When I start to feel overwhelmed with motherhood I think about Elaina’s birth story and all of the little miracles and victories within it. God is good all the time!
On Saturday and Sunday night September 29/30 I couldn’t sleep. I was itching all over. I tried a bath in baking soda, I tried creams and a shower, cool cloths… nothing helped. On Sunday night about 11 pm I called my midwife voicemail. Severe itching was a symptom of liver cholestasis, a common pregnancy complication which can be quite risky for the baby. My liver enzymes had been up and down in blood tests and I had been symptom free up till that night so no intervention had been done.
After I made the call I was able to sleep in peace. “You will receive help, you did the right thing” I heard in my heart.
Monday morning October 1. I felt an expectancy for something. I had been all nests for the last week. Nursery was done and my hospital bag was packed. The night before Forest and I both had a sense of restlessness and anticipation.
The midwife called. “How soon can you come to the hospital? We need to do a lot of tests.”
I went expecting to spend the day there and maybe making plans for later in the week.
Elaina’s heart was happy during the non stress test but my urine was very dark an liver enzymes were high.
”We are going to admit you overnight and do more tests in the morning” the OB said.
Flash back to the spring when I was vomiting out of control and begging to be admitted overnight and now when I didn’t expect it here I was. Lol.
Poor Forest got quite the phone call at work! But he was supernaturally peaceful and ready to go and came with my already packed hospital bag. Miracle #1
We each spent a lonely night missing each other. I was up again with itching which was almost a relief because you know how sometimes your symptoms disappear when you see the doctor? At least I knew this was real.
A day of blood tests and a liver ultrasound. I told the tech that they have quite the skillful eyes to make heads or tails out of grey squiggles and shadows.
Blood test confirmed cholestasis and induction was scheduled for the following day. I felt a great amount of peace and affirmation. I had done the right thing. My baby would be okay. If a baby stays in the womb too long with cholestasis it can be life threatening for them. Miracle #2
The next day, Wednesday October 3, the OB and midwife described a gel that I would be given to prepare my body for labour. The process could take up to 3 days to work and there were side effects to watch out for. I was feeling anxious about that. Possible 3 days of labour? In the emergency of cholestasis? At home watching for side effects? Lord, help!
Before putting the gel in they had to do an exam and here was miracle #3: “your cervix is thin and you are already 2-3 cm dilated. No gel needed, your body is ready!”
So upstairs we went to Labour and delivery for the oxytocin IV.
Miracle #4 is that I didn’t feel pain for the first few hours of labour. The nurses and doula couldn’t believe it… “you are at maximum oxytocin and you’re feeling fine?! What a pain tolerance you have!”
It was nice of them to say that but it raisss my expectations for a very easy
pain free labour. About 5-6 hours in the pain hit me like a brick wall… so intense!
I wanted to scream but screaming made me scared and sad so I tried singing and yodelling and making low strange noises that sound kind of like a cow mooing.
laughing has helped a bit mostly because it made me focus on my breathing.
I wanted to run away but how could I run away from my own body? Like the kids song “going on a lion hunt”… “can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, gotta go through it!” No way out but through the pain..
I called for my mom. “It’s too early” they said, “I need my mom!” I replied. Soon she was there with her reassuring smile. She had done this for me. I could do it for my daughter.
I remembered when I was living with her and my dad on Quadra that Mom would often pray in tongues over me, a special language given by the Holy Spirit.
With each contraction I tried praying in tongues and I felt so much peace and almost not pain. Miracle #5.
Forest was amazing at holding my hand, breathing and obliging when I said, “I need a kiss!” He was the only one who could do that!
Our doula Edith was amazing at keeping me drinking fluids and eating electrolyte popsicles and massaging my back.
The nurses monitored baby and spoke encouraging words. It was a team effort.
Soon all of the strategies ran their course though and the pain was overwhelming.
Epidural time. “It doesn’t work for a percentage of people” the Anesthesiologist said. “But we will give it a try”.
She patiently worked between contractions and I quickly started to feel relief. The urge to scream became a need to just breathe and then just a feeling of pressure. Miracle #6.
“Let’s all take a nap” the midwife said. I was 5 cm dilated. Still a ways to go.
1 hour later I was full dilated. Another hour and I was ready to push. I could already see a bit of her head. “Wow!” The doula said, “Often people push for about an hour before they see the head!” miracle #7.
I had no idea how to push. I would breathe out and push but then breathe in long and baby retreated. I had to learn to breathe in quick and breathe out long.
An hour later she was still bobbing around my pelvis bone and her heart rate, which had been so steady and joyful Thad we added Joy as one of her middle names, was beginning to drop. “We need to talk to the OB…” the midwife was saying.
”What’s going on?” I asked.
”You might need some help.. forceps or if she comes out a little more a vacuum…”
My mind instantly went to the story of my friend’s brain damage from a vacuum delivery. No! My mind screamed.
For the next few minutes while waited for the OB I pushed with all my might.
And miracle #8! “Out of the forceps zone” my supporters cried. Then, “out of the OB zone!”
”So… why did you call me?” The OB said on arrival,
It took almost 2 hours to push the head and one push for the rest and suddenly there was a healthy pink baby on my chest. The Pediatrician was on call because of some meconium in the fluid but he was not needed. He did give us a little hat with a hand drawn sharpie Snoopy. Miracle #9
And the best miracle of all… #10 welcoming our precious daughter into the world. Elaina Rose Joy Shaojun!