I awoke at 5 am, aware of something warm in my bed.
I shuffled to the bathroom, feeling that warmth trickle down my legs.
Surprised, I showered and contemplated my day.
I interrupted Greg from his prayer time.
“We’re having a baby today. We need to get ready, but there’s no hurry. I’m not in labor. But they will want me to deliver within the day, since my water broke.”
That seemed to jolt Greg awake.
“Today? Are you sure?”
It was five weeks until my due date.
Yes, I was sure.
We packed up our two toddlers, ages three and 18 months, maybe gave them breakfast (I can’t be sure), and got together the rest of our hospital supplies.
I drove the kids into Grandma’s, followed by my husband in his truck. Halfway there, I began to wonder about the wisdom of this plan. Me driving with my water broken.
But I was committed, so I kept on.
Dropping the boys off created a bit of a stir, and added to my nerves as I drove the two miles to the hospital.
I calmly approached the nurses’ station in Labor and Delivery, surprising my friends when I told them I wanted to check in. Eyebrows raised, the nurse asked me if I was sure my water had broken.
Really? Come on.
I was mildly offended at my friend and former co-worker, for doubting my ability to know. But, my calm face threw her.
Yes. I was sure.
The nurse handed me a gown and I went to change.
Then I noticed the pink color of fluid coming out of me. And I began to get nervous.
I mentioned the pink amniotic fluid to my nurse when she hooked me up to my monitors. Since my water was broken, they would induce labor. No surprise there. The baby needed to come today, or risk infection. Plus, though the nurse had not witnessed the pink fluid, that was a factor.
I don’t remember my nurse starting my IV. She was good. Normally my veins don’t cooperate, but my nurse was skilled at her job.
I do remember the first drips of Pitocin.
My contractions began right away, and with the first few hard ones, I saw and felt a red puddle the size of a dinner plate appear between my legs. I called my nurse, shaking as I monitored my own fetal heart rate strip.
I was scared.
My strip looked bad. Deep decelerations in my baby’s heart rate came with my contractions. And I barely had even started. But that blood…it was not supposed to be there.
Dr Nelson happened to be walking through the ward, and they pulled him in, although he was not my regular OB. When he walked in, the pain began, and I began to cry from pain and fear. It was not a contraction. It was constant, and I knew what that meant.
“Well, we are going for a C-section, and we are going now. And given the nature of this emergency, I won’t be tying your tubes as you previously requested.” The meaning hung in the air—there was no guarantee that our third son would make it. Maybe we’d like to try again after all. I nodded mutely.
Someone notified my husband. Maybe it was me. He was there before they wheeled me out of the room. My rock.
Before Dr Nelson hastened down to the operating room, I asked if Greg could be with me, and he assured me that yes, he could accompany me for the delivery.
But when we neared the OR, they stopped my husband. I was in panic mode. “Dr Nelson promised me,” I argued from the stretcher.
“Nope. Not for an emergency. You’re getting general anesthesia. No outsiders.”
I didn’t know this guy, and, emergency or not, I was mad at him. But, considering that he would hold my life in his hands, I gave it up, but not without the tears streaming down my cheeks. Mostly for my husband, who I knew wanted to be a part of this. To be there for me. I needed him.
I cried as they rolled me away from my husband, and quickly prepped me.
Dr Nelson apologized. It wasn’t his fault. Just policy. We couldn’t risk the time necessary to get a spinal in, which many laboring women already have in place before a cesarean.
My nerves settled when Nelson prayed with me before I succumbed to the sleep of anesthesia. He prayed for our baby, for himself, and for everyone present. I was overwhelmingly grateful for that prayer.
Next thing I knew, I awoke in my recovery room bed. So groggy, and hurting, but my dear husband was at my side.
When I came down from where I was floating over the room (a scary reaction to the pain medication) I finally heard the news that our baby, though small, was doing just fine.
Which was a miracle.
My placenta had begun to abrupt. The blood and the pain indicated that it was tearing off the wall of my uterus, not only dangerous, but potentially fatal, for me and my baby, if he wasn’t born immediately. In a complete abruption, our pediatrician told me, I would have had eleven minutes to deliver before our baby could have died from loss of oxygen, and I would most likely have died from hemorrhage from a detached placenta. We lived 25-30 minutes from the hospital.
I considered that God, in his mercy, allowed my waters to break. Even though I did not know that I was in labor, it got me into the hospital. Driving myself in was foolish, but seemed practical at the time. Angels surely accompanied us, because much could have gone wrong along the way, and I would have been helpless. But God protected.
Turns out, I had been in labor the whole day before. I had been exhausted, unable to chase my two energetic boys. I camped out in our hammock literally the whole day with a backache and “stomach bug” while they placed in the dirt with their trucks.
Adam, our twice-saved miracle baby brought joy that we could not have imagined.
Our “surprise baby”.
When I found out I was pregnant just eight months after Andrew was born, I cried. And felt overwhelmed. And didn’t tell my husband. We didn’t have a space for this baby in our tiny little house. And two babies already had me crying uncle.
But when at eleven weeks I started to miscarry our baby, suddenly I cried for another reason. True, he was unplanned, but he was ours, and I didn’t want to lose him.
My doctor gave me no hope of him surviving with all the blood I was passing. He was too young. Just go to bed, they said, and call in the morning to see if I needed a procedure to clean me out.
We called the family and I mourned the loss of the baby I didn’t know I wanted so badly. This confused Greg, But who can explain the emotions of a pregnant lady?
I bled all night, more blood than I’d ever seen come out of my body. When we went into the Dr’s office the next morning, I was exhausted. I did not want a D&C. But we needed to know. Otherwise I could get an infection, if we didn’t take care.
When the technician put the ultrasound probe into me, we all gasped! For, despite all of the bleeding and cramping, we had a tiny baby inside, kicking around and defying all odds!
I’m sure that even my reserved husband shed tears of joy! We left that office, amazed at God’s miracle.
I spent many weeks of that pregnancy on my sofa. Bleeding off and on, calling my doctor on her personal line more than I should have. Panicking every time more waves of blood came.
I had a partial previa, where my placenta partially covered the opening to my cervix. You can imagine my chagrin, when later, we purchased a Toyota Previa van from our friends. Who in the world names a car after an unfavorable medical condition, anyway? That van was another blessing, so who am I to scoff at the weird name?
But, through it all, both the difficult pregnancy, and the near-disaster delivery, we could see clearly that God meant for us to have a third son. He planned Adam. And we are blessed to have this sweet, mischievous, fun-seeking boy in our home.