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Let the Healing Begin!

Saturday, May 19 2012

After singing “Happy Birthday” to our precious Sephora, I held her in my arms wrapped in her warm blankets all night.  My nurse came every hour to check my vitals, just to make sure I was getting better.  Each time she came in, I also had her listen to Sephora’s heart and lungs as well.  I had noticed I was hearing her tiny little cry a little less than I had when she was born, which we were told would eventually begin to happen.  Her breathing had slowed, and her heart was still beating.  I just held her close to me and sang to her some more.  I really did my best to keep her warm.  The next hour came, as did my nurse…she listened to my heart and lungs and then to Sephora’s.  She looked at me slowly with very sad and loving eyes, and told me she could no longer hear any heart or breath sounds.  I immediately turned to Chris who was laying on the cot next to me, shook my head, and began to cry.  She had passed peacefully in my arms, and I hadn’t even realized it.  The nurse called the NICU doctor in who took Sephora back to the bassinet in the room so he could get a good listen as well.  Our little Sephora had passed at 2:50am.  They wrapped her back up and handed her back to me.  I held her all night as I tried to sleep.  Sleep never came to me that night.

We had so many visitors today.  I still wasn’t feeling very well because of the magnesium they were still giving me to help to combat the high blood pressure from the Preeclampsia and HELP Syndrome, so we really tried to time our guests’ arrival and departure very carefully.  My best friend, Annette, and some of my family spent most of the day with us on Saturday.  I was in and out of sleep most of the day, but it was nice knowing they were in the room while I slept.  The magnesium I was on made me feel like I had the flu, so I was extremely hot and nauseous for the 48 hours they had it running through my IV.  Because I felt this way, I needed to have my room as cold as it could possibly get, and all of my guests were frozen while they visited in my room.  I thought it was so funny, because they all were asking the nursing staff for blankets to wrap themselves in.

At 9:30pm, my parents finally arrived to meet our precious little Sephora for the first time (as they had just arrived from overseas).  After we had found out the diagnosis, my mom decided she was going to get a tattoo of Sephora’s feet with her name somewhere on her leg.  As soon as she walked into our room, the first words out of her mouth were, “Holy crap!  Her feet are huge!”  I hadn’t laughed so hard in days!!!  Danielle and Susan, coworkers from my job, also stopped by around 10:30pm to have a quick visit and to hold Sephora.  They brought 3 cards from everyone that I work with.  When we opened the final card, it was filled with money–so freely given by them and greatly appreciated.  Thank you to everyone who blessed us this day.  Your encouragement, love, and blessings mean more to us than you’ll ever fathom.

Isaiah 66 12-13

For this is what the LORD says:
“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and held on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

I love this image of God as a compassionate mother, caring for her child in good times and bad. It has been important for me to remember that God loves us always, and we don’t experience loss because He does not care for us. Our pain is His.  Love and peace can rise out of even the most overwhelming sense of grief.

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Sephora’s Birthday

Friday, May 18, 2012 ~ Happy Birthday Sephora Angeline

When they made the decision to take my husband and I back for a c-section, I looked at my nurse and begged for her to get the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” photographer (an organization of professional photographers who artistically document babies who have an early terminal diagnosis at or before birth) here as quickly as she could.  Diane, the photographer, arrived within 20 minutes of calling her, and she stayed with us for 4 hours!  The medical staff took us back around 10pm to the operating room.  I drank an “anti-nausea” something or other as they put my blue cap on my head and wheeled me in to the OR.  The bed ride made me nauseous, and I ended up throwing up the “anti nausea” drink that I’d had minutes before arriving.  The staff helped to sit me up and gave me a stool to rest my feet on as they began to prepare me for the epidural before the procedure.  After they put the medicine in my back, my feet began to feel warm almost instantly.  This is when they helped to turn me back around and lay me on the flat bed in the room.  I was draped with all of the blue curtains and given oxygen.  It only took a few minutes for the spinal to take effect, and my body was numb enough to start the procedure.  At this point, Chris finally was allowed to come in and sit next to me.  He held my hand from the moment he sat down…I remember squeezing it so hard, not because I was in pain, but because of my nerves and the intensity of the moment.  I could feel the doctors squeeze, tug, and pull…nothing was painful.  As the time got closer to getting to Sephora, they told me I’d feel a lot of pressure.  I don’t believe I actually did though.  I did however, feel them grab and turn her.  She was laying sideways across my belly, for the past few weeks of my pregnancy.  I literally felt them turn her vertically.  I remember looking at Chris and saying, “Here she comes!”  …and they lifted her out.  Sephora Angeline was born at 10:25pm.  She weighed 3 pounds 9 ounces, 16 inches long, and she was perfect!  Chris was able to cut her umbilical cord, and then he went over to the table where Sephora was laying with the nurse and NICU doctor.  When Chris stood up to leave me, one of my midwives sat down next to me and grabbed my hand.  She told me how beautiful our little Sephora was.  The nurse and doctor gave her a tiny bit of oxygen and decided to clean her off just enough to wrap her up, hand her to Chris, and bring her over to me to hold.  At this moment, I didn’t know that the medical staff felt she only had a few minutes before she would pass as she had not started breathing, at first, when her cord was severed.  I was just in awe of our beautiful baby girl.  I sang “You Are My Sunshine” to her as I held her.  It wasn’t my best performance, but I sang it to her every day while she was in my tummy, and I was determined to sing it to her so she could hear me sing it again.

Her cry was so sweet…and she cried for a few hours.  It reminded me of a little whimper and squeak.  What a soothing sound to hear our beautiful baby cry.  They moved us from the OR to the recovery room where Sephora began to pink up a little bit and cry some more.  We’d already been given more time with her than all of the medical staff had ever thought we’d be blessed enough to get.  Slowly, our visitors started coming back to visit us in groups of 2.  After all 15 of them had come back to visit, they decided we were stable enough to be moved to our room.  When we got settled, we moved Sephora from my arms to my belly, and gave her a sponge bath.  We dressed her in the one outfit we’d purchased for her that read “Daddy’s Girl” on the chest and passed her around to the family and friends that had stayed just so we all could cuddle and love her for as long as we could.  Before all of our guests left for the evening, I asked if we all could sing “Happy Birthday” to our Beautiful Angel.  It was the most beautiful and tender moment I’ve ever felt in my life.  Our singing even quieted Sephora’s sweet little cry.

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:1-4)

Our Battle With Preeclampsia

Friday, May 18, 2012 ~ 32 Weeks 3 Days ~ Part 1

After dinner on Thursday evening, I had the most awful heartburn ever which made breathing very difficult.  From 10:30pm until 5am, I was up walking around the house just trying to stay calm and breathe easier.  I thought just maybe I’d gotten a small case of food poisoning.  At 5am, I finally was able to lay down and slept until 8am.  I got out of bed and walked around because I was feeling better, but not 100%.  Chris decided I should call my doctors just as a precausion, which I did…and they got me in for an appointment at 1pm.  I had laid on the couch most of the morning until it was time for my appointment.  I even tried to eat a little bit of lunch, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to eat more than 2 bites.

My brother took me in to the doctor’s office and waited with me until they called me back.  They tested my urine, checked my weight, and took my blood pressure.  Very quickly I’d learned I had severe amounts of protein in my urine, I’d gained another 5 pounds, and my pressure was 160/112!  All I knew at this point was, NONE OF THIS WAS GOOD NEWS!!!  The midwife came in and said she was going to send me to triage to be monitored further.  We headed to triage, heard Baby Sephora’s heartbeat on the monitors for the few hours we were there, and had blood work done.  When the blood work results came back, the nurse looked at me with a very concerned look in her eyes and told me we were staying.  The pressure I had been feeling in my back and chest, was actually caused by liver pain.  My liver enzymes were through the roof, which is why my protein levels were so high.  This also caused my blood platelets to go down and my pressure to skyrocket.  They gave me an IV to run magnesium through me so my pressure wouldn’t get so high that it would cause me to have seizures.  The side effects from the magnesium were not fun.  It made me feel like I had the flu…I was really hot, nauseus, really puffy from fluid, and sleepy while it was in…and I had to have it running through me for 48 hours!!!  Needless to say, I was not very happy.

At 8pm, they came to my room and did another round of blood work to see if the magnesium had caused a change for the better in any of my numbers.  We got the results back at 9:30pm and everything in my body was getting worse!  We were notified that we’d be taken back for an emergency c-section, because the only cure for preeclampsia is delivery.  I immediatley looked at Chris and cried.  We’re only 32 weeks.  Her lungs aren’t ready.  I AM NOT READY!!!  I didn’t have a choice.  I was really sick due to the preeclampsia, and this was going to be her birthday.

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”