Libby is four years old.
Four years ago I was in a hospital room fighting through a rough labor and delivery, ending what seemed like a two year long pregnancy. The weight off of my chest was astounding.
Chris and I got preganant just a couple of months after our wedding, just after my father had a major stroke. I had severe morning sickness, walking around in a constant state of oh-my-God-I'm-going-to-puke....and we found out soon after that we were expecting twins. Twins. Pregnant with twins after one month of not even really trying, when we didn't know if I'd be able to get pregnant at all. As the morning sickness was just starting to get a little better we learned that these two little nausea-inducing sweet miracles were both girls. Rainey, short for Lorraine, after Chris' mother who passed when he was young. Grace, because we truly believed that our twin girls were a gift...given by the grace of God.
When my belly kept growing and growing, sometimes several inches a day, we thought it was because I was carrying two babies. Having never been pregnant before, we did not know that the growth was abnormal. The doctor did not question it at my last visit. I became increasingly uncomfortable and strangers starting asking if I was overdue. I was 5.5 months pregnant.
I went through three days of labor, going into the hospital only to be sent home. The doctors did not believe that anything was wrong, did not believe that I was in labor or that my girls were in danger. When the doctor decided to examine me before sending me home yet again, he discovered how wrong they had all been. Rainey was right there, in the birth canal. Grace was up higher, floating around in my dangerously large amount of amniotic fluid.
Within a half hour both Rainey and Grace were born, and within another hour they were gone.
There was a funeral and some very dark times.
It took more than six months of trying before we got pregnant again. After considerable prayer the doctor confirmed that there was only one baby. The relief was unmeasurable. I was sick again, but only half as much so. We learned that we were having another girl, and the pregnancy was labeled high risk. When the doctor discovered that I had the same complication that I did with the twins, the already high level of stress skyrocketted.
We had weekly ultrasounds from week 18 on, and two visits to the Neonatologist. After I began having pre-term labor again I was put on medications to stop contractions, which I took every two hours for the remainder of my pregnancy.
The pain and general discomfort of the polyhydramnios coupled with the unbearable stress and still very acute sense of loss made the last half of my pregancy with Libby nearly unbearable.
The doctor agreed to let me have Libby thirteen days before my due date, since she was ready physically and we were so concerned for her safety. With so much extra fluid, she had more room than a baby normally would. That increased the chances of there being a cord accident.
It was a very long and unproductive first half of labor. I progressed, then simply stopped. No amount of medicine was making me dilate. I had a terrible reaction to my epidural, as I have trouble with any type of anesthesia. It caused my blood pressure to drop to nearly nothing. I believe it was 40 over something. I passed out whenever I made the slightest movement. After a lot of doctors running around and yelling 'stat' I made it through the remainder of labor and delivery by keeping my head lower than my feet. Libby came down into the canal, then something happened and she slid back up. The doctor ordered that an OR be readied for my possible cesarean, and gave me a very short deadline. If Libby hadn't come back down in a matter of minutes I was being sent to the OR. She cooperated and the doctor allowed me to start pushing. Because of the epidural issue, I had to push Libby out while laying flat on my back and with my head lower than my feet. She was facing the wrong way and then turned while coming through the canal, therefore causing extreme internal tearing.
Late in the night Libby was finally born, healthy and thriving. The irony was that her cord was abnormally short, making it impossible for her to move around much in the womb. After all of our worry over cord accidents it turned out that not only did her short cord make it very unlikely, but we actually should have been concerned about cord abruption. Isn't it funny how the universe works things out?
The depth and span of emotions I experienced after Libby's birth is impossible for me to describe. It was a long and very painful journey punctuated by one truly miraculous moment. A moment when tears and laughter spilled from deep within me.
It's been a very interesting four years since then, filled with ups and downs. More than anything filled with love. Four years later I am still stunned by the miracles I see when I look at Libby and Amelia, just as I will always be stunned by the depth of sadness I feel when thinking of burrying their big sisters, Rainey and Grace.
But mostly by the depth of my love for all four of my beautiful girls.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Libby is four years old.