Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pregnancy & Birth Story

The night Troy and I saw that plus sign on the pregnancy test, I remember feeling different than I expected -- I was shocked and nervous -- were we really ready to have a baby?! There was no turning back, we were going to be parents. Up until I was six weeks pregnant, I felt great! And then the nausea hit. I remember wondering why in the world women do this multiple times over. My sensitivity to smells was out of this world. Troy ate many dinners alone while I locked myself in the bedroom and sniffed lemon juice. Thank goodness for medicine that helped make my first trimester much more pleasant.

The night of November 14, 2013 we had just gotten home from our indoor soccer game when I felt a sudden gush. I ran to the bathroom and was horrified when I saw blood. I was convinced this was the beginnings of a miscarriage and we were going to lose our baby. Troy drove me to the ER where the nurses continued to tell me, "It's not your fault, it's nothing you did." But the reassurance didn't come until we saw our little babe's heart beating on the ultrasound monitor. That was an incredible and spiritual moment. She was only the size of a gummy bear, but that little heart was beating. They sent us home with a diagnosis of a "threatened miscarriage." Turns out I had a subchorionic hematoma, which is just a big word for blood clot, in my uterus that was causing the placenta to tear away from the uterine wall. We were told it would either heal itself or the pregnancy would end in miscarriage. Fortunately we were blessed and it healed.

Near the beginning of my third trimester, my pregnancy took an unexpected turn. I went into preterm labor at 30 weeks -- two months before the due date. I had woken up around 4 a.m. feeling uncomfortable and unable to sleep, but it wasn't until 6 a.m. that it hit me -- I was having contractions. I started timing them and they were coming every 5 to 7 minutes, but they were painless. Troy and I both headed to work and I told him I'd call my doctor as soon as the office opened. When I called, I was told to go to the nearest hospital.

When the labor and delivery nurse hooked me up to the monitors and saw I was having regular contractions, she checked to see if I was dilated. The look on her face when she told me I was dilated to a 4+ scared me to death. She told me to call my husband and tell him to get there as soon as possible. Things happened quickly from there. Troy and my dad gave me a priesthood blessing. The nurses hooked me up to Terbutaline and magnesium sulfate in an attempt to slow labor down and gave me steriod shots to help Avery's lungs develop faster. Our goal was to keep the baby in for at least 48 hours in order for the steriods to take full effect. Fortunately, labor did slow down and they moved me out of labor and delivery and up to maternity late that night.

I stayed in the hospital for the next 10 days. We all thought an early delivery was inevitable. Nights there were the scariest for me. Even with Troy in the room, the darkness of nighttime brought fear with it too. I remember one night in particular. I was panicking. I didn't want a NICU baby. I wasn't ready to give birth. What if our baby didn't survive?! And then the hymn "Be Still My Soul" came to my mind:

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain. 
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev'ry change he faithful will remain. 
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

I couldn't hold back the tears. I knew my Heavenly Father was mindful of me, that he had a plan for our little family, and everything would be okay, I just had to have faith.

There were many tender mercies during my stay in the hospital:
  • Getting to hear Avery's heartbeat multiple times a day
  • Frequent ultrasounds including 3D ones, which were amazing
  • An incredible husband who was by my side every moment he could
  • Supportive family, friends, and ward members who came to visit
  • Sisters who cleaned our apartment without being asked
  • Modern medicine and experienced doctors
  • A boss who was very understanding and supportive
After a long 10 days, I was tentatively sent home on strict bed rest the night of our three-year wedding anniversary. Those first nights home were restless. Again, worry and fear filled my mind at night, but as the weeks went by and my pregnancy continued, I became more confident that our baby was going to be okay. 

And I continued to experience tender mercies while at home on bed rest:
  • A husband who not only worked, but also took over household duties
  • A mom who was my daily caretaker while Troy was a work 
  • Online shopping (I could not have gotten the nursery ready otherwise)
  • The ability to work from home
  • Friends and family who came to visit
  • Despite constant contractions I never went into labor
On June 24, I was induced at 39.5 weeks. The night before we went to the hospital, Troy gave me a beautiful and powerful blessing and we woke up anxious and excited to meet our daughter. Since I was already dilated to a 4+, the first thing I asked for after checking into labor and delivery was an epidural. Half an hour later they broke my water and within three hours, Avery was born. It was surreal when they laid her on my chest. We just stared into each other's eyes soaking each other in. She was -- IS -- absolutely beautiful. I was overwhelmed with happiness, amazement, and relief.

I quickly learned that labor and delivery wasn't the hard part of this whole journey. Being a mom is the hardest thing I have ever done and to be honest, I had many moments in the beginning when I thought, "Why in the world did we have a baby?" but my love for Avery grows stronger each day as I take care of her and dedicate my time to her. Putting her happiness and well-being above my own is how I have grown to love her and it makes it all worth it when she looks at me with her beautiful blue eyes and smiles.

Now we have a beautiful, squishy little 4-month-old who loves to smile, be held, listen to music (especially daddy's guitar), get head massages, take baths, kick her legs, and sit up to take in the world around her.

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