Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Due Date

Today is Harper's due date. It's unreal to me that she would just now be arriving if the pregnancy had gone without complications. It seems like it's been forever since I was pregnant...and sometimes it feels like I was never pregnant to begin with. I only made it about 3/4 through before being hospitalized so I never got to the "really pregnant" stage. I remember having such a bad attitude toward the end of my pregnancy with Harrison. I was in pain. I was HUGE. And I couldn't wait to get that giant baby out of me! I can honestly say that this experience with Harper really put things in perspective. Now I realize that every single day inside the womb is so crucial and such a blessing, no matter how miserable or uncomfortable or painful the last couple of months are. Such a small sacrifice to pay for growing a healthy baby!

I thought today would be appropriate to post Harper's birth story. I have to say that my two pregnancies were the complete opposite from one another. Harrison arrived after his due date; Harper came six weeks early. I labored with Harrison for 9 hours and delivered him vaginally; Harper arrived via emergency c-section. Harrison weighed 8lbs 13oz; Harper weighed almost half of that. We roomed with Harrison at the hospital, I was able to start nursing immediately, we brought him home 2 days later, Rick took off a week and we spent it bonding with our new baby. It was the happiest week of my entire life. You know the story with Harper. It was 4 days before we could even hold her. 2 weeks of seeing her attached to tubes, wires, IVs, etc. 2 weeks of worrying, no sleep, and driving back and forth and back and forth and back and forth to the hospital. I will never forget the smell of the hospital soap, the sounds of those beeping alarms, or the sight of all those teeny tiny sick babies. It was the worst 2 weeks of my entire life.

I guess technically I could say I labored with Harper for 3 weeks, right? Since I was stuck in a hospital bed fighting off contractions? :)  Here are a few pictures from our hospital "vacation":


Feeding Harrison lunch

Mom & son "play time". Don't be jealous.

View from my bed. Exciting, right?  

View out our window. Again, don't be jealous.

Rick's work station

And last but not least...Smokey! For all you Lost fans, my IV machine would make the creepiest tick-tick-tick-tick sound at night and it sounded just like the Smoke Monster. Ha!

Just one of the many sweet gifts we received
We felt so loved by everybody during this experience. We had many visitors that helped make the long days more bearable. We received flowers and plants and balloons to cheer us up, care packages, books and magazines, and countless meals were provided. Our son and our pets and our yard and our house were taken care of. People prayed over us and with us and for us. We will be forever grateful for our sweet friends and family who helped us in such a tremendous way!

Here is the last pregnant picture taken of me. It was taken the night before Harper was born.

33w5d

Her birthday started off like all of the other days we spent in the hospital. I was up for the day around 6:30 or 7, put on my makeup (since it was the one thing I could do to feel "normal," plus, it was my strategy to prevent the tears as much as possible), and was just about to start eating breakfast. I was actually feeling pretty good both physically and emotionally. It was right after shift change and I was chatting with my new nurse about how long I'd been there and how many weeks along I was. She was really nice and we were swapping kid stories, and then I told her that it was my godson's birthday and Harper couldn't come today because that would be rude to steal his thunder on his big day. Ha! Well I guess Miss Thing doesn't like to be told what she can and can't do, because not even 10 minutes later I was being rushed down to the O.R.

It all happened really fast, just like my doctor warned us it would. I had a minor second bleeding episode at about 7:50am, and within minutes nurses and doctors swarmed in. They hooked me up to the fetal monitors and read over my chart from where I had been monitored the night before. When they stepped out of the room to discuss it further, I started to get really nervous because I knew they didn't want me to hear what they were saying. My nurse came back in and said that we had to go in for a c-section right then because Harper was having some fluctuations in her heart rate and they were worried that I would start hemorrhaging very soon. I vaguely remember the nurse taking off my clothes and ordering Rick to eat my breakfast as fast as possible while they prepped me so he wouldn't pass out. They wheeled me downstairs and Rick called our moms. When I got to the operating room it all became a blur. There were about 15 or 20 people in there getting things ready. It was all really overwhelming and I remember feeling a little relief when I finally saw the familiar eyes of my doctor and knew he'd be the one doing the surgery. I remember Rick walking in and thinking he looked pretty darn sexy in scrubs. I started feeling really dizzy and the anesthesiologist told me my blood pressure had dropped and they had to give me medicine, which is why I was feeling like that. I remember wanting to close my eyes but I was afraid to, because I was afraid I'd never wake up again. I remember feeling SO much pressure and tugging and I hated every second of it. I remember catching Rick peeking at my insides and me scolding him to get his eyes back to our side of the curtain. I remember vividly the feeling as they pulled her out, and how she didn't cry right away. I locked panicked eyes with Rick, and when she finally let out a teeny tiny wail we started crying. They brought her over to us for about 10 seconds, and in those brief 10 seconds I fell madly in love with her. I remember thinking she looked like her brother. And that she had dark hair. And that she was perfect.

It was about 10 minutes from the time I started bleeding until they wheeled me to the operating room. And it was only 20 minutes after that that she was born. 20 minutes after that, I was being taken to recovery. I still can't believe how fast it all went!

I wasn't able to see Harper again for about 12 hours, and I think it was possibly the longest 12 hours of my life. I hated every second of my recovery from the c-section. I hated having numb legs. I had the worst pain in my ribcage and shoulders from all of the trapped air. I remember hearing stories of other women who had had c-sections and that they were a breeze, and wondering what in the heck was wrong with me because it was such a terrible experience for me. It was almost a week before I could get out of bed by myself and walk entirely on my own. I couldn't drive for 2 weeks. And was told not to lift anything heavier than 5 lbs for 6 weeks. And unfortunately, Harrison weighed about 6x that limit. To add salt to the wound, my nurse practitioner informed me at my 6-week well checkup that the numbness at my incision and the "poochy" skin may never go away. What?! Are you kidding me?! Not exactly the news I wanted to hear. I would take a long vaginal delivery with hours of pain over another c-section in a heart beat. Am I the only one who feels that way? I hated not having a choice this time around, but I'm so grateful that she and I made it through everything safely. When I feel like complaining I just remind myself that women and babies used to die from previas (and I'm sure in some countries they still do). I'm lucky to live in a country and era where we have such great medical care.

Today, her due date brings mixed feelings. I will always wonder how different things would have been if I wouldn't have had complications. How big would I have gotten? How much would she have weighed? (She weighed in at 8lb. 4oz. yesterday! I'm thinking she would have been a BIG girl since her doctors told me babies gain weight much more rapidly while in the womb where they don't burn calories vs. outside) How would I have gone into labor? Could I have made it this time without an epidural? (Who am I kidding...I already know the answer to that :) ) But even though she came early and was a preemie and the whole experience was a little terrifying, I am also so grateful to have gotten an extra month and a half with my Harpie Harp that I wouldn't have had otherwise. I feel like she's been here with us forever now and we've all gotten to know and love everything about her cute little personality. And I also know that God's plan has a purpose and that this experience has become a part of our testimony and an example of our need for his unwavering strength and love.


2 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I'm glad to read her story... and glad y'all are both safe and healthy! It's a huge blessing, for sure.

But now you need to post some updated pictures!! :-)

Tracye said...

Couldn't read through my tears... I guess this is why I haven't put on my make-up yet!

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