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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

April 10, 2014 - Rebecca's Birth Story

The night before Rebecca was born, I was ready.

Ready to be done being so large and uncomfortable.  Ready to be able to sleep on my back again.  Ready to just be able to sleep.

Ready to meet her.  The one God sent us unexpectedly. The one we didn't plan.  The one that was supposed to finally complete our family.

The one that was most likely going to be taken away from us.

But I was ready.  We were ready.

We had prayed a thousand prayers along with saints and strangers. There was nothing more we could do.

On the morning of April 10, 2014, I got out bed around 5:30, before my alarm could even go off. I hopped in the shower and looked at my giant belly knowing that the next time I took a shower it wouldn't be as large.  I also knew that the next time I took a shower, everything would be different.

One way or another I would never be the same.

Our check-in time at the hospital was 7:30 and we were there  a few minutes early.  We checked in at the Women's Health and Wellness Center on the first floor of Forsyth Medical Center.  They told us to head up to the 4th floor waiting room.

The waiting room was deserted.  It looked like they had a busy night.  There were empty Styrofoam cups discarded on tables and several half-empty soda cans littering the tables as well.  The lights were dim and occasionally we could see the shadow of a nurse pass by the tempered glass of the waiting room doors.

I uttered some halfhearted prayers.  It  was all in God's hands at this point and he already knew what I wanted.

Finally, a nurse came and took us back to the surgery area.  I undressed and put on my hospital gown.  Dan took my clothes and put them in a plastic bag.  I laid down in one of the beds and the nurse took my blood pressure and my temperature and hooked me up to a monitor.

My doctor arrived along with the anesthesiologist and several other nurses.  They were all very busy but I'm not exactly sure what they were doing. Our priest arrived. And before I knew it, it was 9:00.

They wheeled me back into the operating room where I got an epidural.  It was more painful than I remembered with Peter and Sarah. I think it's because I hard a hard time bending over due to my size 45 week belly. 

The epidural began to take effect, my arms were strapped down, and the curtain was raised over my abdomen.

Dan came in the room wearing scrubs with his shoes covered and  his head covered.

The neonatologist came in, more doctors and more nurses came in, our priest came in.

I had a hard time seeing what was going on in the room because of the curtain.   The doctor made the incision and then I could feel some pressure as she was working to get to the baby.  And then I could feel some tugging as well.

At one point I could hear a gushing sound.  It was as if someone had taken a bucket of water and threw it on the floor.  I heard this sound three times.

The doctor told me that was all the amniotic fluid hitting the floor.  (Which I later learned was covered with tarps so it could be easily cleaned.)  Someone asked if the priest had shoe coverings on.  Luckily, he did.

The baby was breech so the doctor had to do some extra pulling and maneuvering to get her out, and finally, someone announced that she was out.

I held my breath waiting to hear her tiny cry.   And in just seconds I heard it.  With Peter and Sarah there had been more of a delay.  The kind where you hold your breath and pray hard.  But with Rebecca the cry came almost immediately.

I thanked God that she was here.  That she was alive.  That she was breathing.

We were going to get our miracle!

The doctor held her up so Dan could see her and then they took her to a small side table where they looked her over.  I was straining to see around the side of the curtain.  I wanted to know what was going on with my baby.

The neonatologist did a visual check and after seeing her small face, her strawberry shaped head and her crossed fingers, confirmed that she had Trisomy 18.

The quickly put some grease on her eyes and cleaned up her a bit.  Then they led Dan and our priest, Father Steve, over to her.  Father Steve baptized her and the nurses tried to whisk her away.  He held up his hand and said he wasn't done yet.  He then administered the anointing of the sick.

After that they wrapped her up and handed her to Dan, he brought her over to me.  I could finally see her beautiful tiny face. 

The anesthesiologist took pictures of us and the doctor began to sew up my incision. A few minutes later they took Rebecca down to the NICU for an echo cardiogram.  Dan stayed with me in the recovery room until they told him he could go to the NICU to be with her. 

I spent roughly an hour in the recovery room before they rolled me downstairs to my room on the NICU floor.  At some point, between the time I was being rolled out of recovery and towards my room, I finally got to hold Rebecca.

The transport team had her in a rolling incubator and were on their way to Brenner with her, but they made sure that I got to see her before they left the building. 

She was crying as they handed her to me but as soon as I got her in my arms and told her hello, she stopped crying.  I'll hold on to that memory forever.

I loved being able to hold her, but it was all very awkward.  The transport team was patiently waiting right beside us to take her to Brenner, the kids were hovering around us, I was sore and not really able to sit up, and we were in the middle of the hallway of the NICU. 

But I was glad we got those few moments together with her because the next time I would see her, she would be on a ventilator fighting for her life.


Colleen said...

Such a faith filled and beautiful birth story, you are a such a positive motherly role model for me Beth!

Tri Mama said...

Oh my gosh...those lips!! How perfect and beautiful.

I've followed your story for a few months. I think I've posted before (not sure) but you and Rebecca have been in my prayers. I'm so sad you didn't get your miracle. It seems unfair, and I'm sure there are moments when you just want to scream out in frustration. I know I would. Thankfully, you trust in Him and acknowledge that His plans are far better than ours. Not that it's better that Rebecca is in Heaven and not in your arms...but that He has something bigger in mind. I pray that people will be as touched by your story as I was...that others will acknowledge your selflessness in allowing Rebecca to have a show that ALL life has purpose, that EVERY child is special and perfect. Rebecca is beautiful. I'm so sorry that you had to give her back so soon. But I thank you for sharing her with the world.

Billie Jo said...

This is beautiful. I felt your heart through your words. And that picture. She is beautiful...hold onto that moment, my friend. I know you do. : )

Rebecca said...

What a beautiful little girl! I'm so glad you got that time with her. Thank you for sharing her birth story. And, of course, I love her name :)

Madeline said...

Holy amniotic fluid Batman. I just adore that your hospital granted you and Rebecca the grace to have your Priest there. I also love that your dear Priest made certain to anoint her as well. Just beautiful. I love that picture--what a special moment you had.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Michelle said...

It's amazing to me that, when you know that you will be facing limited time, how every little moment becomes so vivid and such a blessing!

Mari said...

I can't imagine what it was like to get ready that morning. I'm glad you were able to have your priest there and that you had the time with Rebecca. What a beautiful baby.

Unknown said...

Tears, joy, sorrow, memories, Faith, Hope, Love, smiles, strength, compassion, fear, anxiety,'s amazing how they all work together...and the Greatest of these is Love. We love you, Frances

Diane Teague said...

So many prayers fro such a precious life. I praise the Lord for the days you got to spend with her and the promise that one day soon you will be reunited.

deborah said...

So precious!

I know it's up and down, but you seem to be doing well and living and loving your Rebecca and your story. Memories are so precious.

I'm so glad for the time you had with her.

Shannon said...

This is beautiful!

Kelli said...

Such a beautiful post...

Kelli said...

sorry I hit send too soon.
I love the precious picture of Rebecca.

Elise said...

Beth, what a beautiful birth story. Your faith and hope are an inspiration to me. I love the part where she stopped crying in your arms...I can't imagine how special a memory that must be. Thank you for sharing this.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I will be forever touched by Rebecca; your birth story has left a deep impression on my heart.
Thank you for sharing your heart, your words with me.