Monday, February 9, 2015

Reflections & Renewals...

As I sit here with my newest addition sitting in my lap (sleeping the ENTIRE day away) I finally have a few minutes to begin to reflect on what has happened since I last blogged.... I believe I last blogged around January 16th and was in the final stages of misery...all the last few weeks that pregnancy brings, good and bad, and was definitely ready to birth this child and find out what the gift was growing so sweetly inside of me.

Little did I know I was to travel down a path, I've only traveled once before, and one probably not many have ever traveled, but one I'm not sure I would want others to travel down.

My last OB appointment for this seventh full pregnancy would be January 27th.  I was miserable. I was 4 cm and almost completely effaced.  I was tired, not sleeping, and ready for something, anything, to get this labor party started.  My doctor, who is probably one of the best doctors I've ever had, for reasons I'll indulge you in a moment, assured me that I could have this baby soon.

We scheduled the induction for January 29th.  Oddly, that was the date I originally had figured out when I went back and painstakingly put my chart back together (remember, I tossed that puppy aside because I thought I was menopausal....)

January 29th came and we arrived at the hospital at 6 am.  I was both excited and nervous, for lots of reasons, but mostly because I know how painful labor is!  I was ready for the epidural before I got there, but wanted to wait as long as possible before I got it.  I was 5 cm and on a pretty high dose of pitocin and had decided I had had enough fun and was ready for the epidural.

It was smooth sailing getting the epidural and I was ready to relax and wait patiently for my body to do it's job.  Just a little after noon, the nurse came in to check on me and asked if I was feeling any pressure or urge to push- at that moment I was not, but not a few moments later, the urge was almost unbearable!  I paged her back in and she checked me and I was 9 cm!  I was definitely ready to push and they were frantically paging my doctor and getting the room prepped.

A few minutes later, my doctor was dressed and ready and I began pushing.  The baby's head came out relatively easy- and they noticed the cord was wrapped pretty tightly around the neck and so they clamped it and cut it so I could push the rest of the baby out without any trouble. But boy this baby was anything but easy to push out!  A big ole baby came plopping out at 12:24 weighing 8 lbs and 13 oz and was 20 inches long. Which is one of my shorter ones.... :) She was a girl and came in second place with her birth weight!  She had a head full of red hair and was absolutely the most gorgeous baby on earth.  I was instantly in love, even despite that small twinge of it not being a boy slowly melting away as I gazed at yet another amazing miracle being placed on my chest.

Lucia Cecilia was the most beautiful baby!  She nursed immediately and was perfect all over.  I could not stop loving on her.  I am always, always always, so moved emotionally when I give birth.
The tiny face, the perfect nose, ears, eyes, fingers, toes, little body.  Every single thing about this little bitty human just sends waves of emotional moments over me that bring me down to my knees that something so beautiful and perfect could come from two people- that God took something so amazing and created this life-it is beyond words for me.

I can't even type this without tears welling up and a lump in my throat as I choke down a full throttled break down over this miracle in my arms.

Every child is a gift from the Lord.  I believe is the verse from Psalm 127-verse 3.  I am sure I'm not quoting it directly, so please forgive me.   But this child and the absolute miracle that surrounds her birth has renewed in me a new fire, a new passion if you will, to never again, lie dormant about my faith and my God.

You see, every single event leading up to the birth of Lucia was a tiny piece of a puzzle that would present itself after I once again was faced with an event I've only faced one other time in my life.

I would literally see my life flash before me.

Only one other time have I tasted something that could be considered a near death experience.  I was 19 and driving home from seeing my mom after work to see about taking my dad's car to get a hair cut.  It was the summer of 1992.  I had just finished my freshman year in college and was working at TJ Maxx.  Loved that job.  On my way home, I was hit head on and broke my C2 in my neck.  The bone would break cleanly through, snapping and landing back on itself.  A miracle in and of itself.  Had it slipped, I would not be here today to share any stories with anyone.  I escaped with only having to wear a halo for 4 months and have a few stitches in my knee, and my collar bone to be left rather yucky looking forever from the seat belt mark it left.  I could live with that....I attribute that accident to many things- one being a seed that was planted to rediscover my Catholic faith, another was rekindling a friendship with my future husband whom I had really messed up dating before my accident, and lastly, discovering that there is something beyond this world.

My birth experience with Lucia had been relatively uneventful.  Everything had gone as expected and without a hitch.  I was getting the feeling back in my legs and went to take a shower.  It had been about three hours since her birth and I was actually stuck in my room waiting for a room to be moved  upstairs.  So after I got cleaned up, I went to sit back down in the bed and felt a rather strange rush of fluid come out of me.  I panicked when I realized that there was an amazing amount of extremely fresh red blood that had in the course of seconds, already soaked the gigantic saddle bag pad they give you to wear and more was just pooling out of me.  I paged the nurses and told them I was bleeding and they rushed in and what transpired over the next half hour or so (I have no idea how long of time) was nothing short of a scene from some graphic hospital reality show.  Suddenly there were several doctors in my room, people running around all over and my husband standing and grabbing my hand as I began to realize what was happening.

I was hemorrhaging.  Badly, too.  Apparently, my bladder had been full and tilted my uterus in such a way that it was clotting and clotting and clotting and blood began pouring out of me at a rapid rate and would until they manually pulled out every single clot in my body.  Now up to this point, I was relatively aware of what was going on, but once this lead to another event, I began to go fuzzy and will definitely have to have my husband fill in some of the details for me that I know will be left out.
There was a doctor who was explaining what needed to be done.  Someone would have to go inside me and manually pull out the blood clots.

Yes, I know what you're thinking.  What?  They have to do what?  Manually.  That means put their hand where and pull out what?

It was kind of like I was watching these people do their thing like I watch TV.  It just didn't seem real.  I was in some sort of out of body position but was still in my body because make no mistake about it- manually pulling anything out of a body part that just birthed a small watermelon might sound like it wouldn't hurt-but that was a pain I can't even put into words.  I was hurting and I couldn't scream because the pain and pressure of me screaming put too much pressure on my uterus and sent even more pain through my body.

If they didn't get the bleeding to stop, I could bleed to death.  There was a lot going on all at once.  Someone was pulling clots out (never, never, NEVER will I get that sound, sensation, feeling out of my head. )  It's why I kept my eyes closed mostly.  I thought if I opened them and saw anything I would lose consciousness.  I was already feeling woosy and hurting so bad it probably would have been less traumatic had I just passed out, but there I was.  Clots were coming out, my doctor was paged, I swear she teleported there because in seconds I opened my eyes and there she was talking to me, someone jabbed my other hand with a needle and apparently missed the vein so I had a whole new searing pain shooting in my hand and my fingers, another person stabbed me with a shot in my leg, and a new nurse put the second IV in my arm successfully this time so that I could have more contraction causing medicines pumping through my body to help force my uterus to contract and stop hemorrhaging.

At one point, I remember my doctor asking me if there was someone I could offer this pain up for.  I certainly did have someone to offer it up for, specifically a family who had just lost their husband and the wife was pregnant with their fourth child immediately came to my mind and an almost peaceful feeling came over me as I concentrated on praying for that family.  In no way was my pain gone and soon, the conversation turned to what could they give me for pain, but I was able to focus my energy on prayer and think about this family.  I remember them asking if my husband was ok.  I can only imagine what was going through his mind at this moment.

There was an ultrasound machine brought in so my doctor could determine how many clots were still left.  It was still such a surreal feeling.  She felt as if she had gotten as much as she could saying there was still a clot in my uterus she couldn't get to.  She was fairly confident that we were in the clear and the medicine injected in my leg, in the IV's and even the lovely one that was inserted in an "exit only" area were doing their job contracting my uterus.  We all three sat there once everyone left in a sort of stunned silence.  I was overwhelmed with what happened and when she said the next 12-24 hours would be telling if it occurred again, I was overcome with tears as I knew my hubby was planning on going home to relieve our friend and stay with the kids, but the thought of going through that ordeal again WITHOUT him, sent my heart into overdrive anxiety.

My doctor leaned over and said that he should really stay there with me.  I know in my heart he was so torn because he felt awful for not being there for the kids.  My son had an event at the school he had waited a month to attend and was so looking forward to it, so I know that was weighing on his heart as well.  He knew he felt he needed to stay, and was torn.  I immediately felt relief that he would be with me, but guilt for wanting him there instead of with our kids.  Not sure why, but my gut just said he needed to be with me.

The turn of events after Lucia's birth were not anticipated at all.  But even down to who was with our children during the whole ordeal, and why I couldn't get in a room upstairs, and even something that happened to my husband the week prior, were all events he nor I can even explain.  I am no longer a believer in coincidences.  I ended that affair when I rediscovered my faith so many years ago.  Perhaps we can call them God-incidents because coincidences could be random and few and far between, and have no author, but I so believe that if we're acutely aware of the presence of God, we would credit Him far more than just random coincidences.

The fact that a room was still not available for several hours after I gave birth is no coincidence.  It's not that they could not have taken care of me in the regular room, but being in L&D where the drugs they needed were readily available at a moments notice and the fact that the floor was full of residents and nurses?  Just moments before this all happened, I had told my friend who was coming over not to worry about heading over to my house because my husband would be leaving shortly to get the kids fed and take our son to his event at school.  Therefore, when he tearfully called another friend and asked for help after the whole ordeal, her husband came over on his way home from work and our other friend also came over later, therefore allowing the husband to take our son to the school event.  Coincidence?  Hardly.

The day we returned home from the hospital, my husband and I were sitting on the couch just marveling at the little angel I was holding and he was just talking about all the events that happened and said he even remembered that a week before he had dreamed I had died in childbirth.  His face shot up and looked at me gravely as he barely spoke loud enough that in his dream I had bled to death.

Talk about goose bump chills.  We sat there in silence for a moment just absorbing the revelation.  How good is God in all this?  He is the author of life, and the reason I'm still here is not because He thinks I need to be here necessarily-or that it "wasn't my time."  We know not when our lives will come to an end, and only He knows that thankfully.  But I think our awareness of His greatness was revealed in a mighty way during this ordeal.  A blink of an eye and our lives can change dramatically.  We could sit and dwell on the 'what ifs' and drive ourselves mad, or we can see glory in the amazing position we were in and how all the pieces to the puzzle fell into place during a very traumatic moment in our lives and praise Him for life, both here and gone.  We can look at the blessing of living in a country where we have modern medicines readily available.  Our other OB told us that what I went through is exactly why the mortality rate of women giving birth is still very high, most especially in third world countries where they don't have the resources to even afford that kind of medicine.  (which makes me a tad nervous when I think of whether my insurance will cover that.... :)  ) He also said another factor which didn't help was the fact I was a redhead.

Now people, come on.  I know I'm a medical anomaly, but really?  Now I'm a free bleeder/clotter, too because of my hair color????  Good-ness....

Point being, the events of what happened to us that afternoon after giving birth to an amazingly perfect baby were once again a catalyst in my faith journey.  Life is too short to spend it idly wondering with no set purpose fleeting place to place and pretending "enjoying the moment" is how we should all be.  There is a purpose to our lives.  There is a greater purpose and God is very real.  My faith has once again been revived with this event.  I will do everything in my power to help proclaim His goodness.

"I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever and ever.  Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever." Psalm 145:1-2
Our little Lucia Cecilia

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