It was a Wednesday evening just after dinner time that I started feeling very “off.” I had been having contractions for a couple of days about 7 minutes apart. I was told I was dilated to a 5. “Any minute now” is what everyone assured me. This particular evening, I was feeling very worn down, depleted, exhausted, pained, and alone. I had been praying off and on all day for the Lord to take this feeling from me and replace it with a feeling of gratitude and peace. I prayed for Him to surround me on what I felt were the final days of pregnancy. “I can’t do this without You,” I would repeat. After monitoring closely how I was feeling, my husband sent our other two boys to grandma’s, and we headed to the hospital.
The one hour drive to the hospital had been a worry of mine for my entire pregnancy. I feared being that one mom on the side of the road birthing her own child, ALONE, en route to the hospital. I prayed the entire drive for peace, comfort, and to feel Him with me, begging Him to not leave my side, repeating, “I can’t do any of this without You.” I focused on the beautiful double rainbow that seemed to follow us all the way to the hospital. I focused on the rainbow’s meaning.
We arrived at the hospital around 9pm. I was waiting in triage, hooked to a fetal monitor, when my husband, Tim, noticed the baby’s heartbeat seemed irregular. He grabbed the attention of a nearby nurse, who watched and determined the baby needed to be evaluated for stress. The fetal stress equipment shows up; in between contractions, it is determined that the baby is not breathing normally and the heartbeat is irregular. Oddly enough, the fetal stress was low. My doctor had not yet arrived and I was hesitant about being induced or hauled off to the OR for emergency c-section.
I needed time. To digest. To pray. We kept telling the doctors and nurses, pleading for more time.
My contractions picked up; I was finally admitted to the hospital, given a room and a sweet nurse. The next hour or so was SO hard. We would pray through contractions, rest, repeat. I was given an epidural at about 11:30pm, and I rested until midnight.
My OB arrived, went over the stress test with me, told me the options on how we could proceed.
About this time, I learned the epidural had not worked but slowed my contractions considerably. My water was broken, hoping that would help the contractions pick back up. I refused induction medicine. I was given the news that the baby’s heartbeat was consistently irregular and my contractions had now stopped completely.
I prayed for strength, focused on the beautiful double rainbow that had followed me to the hospital earlier in the evening. At 1am, we made the decision to push through, contractions or no contractions.
Pushing while not knowing if I was going to deliver a baby with a heartbeat was heartbreaking. I had to keep pushing back all the fears that kept creeping up, focusing only on that rainbow, God’s promises.
My husband was beside me reciting Romans 8:28 when at 1:48am, Thursday, May 10th, 2012 a screaming tiny baby was placed on my chest.
We snuggled skin to skin, I cried, and his body temp warmed right up and then heart and respiratory monitors were brought in. He was fine through the night and all monitors were removed by morning. My husband had previously signed up to be a parent driver for our son’s preschool field trip so he left the hospital around 7 in the morning to make the hour drive to the preschool.
While he was away, my best friend stayed with me in the hospital. It was just before lunchtime when I was holding my newborn and he started to gag. Gagging and then one gasp for air – then nothing. My heart fell to my feet. Time stopped. I pushed the call button no less than a dozen times, and nothing.
My friend ran screaming through the halls of the maternity floor for anyone to come to my room. She returned with a nurse. The nurse tried unsuccessfully to get my baby to breathe. Without speaking to me at all, she rushed him out of the room and into the NICU.
My best friend and I sobbed and prayed for what felt like an eternity; she paced by NICU trying to peer through the blinds to see anything at all. At some point she called Tim to tell him to get back to the hospital immediately.
A worrier by nature, I assumed the worst, begged and sobbed and asked God to lay His healing hands on my 9 hour old son. I was completely broken. It seemed an eternity had passed with no update.
I surrendered all at this point. I decided I had no control on what was going to happen, but I knew that my God loved me, PROMISED to never leave me or forsake me, and no matter what was going to happen, it would be for His glory. I was flooded with peace. I focused on that rainbow and the verse my husband gave me in childbirth: Romans 8:28.
Some time after that, my sweet boy was placed back into my arms and we laid heartbeat to heartbeat again while I thanked God. Even after leaving the hospital, we would have several more scares and health issues. I believe through this birth I was shown the depth of my strength in Him, and the value of EVERY breath and EVERY single heartbeat. And for that, I am thankful.