(ps…this is long)
You are one of His good and perfect gifts to us Elizabeth. Truly. And here is the rest of the story, with plenty of details just for you.
The experience of your birth from start to finish was incredibly surreal; we had no plan, instead we drank deeply every minute, experiencing it whole.
It was just an ordinary night at our house. We had went about our day, I remember going for a really long walk, hoping you would come soon. And for dinner, because I was craving spicy food, we ate the best enchiladas ever. And afterwards we did what we usually did…watched some tv in each others company. And after some time, while I was falling asleep on the couch I felt a pop in my tummy. I thought you kicked me. But when I stood up, there was no denying it. I knew. Deep in my heart, I knew. You were coming soon.
This wasn’t the ideal timing…Daddy had a busy Friday…he was not prepared. You were 2 weeks and 1 day early. I looked at Daddy and said “I think my water broke” to which he replied “No it didn’t.” But that night, as we stood in the bathroom, eyes gazing at what was before us, our hearts and minds slowly comprehended reality. There was water everywhere, just like in the movies and there was no stopping it. You were coming. And at 11 pm on the eave of your birth, we called the Doctor, showered, gathered our things, and went to the hospital. We called and woke up Grandma and Grandpa Winter to tell them the news and Grandma Krueger, and Nana and Papa. They were all very excited that you were on your way! The whole way to the hospital we just kept saying “I can’t believe this is really happening.” For someone who was falling asleep, I was wide awake now.
We watched the stars shimmer in the dark night as we pulled into the parking lot and checked ourselves in. We knew right where to go since we had been to the Maternal Fetal Center before. It all seemed so surreal since I was not in labor; or so I thought. They checked me over and I was 4cm, 80% effaced. What?
We tried staying put in our room but we were antsy we walked the halls, joked with the nurses, and finally settled into our room, laughing that only infomercials were on tv. We tried to sleep, Daddy succeeded which was good because I really liked the silence. I was focused on meeting you. The nurses left us alone for the most part and it was in the silence that we watched the
day dawn, beautiful golden hues painted across the sky, signaling the day of your birth.
It was now around 4 am and they came in and checked on my progress; 6-7 cm. This spurred us on, things were progressing and with it the intensity of the contractions grew. Daddy was the best coach and labor partner…he knew just what to do and say to keep me going. The other thing that helped was in the silence my phone quietly played the music for worship, creating a background of praise. But what really kept us going was that my doctor was coming on call at 7 am that morning. We were so blessed to hear that news; we weren’t sure considering it was a weekend!
And as the hours passed by inching closer to 7 am, the pain grew stronger, contractions still every 2-4 minutes apart but I was still a 7. And we found out that mommy’s doctor was running late. The nurses were worried that my bag of water had reattached and that was the reason for the stalling, though that was not the case. It was around this time that I grew weary. I just wanted to see my Doctor…we thought for sure your entrance was at hand. But for whatever reason things began to slow down. Contractions grew further apart. And when Dr. Flom came in the room, relief flooded me. She would know just what to do. Little did I know there were still 6 more hours left. At this point we had been laboring for 8 hours.
I was so happy that we had taken our birthing class. When the options for pain came at us we knew just what to expect, what our options were, and our decisions going forward got easier because of it. When we checked in 8 hours prior, we knew we wanted to go as naturally as possible for as long as possible. And because of that I was allowed to stay in my own clothes all the way through delivery. Best decision. But by 9:30 am, mommy was tired, hungry and the Doctor wanted to get things moving. I could tell she was getting antsy, wanting to get you out. You had been in the birth canal for quite some time. At this point with labor stalled and the contractions getting incredibly intense but growing further apart, pitocin seemed like a logical next step. After much deliberation between the two of us we agreed with the Doctor and on it I went. The intensity that followed was the worst of what I had felt thus far. I was freezing cold and began feeling nauseous. I felt the worst pain all along when I was sitting in bed and every time they checked me I grimaced knowing what was in store. So with the pitocin drip in, staying in bed was a reality I didn’t like. I tried the birthing ball, which I loved all along, but the monitors just wouldn’t stay on. With the pain so intense, we quickly decided to try a little pain relief so that I could rest. Up until this point I had slept only an hour total maybe. So we gave the systemic drugs a try to allow mommy to rest; I was so tired. It helped me rest but after two tries, the pain was growing more intense. And yet, things weren’t going fast enough.
The pitocin kept increasing as my contractions continued to grow further apart…they needed them to speed up. And slowly they did. By 11 am things were really intense. All of my contractions were in my upper thighs and the only thing that helped was intense counter pressure from daddy. I’m sure his arms were exhausted by the time you arrived but he never once complained. Neither did I. For you were on your way. And Elizabeth, around 11:30 am I decided to get an epidural. And what do you know, in less than 10 minutes I progressed to a 10. We were ready to push!
It was now around 12:15pm, the day of your birth and the epidural gave me such relief. I’m now definitely an advocate. You see, up until then, I had been silent 90% of the time, just focusing on breathing through, meeting you. I’m sure Daddy was very happy to have a conversation with me after 12 long hours of labor! And conversation we had. It seemed our room turned into a party with all the nurses and the doctor in there. Everyone was bustling about as you labored down on your own. After an hour, it was time to really push. I couldn’t feel my contractions right away but as the hour drew to a close I could tell when they were coming. And during this time we learned, due to daddy’s curiosity, just how amazing God made our bodies. Did you know Elizabeth that while you were in the womb you breathed through the umbilical cord with certain valves to your lungs closed. And the minute you pass through the birth canal, some valves close and others open allowing your lungs to provide you with breath. That is the work of God, His fingers are all over that!
With the epidural, I was totally present during pushing. The nurses were trying to guess your name based on a few clues from Daddy and I…they were stumped but Dr. Flom guessed it without even batting an eye. You were named before you came, in those last moments. Elizabeth Mae.
And as the minutes drew to a close, I could sense your entrance into the world, I could take it all in, fully. And as the final pushes drew near, everyone cheering you on, I felt your life flow out of me and then you were on my chest, covered in vernix and beautiful. And daddy’s mouth went straight to praise, thanking Him for you, as the tears flowed from our eyes. You were here. You were perfect. You were ours.
And Elizabeth, that moment, was awe inspiring. I cannot even explain the emotions…we are blessed. You changed our lives forever. You make us better. You, Elizabeth, are our miracle. And we love you through and through.
And just moments later, they took you, weighed you, wiped you off. I think they were a little worried about you after such a long time heading on out…but after you were all cleaned up they gave you to daddy for skin to skin. They were still working on getting mommy all fixed up…it was incredible to watch you meet your daddy. And ever since the two of you have had a special bond…he loves you so completely.
We thank Him for you Elizabeth Mae, our girl, we love you so much! I wouldn’t change a thing about your birth…no regrets, no I wish we would haves. What would be the point, we only wanted to meet you.