I have no words

10 11 2008

I have been trying to write about what has happened over the last few days, but I am struggling to find the words.

 

Last Friday, everything was going well. I was on a low dose of magnesium and several other medications that were working well to stop contctions. I was stable and hopeful that if things continued to go well, I would be able to go home over the weekend or early this week. I was almost 30 weeks pregnant and feeling more relaxed, knowing that in just a few more weeks our baby would probably be fine.

 

And then on Friday night at about 6:45, everything changed. I was up for my daily shower – the only time I stand on my feet for more than a minute – and when I stepped out of the shower, I felt something gushing down my legs. Over the last few weeks I had developed polyhydramnios, or too much amniotic fluid. The pressure on my uterus and cervix from all the extra fluid were causing lots of contractions. As the amniotic fluid leaked all over the floor and soaked several towels, I was terrified. Both Asher and Micah were born just hours after my water broke.

 

My nurse helped me climb back in bed on a pile of towels and chux pads. At the same time, I called my husband. He was bringing Asher and Micah along with my mother-in-law Joan for a visit. They were right outside the door as this was unfolding inside. I did not want to scare our little boys, so we put a blanket over me and had them come in for a quick visit. As they climbed in bed to give me hugs and to kiss the baby, fluid continued to pour out of my womb. Mark was planning on taking them home to bed, but instead Joan took them to her house for the night.

 

I had no idea what to expect. After a few minutes, we talked to the OB on call and to our perinatologist. The plan was to wait and see if I went into labor. The doctors would keep me on medicines to stop the contractions, but if the contractions developed into a regular pattern, they would not try to stop labor. After a little while, we reluctantly tried to go to sleep, praying that all would be well.

 

I woke up around 2:30 early on Saturday morning to contractions that were growing stronger. We made the decision to turn off the magnesium and to go downstairs to a labor and delivery room. The contractions were growing steadily stronger and I could feel our baby moving lower. We talked to the neonatologist about what to expect with a 30-week-old preemie. The NICU team set up the warmers and the equipment they would need if baby was struggling to breathe at birth. The anesthiologist came by and explained what would happen if I needed an emergency c-section.

 

All I wanted was for one of the doctors to gently say, “this is hard, I know you are scared, but we will do everything we can go get you and your baby through this safely.”

 

Instead, it felt like everyone was focusing on the worst case scenario. The OB who was on call was almost yelling at us that 30-week preemies had to be delivered by c-section. Before I was even in active labor, she refused to let me eat and threatened to make us sign “against medical orders” forms for wanting applesauce. She coerced the nurses into doing several cervical exams, despite all the research that suggests that these exams increase the risk of infection after preterm rupture of the mebranes.

 

Even though I was scared, it felt like my body was going into labor so I tried to find whatever strength I had to help my baby be born as safely as possible. The doctors had started me on IV antibiotics shortly after my water broke, and I was loosing sensation in my face. For a while I thought I was just breathing too quickly because of anxiety. But when my nurse started my third dose of antibiotics, I began to feel very light headed. My face went numb and then my lungs began to get tight. I was having a hard time breathing. Eventually we figured out I was having an allergic reaction to the drugs.

 

The allergic  reaction, however, was a blessing as my contractions slowed down in response to my fear. I continued to contract, often very painfully, through the day on Saturday. With the encouragement of my nurse, I tried to stay in bed,  to rest, and to eat. We had no idea what to expect. Around 8 pm, I suddenly felt tired enough to sleep, so the doctors gave me Ambien and I slept soundly. When I woke up on Sunday morning, my uterus was quiet and baby was doing well.

 

Sunday was a quiet day. We talked with one of the perinatologists about what to expect. I will need to stay on hospital bed rest until the baby is born. The doctors will neither encourage or discourage labor. We will monitor the baby’s heartrate very closely to make sure he is doing well even though there’s very little amniotic fluid left around his growing body. The doctors will also watch me and baby very closely for signs of infection. If baby continues to do well and neither of us develops an infection, my pregnancy could go on for a few more weeks. At the latest, the doctors will induce on December 5.

 

If one of us develops an infection or if baby is strugglng, the doctors will induce sooner. Or if it is an emergency, I will have a c-section. Every day that baby stays inside at this point is 2-3 fewer days he will need to be in the NICU. Although it is hard to be on hospital bed rest away from my family, we’re praying that baby will stay in as long as possible. I have something like an 80% chance of going into labor this week.

 

So now I am waiting. Praying. Hoping. Worrying.

 

Counting the days. Listening to my baby’s heart beating. Feeling him wiggle in my belly. Finding the curve of his back and imagining what it will be like to hold him – all 3 1/2 or 4 pounds of him – on my chest soon.

 

I miss Asher and Micah more than I can explain. I love these boys so much and it breaks my heart to miss their days. This morning, Mark set up a web cam so I could watch them play. For a few minutes, Asher and Micah were jumping in our bed. Micah fell down and bumped his head. Asher was giving him kisses. I’ve watched Asher building legos and Micah pretending to cook eggs. I watched them cuddle up together to watch a movie.

 

Somewhere over the last week, as I’ve been here in the hospital, they became brothers. Brothers in a whole new way.

 

When they visited me in the hospital yesterday, Asher and Micah sat together on the bed and watched the nurse put a new IV in my arm. Asher had at least 20 questions for the nurse about what she was doing. Micah paid close attention too: “Mama shot. Owie. Mama brave.” They ate cookies together. Micah follows Asher around. In the car, Asher tells us that he is talking to Micah, not mom or dad.

 

Last night as they were leaving grandma’s house to go home with Mark, they put on their matching “space bamas” – pajamas with astronauts and planets and stars – and walked out the front door holding hands. They held hands in the car on the way home. Through this difficult time, they are learning to love and encourage one another in a whole new way.

 

I miss Mark too. He was able to be here for most of this weekend, but during the week he has to work. And most weekends, unless there is some sort of emergency, he will need to take care of the boys. There is so much to do at home, both to keep things going and to prepare for our baby. Mark has a huge amount of responsibility on his shoulders right now. I love him and respect him so much. He is an incredible husband and father and he has stepped up to care for our family through this painful time.

 

I have cried more over the last three days than I have in years. I am totally broken. I am completly at the end of myself. I have no more strength. Sometimes I want to give up, but even that is not in my hands. God has a plan for my life and for the life of our precious little one. He is sovereign and good, even if I don’t get it right now. I do not understand why God has allowed this pregnancy to be so difficult. There are many things I do not understand.

 

One thing is clear: I cannot do this without Jesus.

 

I am humbled to have hundreds of people praying for our family. This Sunday, Pastor Jesse at Mars Hill Eastside asked the church, some 1,200 people, to pray. Likewise, many have offered to clean our house, cook us food, or love on our kids. It is humbling to need help. I want to be strong and able to help others. But God has left me in a place where all I can do is pray and offer hospitality to our son.

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6 responses

10 11 2008
kelly

sara i am glad you wrote this! i feel like i know your heart through writing so much lately. i hope you know you are not alone. i was so thankful for pastor jesse asking the church to pray over you and i silently prayed that you would feel a supernatural strengthening in that moment. you are loved, friend. i will contact you soon, if you are up for it. KEEP LETTING US KNOW WHAT YOU NEED!!!

10 11 2008
Cameron

hey Sara,
Thanks for this update. It all sounds very scary, but I pray that you will be able to rest in these last days/weeks until the baby is born. I do not know why this has been so hard for you. It does not seem fair, when you have done all you could to make things go the right way. But you are right that God is sovereign and good. If that’s the only thing you can hold onto right now, then at least you know it’s true.
Looking forward to seeing you soon, and to meeting baby (but that last as late as possible!)
Cameron

10 11 2008
Martina Thurlow

Hi, Sara,
Annie’s mom here, just praising Jesus for this time of testing. He will sustain you. I know it. I will be praying for baby, you, and your dear husband and precious children. What a rich life you have with so much love around you and such good medical care. It seems this new child will be very special indeed.
Until Heaven, life is difficult. Without our Lord Jesus, its impossible. Keep on clinging to Him.
–Marty

11 11 2008
Jason

Sara – thanks for sharing your heart here. We are praying for you and Mark. God is good and loves you guys so much. He is being glorified in this!

11 11 2008
Annie

Sara, as you probably saw from my Mom’s comment I shared this blog entry with my family so they would know your situation and asked them to pray for you. Apparently my Mom’s water broke at 14 weeks when she was pregnant with my brother and now he is a very strong 32 year old man with five babies of his own.

Today I have been repeating over and over Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” I pray this for you. I love you and will continue to pray for you, sweet baby boy as well as Mark and the boys. God is good and he will sustain you.

12 11 2008
Karen

Sara
We continue to pray. Thank you for your openness – I know how hard it is. God is good, and He is watching over you and your precious little boy. Many hugs and prayers!
Karen

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