Seeing as how this has been the most eventful week and a half of my entire life, this post will be VERY LONG! For those of you who do not want to read all the gory details about the week leading up to Judah’s birth and just want to read the sweet part, you can scroll down and begin reading under the heading; Somewhere Over the Rainbow. If you want all the juicy details… start here.
OUCH! Sunday, November 7 was like many other Sunday mornings, we woke up and got ready to head to church to get everything in order for the Children’s Ministry before all the kids got there. I was feeling fine, just tired from working the past two previous days. We got all the kids situated and I headed up to the sanctuary and started to notice discomfort. I kept thinking, “Man, I’ve gotten huge this week because I really can’t stand to wear anything but scrub or sweat pants… I can’t WAIT to get out of these jeans!!!” We had to stop by Costco on the way home to pick up some photos for Colby’s huge research presentation that was coming up on Saturday and grabbed a slice a pizza for lunch. Usually we love to mozy around Costco, but I started to get a little freaky outy and insisted that we must leave right away because my side felt weird. I came home (immediately put on the sweats!) and tried to take a nap – didn’t work; tried to take a hot bath- didn’t work. The pain was now going from my right side through to my back and shoulder, so I tried getting Colby to rub it with Icy Hot – didn’t work, went for a short walk to the mail box – nothing was working! I went to lay back down and soon after summoned Colby to bring my Women’s Health/Maternity Nursing textbook to me (I KNEW I’d need it one of these days!!!), my blood pressure cuff and stethoscope. I began looking up the symptoms and nothing fit quite right, so I moved on to take my blood pressure. “Crap.” I thought, it was about 150/90 two times in a row. Called my doc and of course they said, “Come on in.” By the time I got to the bed in triage, the pain had become almost unbearable and I tried really hard to put on a nice face for my coworkers but behind that curtain I was gripping Colby’s shirt sleeve and begging him to help me. I felt so sad to see his face looking back at me helplessly and all he could say was, “I don’t know what you want me to do.” The endless search began: they drew labs, got an IV started and determined I better go down for an ultrasound. This was the beginning for a billion labs, 3 ultrasounds, an MRI, 2 CT scans (one with contrast, one without), an ultrasound on both legs checking for clots, scheduling a surgery to place renal stents (which was later canceled) and 3 Biophysical profiles on Judah over the span of the next 4 1/2 days trying to figure out what in the world was causing the horrible, relentless pain. Finally after all the searching, they found it to be a hematoma (bleeding) in my adrenal gland – RANDOM! And I can tell you this is a horrible pain to endure. On Sunday night they hooked me up with a Dilaudid PCA which is a special pump with super strong IV pain meds with a button I could push every 6 minutes to give myself a tiny bit of relief. There were three times during my stay where the pain was so bad I was literally setting the timer on my iPhone for 6 minutes and pressing that button the second I was able to… and this still was not enough so they had to give me morphine mixed with another strong drug that totally knocked me out and Colby or my nurse would continue to press my button so I wouldn’t wake up in horrible pain again. Our seminary and church family were so great about coming up with dinner for Colby and just a familiar face to look to for encouragement and we were covered in prayer before each of them departed. There were moments when the pain meds just were not doing the trick and I’d begin to tighten up and panic and all I knew to do was ask Colby to pray. He would just hold my shoulders tightly that were literally shaking in pain and pray that the peace of the Lord would come over me and there were many, many times that this was the only thing that would bring me back down out of a panic. And I cannot even begin to speak highly enough for the medical and nursing staff in L&D at Alta Bates Hospital. Seriously, these nurses are so skilled… I was basically like caring for an ICU patient and they didn’t miss a beat. And it wasn’t just the clinical things: it was juice for Colby, helping me take a bath or (very sweetly) suggesting that maybe I could brush my hair! My coworkers came by almost every shift and sat and held my hand but I could see worry in their eyes in my mysterious condition. Looking back on all this has been so emotional because I didn’t realize just how sick I was so all I could think of was how annoying it was when Colby kept laughing at the Friends episodes he was watching on the laptop to keep himself half sane and also worrying that he was missing so much school work on such an important week. I never realized that my very life could have been in danger. I look back now and can feel nothing but overwhelmed when I realize that God knew exactly what was happening the whole time and was always one step ahead, providing the answers we needed just at the perfect time. I feel so small.
So Thursday night rolled around, and I finally convinced Colby to go home for the night to work on his research presentation since my friend, Megan, had offered to spend the night with me. She arrived and I was totally prepared to have (a strange version of) a college spend the night party with a good friend with talking and maybe a movie or something. That plan didn’t work out so well… we were sitting and talking with two of my coworkers, Cindy and Greg, when I began to notice Judah’s heart rate on the monitor being a bit lower than it should. Cindy went to go talk to my nurse about this and before I knew it, my room was filled with my two coworkers, the 2 L&D charge nurses, an OB, a Perinatalogist and my nurse and the new nurse she was training were crowding into my room with really worried looks. My blood pressure was getting dangerously high despite the medication I was on and my reflexes were so hyper that my entire lower body was shaking. As calmly as I could, I called Colby and told him he should probably come back (and I reminded him to bring the camera about 500 times). “Somehow” he made the 26 mile drive in 20 minutes (scary… I know). They did a special ultrasound test called a Biophysical Profile(BPP) to determine how much stress Judah was in and he scored 8/8: perfect. But this still didn’t explain the low heart rate. This began the longest night of my life hearing the little beat of his heart be just a hair too slow for my comfort zone and getting two more BPP’s that were perfect again. But something was just not right – I had the feeling we just needed to get him outta there… I got him this far, I could NOT lose him now! Colby and I called for a conference with the Neonatalogist and Perinatalogist to talk about delivering him. They agreed that it seemed very reasonable. We prayed hard… it was a scary decision! But we had peace from the Father that was so indescribable. It was decided… we were heading into the OR.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I was on so much medicine that a lot of the c-section is a bit of a fog, but I will give my account of the most precious moment in my life the best I can! Our good friend/brother Joe came up as soon as he heard we were going to surgery and got there in time to pray just before we left the room to go to the OR. My coworkers on shift held my left hand, Colby and Joe were at my right hand, my manager, Joan was at the foot of the bed and my L&D nurse, Marion was at the head of my bed as Joe prayed for peace and safety… we were ready. I could see the tears in everyone’s eyes, but I was so ready and I knew it was the right choice. My manager sat outside the OR with Colby as they placed my spinal (epidural) for surgery. Everyone was in place and I was draped. It was so strange to be in the OR that I go into every single day at work and recognize the faces of all the “players” and hear all the same sounds, smell the same smells and be the one on the table… it was very bizarre and surreal. The Anesthesiologist asked what type of music I like (they always play music in the OR) and I said, “Oh, we like everything.” But he insisted that I choose, so I said to just choose some calming music, his response, “How about Hawaiian?” “Sounds great.” So as Colby was allowed to come in just as the surgery started, Bob Marley was singing “One Love” and we had to chuckle at the thought of telling our son he came into the world hearing Bob Marley. I could hear the anticipation, “Skin incision.” they called out. Then, “Uterine incision” and I held my breath… I knew it would be a minute or less now. I heard the little splash of my water breaking (sorry if that’s gross) and heard them say, “Clear fluid” and breathed a little sigh of relief (it’s a nurse thing, I won’t take the time to explain) then the next thing I heard was the feistiest little scream I’ve ever heard in my life! I was so relieved and could hardly stand it. I could hear my coworkers, the team members, calling out everything he was doing (as I requested) so I wouldn’t get scared and he was doing great! Just then, I noticed that the next song had begun to play. It was the Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung by the big guy named Israel (really long Hawaiian last name that I can’t spell). Big tears rolled down my face as the words about being in another world where all my troubles were melting away like lemon drops seemed oh so real at this moment. Looking back, it felt a little like the Wizard of Oz: I was in a familiar place with familiar people, but all the roles were changing and all my worst fears melted away with the sweetest cry in the entire universe. I remember seeing his face and how sweet his little nose was even though the medicine I was taking made it so hard for me to keep my eyes open. I don’t remember much else until about the next 12 hours, but reflecting back on these moments Colby and I have talked about the most prevalent feeling with this whole ordeal was the overwhelming feeling that God was there all along… and it doesn’t get any better than that.