It's been six weeks this morning since I first held my little girl. This evening we are going to get family pictures taken. Such a normal thing to do. But, as you know, this has been anything but a normal journey over the past three months. I still look back at events that happened in late June and early July and shake my head in disbelief. "That took place before Houston. Before we knew . . ." Our life will ever be divided into Before and After this point.
I have spent the last six weeks trying to capture my thoughts and feelings in a blog post. As a result, I have three posts begun and none of them finished. Coherent thoughts are very slippery things in the postpartum period. Even more elusive are my ever shifting feelings. Elation, exhaustion, a drive to keep going, the wish to give up and just sleep for a month, fear and faith, anticipation and anxiety. A rainbow of peace after a thunderstorm of tears. But this is all part of the healing process. Healing as I recover from birth. Healing as I snuggle the little miracle that is gazing deeply into my eyes. Healing as I minister to a family that has been separated and stretched. Healing as I look into an unknown future.
Thank you, Father for your overwhelming faithfulness, compassion and mercy. You have provided for us every step of the way. I know that You will guide the future as You have the past.
|Our beautiful home for several weeks|
The Anesthesiologist seemed to tower over me as he checked off the questions on his clipboard.
"Well, out of three epidurals only one of them was completely effective. The other two only worked on one side. Quite the ripoff, if you ask me!"
The Dr. jotted a quick note and explained what he would do to make sure that this epidural worked completely . . . on both sides.
It was very comforting to see the care that each member of my medical team was taking to make sure that all the bases were covered and that Robert and I felt comfortable with each step. Debbie from the Fetal Center dropped by the prep room to chat. She said that she had arranged to be in the OR with us and would be glad to take pictures with Robert's phone. That simple offer meant so much to both of us! Mom and Sam came in with the kids to give hugs and kisses. After shooing the younger three away from stumbling over my IV cord for five minutes, their time was up. Time for Miss Beth to make her big debut!
Dr. Patel was present and discussed the two units of blood in the room she had ready for me as well as the two downstairs, just in case it was needed. She had an extra IV port placed. Debbie described how Dr. Moise had awakened from a bad dream and had given extra instructions to make sure everything went well with the baby. My anesthesiologist conferred with his attending instructor about the epidural catheters and they decided to place one more large bore IV for a grand total of three. The curtain was raised, the lights were blazing . . . Action!
The super duper epidural must have worked like a champ. I could barely feel them pushing and tugging as they worked closer to delivery of our little girl. The energy in the room surged when Dr. Patel announced she was ready to make the uterine incision. Someone called out the time as 12:41.
I held my breath, waiting for the little cry.
They were suctioning her lungs . . .
There it was! A brief little gurgle at first, building up to a genuine cry at last. Robert was standing on tiptoe, to see over the curtain. Debbie called him over. I could hear the weight, 8 lbs, 7 oz. They were marveling over how pink she was. She had the APGAR scores of a very healthy baby. I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving. Her heart was handling the transition very well. Finally they brought her over for me to see.
Oh my! All that dark hair! And that little scrunched up nose! And so pink and plump! A more healthy looking baby I had never seen. I wanted to hold her, inhale her fresh scent, give her a chance to nuzzle around but already it was time for them to take her up to the NICU. And like that, she and Robert were both gone.
So much for the "Golden Hour" of bonding. I was disappointed that was the way it had to be. But so very thankful that this was expected and planned. How terrifying it would be for an unsuspecting family to be rushed through an emergency c section, not know what was happening or what was wrong, for the baby to be suddenly rushed up to the NICU and the mom left on an operating table to be sewn up, utterly unable to do anything for her fragile and helpless baby.
I was feeling rather fragile and helpless myself. I had no idea that I would be stuck in bed until the next morning. Nor that I would be so exhausted and loopy that I would be unable to stay awake long enough to kiss my kids goodbye. As I drifted in and out of sleep, I wondered how the baby was being fed and if she would know how to nurse if and when I ever got up there to see her.
|Robert got to feed her first!|
The next day dawned way before dawn. Nurses were in and out, taking my vitals and pushing all over my belly. Ouch! That hurts so much more when you've been cut open! It was time for me to get up and out of bed so that I could get upstairs and see my baby. I was eager to do everything I could to get moving. But, wow! It was three times more difficult than I had imagined it was going to be. And I have a very active imagination.
At last I was mobile enough to hobble over to a wheelchair. Robert and my mom wheeled me through the halls and into the elevator. My mind was churning. What would she look like? Would she be hooked up to wires and machines? Would she be in any pain? Would she know her mamma?
"Hi there, sweetie. Mamma's here."
She turned her head towards me and opened her mouth.
She knew me and she needed me. And I needed her.