Friday, June 17, 2016

Welcome, Darling: A Birth Story

We all make plans. Even our "fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants" brethren make plans. We plan to eat our next meal. We plan to go to work. We plan to wake up tomorrow. Pregnant women probably make more plans than anyone. We plan down to the tiniest details. We plan because we need to be in control when much of what is going on in and around us is out of our control. We plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios.

The greatest lesson in pregnancy is NOTHING goes according to plan. Ever.

At 37 weeks I was admitted into the hospital after a routine checkup revealed that I had developed preeclampsia. My life and my daughter's life were in danger. After 26 hours of intense pitocin-induced contractions, my daughter was still in no hurry, but now she was in grave danger as she was losing oxygen with every contraction. The resident who had been pushing me toward a Cesarean delivery since my first OB visit at 5 weeks informed me that we needed to make a decision and quickly. The attending came later and agreed that we were running out of time.

Coloring to distract myself
One by one my plans were being broken. And it was such a disappointment.

All those disappointments paled in light of the overwhelming day. A dear friend of our family was losing his battle with cancer. My dad was ministering to the family while still texting and calling back and forth with my mom about my status. Daddy stood by and held the hand of this dear man's wife while he breathed his last. He hugged the family goodbye and made the drive back to the small hospital where I was being prepped for surgery.

"Daddy needs to see life today." Mom sat across the room, phone in hand. "He has seen death today and he needs to see life. I want him to go with you to the operating room."

Off to the OR
Dad's return to my hospital room came amidst a frenzy of activity. He was gowned and we made the trip down the hall into the delivery room waving goodbye to my mother who stood waiting for our return. My anesthesia was administered by a too-handsome, surfer-looking anesthesiologist who spent the remainder of my time with him standing at my head and looking over me at regular intervals. I didn't know until later that he was pushing more medication into my IV at each check.

Doctors Flick and Krause went to work and within a few minutes my gorgeous girl erupted into this world shrieking at the top of her lungs. My dad sat at my shoulder singing and talking to his first granddaughter while I was being put back together. I had a hard time blinking back the tears as I listened to this man melt into a puddle while my newborn wrapped him tightly around her tiny little finger.
At last we meet

Finally, finally, I got to meet her. This little girl who had been kicking me since we were at 11 weeks was finally here. I was a mother. At 39 years old my dreams had come true at long last.

The disappointments slipped away. None of it mattered. She was here and she was alive and healthy.

I am so completely in love with her. I am overwhelmed by her. I am in awe of her.

She is my greatest adventure.

Molly Grace Andrews, January 8, 2016