**Please note, there is medical grossness in my story. Do not read if that bothers you.**.
At the point of my water breaking Aaron told me not to look down. It fascinates me that I didn’t. I just knew I shouldn’t. Normally I would have looked down as soon as the words left his mouth, almost as instinctually as one would breathe or blink. My brain is just hardwired that way. Such was God’s protection on us. He is able to keep us from falling! He is mighty to save! I am telling you, as sure as I am of my name, I know I would have lost it if I had looked down. I knew that my each and every action that day mattered. I was clinging as tightly to my Heavenly Father as I knew how. Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
We knew it was time to book it to the hospital. We flew out the door so fast, and it was God’s divine provision that Aaron’s giant flip flops were by the door. I shoved them on my feet and kept walking [shuffling/limping] to the car. As in any labor, the drive was quite painful. It’s just that everything is different two months before you are due. Especially when every baby I have had has been about 2 weeks [or so] late. My brain just went tilt. And you think thoughts like, “Oh. So this is why we didn’t have any peace about a last minute family vacation before the baby came…” And, “What on earth…” And, “Crap this hurts.” And, “I wonder why Aaron told me not to look down? It was only my water breaking after all…” Most notable was the pervasive peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. His peace was present the entire day, and palpable from the moment Aaron told me not to look down. All the while, I am riding along with a giant towel between my legs and another giant towel wrapped around like a skirt. From head to toe, I am wearing a t-shirt and bra, two towels, and man’s flip flops. Never in my life.
I limp into the E.R. entrance, the only open doors at this time. We arrived around 7:30pm-ish, I think. After we check in an orderly gave me the ride of my life in a scary [sounds and moves like it will fall into a bajillion pieces any second] wheelchair up to the labor and delivery floor. All the while I am still fairly embarrassed about my wardrobe ‘choices.’ We get upstairs to L&D finally, and they give me a room, stat. Apparently two month early labor with water breakage and lots of blood will do that. It will get you a room in a hospital that had none 15 minutes prior. I am so thankful to live in a place where you can get the medical attention you need when you need it. I am so thankful they prepare for situations like mine. This makes me think of all the staff. That makes me teary-eyed again. They are the most wonderful people in the world. [*With the minor exception of middle of the night nurse who wanted to tourniquet my arm off for a blood sample. I had a half-dollar sized bruise for approximately six weeks postpartum. Whatever. I’ll find her later. Just kidding. Maybe.*]
And so the questions start. For anyone who hasn’t had a hospital birth yet, this can be likened to the running of the bulls. I have never done that, but it is the visual that pops into my head. Whether you have pre-registered [we had] or not, they will steamroller you with a million bajillion questions. I know this because I have done it both ways. I will never for the life of me understand how this can take priority over such things as checking the baby’s progress, pain meds, etc. But it does. So, a tip of the hat to all the litigious folks that have made this the world we live in. My nurse tried, bless her. She stepped out several times hollering for the sonogram machine so they could check and see what was happening while simultaneously administering what felt like the inquisition. Eventually the doctor on call that night, a wonderful woman named Dr. Mcelroy [pronounced Mac-El-Roy] stepped in. She was quickly brought up to speed, asked a few questions of her own, and then said we needed to do an emergency c-section. All four of my other children were vaginal births, but I had learned that I loved the epidural. I knew there would be no c-section without that. Because they had one of those baby heart monitors strapped to my abdomen from the moment I was put in the bed and I knew baby David was fine, I no longer cared about anything but pain meds.
Sweet Dr. Mcelroy knows she needs to check me before immediately wheeling me into surgery. She does. Then she declared it time to push. WHAT!!?!?!? I asked as nicely as I can several different times several different ways about the drugs. No dice. Time to push. Now. She said it so nicely I thought I could persuade her. Nope. My brain is stunned. Stunned. STUNNED! Push a baby out without an epidural!?!? I had done that once before and decided it wasn’t for me. How was this happening??? Somewhere during the inquisition my window for meds must have closed. Well, onward and upward. I pushed David out [my She-Ra moment, google this babies of the 90’s], all four pounds twelve ounces of him. Again, God provides. JEHOVAH–JIREH. “The Lord our provider” God provided for me everything I needed, and everything David needed. David needed out, asap, and I had the ability to do that. EVERYTHING added up for David’s needs also, including our arrival and subsequent inquisition. NICU babies have enough of an uphill battle, the less drugs involved for them the better. Our little David is a fighter. Two weeks to the day he graduated from the NICU. For a 34 week gestational baby that is wonderful.
Again God provides. The only thing [besides drugs] that I cared about during all this was baby David. Was he okay? Would he continue to be okay? After baby David was caught by Dr. Mcelroy he cried immediately. This kept my heart stayed in the peace, no exaggeration that day, the peace that passes all understanding. Truly, without the gift of faith God gave us, this was a terrifying experience. I had never been through this and had NO idea how it was going to go from here, but I just “knew” when he cried that it was going to be okay. This part of the story goes on a steep learning curve for us about the NICU and all things preemie. So again, I’ll step back and tell the story behind the story.
Remember all those faithful pray-ers? My parents, mother-in-law, siblings, and friends were bearing us up in prayer this entire time. My mom and dad came racing over to the house the moment Aaron called [his first phone call after getting me limping to the car]. I’m so thankful that they live about five minutes away. They arrived to help with anything. They settled the kids and took care of the mess. I’m told that Kathryn had blocked my other children from going into my room and kept a really cool head. I will be forever grateful for that. I’m also told that my room looked like a murder scene. I cannot even put words to how I would have felt if it was my daughter being rushed to the hospital and this scene in the bedroom was why. My mom took on the role of a servant and cleaned. My Aunt Miriam had been called by this point and was in touch with Mom. Mom had already taken all the bedding and the children and gone back to her house and said something to the effect of thinking the mattress and carpet were ruined permanently but maybe Miriam could give it a shot. I kid you not, when Aaron and I arrived home [the next day or so???] the room looked liked nothing had ever happened, other than the giant shop fan blowing on the carpet. What a beautiful example of family, love, and service. The bed was beautifully made and clean, as was the carpet. My mom was certain that there was no saving that mattress, and yet there it was. Perfectly clean. Not anything anywhere, not even on the carpet. Mind. Blown. This is a long way from the grisly description of ‘murder scene.’
My family did all of this and they were praying, as were my siblings, friends, and more family. I’m not sure I even know the depth of people who carried us in prayer during that day and the following two weeks. I know for a fact it was all of my close family, several of my friends and several of my mom’s friends. People say that prayer changes things and that prayer matters, and now David and I am on the list of people who are a living testament of that truth. Several family members showered us again with gifts for baby David, seeing as how he was too tiny [4 pounds and 12 ounces] for his clothes at home. My sister-in-law Sally went on a shopping spree and gave us so many outfits that they were practically his wardrobe during that time.
I cannot even tell you how this melts my heart again and again, every time I remember. This is the body of Christ being the body of Christ, doing unto the least of these. Aaron and I are in no position to dole out rewards or favors, they poured love upon us in heaps anyway. The least of these. Matthew 25:40 – “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ I’m no one to deserve that, and we could have limped along without it. God saw fit to show us His love again and again through the precious gifts and acts of love and service and prayer. My sister made sure his birth was celebrated. That memory is making me cry right now while I’m typing. She made sure it was like a joyful party and that we celebrated his entrance instead of just sitting in shock. [*cry break*] She showed up with joyfulness, balloons, a gift [more tiny clothes!!!],
and several other things. But it was the act of kindness that still impacts me to this day, fresh like it just happened. My mom was either feeding us, carting me back and forth between the hospital and home [also Dad did this], caring for our children, making things for David [a welcome home cake],
or buying him more tiny little clothes. He came home in a precious outfit and blanket set from her
and I will love it forever. This about sums up the first day or two. I’ll write about two week long NICU journey next.