Professional photos courtesy of the wonderful Stacy Mae Photography
The littlest dish is the newest addition to my kitchen. I have had thoughts about writing about my experience since it began. However, I could not see myself writing a “birth” story. So this is not a birth story, I actually do not know what to call it. Other than a honest look into what my experience was and has been. With the hope that it comforts someone else at some point in time. This is my goal in whatever I do. Anytime I share whether it is a recipe or Instagram story. I am hoping that it gives someone a smile, encouragement, or a breath of fresh air. Everything I write below may not be pretty, or even “correct” by some standards. But, I figure there must be someone somewhere who may need to hear it.
When I found out I was pregnant I can’t even tell you how I felt. Although I knew how it happened, I couldn’t believe it happened so quick! There was my very first conflict. Some people have such a hard time getting pregnant. I should automatically feel blessed and thankful. While I did, I also felt shocked and scared. Those were feelings I shouldn’t have right? So I felt guilty and “wrong” from the start. This set me up for a series of “shoulds” and guilt that no one SHOULD ever have.
I went right into planning mode because that is all I know how to do. I planned how to tell everyone, I search Etsy right away haha! I started Pinterest boards for the nursery and baby shower. I threw myself into planning because that is what I do to distract myself. However, I was SO sick. I had a bad sinus infection and couldn’t take anything. The week leading up to Christmas was miserable and I pulled through for Christmas Day. Then I had an appearance on Fox and Friends New Years Day. I remember I got through the segment, got home and threw up. From that point on I couldn’t get out of bed for 16 plus weeks. It was like God gave me my last bit of energy to fulfill one last obligation. Then I was out. I was so nauseous all the time, even in my sleep. Again, I was in shock that week after week I couldn’t be out of bed for more than 20 minutes at a time. I should be thankful I work from home. I was thankful, but I was also depressed about being unable to work at the pace I had been. I was scared that everything I worked for the past two years would disappear. Then I was guilty, because clearly I was still selfish, right?
I started feeling better into my second trimester. I am still thankful I felt better, I could have been one of those people who had sickness all throughout their pregnancy. From there on out, I did pretty good! We finally moved into our new home, I traveled to California to appear on Home and Family again. Brian and I were starting to get used to the idea that our world was going to change, but we still had time. I was planning my shower and looking forward to celebrating with family. We had thought we were having a boy, weeks later we found out it was a girl! Needless to say my gender reveal party was a bust! However, it was a funny story right? I SHOULD have known then to stop planning so much. Little did I know best laid plans….
My shower came and went, so did the beginning of summer. We were already heading into 4th of July weekend. At all of my doctor’s appointments things were always on track. All of my tests came out the way they should, glory to God! I had two more months to go, and I planned on getting her room together, and packing our hospital bag. However, on the 4th of July I was feeling tired, and my stomach really tight. I thought it was what they call braxton hicks. I didn’t know what a contraction felt like. But I was thinking this feels like a contraction that didn’t release. It went on from one day into the next. Towards the afternoon of the second day I decided to call my doctor. I told them how I was feeling and that I wasn’t feeling her move around the way I was used too. Apparently that was the key. Before I called the doctor I was thinking about how maybe I was being one of those over concerned moms.Then they sent me to hospital to have an ultrasound.
The ultrasound turned into 3 days in the hospital and a situation beyond what I could have imagined. She looked fine in the womb but her hear rate wasn’t matching her movement. Doctors weren’t totally concerned, they thought I would go home after receiving some fluids. After the fluids the ultrasound and monitor still wasn’t matching up so they kept me for observation. Well this stinks I thought, over night in a hospital, boo! The next morning I felt her move more. I thought all would be good. But my stomach still felt tight and again things were not matching up. The doctors couldn’t understand why her heart rate remained steady without much variation. I had said to the doctors I would stay here on bed rest for weeks if needed. I could tell they were confused and searching for answers. No one could figure out exactly what was happening and no one wanted to deliver a 32 week old baby.
By the third morning I felt terrible. I had not been sleeping and been pumped with so much fluid I felt as if I was drowning. I had been watching the monitor and there hadn’t been a change. I cried a bit. I cried because I knew, and I heard God say they are going to take her today. I couldn’t believe I actually heard this in my heart. I knew that I wouldn’t be alone through this and he was going to give us what we needed to make it through. I couldn’t imagine what this was all going to look like. I think he shielded my mind and heart from thinking too far ahead.
That day they said they saw the baby pulling blood to her brain. A blood test also showed her blood mixing with mine. Those two factors pushed them to decide on an emergency c-section. A NICU doctor came to visit and explained the process. Then my doctor came in to deliver the news that they had decided she was better off developing outside the womb. I did cry at this moment, not sobbing, but teary. I cried because I felt bad I could not carry her to term and give her the time to develop I felt she needed. But I stopped immediately because the events leading up to an emergency c-section had to unfold. They weren’t calling it that, but I knew that is what it was. At this moment I thought I should be so scared, I should be hysterical. This is my first birthing experience. No water breaking, no dramatic rush to the hospital, no labor breathing? Really, haven’t I learned anything yet about these “shoulds?” I didn’t have our hospital bags packed with the camera, snacks, birthing soundtrack, and no pretty robe. What is even worse all the things from my shower are piled up in boxes in her room. I was going to spend the next two months unpacking and making her pretty princess room. Little did I know, best laid plans….
All of that flew out of my mind and I was calm. I took instructions and did everything step by step to prepare for my c-section. I knew that this was the peace that surpasses all understanding that I heard about in church so often. This is what it is, this is what it feels like. The situation called for fear and panic but I was completely shielded from it those moments. Not only was I thankful to know God the way I did but I am so glad I had stayed consistent and grown in my faith over the years. This is how I was prepared for the unprepared. How people go through life and these situations without God to cling to is beyond me and I never want to know what that feels like.
My doctor kept telling me to “let it out,” she so desperately wanted to see me cry it out or express some huge emotion. But I had a sense of control and knowing that this is how it was meant to be. I knew somewhere in my mind how many things could go wrong. Never once did I think any of those things would happen. I knew we were protected, that she was protected. That is something not everyone could understand. I went into the surgery room alone, I said good-bye to my family and Brian. Here comes the epidural! I think I was dreading that huge needle ever since I got pregnant. I never looked at the needle, on purpose. I braced myself for it but yet still I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. Again, that peace that passes understanding had such a hold on me. I did not feel a thing. I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t! I said, “thats it?” I knew that was a gift from God!
From there things progressed, Brian came back in. I literally could not feel anything. My doctors were wonderful, we had music on, we were laughing and joking around. I will spare you all of the gory details of a c-section. They pulled her our and exclaimed that she had a full head of strawberry blonde hair. They held her next me for a second and then she was whisked away. Brian had the task of going with her and dealing with all of the decisions. I didn’t realize the enormity of that or consider what that may have been like until long after.