Val, my sister in law, did an excellent job writing about Rachel's arrival day! I just want to add some personal details to the story...
I slept well the night before! I got up around 4:30am to have a light breakfast before my pre-surgery fast. Then I went back to bed and slept till 9am! Thank-you to those who prayed - God gave me alot of peace that night. I woke up to a song going over and over in my head. Rich Mullins sings "Hold me Jesus. Cuz I'm shaking like a leaf. You have been King of my glory. Won't you be my prince of peace?" I think it was in my mind right until the time they put the spinal in my back. Then I was a bit distracted;) This song really did help me to focus on Him. I so needed His peace that day!
By 10:45am, most of our family had arrived and Levi and Wilma Smoker, our Pastors, prayed for us before we left for the Hospital. It was so strange to get into the van with David and know that we would soon meet our baby girl. So many unknowns lay ahead. While we waited for the elevator on the Main floor of the Hospital, I read a plaque that said "In here, birth and death occur." and then something about their respect for both. I remember how my gut hurt to read that, thinking that perhaps in our situation, both would happen at once and I prayed that God would give us time with Rachel.
In Labor and Delivery, we were brought to a private room. It was a place where women give birth to still-born babies. I wondered if someone I have just recently gotten to know had been in that room. I felt sadness but surprisingly, I also felt a sense of peace. I don't know how to explain this except to say that it could only have come from God. I knew that one friend was fasting for me at the time - and I later heard of another. Thank-you!!
We didn't have to wait long for surgery. Ours was only postponed by 1/2 hour. After that everything seemed to go so fast. The spinal made me really sick though and at one point, Dave was really concerned about me. I couldn't respond to him except to slowly squeeze his hand. I remember thinking how disppointed I was that Rachel would be born while I felt so awful and I might miss the moment completely. Then some anti-nausea drug was given to me and I perked right up. Not long after, Rachel was lifted up over the sheet so we could see her and my first thought was "She's so tiny!) She was cleaned up very quickly - because of her situation, she was given to me almost right away. They told us she was 4 lbs and 12 ounces. I remember asking Dave "Is she moving?" and He said "yes, i see her arm waving". We heard her mewing. Than she was ours and Dave put her cheek next to mine. That's when I felt so shaky with emotion - any of you women who have had the blessing of giving birth know what that's like..but in addition to that, I felt a deep relief that she was alive - and also a deep deep sadness because this was so very different than my previous birth experiences.
After that I was sewn up and wheeled back into the private room we had been in previously. I remember saying outloud (not sure if I was talking to anyone in particular) "It was worth it. It was worth everything just to meet her.". We soaked Rachel in. Her plentiful hair was parted nicely down the middle - and it still is 2 weeks later. Her little nose crooked to the right side. I thought she looked so much like Ethan had when he was born. I tried to nurse. She was so weak and I knew right away that things were different. Our Doula, Tamara, was with us from the start - she watched the section and later sat with us while we waited for our family to arrive. Thank-you Tamara!! Once our family got there - a few hours later? (honestly, i had no sense of time) our Cardiologist arrived and did the echo.
As we watched her do the echo, I prayed constantly - let her find nothing wrong. I still believed that God could do a miracle. But instead she informed us that there were actually additional problems to what had been diagnosed prenatally. I felt again at that moment that God was saying 'No. It has to be this way. But I will carry you through. Trust me.'
Well, that's basically it! From there I was taken to Postpartum. We did get a private room and Dave was allowed to wheel in a stretcher each night. It was a small room and a bit cramped but i was so glad to have his help in the night. I may have said this but I want to say this again - everyone was so incredibly considerate and respectful of our situation, both during the pregancy, and through our whole Hospital experience. I am so grateful for these beautiful people!
Welcome here Rachel! We love you. We will never forget the day you were born.