Friday, October 30, 2009

In the beginning

It was 6 am Sunday morning when I woke abruptly. As my water broke I rushed to the bathroom thinking, "this is too early, oh God no no no, it's too soon for this!" That was September 6th. I was 24 weeks 6 days pregnant. So, off we went to the hospital and my life was forever changed - just like that, in a matter of seconds. When my husband, Jamie, baby and I arrived I was examined and admitted due to premature rupture of membranes. I had no infection that caused the rupture and at this point it is only speculation that my cervix may be incompetent. I was told, "this will be your new home here at the hospital until this baby decides he/she is ready to be born." (We didn't know we were having a girl, because she wouldn't un-cross her legs during her ultrasound.) All we could do was wait and pray that she stayed inside the womb. Which meant I was on strictly bed rest, which I was not fond of, but I was full of hope and optimistic about my baby being a miracle. I was willing to do whatever it took like any mother -to -be would. We were given milestones to meet, the first was 48 hours. I was given steroid shots in the bum (ouuucch) those first two days to help with lung development. We made it and we were so relieved. After all, that's what the perinatologist told us was so important for her survival. We continued on with such confidence and we reached 25 weeks...Monday came and went, then Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday at about noon I got a headache I didn't think much of, why would I? I'd been laying in this hospital bed for days now, my back felt achy and my neck was tense. I remember visiting with my dad, we were sitting there sharing our hopes and dreams for the future as we watched a building being constructed across from the hospital. I had no doubt that I would be taking this child that was inside of me not only home, but out and about-to the mall. Anyway, I had a second visitor as my dad was leaving, a dear friend who brought me some comfy maternity sweats for my anticipated long stay. As I visited with her I started to feel as though something in my body was making a turn down a one way street. As she left I called the nurse, I was beginning to get ill and go into labor. My nurse called the OB on duty, who called the peri. At 6:59 September 10th our sweet baby girl was born. I had a c section because she was breach. The peri warned me the day I was admitted that a c section would be necessary if "baby" didn't drop into position by time of delivery. I was prepared for that mentally, however, since I believed I would beat the odds and continue to carry her closer to her due date I really thought I wouldn't end up with this scar I will forever carry. (In more ways than one). With that said the OB came into my room just before they prepped me for surgery and said, "If you want we can try vaginal because baby is so small." I said no because I was sure that she would die before delivery if we "tried" vaginal. So, there I was laying on the table in the OR looking into my husbands eyes when I heard the OB say,"You have a girl." It was not the joyous exclamation that Hollywood portrays because those are only reserved for those mothers who carry their babies to term and schedule their c -sections for convenience. His tone reflected what we were all thinking..." possibly just for now." I didn't get to hold her, hear her cry or even look her over to see that all her parts were perfectly made. Instead a team of experts worked to secure our daughter's place in this world and I was taken back to my room to "recover." I told Jamie to stay with Audrey and don't worry about me, just update me whenever he could. So, he did. I vaguely remember what order the updates came, thanks to morphine. The first obsticle - she had a blood clot in her umbilical cord where they needed to put a tube they would continue to work, until they were successful and indeed they got through it. I was told at one point she wasn't getting much oxygen to her blood though she was hooked to a ventilator, then she turned around. She started to slip at another point and Jamie signed a consent to do a blood transfusion because she was fighting the same infection that sent me into labor. All the while I was trying to wiggle my toes-I'd be able to go see her when I could. I never wanted to simply wiggle my toes so bad in my whole life. I was scared and I was numb emotionally as well as physically. Finally, after almost three hours, Audrey's doctor came to my room and asked my nurse if it was possible to get me over to Audrey's room, she wasn't doing so good again. It just so happened that I could wiggle my toes, so off I went wheelchair bound along with Jamie and all four of my parents, who had been there waiting since I went into the OR. Jamie and I went into her room first, her doc. told us we could touch her and explained that the ventilator was up as far as it could be, there was nothing more they could do. I asked her "Are you telling me you got me in here to say goodbye?" She said, "We're not giving up on her yet, there is just nothing more we can do." I cried a little and I begged God to keep her alive. I asked him over and over "please don't let her die." I couldn't say anything else. At some point the doctor asked me if I wanted to hold her and I did. She removed the ventilator and switched to a manual pump to keep her lungs going. Jamie held her, then the grandparents and back to me. It all seems a blur at some points but I remember her doctor saying "She's letting us know she can't go on." Jamie and I held her until she took her last gasp. She died at 12:31am September 11th. There it was- my biggest fear, we lost her and I was in shock. I couldn't imagine that God would let this happen to me. I mean hadn't I already been through enough? I survived being sexually abused as a child, rapped as a teen, healed of a broken engagement and suffered a previous miscarriage. How could you allow something else to rip away at my womanhood?

So this is what I stand on... God's flirtations...where Audrey lives and where one day, I will join her.

"God has planted eternity in the hearts of men." Ecclesiastes 3:10

It doesn't take a wise person to know that people long for more than earth. When we see pain, we yearn. When we see hunger, we question why. Senseless deaths. Endless tears, needless loss.... We have our moments. The newborn on our breast, the bride on our arm, the sunshine on our back. But even those moments are simply slivers of light breaking through heaven's window. God flirts with us. He tantalizes us. He romances us. Those moments are appetizers for the dish that is to come. " No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Cor. 2:9 What a breathtaking verse! Do you see what it says? Heaven is beyond our our most creative moment, at our deepest thought, at our highest level, we still cannot fathom eternity. Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name