Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Come As You Are..... (Ellis's birth story part 2 & 3)

So funny thing, I've been trying to get this post written for almost ten months..oops. I wrote the first part in May and just finished up...

Part One:

I have been meaning to do this second post for five months now... That's life with three kids I guess. I'm tired. In the evenings, I don't want to come up with witty anecdotes for the blog, I need to preserve all my mental prowess to be able to beat my husband when we farkle for who has to do the night feeding!

Not to mention, this second half is quite emotional so it has taken me a while to get it all out.

Where was I? ....So Slade gets to the hospital where I am now getting ready to deliver. Six weeks early or 33 weeks and 6 days. We call the fam to let them know that baby H #3 is on the way.
We have good people. They all dropped what they were doing and headed to the Falls.

After I was settled in, Mom and Dad go back to the house to continue moving us in, so we would have a home to take this baby to. Stressful? Nah.

I later found out that some of my sweet friends also went over and unpacked my boys rooms, brought baby clothes, and a myriad of other things. Like I said, we have good people.

Lindsey Lunn comes in the room with Slade and I, and is writing down name options on the nurses white board and the three of us are basically trying to name the baby. See? Totally prepared.

Mandy gets there and checks me. When she does, she says, "you have GOT to be kidding me!"
Just what you want to hear when you are unexpectedly having a baby. She looks up, grimaces, and drops the third bomb of the day, "I feel the foot, baby is breech."
Oh, for the love..

So to re-cap, I've been surprised with, "Actually, we need you to go to the hospital for 'monitoring'." Followed by, "Nevermind, you are having a baby."
And now, "Baby is breech" (meaning possible c-section) and... it's not even noon.

I had a sono the day before and baby was head down. I'm then thinking this has got to be a girl, she's already a diva.

Next the words every pregnant woman wants to hear, "We've got to turn the baby."
Do what?
Like while it's still in there?
No thanks.
You know when you ask, "Does this hurt?" and no one will make eye contact with you, that things are about to get dicy.

I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't the most comfortable thing I've ever done, but, I would say having a baby naturally still takes the cake for worst pain of my life (thanks, Knox.)
After baby was manually turned, the problem was, I had so much amniotic fluid that it wouldn't stay head down. Baby just kept kind of floating and bouncing around in there and we couldn't break my water until it came down.

Finally, after hours, Mandy broke my water. It was one of the most glorious feelings ever.
I had so much fluid (top 5 most she's ever seen... Awesome) that I was miserable.
After the resiovoir was drained, I swear my stomach went down a foot. I kept saying, "You mean I would have looked like this if I didn't have so much fluid!?!" My dad came in, and thought I had already had the baby.

Now the fun part, hurry up and wait.
We had the whole gang in the room with me by this point, and I was happy to have the distraction. It was crazy, I was having this baby way too early, I suspected I was a little sicker than anyone was letting on, but, I had an amazing peace. I could literally feel people praying for me and my baby. I can't describe it or explain it. I wasn't stressed, emotional, or scared. It was just peace.

About 11:45pm, I knew it was go time. I like to have my babies in the middle of the night, after a LOOONNNGGG day,  so everyone is super thrilled when I finally have them!
I was trying to have her on the 20th, because I liked the nice even number, but in true Linds fashion, nothing went as planned.
I wanted Mom to stay in the delivery room with Slade and I, and then I asked Lindsey Lunn to take some pictures and video when we found out if it was a boy or girl.

I do remember ALL the people filing in when it was "go time."
I mean seriously, are this many people really medically necessary?
I swear they invited the kitchen staff and cleaning crew of the hospital in to watch.

One male nursing student who had been with me most of the evening was standing to my right. He also had on a full face of makeup. I was actually torn between focusing on birthing a child, and wanting to ask him how his foundation was so flawless.
I mean hell, he had a front row seat to my lady bits, the least he could do was give me some contouring secrets.

I went with the former, and asked him if he had ever seen a live birth before. His response, "No, you are my first."
I have no idea what came over me, but I looked at him and said, "Well, welcome to my delivery. These are all of my lady parts and I'm about to push a giant baby out of them."
He just kind of stared at me and then looked at Mandy, like "Is she kidding or just completely nuts?" At that point, little bit of both.

After a few pushes, here came baby. I kept telling Slade in between pushes, "We should have found out the sex. This is just too many shocks for one day, even completely sane people would think this is too much!"

Next came my favorite phrase of the day......"It's a GIRL!!!!!" I fell back on the bed and said, "OH, THANK GOD! I couldn't take any more surprises today."

She was perfection. She was a girl. She was teeny-ish. She was mine.

Part Two:

At 12:46 am, Elizabeth Slade "Ellis" Hodges came into the world. She weighed 6 pounds and 1 once and was 20 inches long with a full head of black hair.

The let me see her, give her a little kiss and by 1:00 am, she was in the NICU.

Then reality set in,  and came crashing down.
All my plans of doing skin to skin and bonding with my baby, or holding her while introducing her to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends were no longer possible. Letting her brothers meet her where they could see and hold her was just not going to happen.

Finally at 4:00 am, we got to go in the NICU and see our girl.
Sweet girl was hooked to every monitor there is, and had a CPAP breathing for her because her little lungs just weren't ready. She was breathing so hard, gasping for air, and thats when I lost it.
It was too much.
The guilt, the exhaustion, the fear and the shame all just came crashing down. I couldn't hold her and tell her how sorry I was that I got sick and she had to come early.
I couldn't hold her and calm her down so she wouldn't try so hard to breathe.
I couldn't hold her and tell her how much I loved her and how badly I wanted her, and if I could have taken her place, I would have.
I couldn't even touch her really because they didn't want to stimulate her.
Hell, I couldn't really even see what she looked like, because the CPAP took up most of her face.

The next few days were rough. The Doc told us she would probably have to be in there 3-4 weeks and I didn't get to hold her for almost two days and when I finally did, I could only hold her for an hour.
On day two, she got jaundice, so they brought in the equivalent of a baby tanning bed for her, complete with little goggles.
Diva, did you say?

Poor girl couldn't have a bath because it would stimulate her too much, so her black hair was all matted, she was orange and now she was tanning. I started calling her baby Snooki.
I kept telling her  I needed her to lighten up a little, or I was going to have to get a terrible spray tan just to take her home because no one would believe she was mine.

After five days in the hospital, it was time for me to be released.
 Here's the kicker, my baby wasn't released and I was. How am I supposed to leave her here?
This sweet baby has been part of me for the last 33 weeks and some change, and now you want me to just leave her?
It felt like I was leaving a body part at the hospital.
I was actually...
my heart.

I won't sugar coat it and say I held it together, I also will spare you the gory details of a mother having to leave the hospital, without her baby. I was a broken woman.

We got home and everything was well...a cluster.
I wanted to go home, like to my house we moved out of, because that was home. I didn't want to come to a house I had never spent the night in and had boxes everywhere.
I wanted to go home... with my baby, and I couldn't.
I remember Slade saying, go take a shower and change into fresh clothes and I started crying because I had no idea where any of my pants or underwear were. Thats how together I was, people.
Oh, did I mention we were in the middle of icemageddon 2015? Oh yes, it was solid ice outside.

I loved being home with my boys and getting to properly love on them, and they were so excited about their new rooms, but how could I feign delight when my heart was broken? How do I explain to them that equal parts of me want to stay and love on them and then the other part wants to literally sprint back up to the hospital?

I went back to the hospital that evening for the night feeding, and when I was on my way, I ran through McDonalds to get an iced tea.
When I was in line, David Crowder's 'Come As You Are' came on the radio.
That was the catalyst for what might be my largest emotional explosion to date.
I lost my shit.
In the drive-thru.
Of McDonalds.
There is no way the sweet woman at the window had any idea what she was getting into when she said, "Do you want fries with that?"

I made it thru without causing an international incident, but then pulled over in the parking lot. The words coming out of my speakers were this...

Come out of sadness
From wherever you've been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can't heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You're not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

You know what?

 I did just that. I came as I was.
 In the McDonalds parking lot.
 I had the most honest "come to Jesus" that I have in a long time. I completely gave it over. 
My guilt, my shame, the urge to control the situation, and most importantly, my girl. 
The girl I had wanted and prayed for, for so long. 
I can't describe it, and it's not like I had this major "moment" afterward, but slowly things started to seem a little more manageable. 
Ellis's hospital stay provided me the opportunity to get my house put together without a newborn underfoot. I got a little more one-on-one time with each of my boys, in what surly was a very chaotic time in their little lives. 
It provided Slade and I some time to rest after what had been a very crazy few weeks. 
No, it wasn't what we would have chosen, but God used it to provide what we needed. 
No, it wasn't easy to parent three children in two locations, but we did it. 
Ellis could not have been better taken care of. The nurses were more than I could have hoped for. 

After 14 days, our sweet girl got to come home. The boys were in complete awe of her. They are still completely and utterly smitten with her. She completed our family. My heart is full. 

I can write about this now because this girl, the one I longed for, and she busted out of me too early....she is a HAPPY, HEALTHY, BEAUTIFUL, (bit of a diva) almost 10 month old. 
Those delays they told me would come at 6 months? None. Not a one. 
We are actually in the 98% for height and weight. 

She is my joy, my little miracle, the part of my heart I didn't know was missing, and most importantly, a daily reminder of God's faithfulness.