10 Years Ago... (Graphic details birth story - fair warning).
After having Caleb and seeing how delightful a child he was, and how wonderful it was to be a Mommy, when he was about 10 months old we thought, 'One is good. Two must be better!' And soon after that we took the pregnancy test and it was positive!
When Caleb turned 1 and began walking we suddenly realized what we had done. How on earth would we manage two mobile creatures? How would I get through morning sickness while chasing a toddler? I still don't have an answer for that. But we did. Somehow.
(It was such a blessing that Caleb was so content to sit and look at books on his own - sometimes for more than an hour!)
Sure enough that summer Sam had a business trip to Hong Kong and China. I got to tag along - with 1 yr. old Caleb in tow. I don't remember much from that trip other than the nostalgia and longing I had to be back there. I remember throwing up in a taxi. It was a fun time!
We got back to the U.S. and bought a house and began life in West Chicago.
My pregnancy went okay - but nearing the end I felt huge and tired and sluggish - moreso than I thought was normal. In fact, it was more 'hugeness' and 'tiredness' than normal. (Because I was an undiagnosed gestational diabetic - which we didn't know at the time). My sugars only skyrocket near the end, so I passed the initial tests and they didn't re-test much at that time (they do now!)
I had had a homebirth with Caleb (someday I'll tell that story), and decided against it the 2nd time 'round. (Good thinking!) But I think the Dr's viewed me with suspicion. You know, that's the homebirth lady. Be careful. She may just walk out last minute. Or some such thing.
They warned me this was a very big baby. They mentioned being induced but never pushed it on me. Finally, at my 39 week visit I said to the Dr. 'I really feel tired all the time. I'm sluggish and sleepy and I don't feel quite normal, whatever normal looks like at 39 weeks. I would be up for being induced, if you think it's warranted.' With relief, they said 'Okay.'
We went in early on Wednesday and they hooked me up and did all the stuff they do in hospitals to deliver babies. When I got to the pain part I said, 'Bring on the epidural!' And they did. And it was wonderful. I took a nap.
At 5 p.m. or so they checked and it was time to push. I began. And nothing happened. I kept going. Nothing happened. I was prepared for that because with Caleb it was about 5 hours of pushing - after 20 hours of labour. In hospitals they try to keep it under 2 hours. There is good reason for this. With Caleb I ended up with a fractured tailbone that took over 10 months to heal. Pushing that long wasn't a great idea in my predicament. But for homebirth fanatics - be my guest. Just not something I'd ever want to do again!
10 minutes shy of two hours the Dr. said if we can't get her out we need to do an emergency c-section.
At long last her head was birthed. But not the rest of her. She was stuck.
This is a precarious situation - for her mostly. If a baby gets stuck like that and can't be birthed they will have to break the child's collar bone - with possible lasting damage. The Dr. called into the hall, 'I need help in here!'
A rush of every nurse on the floor came in and surrounded the bed. (Okay, not every nurse - maybe 8 or so). They looked me in the eye and said, 'Sorry in advance. We're gonna have to do this!' They put their fists on my belly and said, '1, 2, 3 - Push!' and mashed down with great force.
And Priscilla was born!
She weighed in at 10 whopping pounds. I took one look at her and said, 'Now I know why I felt that way!'
In the initial checks her breathing was shown to be rapid and shallow. Her blood sugars were dangerously low. They wrapped her up, gave her to me, timed 1 minute and said, 'We need to take her right away to NICU.' And away she went.
I was just dizzy from the whole ordeal. Exhausted. Bruised. And now she was gone.
It was a crazy, strange, kind of sad, surreal feeling.
I didn't get to see her 'til the middle of the night. I kept thinking, 'I thought I just had a baby, but where is she?' But I knew she was being looked after in the NICU. "Lord, look after her, will you, since I can't be there!" I prayed.
Finally they were able to wheel me down to the NICU to see her. I finally got to examine her and see what God had formed in me. She was so chubby! She looked the size of a 3 month old. We were concerned because she did have some bruising on her arm from the emergency ejection. Sometimes this kind of thing can lead to long term nerve damage and she wouldn't be able to use her arm properly. But after a day or two they re-tested her arm strength and she recovered fine.
There was a sweet Asian nurse in the NICU - quite elderly and very experienced. She said, 'Most babies in NICU, very tiny! She, very, very BIG. We say, tiny baby - not so good - very big baby - not so good. In the middle - just right!' Wise words! Although I guess you could say bigger is better than smaller as far as outcomes.
It was very kind of the hospital at the time to allow me to stay one extra night as there was extra space so that I could be near Priscilla since she was needing to stay longer. But on Saturday it was time for me to leave, but not Priscilla. I remember coming home without her and feeling very strange. Didn't I just have a baby, I thought? Where is she?
The next day they told us her blood sugars were stable and that she could come home - so we only had to endure that one night away from her. We went to pick her up at the hospital on Sunday morning on our way to Church. On the way to Church we asked Caleb what he thought of his little sister. He bonked her on the head with the truck he was holding. Guess that was our answer.
In looking back we know we should have kept her home that first week or two. But we were happy-go-lucky eager to be with friends and let them see her. So to Church we went. And when everyone saw her they understood why I was so miserable the last few weeks.
But life settled into routine after that. I was overwhelmed with having two little ones, but God was so gracious to give me the time with them - to be home, to enjoy them, to watch them grow, to see their first smiles, to watch the days go by with nothing accomplished but simply loving my kids.
(Pardon the orange shirt!)
Priscilla has been such a joy these last 10 years. She adds SO much to our family. I call her 'little Mommy' because she takes on the challenges of the little siblings so often and so well. This last year as we've homeschooled I've come to see and know her even more and delight in the person God is making her to be.
I love you Priscilla! I thank God for you and for the Princess you are - learning to love Him and walk as His daughter!