A good and perfect gift-Happy Birthday Abigael Rose
Back in the day, when my first born had an innocent, child-like faith in God, she prayed for a sister. In her three year old mind, she knew, beyond any rational thought, that God would give her a sister because she asked for one…..simple! She told me with firm resolve that she would continue to pray for a sister until she got one.
If she only knew how we were praying too……Her sister Zoë arrived two years after she began her earnest prayers and only 4 years of mom and dad trying to get pregnant even with the help of a few infertility specialist friends of mine.
Zoë was an answer to Holly’s prayers. Despite all of our preparations for explaining the potential disappointment of God answering her prayers with, say, a brother, she was right.
Zoë was all of two weeks old when Holly came to me and announced that she would like her NEXT sister’s name to be Rose! Nice name, but after throwing up several times a day for 7+ months and still sitting very gingerly on a bruised bottom (who said I was LUCKY to have a 90 minute labor??), I wasn’t planning names for the NEXT sister. I thanked her for the suggestion but reminded her that her cousin’s horse shared that name so maybe it would make a good middle name if she were to have another sister someday when Zoë was, say, walking and talking. She nodded her head in agreement as she smiled and hugged me…….that kid was going to start praying again…..
Lord help me!
About a year later, Bill has this GREAT idea. It took a very long time for us to conceive Zoë and it was very stressful for us, especially the last year with multiple tests and scheduled hookups. He theorized that since we did want another child in another year or so, we should just toss the birth control now and let nature take its course since nature was so slow. Personally, I think he was tired of using condoms and Zoë seemed content to keep on nursing. What can I say, I was weak….
About six weeks later I was thinking hmmmmm……but, no, I mean I still haven’t had a period so…..no…..but, I wonder…… A doctor I worked with decided I should stop wondering and just find out so she called the lab up to draw some blood and check for me.
Bill and his theories are for the birds! Yup! I was pregnant! By my calculations, I was six weeks and I knew when and where. I resolved to never listen to his theories and ideas again.
Don’t get me wrong. I was happy. I did want another child. But the 7+ months of constant throwing up was still very fresh in my mind. I just wasn’t sure I could do THAT again. I cried on the drive home after my doctor excitedly confirmed the first test.
Two weeks later, I was crying again. I was bleeding heavily and cramping. I remember this part a couple times before between Holly and Zoë and I remember it wasn’t fun. The last time was heartbreaking as it was twins miscarried at 18+ weeks gestation. What I wouldn’t give to throw up everyday I thought as I waited for my OB to check things with the ultrasound. I told him as I lay there with tears pooling in my ears that I couldn’t lose another baby. I just couldn’t. I turned my head towards the wall not wanting to see my worst fears.
Suddenly I felt his hand brush away some tears from my cheek as my doctor gently asked me to look at the screen……there I saw a heart beating….a beautiful heart…..a strong heart. I saw four limb buds moving gently as if to say. It’s okay mommy. I am here to stay!”…..The tears flowed again but they tasted sweet with relief. After examining and measuring the baby to confirm the dates and day of conception, Dr. C. took my hands and promised that this one was a keeper.
I then began a fairly new treatment back then of progesterone shots. The theory is that around the time the yolk sac dies and the placenta should be developed enough to take over, some women’s progesterone levels plummet and a potentially viable pregnancy then fails a few week later. According to the literature my doctor gave me, this happens anywhere from 8-16 weeks in most cases in the test case studies. I was willing to try especially after seeing my baby reassure me.
The sailing wasn’t as smooth as I would hope as six weeks later I landed in ICU after a severe anaphylactic episode. The doctors involved were baffled as to what would trigger such a violent allergic reaction. They also could not tell me how my baby was for several days as I was so badly swollen that they could not “find” the baby. Once again, a few days later, that little heartbeat was heard and reassured me to not give up.
Recovery was slow. My body was wiped out from the anaphylaxis ans subsequent shock and taxed with the normal demands of what soon became a “normal” pregnancy….the allergic episode was not confirmed until years later to be a latex allergy. The reaction was so violent they theorize because of the injections I was taking plus my body’s “vulnerable” state while gestating I was probably hypersensitive. But as I gained strength, I began to focus inward on this new life, this stubborn, determined life.
I also stressed a lot. This little one, unlike the sister before, hardly moved at all. Every night I worked, I waddled over to L&D to borrow the Doppler to listen to the heartbeat. The child was active, just not bouncing off the walls.
The weeks went by quickly and I grew and grew and grew. The baby looked great. Another ultrasound revealed a good sized, healthy baby who was frank breech and was not willing to reveal much more. Funny, I really didn’t care to know the sex until the baby decided to be so coy. This kid was strong, stubborn and had some nerve!
Ten more weeks and it was clear that this kid liked sitting in my pelvis. My doctor began to discuss options. he wanted to let me try to deliver vaginally rationalizing this was #3 and the first two were good sized kids who “paved the way”. He was confident. I was not. His next option was a version. NO way I said. In my educated mind, the risks weren’t worth the benefits. I argued all we were trying to do was avoid surgery and a scar on my belly and to me it wasn’t worth the potential complications for my child. My doc reluctantly accepted my decision…..By this time, I knew he wasn’t done trying to change my mind….but I was stubborn, almost as much as this baby.
I met with his midwife the next couple weeks and began doing all the exercises she suggested to woo the baby to vertex. She wasn’t sure it would happen at this point but one never did know….
Two weeks later, my doc has another ultrasound to check baby’s size…..I knew it was primarily to try to convince me to consider his options. Well, guess who turned?
A baby GIRL!
This stubborn child was a GIRL! Holly’s next sister!
The next week, November 8, I head off to work the beginning of my last week of work before maternity leave. I was 36 weeks and so ready. Graveyard shift was killing me being great with child and chasing a 20 month old and a six year old. The night was mostly uneventful save for my frequent treks to the bathroom. By morning, I had only 2 more shifts to go…..whoo-hoo! I was so ready to finish because my back was killing me all night and running to the bathroom every 15 minutes or so was real old too.
I didn’t notice. I was too tired as I had last slept the night before…..
But Bill noticed pretty quick……
He told me after my 10th or 11th trip to the bathroom when I was supposed to be sleeping that I was getting up every 7-10 minutes. Was I having contractions?
NO! My back was hurting and this kid’s hard head was pushing on my bladder. I stomp off to bed annoyed. An hour later, Bill tells me my trips are now 5 minutes apart and he had just called the doctor who wanted me to come in.
I still maintained I was not in labor. It is now more than 18 hours since I last slept and I was just tired. I let him take me to the hospital hoping it would get him off my back so i could get some sleep.
Well, what did I know! I was five centimeters dilated and in labor. My “back pain” and urge to go potty was contractions…..DOH!
My doctor broke my water with the plan that things would move fairly quick now…..I mean Holly was 6 hours, Zoë was 90 minutes….
one would think…..
Well, maybe not. Yes, the contractions increased in length and frequency AND in strength, all in the small of my back. GAWD THIS HURT!!!
Come 4 o’clock or so I had been laboring for what we estimated to be about 14 hours and the back pain was white-hot intense and I was not progressing past 7. I found myself crying in exhaustion not understanding why this was taking so long. My doc and nurse both reminded me how exhausted I was. They both felt it wouldn’t progress much unless I allowed myself to rest…..oh yeah, they were pushing for the epidural. But I am built to have babies. My labors are fast and easy. An epidural would only slow things down…..exactly, my doc tells me. The plan would be an epi for 3-4 hours would give me time to take a nap, my labor would slow a bit and as the epi would wear off, odds are I would have progressed some more and be energized enough for the real busy part…..if Bill had joined the chorus I would have said, no.
Thankfully he didn’t.
I got the epidural, and not a moment too soon. the next contraction was a doozy…..at least on the monitor it was…..that thing lasted for nearly 90 seconds and had these HUGE peaks. I can see why Bill liked watching that monitor! I turned to him and the anesthesiologist and asked, “What wasI thinking those other two times!”
The joy of an epidural….it’s a good and beautiful thing!
I soon fell asleep and napped until just after six.
It was then that I woke up to PAIN! I nudged/pushed my napping husband telling him to go get the nurse because this epi was wearing off too soon. He started, but soon stopped, arguing with me about the doc saying it had until about 7 pm. Smart man!
The nurse checks me and tells me I am complete and brightly suggests I can start pushing if I want. I ask where is Dr. C. She informs me he is home (2 blocks away) for dinner but she will call him now. I, a little too loudly, remind her this is my THIRD baby and I wasn’t pushing until I saw Dr. C. So she better call NOW! He arrives about 15 minutes later. laughing about my orders for my nurse. he nods his head at my direction telling her she needs to listen because I know what I am speaking of……
Soon after, one, only one, long, smooth push and Abigael Rose came out at 6:58 pm.
She looked pretty big for 36 weeks. She was. She weighed 6lbs 14½ ounces and was 20 inches long. Not huge, but big for 36 weeks considering the average, normal 40 week baby is 7lbs. the nurse then comments maybe our dates were wrong.
“NO!”, The doctor and I both shout out at the same time. We both knew beyond a shadow of a doubt when this baby was conceived. The crown to rump measurements of an 8 week embryo are THE most accurate measurements in determining dates of a baby and once done, like I said before, I knew my idea of when and where was definitely confirmed.
All that really didn’t matter though. Abigael was here. healthy, perfect and beautiful. She was a gift, a perfect gift. Her name, Abigael comes from Hebrew meaning Father of Light which reminded me of 1John 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of Light.”. Rose, well, Holly did say her NEXT sister should have the name Rose.