June 4th was downright the most terrifying day of my life, and it earned that title when the day was only 32 minutes old.
As of three weeks ago, our pregnancy was going about as close to perfect as possible. No big issues, my wife was feeling great, and we were nothing but sunshine and roses about meeting our beautiful baby girl. Then, we went in for one of our prenatal appointments to learn that my wife’s blood pressure was getting pretty high. We were pretty scared. Not knowing if our little angel was at risk and not knowing what was going to happen, our OB sent us across the street to the hospital for some lab work and monitoring to see what was going on.
The next 5 days, from Wednesday 5/28 to Monday 6/2, were ridiculously hectic. Because of crazy high blood pressure (like in the 160 / 100 range) and terrible headaches, my wife landed herself in the hospital every day for those five days. Come monday 6/2, when we went to our scheduled OB appointment, we took a blood pressure reading of 179 / 110. Yikes. We went across the street for more monitoring, like we had done the previous five days, but something was different this time. My wife and I both just seemed to know that this was going to be it, that we were going to be inducing that evening.
When we checked into the hospital, our OB confirmed our thoughts. She determined the best course of action for the safety of our baby and my wife was to induce labor and see if we could get our little princess to arrive with a natural birth.
My mind was running laps on itself, and I was getting lost and confused by my own thoughts.
“It’s too early. She’s just too early. She’s going to be so little! What if she is underdeveloped? What if something goes wrong?” But a funny thing happens in that situation – you get out of your own way and make the most rational decision you can for the safety of those that you love. To protect my wife and my daughter, inducing at 34 1/2 weeks was the best thing to do.
30 hours of pre-labor and labor later, and only at 5 cm dilated, things weren’t progressing and our daughter stopped moving. When she stopped kicking and her heart rate stopped fluctuating, our OB brought to our attention two options – upping the dosage of Pitocin and waiting an hour or so to see if she responded, or electing for a C-section to get her out safely. Without hesitation we elected for the C-section. “Get our daughter here safely.”
I was struck with fear as we wheeled down to the Operating Room, my wife going under the knife and my daughter about to arrive. “God, please deliver them both safely through this. Let them both be safe. Please, let my girls be safe…”
I sat at my wife’s head, holding her hand as they pulled our baby out. Everything seemed to be going well, until my wife started saying she could feel more than she thought she should be able to. Her pain became excruciating, my world began to spin as I tried to sooth her while simultaneously watching the nursing staff struggle to get our daughter to breathe. I didn’t know what to do. All I could muster was a simple “please….” I felt completely and utterly helpless, short of breath, and my heart cried for God’s grace and comfort.
My wife’s screams of agony and pain rang through to my very core, piercing my heart, while my struggling baby’s hand wrapped tightly around my finger. “This is your baby… your daughter…your angel…” my inner voice whispered to me. Thirty minutes of C-PAP later, they made the choice to transfer our baby to Randal’s Children’s Hospital. Her lungs weren’t mature enough yet to sustain themselves. Completely overwhelmed I broke into sobs, being forced to decide between staying with my baby daughter or clinging to my wife’s side. Torn completely in half, one half of my heart on the operating room table and the other half in an incubator on it’s way out the door, I followed my daughter.
As I left the operating room, I saw my dad, and briefly buried my head into his chest. I needed my daddy. I needed that support that had been there all my life. I needed a brief shot of strength, and for him to tell me it would be okay. And he did.
I kissed my wife, told her how much I loved her, that I was going to ride with our daughter and make sure she was okay, and that I would see her soon. She was transferred four hours later to the hospital where our baby was being moved to.
Sweet baby Olivia was on C-PAP for the first four days of her life, but I am overjoyed and thrilled to say that she is off C-PAP, her lungs are operating perfectly well, and she is going to be just fine. It has been the most emotionally taxing, tiring, stressful week of my life, and I know I can say the same thing for my wife. But looking at our little angel, seeing this beautiful little being, feeling the overwhelming and incomparably deep amount of love I have for this girl in the furthest depths of my heart, makes it all worth it. Sweet Olivia is still in NICU, but will be coming home as soon as she is able to fully eat on her own.
My heart overflows with praise to God for what he has done, and for bringing us this beautiful little girl. Was the way she was delivered our plan? Absolutely not. It was terrifying and downright awful and I would never have chosen for things to go this way. But the beautiful thing about God, our loving father, is that His plan is always perfect. I’m not always going to understand His plan, but I absolutely trust that His plan is good, in all things. This situation, these last two weeks, have been for our good. They have helped us grow, and trust, and take responsibility. And in the end, we have a stunning, sweet little bundle of love that we could not possibly adore any more.
1 Peter 1:7 – “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”