I’ve never really felt led to fully share the girl’s birth story through social media…just haven’t really felt the liberty until now.
If this last year has taught me anything, it’s shown me when God opens a door, I should joyfully and immediately walk through it in obedience. Thus the beginning of this blog, and prayerfully a new journey of sharing thoughts that he graciously places on my heart.
So here goes…January 10th, 2018…
36 weeks and 4 days of incubating my precious twin girls. Through my excellent midwife and the neonatal specialist’s recommendation, we went in for induction that Wednesday morning with anxious hearts, but feeling a peace and anticipation for what was to come. (It wasn’t until later that my husband shared with me the fears and struggles he wrestled with the entire pregnancy that something terrible might happen to me…but I digress).
Things were going smoothly. I got my epidural. Had a little sickness, but that was about right, considering that dull nauseous feeling really never left me the whole 9 months.
We labored. We cried a little. Visited with excited family members and friends. We received scripture from dear friends: “I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.” Psalm 118:5. Little did we know how real that scripture was about to become in our lives. A special preacher who is near and dear to us stopped by to pray a precious prayer over us. We waited and waited….
As the time drew near, our special friend and midwife Lauren showed up to prepare for baby A: our Claire. Before we knew it, a few pushes and she was out. Our first sigh of relief. She was so tiny, but strong and beautiful. They let me hold her for a few moments before they took her away to check her over and prepare for baby B’s arrival. All I could do was stream happy tears and stare at her. She was here. She was safe. She was healthy.
Next, Dr. Harper came in to try and flip Eleanor head down, as she had turned back to a transverse position. A few uncomfortable mashes and they had her turned. Then came the pushing. I remember trying SO HARD. I never had trouble pushing a baby out before. All 3 of my other vaginal births came out with just a few pushes and minutes of work. I remember looking around and seeing so many concerned faces. Everyone was so quiet. I knew something had to be wrong. I could barely breath from what felt like hours of pushing (though it was maybe only 30 minutes). They placed an oxygen mask on my face and encouraged me to try harder. I did. More people filed into the room. I was starting to feel panicked, and honestly I was so lightheaded from pushing that I don’t fully recall all that was said and done.
The minutes that followed were a blur.
“She’s not engaging.” they told me. “She’s stuck her arm up and when you push all we see is her cord and her hand.” “It’s too risky.” And there it was…emergency cesarean. I can remember crying in fear. Not for myself, but for my sweet Eleanor. Lord please let her be okay, I kept praying. Please…The anesthesiologist came in to start a central line and prep me for surgery. There must have been 20 people in that room rushing around where I laid preparing everything (seriously, the NEGMC staff is so amazing. Every nurse. Every doctor. Every. Single. Person in that room was hand placed there by the Lord. I believe that with my whole heart).
Jess kissed my forehead and said “It’s gonna be okay. They’re gonna get her out.” My sweet friend Holly, who thankfully got to be one of my L&D nurses, pulled my sisters and Mom over to me and we joined hands and Jess prayed. Then off we went, they rushed us out of there and into the OR.
After that my memories are quite fuzzy. I vaguely remember them pulling Eleanor out and hearing her cry her first cry. Jess says he laid her by my face, but I don’t remember. I was starting to feel weird. The doctor assured Jess I was okay and sent him off with Eleanor.
I was in and out after that….Off and on I could hear the doctors calling my name. I don’t know if I answered. I felt like I couldn’t speak. Everything that happened next were accounts from Jess. He was on his way back to the OR to check on me once he saw that Ele was alright, and he saw people running to my room. They made him sign a paper consenting to give me blood. They wouldn’t let him come back in. Finally the doctor came out and he asked her to please tell him honestly what was going on. Is it life or death, he asked? “It’s not anymore.” He was told.
When I woke up I was in a recovery area. I looked at Jess, and his face was filled with worry. He was praying. They weren’t sure what happened at first. My blood pressure got scary low. A reaction to the anesthesia maybe, they thought? They sent me to the ICU. All I could think about in that moment was my girls, but everyone seemed so worried about me. I just wanted to hold them. The moment I had waited my entire pregnancy for.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was worried for my girls and my body was in full adrenaline shock. At 4:30 am, my precious ICU nurse, who never left my side, pulled off sneaking the girls up to my room so I could hold them. All was right in the world. I didn’t care what had happened. My girls were okay.
The next day at some point they released me from the ICU. All day long doctors and nurses were coming in and out of my room treating me like I was a medical marvel. The anesthesiologist told us my blood work showed I had a rare medical episode called an AFE (amniotic fluid embolism). There’s no way of knowing it’s gonna happen, they told us. Typically it’s diagnosed in autopsy…..excuse me, what?…..the more people that came in, the more we were slowly realizing the magnitude of what happened to me. We had never heard of an AFE before. I had come so close to death, they kept telling us. It felt surreal.
I truly don’t feel like the enormity of what happened hit me until we got home 5 days later. Jess wouldn’t leave my side. Literally for a month. We cried and prayed prayers of thanks and praises together multiple times a day. Lots of puzzle pieces came together over the next few days as many of our friends and family members shared with us the burden they felt to pray for me and not the girls while I was carrying them. Writing it out brings me chills and takes me back to what God did for us that day. It was nothing short of a miracle.
I share this now not to sound dramatic or exaggerated, but to give God all the glory for what he did for us that day. We discovered one of the OR nurses was friends with one of our relatives and shared with her that she was the one they sent running to the blood bank for me when I was in trouble. She said she saw Jess sitting in the NICU holding the girls and she prayed as she ran, “God, please don’t let her die. Please don’t let her die.”
I KNOW that God hand placed each person there in our path. He allowed praying, God fearing people to be there in prayer for us. He showed us mercy and the fullness of his power that day. So many cried out in distress on mine, my husband, and my girl’s behalf. And he answered, and set us in a large place. There’s no doubt in my mind that the Lord allowed us to go through it all for his glory. To increase our faith and strengthen our trust in him. And probably for a hundred other reasons.
God’s plan is perfect. I don’t question it. Instead I have allowed the girls birth story to plant a stake in my life. One of the many many things the Lord has pulled me through in my life where he showed up, and showed out. His presence was undeniable in every little detail….From the nurse that ran for my blood, to Jess’ cousin that hit her knees in immediate prayer in the waiting room when they updated my family that there were complications. I have taken the last year for granted so many times, allowed myself to forget just exactly what he did for me and my family that day. Why? I’ve asked myself so many times. Why would the Lord care for someone as sorry and insignificant as me, that he would place me on someone’s heart to pray for? But that’s how he loves us. We are his children. And as much as I love my babies….., He loves me infinitely more.
How great and perfect are his ways. He is so good. He’s a good good Father. He cares for us. He protects us. He’s there in our darkest hours. Even if he had taken me. Even if he had taken one of the girls, or both. He’s still good. He’s still in control. And he knows exactly what we need and where we are headed. I’m forever humbled and thankful for his love and hand of protection that day.
If you’re still reading, I hope our story blessed your heart in some way. He is real. He’s alive. He’s a risen Savior. And if you don’t know him, my prayer is that you’ll seek him till you find him. His word promises us, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.