has to be treated for jaundice depends on their bilirubin levels. However, the level that requires treatment depends on a number of factors including the baby’s age, and the risk factors I just mentioned. In other words, Paul was very likely going to need to spend time under the bilirubin lights.
Sure enough, by Wednesday afternoon a light was brought in and Paul was put under it. Poor little guy was not happy being unswaddled and unheld. He spent the next several hours trying to tear off his face mask, all the time crying and squirming. His little cries were so small and squeaky (like a puppy, many have said), and it was so sad to watch him struggle under there. But he needed it and we were happy to do anything that might keep him healthy and bring him home.
At 6:30 on Wednesday night, Paul was taken to the NICU to have some blood drawn to check both his blood count and bilirubin level. Our nurse suspected we might be able to accompany him and was certain our girls would never be allowed in the NICU. She didn’t know our history. The next half hour or so was a happy reunion. The doctor, nurses, clerks, and techs all enjoyed seeing Lydia and Abby again. We visited and caught up while Paul had his blood taken and everyone rejoiced in Paul having made it so much further than the girls. We were reminded, yet again, of how wonderful the NICU staff is at our hospital and half wished we could have somehow stayed in the NICU instead of the Mother-Baby unit for those two days we had to be in the hospital anyway.
After our little reunion, I went with Paul back to the room and munched on my dinner while Dan took the girls for a walk. We were waiting for the verdict. Most likely, Paul would be transferred to the pediatric unit to stay under the bili light and I would room in with him there (I had already been discharged).
Close to 8:00 the nurse came in and said, “Well, I talked to Paul’s doctor and we got the lab work back. You can go home.”
Dan showed up in the room just a couple of minutes later and the nurse told him the good news. We couldn’t believe it. A take home baby! We packed up our things, and just like the story I thought I would never tell, we headed out to the car. The only differences between that story and this one were that Paul was in his car seat on the cart, Dan was pushing the cart, and the nurse was pushing me (in my other version I was holding the baby, Dan was pushing me, and the nurse was pushing the cart).
I share those details only to emphasize the goodness of God. While I can’t rightly call it a miracle that I made it to 35 weeks (others have done the same), I can declare with confidence that God heard our prayers and graciously, kindly answered them the way we hoped. He gave us a take-home baby, a safe and natural delivery, and let me hold Paul right after he was born. He gave us peace and joy through it all. Even in the days after coming home, He has filled our home with more joy and peace in spite of sleepless nights, fussy toddlers, and illness. God certainly has been kind to us and we will continue to acknowledge the good things He does for us.
Ever since Lydia was born, I have enjoyed hearing others’ birth stories. Some are encouraging, inspiring, or at times, intimidating, but all have been useful in preparing me for another birth. So this is Paul’s birth story. Here’s my disclaimer: this is going to be long (for the most part) unedited. If you don’t enjoy hearing lots of medical sorts of details, this post may not be for you.
To understand the full impact of this story, it may be helpful to read (or reread) this post from a year and a half ago. I recently went back and read it and was so surprised at how similar the beginning is to Paul’s story. God is so kind.
Monday (March 16) started off in a pretty routine way. We woke up, ate breakfast, and Dan went out to the garage to exercise. While he was out, I snapped this picture, my 35 week photo. I never thought I could make it to 35 weeks and we were thrilled to get this far. In fact, when Abby was born my doctor told me I would probably never go past 32 weeks. Our current doctor told us a 35 weeker is usually a “take home baby” and we were thankful for even a chance to bring Baby home without spending time in the NICU.
We were running low on leftovers so we had a pretty small lunch. I had just a peanut butter, banana sandwich, figuring I would grab a more substantial snack after my nap and dinner-time would come soon enough. After lunch, one of the girls from our church came over for a couple of hours to clean our floors and play with the kids outside, since I have been unable to do those things for a while now. They stayed out extra late and didn’t come in and get settled down for naps until after 2:00.
I was chatting with Dan (who happened to be home that day) while he washed dishes. “Aren’t you going to go take a nap?”, he asked me. I told him I was headed that way, just wanted to print off a couple of things from the computer. I had spent the morning tidying up our kitchen from the months I’ve spent “taking it easy”, and I had just finished and wanted to move our printer upstairs so the counter would be clear. I printed my documents and was just looking through them when I felt a big gush.
Just a second later I felt another gush, and then a third. My water had broke, and it took a moment to realize what was happening. I hesitantly tried to get Dan’s attention while he worked away at a particularly dirty pot. As soon as he knew what was going on he sprang into action, gathering items for the hospital, calling our babysitters, getting the girls up from their short nap. I was all but helpless because I was leaking so much fluid and I didn’t want to move around and risk speeding up the coming labor.
After half an hour, what seemed like a very long half hour, we were in the car on our way to the babysitters, and then the hospital. Contractions had started but they weren’t coming in any predictable pattern yet, they just hurt.
By 3:45 the contractions were coming more regularly and we were in the waiting room of the family birth center. I was excited, restless, and nervous, so we just stood in the waiting room holding hands and waiting to be called in. A nurse came and got us settled in our triage room, where we spent the next two hours.
I was amazed at how peaceful everything was. In the past our room has been full of medical staff poking and prodding me in a million ways. This time there was just one midwife entering my data on the computer and hooking me up to be monitored for the next 20 minutes (which turned out to be two hours). This was the first time I got to see a graph of a baby’s heartbeat and my contractions during labor. It was almost fun, watching the coming contraction and then seeing how far apart they were (3 minutes) and how long they were lasting (1 1/2 to 2 minutes). I thought to ask Dan to take a picture but by the time he got the camera ready I was right in the middle of a contraction. We took the picture anyway.
We gave the midwife a copy of my birth plan, which was as simple as I could keep it while still being meaningful:
-Please direct any possible questions to Dan.
-Unless it becomes medically necessary I would like not to have an IV.
-I would like to have as natural of a delivery as possible.
-If at all possible, I would like to hold the baby immediately after delivery.
The midwife informed us that at 4:00 our doctor had started a c-section and we would have to wait at least half an hour before he could come do anything.
Now, back at 16 weeks, I had a surgery to put stitches in the cervix, adding support that would hopefully enable things to stretch and Baby to stay put longer. My fear during our time in triage was that I would dilate too quickly and the stitches would tear. So we waited and prayed and watched my contractions on the graph. Dan named the unitless graph, the “Graph of Awesomness” and let me know when my “awesomeness” was “off the charts”.
By 5:00 I was starting to feel the stitches pulling and we kept waiting to hear some word from our doctor. A very sweet resident came in and chatted with us for a while. She did an ultrasound to check that Baby was head-down, and she told us that she could remove the stitches if our doctor took too long.
Our doctor rushed in around 5:30 and sat down with the resident immediately to start taking out the stitches. The procedure took longer and hurt more than I was anticipating. Dan held one arm while a nurse held the other and both kept streams of encouragement coming as I scrunched up my face and braced myself through each painful poke. Finally the stitches came out and I was able to get up and walk to our labor and delivery room. Much to my dismay, I was only dilated to 1 1/2.
As we walked to the room where Baby would hopefully be born, I drilled our nurse with questions about 35 weekers. Would I get to hold the Baby? Would I be able to have a “normal” delivery? She told me that Baby had to be a certain weight (4 pounds, 9 ounces?) to stay in our room. The resident had predicted Baby was probably 6 – 6 1/2 pounds, so that was encouraging. I could have a normal delivery in a normal labor and delivery room, but there would have to be a special team present to evaluate Baby and decide if s/he needed to be taken to the NICU.
When we got to our room a new nurse took over and chatted with us for a long time. I was leaning against the bed waiting for her to finish so I could try to get into some sort of more comfortable position. She kept offering me all sorts of natural pain relief methods: bean bags, birthing balls, the shower, heating pads…I was overwhelmed and just wanted her to leave. I knew it would help to move around but I could hardly bring myself to do that, so I asked for the birthing ball, figuring I’d been using it over the past couple of weeks and maybe I would have some idea what to do with it.
During the entire labor I had Philippians 4:13 playing in my head to a tune I learned when I was a kid:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I can do. All things through. Christ who strengthens me. Christ who strengthens me.
Because this was going to be a VBAC, I had to be hooked up to the monitor continuously and I had to have a hep lock so I could be hooked up to an IV quickly if that became necessary. I asked for some water, determined to stay hydrated and avoid that IV. I was feeling the contractions almost entirely in my back and legs, so the nurse showed me how I could sit on the ball and lean forward on the bed to help with the back labor. Dan was a champ and started massaging my lower back. When the contractions became more intense he would press hard on my back, which helped significantly with the pain. Then in between contractions it was back to massaging. As soon as a contraction would end I would whisper, “Water” and Dan would grab my ice water and hold it for me to take a sip, then I would relax for about thirty seconds before another contraction came.
There was a shift change and our new nurse came in and brought a heading pad for my back. Dan and I were in our groove now, but wondering how long labor would last. We were spoiled with Lydia and the entire labor was 8 hours. I was starving, but couldn’t bear to eat anything, and Dan was hungry too. Those pb sandwiches were not holding us over very well. Occasionally we would discuss the likelihood that Baby would be born early enough for Dan to run out and get us some Qdoba.
When Lydia was born I didn’t make a sound until very close to her actual delivery. So when I started moaning through the contractions we thought for sure we must be close. We kept waiting for the signs of transition. Dan was sure I would throw up, and I kept waiting for that moment when I would feel the urge to push. Time seemed to be moving so slowly. I know, it’s kind of pathetic when others have labors that last days, but like I said, we’ve been spoiled.
I’m guessing on the times here, because I was to absorbed in labor to pay much attention to the clock. I would occasionally check it to guess at the likelihood of Qdoba though. I was so hungry. Dan kept asking if I was going to throw up and if I felt pressure. Both the nurse and Dan could tell by my behavior that the contractions were getting really intense, but I still didn’t feel any urge to push.
The pain reached a new level and I started standing up for the contractions, leaning forward on the bed. Afterward I would collapse back onto the ball and dread the next one. The pain was so intense I bit my tongue to resist yelling out, “God, help me”, and I was silently praying all along. Although I was fully aware of the things happening all around, I couldn’t respond to them. When Dan asked me questions I didn’t respond. When he tried doing something different, like rubbing my back higher up, it was all I could do to grab his arms and move them back down. I kept looking back at the contraction chart to see how much time I had before another one came. I guess at this point, I was in transition.
The nurse and Dan made the call that it was time to check me, something I had been avoiding because I was terrified I would only be dilated to 4. But I did what they told me, hoping for some encouraging news. I climbed on the bed and a resident came in. I was dilate to 8, fully effaced, and Baby was at station zero. He said there was a little bit of the cervix over Baby’s head.
The nurse suggested that if I roll on my side and try another position, it might be enough to pull the cervix away from Baby and speed things up a little. I was all to happy to oblige. I think it was two contractions later when the nurse panicked a little because she saw Baby’s head.
She hit an “emergency staff” button and a team of doctors, residents, nurses, and pediatricians came storming into the room “like a SWAT team” (said Dan). I didn’t know if I was supposed to be pushing or not, so I didn’t try to push, but I didn’t fight it either. But it became pretty apparent to us all that Baby was coming whether or not I was “supposed” to be pushing.
Our doctor told us his part of the story later. Normally if he has a patient dilated to 1 1/2 at 5:00 in the evening, he doesn’t stick around. He knew my history with Lydia’s speedy labor so he grabbed some dinner at the hospital and was just sitting down to read a book when he got the page. He came walking to my room, not aware of how quickly things had been progressing. As he walked into my room, he saw Baby’s head.
I asked Dan later how long I was pushing. “Three minutes” was his guess. The nurse said I pushed through two contractions. I remember pushing the head out and hearing the nurse suggest I curl up to feel the head. Not a chance. I was just going to get that baby out. I pushed once more and was surprised that Baby wasn’t coming. The head was out, after all. It turns out Baby came down so fast and hard that he didn’t have time to straighten out. Dan says his knees were still curled up to his chest when he was born.
Then it was all over. Just like that. Baby was placed on my stomach and Dan cut the cord. Somebody said, “You have a little boy.” We were shocked. Both of us had convinced ourselves Baby was a girl. The pediatricians took Baby to the warmer and started their evaluations with lots of exclamations about how bruised his face and feet were from the delivery.
The doctor and resident began stitching up some second degree tears, a process that took half an hour and was miserable for me. I had an episiotomy with Lydia and this time I tore in the same spot, where the skin was still weak. Sadly, as soon as Baby was ready to be held, I couldn’t hold him. I was in too much pain as they stitched me. So they kept him on the warmer and waited for my stitches to be complete.
I remember looking over at the bed, thrilled to have a little boy this time, and thinking, “He’s a Paul.” We had discussed a few baby names but hadn’t picked one out yet. When they handed him back to me, Dan said, “I kind of like the name Paul.” And his name was chosen.
Then I got to hold him. This was a moment I’ve wanted since Lydia was born. I’ve prayed for it more times than I could count. I almost cried just thinking about the possibility as we got further along in the pregnancy. And God made it happen. It was so happy.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
We could have made it to Qdoba but it just felt wrong to have Dan leave me or Paul that soon after birth. So we just waited. I had brought some energy bites, made and frozen long ago, and they were lifesavers in those hours following birth. Much better than the hospital’s jello or popsicles.
When our two hours in recovery were over, the nurse helped me to a wheel chair. I got the much loved heated blanket and the even more loved swaddled Baby and they wheeled me to the Mother-Baby Unit. As we rolled along, and I marveled at the birth story we got to have this time, the hospital played a little lullaby announcing Paul’s birth.
He was perfect. Twice the size of Abigail at her birth. Much older than Abby or Lydia. Able to eat and breath on his own. And he had hair.
I am pleased to introduce the newest member of the Taylor family:
Paul Kerry Taylor
Born Monday, March 16, 2015 at 8:39 PM
5 pounds and 14 ounces
19 inches long
Paul is the most handsome little baby boy with already-brownish eyes, his Daddy’s facial features, and more hair than his 18-month-old sister. We were so blessed to be able to bring him home on Wednesday evening at just two days old and he has been busy making all of us so happy.
I am eager to share more about the details surrounding Paul’s birth and first days, but I’ll have to ask you all to be patient while we rest, recover, and adjust to a very new experience for us: life at home with a newborn.
It’s true! This little cutie is finding her feet. Just during the past week we’ve noticed her pulling herself up on things and then tentatively letting go to stand for just a few seconds. Who knows? By next month she could be walking!
Abby loves singing. Her current favorite song is “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. If you’ll sing it for her (and do the motions), she’ll light right up, try to sing and do the motions too, and then make her characteristic little grunt for you to do it again and again. When she’s upset in the car (when we’re not driving and she’s stuck in her car seat) or at meal times (while she’s waiting for food), singing will often break her out of her bad mood.
Speaking of bad moods…Abby had a rough stretch this month. Dan and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong but it seemed like she was always crying. Any little thing could set her off and she’d lose it. One evening I asked the ladies at Bible study to pray about it and one of them encouraged us to be more positive around Abby. Something about pointing out their negative tendencies seems to encourage those habits. Since then we’ve stopped telling Abby not to be a “grumpus” and have instead encouraged her sweet characteristics that we love so much. Well, the next morning we left Abby in her crib for half an hour while Lidster and I got dressed and prepared breakfast. Lately, we had been bringing her down with us, but further in the past we always left her upstairs for an extra half hour. Well, apparently our little introvert needs that alone time in the mornings! That day she was as chipper as ever and we have since readopted our routine of leaving her alone for half an hour before she starts her day. She’s back to being our sweet, fun, smiley baby girl.
One of Abby’s latest frustrations is expressing what she wants during meals. And that leaves Dan and I picking up items one at a time guessing, “Is this what you want?” and then trying to read her expression to determine if it is. This is not our favorite activity and when we guess wrong Abby gets very upset. So we’ve set ourselves to emphasizing how to say “yes” and “no” along with appropriate head nods. Last night Abby really wanted salad dressing on her rice (sometimes you’ll do anything to keep the baby happy) so we kept guessing dressing and then emphasizing, “Yes” in response to our “Is this what you want?” question. By the end of the meal Abby was successfully saying her version of “yes”, which sounds more like “ziet”. Although now she might things “ziet” is actually the word for dressing.
The race is still on to see which happens first. Will Abby walk? Or will Baby be born? Either way, we are enjoying the last days with our two little munchkins before welcoming a third.
After last week’s update I thought to myself, “What will I post next week?” I had no doctor appointments scheduled and nothing eventful seemed to be happening. Then Friday night hit and Baby has kept us on our toes ever since.
I’m going to go ahead and post this tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow just in case Baby does decide to come and everyone is left in the dark. I’ll try to keep posting updates on Facebook as things change.
Most of Friday passed pretty uneventfully. After the kids were in bed I started to have a lot of pain, not contractions, but achy and crampy pain. It reached an intensity that made me drop everything I was doing to just focus on getting through it. I finally found some relief by sitting on the floor on my knees and leaning on Dan’s exercise ball, rocking back and fourth. Once it had passed a little, I hurried to bed.
I had two consecutive dreams Saturday morning in which I was at the hospital and in labor. As I started to wake up I realized I really was having a contraction. My other girls came pretty quick once labor started, but labor always started when my water broke, so this was new for me. Still, the contraction felt like labor, so I told myself I should just go back to sleep and get rest for the big “Baby day”.
I only lay in bed for a few minutes before I knew there was no hope of falling asleep. I was too excited. I headed downstairs, whipped out my phone’s stop watch, and started timing the contractions as I read a book. They were about 15 minutes apart and continued for two hours. I got things ready to go to the hospital, made breakfast for Dan and myself, and waited for Dan to wake up. Suddenly I realized the contractions had stopped, so I headed back up to bed at 6:30.
At 7:30 I woke up with another contraction and gave Dan the update. I called our parents and waited but after only 2 contractions, they stopped again.
Now, back at 16 weeks we had a cerclage put in (stitches in the cervix to add support) and my big fear has been waiting too long to get to the hospital and having those stitches tear me apart as I dilate. My pervious labors have been relatively short and I have always been dilated to 1 or 2 cm by the time we get to the hospital (rushing, of course, because our babies were born so early). So I gave our doctor a call Saturday morning to find out if there was anything we should do. He told me not to worry about coming in until contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart and didn’t stop. In fact, the whole conversation left my feeling a little silly as if there was no reason for me to call in the first place.
During the girls’ naps the contractions started again. This time they were 10 minutes apart and soon they were only 5. Dan was washing dishes and I told him to go ahead and take a short nap. I figured we would get ready to go to the hospital as soon as he got up. Eventually I called the doctor again and he told me to wait another hour before coming in. And once again, the contractions lasted about 2 hours and stopped again. And the rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully.
Saturday night I had the same pains as Friday, but I managed to get to bed and fall asleep. At 3 AM I woke up, not with contractions, but that achy, crampy belly that hurt just about as much. I came downstairs again and resumed my favorite exercise ball position wondering how long this would all go on. After about an hour I made it back to bed and back to sleep.
Sunday we were in a dilemma. I had missed the last two weeks of church because we’ve been sick. But we were half expecting Baby to come at any moment. I reasoned that I could just sit in the back with my feet up and suffer through any contractions while I would have the sermon and visiting to distract me from the pain. Besides, our church meets down the road from the hospital and all of our babysitters would be at church anyway.
We made it to church and through the service with just a couple contractions. By the time we left I was having that unpleasant crampy, achy business going on again so as soon as we got home I lay down under a soft blanket on the couch. Dan got lunch ready but by that time the warmth of the blanket felt so good I decided to just doze off while everyone else ate. To my surprise, I woke up a few minutes later feeling pretty good. That was the beginning of almost 24 hours of welcome relief. I took a longer nap and we enjoyed our time at home with no contractions. I even slept ok that night.
Monday I thought things were surely coming to a lull. I had no major pains all morning and no contractions. After lunch the aches and pains started coming back. The girls went down for their naps late and I woke up around 3:00 with an intense contraction. After a few more, I went back to timing them. They started at 7 minutes apart, then 5, then 2. After about an hour they suddenly stopped again. Ten minutes later they started back up, more consistently every 5 minutes. Dan suggested I call the doctor (again!), but this time a nurse answered. She passed my message along to the doctor, who told me to head in to the hospital and he would meet me there. We called the baby sitters, grabbed our hospital bag and were sitting in the car when we decided to call again because my contractions had stopped. He told us we could just stay home and that we should schedule an appointment first thing tomorrow morning so I could stop worrying about that silly cerclage.
Now I’m sitting at home while the girls go for a walk with Dan (to visit our babysitters, because Lydia was devastated when she found out she wouldn’t be going over to their house after all). Part of me wishes my water would just break so I would know it was time to go in. Part of me is grateful for any extra days we can get Baby to stay in there. 35 weeks would be a “take home baby”! That’s only a week away! And part of me also realizes I’ve had more hours of contractions with this Baby then I did with Abigail or Lydia’s labors, and I’m not even in labor yet!
So continues our adventure. I will try to keep the updates coming. Maybe Baby will come tonight. Maybe Baby will wait to 37 weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂
The past few weeks have been a little dreary around here. The temperatures have been very low. We’ve been down with colds and have had to stay home from church and Bible study. I’ve gone whole weeks without stepping foot outside, and sometimes life on the couch gets pretty dull.
Lately, however, things have been changing. The sun is shining in a way that feels like spring. Temperatures are above zero again and are expected to rise above freezing (at least occasionally) within a week. We are past the achy, stuffy, gloomy colds. I just saw a little bird land on a tree branch outside the window where I am typing this. And every morning is a small celebration that we have made it yet another day with Baby. As we enjoy the coming spring and delayed coming of Baby, I thought now would be a good time to do something I have been planning for a long while: Acknowledge Him.
In the fall, when we found out we were expecting Baby #3, I spent some good earnest time in prayer. I knew we would have medical decisions to make, medical bills to pay, and likely, weeks in the NICU to endure. As I poured this all out to the Lord, He brought a verse to my mind, and He has brought it to my mind over and over again throughout this pregnancy:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Today I’d like to “acknowledge Him”, that is, to publicly “pay attention” to some of the ways God has answered our prayers throughout this pregnancy (so far!).
Finding a Doctor
My last Doctor was good, but she retired. So, when we found out we were pregnant, we tried to set up an appointment with another doctor, recommended to us by a friend. No matter how many times, or what time of day, we tried to call, we just couldn’t get connected with this doctor. I was eager to get an appointment and hear a plan of action, and things just weren’t working out. Finally, as we prayed about it, we decided to set a deadline. If we couldn’t get an appointment scheduled by that Friday, we would go with another doctor (also recommended by friends). Friday came and went and there was no appointment.
Dan called Friday afternoon to try to schedule an appointment with our second-choice doctor and the receptionist answered and set up an appointment for the following Monday morning. As it turns out, this doctor has much experience with high-risk pregnancies and even women in my exact condition. His knowledge and experience have been so helpful, and we are grateful to be working with him.
19 Week Contractions
When I was 19 weeks along, we had Bible study at our house one night. During the singing I felt the somewhat familiar pain of a contraction. I immediately panicked and told Dan, who told me to go upstairs, lay down, and drink a lot of water. For a scary couple of hours I was afraid Baby was going to come that night. It was too early for Baby to survive, to early to do anything, really. The contractions kept coming, irregular but painful. I called a midwife friend of ours and she sweetly prayed with me and advised me to “drink some tea, take a warm shower, and go to bed early”. By the time I was ready for bed, the contractions had stopped and everything went back to normal. Probably, I was dehydrated. Whatever the cause, we are thankful that God was able to ease our fears and stop the contractions.
Flipping Breach Baby
For the first several months of pregnancy, Baby was breech at every single doctor appointment. As much as they say it’s not a concern, I was concerned. We reached a point when I started to worry that Baby wouldn’t flip. I had already been well informed women in my specific circumstances have a higher likelihood that Baby will be breech and need a c-section. And, for several reasons, I did not want another c-section. It was one of my greatest concerns for many weeks.
I started doing some “pregnancy exercises” intended to help Baby flip. Diligently I did my exercises every day. I prayed about it. I asked Dan to pray about it. I prayed with my Bible study ladies about it. Finally, after our big 20-week-ultrasound, I became convinced that Baby was just going to stay breech. I continued my exercises, half-heartedly, and informed Dan that we were probably going to have another c-section Baby. One evening I gave it all over to the Lord, surrendering myself to the truth: God could flip my Baby. If Baby was breech, God had a reason for it. I was still convinced that Baby was breech, but I thought it must be what God wanted.
A couple of nights later I was getting ready for bed when I suddenly felt led to do one particular exercise. I did, and a couple of minutes later I was reading in bed. But now I had a new peace about Baby. It was like I knew that Baby wasn’t going to be breech anymore. On top of that peace, I felt like I should stop doing my “baby flipping exercises”. It was over a week later when I had another ultrasound that we discovered Baby had turned head-down, and has stayed head-down every since.
All the Wrong Times for Baby to Come
There have been several days, even weeks, when we did NOT want Baby to come. My doctor was on vacation one week. Another week the weather was so bad we didn’t want to have to make any emergency drives to the hospital. Last week we were all sick. At another time Dan was working 12+ hour days trying to please his supervisors at work. On top of that, he was doing all the house work and sleeping very little. During each of these times, we have prayed, “Oh please, don’t let Baby come right now!”. And, as you all know, Baby didn’t.
Our 32 Week (and Other) Goal(s)
If you’ve been following this journey at all, you know I have set several goals. Every day is a goal. Every week is a bigger goal. There have been the age-of-viability, age-when-the-girls-were-born, and birth-of-my-nephews goals. My big goal all along was to make it past 32 weeks, and now we are! Each goal has been special for different reasons, and we are so excited for where we are now. We’re looking at a NICU stay of just a couple weeks or less (or none!). For the first time, I probably won’t be on any antibiotics or magnesium during labor. It’s likely that we’ll be able to (at least attempt to) have a natural delivery.
God has been walking this road with us, leading us really. He has answered our prayers day after day. I can’t say for certain that the rest of the our pregnancy, labor, and delivery will go the way I want or am expecting. But I can say that God has “made our paths straight”, and we are more than happy to give Him the glory for the things He has done.
Last Sunday Abby was sick with a cold. Dan bundled up Lydia and took her off to church while I stayed home and comforted our stuffy little one. Sure enough, she passed it along to me. Tuesday I came down with the cold. Wednesday Lydia started showing symptoms. Friday Dan caught it too. It lasts about a week, so even though it feels like we’ve been stuck and home for a long time, Dan is only halfway through his bout.
I was so concerned that I was going to have Baby while we were all sick, tired, and grumpy. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, since Abby and I are recovered by now. Now if we can just make it until Dan is fully well…
Friday we had another prenatal appointment. Every time we have an appointment and schedule the next one for two weeks out, Dan and I walk away shaking our heads thinking, “We’re never going to make it to the next appointment”. But, so far, we have every time.
Things looked great. Now Baby is measuring exactly average for his/her due date. In the ultrasound we heard a happy heartbeat and saw more of Baby’s spiky hair. Once again, there are no signs of impending labor, I haven’t been having any contractions, and everything looks slow and steady, just the way it should be.
Now that we are just past the 33 week mark, it looks like this may be the first time I won’t have to be on magnesium and antibiotics during labor! Because things have been looking so good, Dan and I have been talking more and more about making it all the way to 37 weeks. Wouldn’t that be crazy? It’s so fun to wait and see how and when Baby will come, now that we are past the scary weeks. March 30 would be 37 weeks, full term, so that is an exciting goal. April 2 is my birthday, so, for all we know, Baby could come on Mommy’s birthday. That would be fun too.
Here are my never ending countdowns:
6 days to 34 weeks (because every week is a milestone)
13 days to 35 weeks, a “take home baby”
27 days to 37 weeks, full term
and just for fun…
30 days until my birthday!