Monday, July 27, 2015

Riding Waves of Grace: Joey's Birth Story - PART II

You can find Part I here

Another horrible phone pic, taken in my long-term-stay hospital room, but I wanted to show how much smaller my tummy was after losing all of my water. My previous post has a picture of me at 27 weeks and I look roughly the same size, but I assure you there was a substantial difference.

It was 6:45 on a cloudless Sunday morning. Mark was rifling through the linen closet looking for a towel, I was on the phone with my Mom, already grateful for the first grace: it was early enough that Mom wasn't yet unreachable at church, but late enough that we'd all gotten sleep.

Our conversation was brief as I relayed that my water broke, everywhere. She would be over immediately. Our four other children were fast asleep and would wake to find Grandma here and us gone. I knew they would be confused, but seeing Grandma would put them at ease.

Until this point, I had been very careful not to move, fearful even of reaching for the phone. Not only did I not want to lose any more of the precious fluid, but I was terrified that with any movement, part of my tiny son or his umbilical cord would slip out in a rush of water.

With Mom on her way, it was time to get ready to go. Mark called the hospital to let them know we were on our way with a 30 week rupture. At my request, he grabbed one of Lucy's diapers to help contain the stream still freely flowing.

Dressed in pajamas, clutching my pillow and wearing a diaper-pad, I gingerly made my way downstairs, getting to the front door just as Mom arrived. I don't remember what was said beyond the reassurance of prayers. I recall feeling the jitter of nerves and adrenaline, fearful but calmed by the ignorance of what might come next and by the fact that I was helpless: I was both the participant and an observer.

Our drive to the hospital was pleasant but surreal.  The empty roads and gorgeous sunshine took me back to another Sunday morning seven years prior, when we made a similar drive for Iain's early birth. 35 weeks along with him, my first baby, I was scared and concerned, but not like this. 30 weeks is a different set of scenarios and possibilities. Mark and I sang our song to our son, the same song we've sung at the birth of all of our children: The Lord's My Shepherd. As we sang, tears welled up and rolled down my cheeks. Why and how had this happened? What could I have done? And more importantly, what did this mean for our son?

A nurse was already waiting for us as we walked into the hospital. She led us to a small labor room where I got settled in bed and waited. Since the moment I felt that gush, the only thing I cared about was hearing the galloping sound of my son's heartbeat. It seemed like an eternity before the monitors were placed, as even a 1 second ultrasound was performed to make sure he was head-down, prior to listening for his heartbeat. When I finally heard it, galloping steadily along, I relaxed just a little bit.

While getting into my hospital gown, I had tossed the sodden size 5 diaper in the trash. Between what I lost at home and that dripping diaper, I knew there wasn't much left inside me. I began to worry that the test strip to confirm a rupture would be negative and wasn't in a mood to argue that my son's life was indeed in danger. Fortunately, despite being down to a tiny trickle, it was enough to create a positive test and I was officially there to stay. For how long, I did not yet know.

Part III

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