There are so many things I want to share about our experiences over the last few days, but right now I want to concentrate on remembering everything from Lizzy's birth. I want to write it down so that I never forget any of it.
It started at 3:05 am on Friday, May13th. I was sleeping very soundly for a change when all of a sudden I felt a warm gush. I was shocked! I frantically woke up Jodie. "My water broke!" He jumped up and turned on the light. I didn't move. I just laid there on my side afraid to get up. I immediately started to cry and began to shake all over. I knew exactly what this meant. I would meet my baby girl today, five weeks early. Jodie rubbed my back while I cried. "I'm not ready", I cried. "I'm not ready to lose her, she's safe inside me right now." I was so scared, but I knew that it couldn't be stopped. I hate that feeling of knowing that you have absolutely no control over what's happening to you. I cried out to the Lord to give me strength and to please let her make it through this.
I wasn't having any contractions so I knew I had a little time. I packed my bags and called my mom and my granny to come stay with the kids. I was trying to stop and respond every time Elizabeth gave me a kick. I kept telling her it would all be okay. She was probably wondering where all of her comfy fluid had gone.
We arrived at the hospital at about 4:20. They took me to a room and started my pitocin drip at about 6:30. It didn't take long for me to start having some small contractions. The nurse checked me and I was 3 cm and 70% effaced. I started to notice that Lizzy wasn't moving much anymore and that worried me.
The nurses left the room for a bit and Jodie pulled our book that we have been reading to Lizzy out of the suitcase. It's called, "God Gave Us You". He read it to her for the last time. He's so strong. He read it out loud without ever wavering while I sobbed. I think my mom was crying too. I always love when he gets to the part where the baby polar bear asks her mommy, "Mama, did you ever want a different baby? One like Samuel the seal or Fredrika the fox?" "Never," Mama said."Never, ever, ever. Your papa and I wouldn't trade you for the world. Because God gave us you." I love it because it's so true. Even through all of this, I wouldn't trade her for anything. She's perfect to us.
The contractions were coming closer together and becoming more intense. Our children's minister, Jeff Goodyear came in to pray with us. I needed that so much. The L&D nurses were so awesome and compassionate. They were taking very good care of me. I managed to stay in good spirits, mostly smiling. I felt a real peace about it all.
Finally, at about 10:15 am the contractions were becoming too painful to talk through. I was feeling some pressure and asked the nurse to check me. She said I was about 6.5 cm. but the baby was still fairly high. I began to go back and forth, asking myself if I should get the epidural. The pain was so intense now and I could be pushing for a long time if she was high up. I kept asking Jodie what I should do. He reminded me that usually when I start asking for an epidural during labor it means I will be pushing a baby out at any minute. He was right.
About 15 minutes after being checked at 6.5, I told Jodie to get the nurse. I felt the urge to start pushing. She came back in, checked me and said I was at 9.5 cm. That was fast! 6.5 cm to 9.5 cm in 15 minutes. She called Dr.P in. He was in a 3 piece suit because he had been filming some kind of commercial for Norton's. I loudly, through clinched teeth told him that she was coming! Like, right now!! I expected him to throw a gown and some gloves over his suit. But no, he left the room to change. Are you kidding me? I decided I would push anyway and let the nurses catch her if need be. Elizabeth was the second hardest baby I've had to deliver. She was tiny, but she had huge shoulders and because of her condition, she didn't have much of a neck. Babies usually have that natural curve in the back of their neck that make it possible for them to slide underneath the pubic bone. Lizzy didn't, and that made it very hard. Not to mention that she was partially sideways. So, what had mostly been a very easy delivery had suddenly turned into a crazy mother screaming at the top of her lungs, pushing with all her might. The doctor ran in just at the last second and pulled and tugged to help get her out. Finally, she was delivered and I was relieved.
They put her up on my chest and I couldn't stop looking at her precious face. I can't exactly describe it, but she had the most angelic beauty. Everything about her was beautiful. Her lips looked like they were painted a shiny red and her blue eyes stared at my face so intensely. Her face was round and soft and was framed by little blonde hairs at the top. I hardly even noticed her head. It wasn't as bad as I had expected. I will NEVER forget that moment. The moment I met my first daughter. My pretty little angel.
I wish I could say that everything was perfect in that moment, but unfortunately it wasn't. I thought I had made my wishes very clear to my doctor over the last few months. I wanted Elizabeth to be treated as any other baby and given every opportunity to live as long as possible. After they put her on my chest, I hate to say it, but I assumed she was stillborn. She was very purple and limp. No one had suctioned her nose or throat and I just assumed. Everything was happening so fast. I was still trying to deliver the placenta and admire my baby at the same time. Then, her eyes started to move slowly back and forth. I said, " Her eyes are moving, somebody PLEASE suction her!" I felt almost like that was her cry for help. Her little eyes looking around wondering why she could no longer breathe. The doctor took her and carelessly suctioned her nose and mouth without much effort, gave her back and left the room. Her baby nurse never touched her even once and she left as well taking all of the normal equipment that had been set up along with her. They left us there with our baby slowly slipping away. After a minute I asked for a bulb syringe and suctioned her myself. I got tons of stuff out of her nose and mouth. I was so mad that they hadn't done that to begin with. I tried to just concentrate on her and spending every second with her that we could. The L&D nurses took her over to the other side of the room to bathe her and get her weight and height. They had to search the room to find something to bathe her with since the baby nurse had taken everything with her when she left. I am so thankful for those two sweet ladies who treated our child with such dignity and respect. One of them joyfully let us know that indeed her heart was still beating. Again, I almost felt like I was in a daze. Looking back, I wish I had asked to give Lizzy her first bath. I will always regret that.
The boys came in from the waiting room. They saw Lizzy being bathed. They couldn't stand the waiting. They wanted to hold her. I wanted to hold her again, too. I wanted so much to be selfish and not share her, but I knew that everyone else needed a chance to have time with her, too. One by one they took turns holding her and kissing all over her. Lincoln wanted to see every inch of her. He would say, "Can I see her toes?" so we would show him her toes and he would say, "Awwww! Her toes are so cute!", "Can I see her fingers?" and on and on until he had seen all of her sweet little features. It was exactly as we had prayed. It was a very joyous occasion. We were all so happy to finally meet her and welcome her into our family.
After spending some time with everyone, Elizabeth had her first photo shoot. We dressed her up in several different hats and outfits. The photographer took lots of pictures. After that, a team of ladies came in to take some impressions of her hands and feet for us. We also put ink on her hands and feet and stamped them on lots of stuff. I never want to forget those sweet little fingers and toes.
Elizabeth was a very tiny baby weighing only 3lbs and 14oz. She was 16.5 inches long. She was perfect in every way. She lived here on Earth for about 1.5 hours. It was an amazing time we had together. It felt like being in the presence of God, knowing that she was passing into His loving arms. I can say it was the best and the worst day of my life. I know it's selfish to want to keep her here in this cruel world when she is so much better off with our Lord, but I guess I am only human. I am a mother who wants to be with her baby. I have never thought about the Lord's return more than I have in the past 4 days. I keep looking to the sky, waiting for those clouds to roll back. Someday my family will all be together again. That day can't come soon enough for me.
I love you, Elizabeth. I miss you so much it hurts. I'll see you again someday!