Monday, April 30, 2012

As per usual, it has been awhile.  I couldn't stay caught up with work, school, and life in general let alone keep a blog updated.  But, alas, I am back--and once again, it is my goal to be better and keeping this updated, not only for my sake, but also for the sake of my sweet daughter.

Yes, that is right, folks, Eliana Joy made her entrance into this world on April 18, 2012 at 9:45 p.m. She weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces and was 22 inches long. There's a lot to her birth story, and I do not want to get too far ahead of myself so let me back track...

Of course Eliana's birth story began from the time she was conceived, but the birth story I am talking about is essentially based off of the weeks leading up to her birth.  For those who are not aware, my pregnancy was rather uneventful, minus the morning sickness and stomach flu.  I had no problems with blood sugar or blood pressure; I was able to work and maintained a rather busy lifestyle.

Two and a half weeks before Eliana's due date, on April 4, 2012, I received a text message from my mom during one of my home visits around 4:00 p.m. that my grandma had fallen earlier that day and that my parents were in the ER with her and my cousin.  After I left the home visit, I gave my mom a call who explained to me that Grandma had fallen as she was trying to walk back to her mobile home before her and my cousin went out to eat for lunch.  She was cleared by the doctors and was set up with follow up appointments with a plastic surgeon and an orthopedic doctor; all seemed well and I continued on about my evening as I had planned.  Around 10:30 that night, my mom called me and said that my grandma was on the way back to the ER because she was very confused.  By 11:30, I received another call letting me know that my grandmother had passed away. 

Over the course of the next few days, everything seemed like a whirlwind.  I was still balancing school, work, being 38+ weeks pregnant, and then the stress of losing a family member was added on top of that.  Grandma's viewing was on a Monday night and her private burial was on Tuesday morning; I took a day and a half off work not knowing whether or not that would leave me with enough time to complete all my ending tasks prior to being on maternity leave. 

By Wednesday evening after work, I was contracting pretty consistently; this continued into Thursday and I saw the doctor on Friday.  And let me just tell you, by Friday I was exhausted and downright miserable.  Thankfully, the doctor listened to me and suggested that I come back earlier the following week so that I did not have to wait as long to make up a plan in case I did not go into labor on my own.  I left the doctor's office with a 10:30 appointment scheduled for the following Wednesday. 

Throughout the weekend, I continued on the same track of staying pretty miserable, and work on Monday was rather dreadful as well.  It finally got to the point that I decided to call the doctor to see if I could be seen on Tuesday instead of Wednesday; thankfully, they were able to get me in Tuesday afternoon at 1:15.  When the doctor came in to check me, he told me I had made a little more progress and that he was going to scrape my membranes to see if that would send me into labor.  If it did not send me into labor then I was to report to the hospital at 7:00 a.m. for an induction.

Well, no labor came on its own, so Dan and I loaded up the car, prayed together, and left the house around 6:30 a.m.  However, nothing could have prepared us for what we were going to experience that day.

After arriving at the hospital and being put in the delivery room, a nurse finally came in the room and started paperwork around 7:45.  By 8:15 my pitocin drip had been started, and I was feeling very anxious to meet my little girl.  Shortly after the pitocin was start, my doctor came in the room and decided he would go ahead and break my water.  Well, in the process of this, he was unable to reach it so he asked the nurse to push down on my stomach to help things along.  Finally, he was able to get my water broken, and they sat me up in bed.  A few minutes later, I remember saying to the nurse, "I don't feel good".  She asked me what didn't feel good, and I told her I did not know.  Beyond that, I do not remember anything.

Dan, however, said that after I told the nurse I did not feel well he watched the color drain out of my face, and he told the nurse I was going to pass out.  The nurse, apparently, turned around just in time to see it happen.  My blood pressure at that point in time was nearly 50/20, and Eliana's heartrate slowed significantly during this ordeal as well. 

When I woke up, I remember there being a nurse on my right and on my left and my doctor sitting at the foot of the bed attempting to find Eliana's heartbeat.  My first question to them was "Is she ok?"  The nurse to my left simply replied that her heartrate was low so they were monitoring it.  At this point, I felt sick because I was afraid of losing her.  I immediately began praying for Eliana to be safe and healthy.  After about 15 minutes of the doctor monitoring her in the room, her heartrate came back up and was steady.  All the while, they had put me on oxygen and told me I was not allowed to move.  The doctor decided that me passing out and her heartrate deceleration was not from the pitocin but rather from pressure that was placed on my vena cava while they were trying to break my water.  Finally, around 10:00 they started my pitocin back up again.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly up until I got out of bed to go to the bathroom and changed positions when I laid back down in bed; nurse flooded the room again concerned about a decline in Eliana's heartrate again.  They made me switch positions and eventually her heartrate steadied, but they shut the pitocin off once again.  The pitocin stayed off for about an hour, and when they started me back up finally they started it back up at the same low dose that they had started me on earlier in the morning.  The nurses were rather convinced that her decline in heartrate was due to an increase in pitocin; however, after attempting to switch positions a couple more times, it was more likely caused by her laying on her cord.

My pitocin got started back up again around 3:00, and by 5:00 I was having consistent enough contractions that I was getting uncomfortable.  I decided to go ahead and take the pain medicine available before the epidural; this medicine made me really tired and only helped with the pain for about 30 minutes.  Eventually, the nurse came in and asked if I wanted something else for pain; no one had informed me that doctor had approved an epidural for me even though I wasn't four centimeters.  At that point, I decided to go ahead and take the epidural.  The doctor came in to start the epidural, and it didn't hurt really at all.  The doctors and nurses were afraid to lay me down flat due to me passing out earlier in the day, but they assured me that within 15 minutes I would feel relief from the contractions.

Well, about an hour and a half later, I had gotten no relief from any contractions.  Someone in the room went to get a nurse (I don't even know who it was at this point because my eyes were shut from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) to tell her that my epidural was not working.  She came in and asked me questions about whether or not I could feel my legs, what my pain level was, etc. and quickly realized that she needed to call the doctor back in to check why my epidural wasn't working.  The doctor came in and gave me more meds and within seconds I felt relief and opened my eyes. 

Very quickly after that, I began to feel pressure and knew that I would soon be meeting our daughter.  Within minutes I went from 8 centimeters to 10 centimeters and was ready to push.  The doctor had been across the hall as another woman had given birth at home, but he quickly came over when they told him how close I was to delivering. 

Within five contractions equaling about within 15 minutes, Eliana made her grand entrance into the world.  The first thing I did was check to make sure she was indeed a girl, and then the doctor placed her on my chest.  She was not crying and was purple, but the doctor assured me that she was still getting oxygen through her cord.  After about 20 seconds of not crying and not breathing the doctor said, "I don't like this at all" and whisked her off of my chest over to the warming table where he worked on her with the nurses. 

I don't even think words can express the emotions I was feeling at that point in time.  There was a moment in time I was not sure she was going to make it; I was scared to death, mortified may be a better word.  I couldn't see what was going on over on the warming table because of my position in bed, but I remember the nurses and doctors encouraging Eliana to start breathing.  Dan and my mom were both assuring me that everything was ok, but I knew better.  This was real and this was scary; finally, though, I heard her cry.  I have NEVER in my life been so relieved to hear a baby cry.  And it wasn't just any baby, it was MY baby. 

The doctor had to suction her out more than normal and they had to bag her in order to get her to start breathing, but she was breathing on her own.  And when she was finally placed in my arms, I praised God for answering my prayer to save her life and for protecting her throughout the delivery.

And I wish, from that point, everything was smooth sailing, but it wasn't.  Eliana had to be placed in the NICU due to not breathing at birth and ended up on an oxygen and heartrate monitor.  She remained on the monitor until Saturday unless she was in the NICU and then she had to be on it all the time.

Later on Wednesday night, the nurses brought Eliana in to me telling me that her blood sugar was low and that she needed to eat.  As a first time mom who was nursing and having a diabetic sister, I was concerned about how much I could really help control her blood sugars.  To make a long story short, we battled with keeping her sugars up for about 24 hours, then to our knowledge due to three good sugar tests she no longer had to have any testing done.  On Friday afternoon, though, one of the nurses told us that she wanted to do a random sugar test on her.  Her test came back at 33 which is much too low, and the process started all over again.  Unfortunately, this time, her sugars did not regulate.  Early Saturday morning, Eliana had to get an IV in order to help regulate her sugars.  This stayed in until early Sunday morning.  Finally, on Sunday she had gotten three good sugar testings and they were prepared to let us leave the hospital.

Words could not express how ready I was to leave the hospital; I hate hospitals and I just wanted to be home with her.  But, God was faithful and we were able to leave.  However, we had to take her back the next day to the hospital for an appointment; at this appointment, they tested her blood for jaundice levels because her levels had been climbing before we left the hospital.  After our appointment on Monday, Dan answered my cell phone and found out that Eliana's jaundice levels had increased and that we had to take her back for bloodwork the next day. 

At this point, I was ready to pull my hair out.  I was so frustrated--all I wanted was for her to be healthy.  My recovery had been great, and I so badly wanted to switch places with her.  But, again, I prayed and asked for God to bring her levels down so that we did not have to drive to Marion every day to have her jaundice levels tested and so that we did not end up back in the hospital.  So on Tuesday when my cell phone rang after having her blood drawn, I was nervous to even answer my phone.  But, I knew that I could not just ignore the call, so I reluctantly picked up.  The nurse on the other end told me that Eliana's levels had dropped and we did not need to take her back again.  I was so relieved.

And now, here we are; it's been about a week since then, and today we had Eliana's week check up.  She is back up to her birth weight, the doctor is not concerned about jaundice levels, assured me that I was doing well breast feeding and that all we needed to do was continue loving her and doing what we were doing.  Music. To. My. Ears. 

So from here, we continue moving forward, and I find myself praying for time to slow down.  I can't believe she's almost two weeks old already.  It makes me sad to think how fast she is going to grow and excited all at the same time.  I know God has great plans for her life; He has already shown up in so many ways.  So much so, I have every reason to believe and say that she lives up to the meaning of her name--"God has answered with JOY".  What a privilege it is to be her mom, and I am so thankful that God has entrusted Dan and I to raise her and show her who her Heavenly Father is.

Eliana Joy, You are a pure blessing in your daddy's and my life.  Words cannot explain how deep our love is for you already, and I know I speak for your daddy as well when I say that we fall more in love with you every day.  Our hope and prayer for you is that you grow to fear the Lord and love Him deeply.  He has amazing plans for your life, and I have every reason to believe that he will continue answering our prayers and your prayers with JOY just as he did when we were in the hospital waiting to bring you home.  As I look into your eyes and at your sweet face, I see such innocence, and I pray that you will grow to understand how much you are loved by so many.  Time is already going by too fast as you are changing so much so quickly, but I treasure each and every moment I spend with you, even in the middle of the night when I can barely keep my eyes opened.  You make the sweetest noises and sometimes the funniest noises too.  You are already back up to your birthweight, and everyone says you look like your daddy.  However, plenty of other people say that you have my nose, my chin, and my dimples.  Regardless as to who you look like, I think you are beautiful, and I am proud to call you my daughter.  While I do not want time to go by too quickly, I cannot wait to see your personality develop and to see the path that God is going to lead you down.  You are so special, and I love you now and always.