Baby John part 1
For those of you that have been walking this journey with me, this is by far the hardest season of my life. Bear with me as I try to document, honor, and explain just how broken hearted Jerry and I are. After finding out we were expecting our sweet baby in March I moved back to Texas in July. We were blown away by the grace of God seeing so clearly the blessing that we had been given in this sweet baby. Our pregnancy was fairly textbook…. No real concerns throughout the 9 months with the exception that our sweet baby was big. In November we were blessed with the sweetest baby shower in Lubbock. To say that we were blessed is such an understatement… we saw and felt Jesus in the way that we were loved on that weekend. As December approached we knew that we would meet our sweet baby. We had finished our birthing classes, set up the nursery, packed our bags etc. And the waiting began.
On our search for midwives/ OB’s that would deliver our babe we stumbled upon a practice not far called Origins. I have always wanted a natural birth, on my terms not a physician’s convenience, schedule, hospital’s needs etc. I know many nurses that will absolutely not even consider a birth outside of the hospital but I was the opposite… I wanted to have a say in my care. Over the next 9 months I grew to learn and love the 3 midwives at our practice. Not only did they see me all the way through my pregnancy, they advocated for me when I needed it, they gave me a pep talk when I needed it, they gave me belief when I needed it, and they fiercely prayed for me when I needed it. I wasn’t just a “patient” to them I was a person, a mother, and a believer who gained the greatest blessing in the women at Origins.
Our due date was officially 12/21, but I think everyone hoped we would deliver a little early just based on baby’s size. As we got farther into December I began to realize that I might not deliver early… in fact I joked I might be pregnant forever. I had an appointment on my due date and heard my sweet baby’s heartbeat for what I didn’t know would be the last time. Jerry wasn’t supposed to come back into town from work until the 26th, but with talks of inducing me we decided it would be best for him to come home early on the 22nd. I remember telling my midwife at the appointment on the 21st that I was just resting in knowing that the Lords timing was perfect…. That I didn’t want to worry about when or how I would have this baby that I just wanted to trust His plan. I was still getting up to use the restroom multiple times a night and can remember in my complete uncomfortable restless state pretty much begging the Lord to let each day be the day... while still telling Him I would trust His timing… that I would trust that His plan was perfect, that He knew exactly how this needed to go.
My parents came in town on Saturday for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we went to church with my grandparents and lunch with the family. As we came home that afternoon I started to just feel off a little… much like before I would start my cycle. I took a nap and might have mentioned to Jerry that maybe, just maybe this was the beginning. We went to bed that night with plans to go to my grandparents for lunch the next day for Christmas. I tried so hard to sleep that night but instead started timing contractions around midnight. My sweet husband woke up periodically to make sure I was ok, rub my back and just tell me he loved me. Honestly I wasn’t sure that this was even it…. We got up to eat breakfast with my parents and open some presents. I just let them know that I wasn’t feeling great and that we would come over later if I felt any better…. Little did I know that they knew I was having contractions. They left around 11:00 and I texted the midwives to let them know I was having contractions 4-5 apart lasting for a minute… She agreed that labor was starting and to let her know when things got more intense. I was getting hungry but knowing that it was Christmas there weren’t many options so my sweet husband fought the crowd at IHOP and got me some chicken. I tried to eat it but the pain/ pressure was getting worse.
Around 3:30 I texted back to let her know they were more intense and longer and she agreed it was time to come in. Still at this point I wasn’t sure that this was really it. Jerry started loading the car and we left the house around 4. This is where time speeds up and everything gets a little fuzzy. We walked into the birthing center and found my blood pressure to be a little elevated… for the first time in 9 months. I laid down to listen to my sweet baby’s heartbeat and she didn’t find it. Somehow I remained really calm during this time… 2 different dopplers and a sono machine and still nothing. After a phone call we were in the car on the way to the hospital… the same hospital that I often work at. Still I was calm… I sent my sister a message that I needed her to pray, not to freak out just to pray and to call mom and let her know.
We got to a triage room and the doctor confirmed via sono that our sweet baby was gone. At 40 weeks and 4 days we had lost our baby within just 4 days of hearing its heartbeat. Immediately the thoughts that I had done something wrong, that my body had let me down, that I somehow was responsible for this started to flood my mind. I saw my husband drop to his knees and cry out for his baby and all I could say was “I’m so sorry”. Our hearts were completely broken in this very minute with the words “I’m so sorry there is no cardiac activity”… Why? How? Lord I was trusting you and your timing…
We moved into a labor and delivery room because my contractions were still very strong. I was checked and found to be dilated to a 5 or 6 and paper thin. Options were given to deliver vaginally or have a c-section. In order to have the best chance of natural deliveries in the future we opted to continue a vaginal delivery… as natural as possible. I wanted to labor for my baby just like I would have in the beginning. My parents and sister and brother in law came into the room followed by the other 2 midwives and I fought everything to labor for the next 8 or 9 hours. I haven’t quite gotten my head around everything as it is still fresh, but hear me when I say that in the worst day, hours, minutes of my life the Lord was evident… He was there. Every nurse that was working the night that I came in had experienced a loss of their own, and we were blessed (I do not use this lightly) with the absolute best nurse. I will never be able to adequately express how I feel about the nurses that took care of me, but both nights I saw Jesus in my nurse, the way she spoke to me, the way she cared for me and the way she loved on my sweet baby.
Until about 3 AM I labored for my baby… 27 hours total. That number surprises me at times because it didn’t feel like that long to me… I’m sure it did for everyone else in the room. I was selflessly served by so many that night. I was reminded that I wasn’t alone and that I was being prayed for. My sweet husband never left my side, he held my hand through each contraction telling me he loved me and that I could do this. Through so many tears and pain I heard the voices of everyone in my room praising the Lord while my playlist continued to play hour after hour. The one song I remember hearing over and over is ‘Thy will’… as confused and sad as I was I attempted to say those words… Around 3 AM we decided that I needed rest. I wasn’t progressing much past a 7 because they baby wasn’t able to help. I received an epidural in order to rest… and felt defeat all over again. I couldn’t even labor right for my baby…. But looking back it was best as I was completely exhausted.
Around 7:30 the next morning the OB on for the day came in to check my progress and I was at an 8. I continued to labor until about 2 when it was time to begin pushing. At 2:43, just 3 contractions and 3 pushes later we saw our perfect baby boy… all 11 lb 7 oz and 24 inches of him. He was perfect. As the OB finished taking care of me she shared that she too had lost a baby… she knew how I felt… unfortunately she got it. My midwife stayed with me for almost 24 hours. Hear me when I say that these women love us fiercely… I have never been served the way I was this entire pregnancy, especially during these hours of intense grief. These ladies, my precious nurses, and the sweetest photographer will forever be connected with that sweet time I got to love on my baby boy. They loved him too, so well.
Photo credit Deborah Glenn photography
keep reading in part two here