By 1:30 am I was being checked for progress. We had reached the halfway mark - Kindof - but each contraction was still proving problematic for my sweet baby. The process would continue as stated above and I would try to sleep only to have my blood pressure alarm wake me up almost every 15 minutes.
By 8 am shift change I begged Melissa to find me a replacement nurse who would be as wonderful as she. Stephenie proved to be yet another godly Christian caretaker who would be by my side with an added level of determination that would prove more than necessary in the coming hours. The doctor came in and said he'd reviewed my contractions and wanted to prepare me for what looked like a necessary c-section. I still felt we had time, thinking I would be able to labor throughout the day and decide later in the afternoon. According to him, though, we would know within the hour. "Why so soon?" He explained labor was simply not agreeing with our baby. She was under too much stress at this point and he doubted strongly she would be able to handle the stress of delivery. He left the room and I lost it.
This wasn't my plan. This wasn't supposed to happen. How could we have come this far only to end up in surgery? How could this be happening? I was upset. Devastated. A thousand thoughts and even more fears racing through my mind. The nurses came in as they were prepping for an imminent c-section. I needed assurance. "Is this absolutely necessary? Is this because I got the epidural?" The nurse who had been with me when I first arrived the day before was now back on duty and explained this was most likely inevitable from the beginning. They assured me it wasn't because of anything I did or didn't do. But I felt like I had failed my little girl. I felt as if my body, which was designed for this, was failing to do its job. Now I would be facing surgery, a completely different delivery and recovery, something I hadn't emotionally prepared for at all.
My husband held me as I cried. I was heart broken, scared, filled with concern. He prayed over me, over our baby, and I slowly came to terms with this new reality as the nurses were quickly putting this plan into motion. They wasted no time to get everything set and shortly after 11 I was being wheeled into the surgery room. The doctor had an emergency c-section just before mine so as he came in and asked if I was ready, I jokingly asked him was he ready. He laughed and said he had a full night's rest and was ready to go. I was embracing it. I had to. There was nothing else I could do. What had been an 18 hour stretched out ordeal was now becoming a whirlwind of activity.
Our dear friend Dianne had come on shift in the NICU that morning so as soon as I knew we were headed for surgery I asked them to call and see if she could be in there with us. Of course God divinely orchestrated this detail for her to be in the delivery room and be the one to take care of Violet as soon as she entered the world.
As they prepped me for surgery and the medicine began taking over my body, I started to shake uncontrollably. They explained it was from the medicine and I felt certain it was coupled with my nerves. I was complete numb from the chest down. They raised the curtain near my head but I could see a slight reflection of my belly in the lreflective light above me. Thoughts were racing through my mind. Michael was not yet in there while they had him change into scrubs and the surgical team continued their prep. I needed something to hold onto. "Lord, be with me. Be with us. Protect my baby girl." I prayed to myself. All I could think of was in a few minutes we would meet our daughter. Violet Hope. "May the God of HOPE fill you with all PEACE and JOY as you trust in Him." It was the verse for her namesake and I clung to it. Over and over I repeated it in my mind.
Finally my husband came in. "Calm me down," I asked him, "I can't stop shaking." This man...he proved to be my ROCK. I cannot express how thankful I am for him and his calm and steady presence, his spirit in tune with the Lord, his desire to love and take care of me. I never knew how much I could love someone until walking through this with him. He put his head near mine and caressed my face. He told me everything would be fine. He reminded me of our daughter we would soon meet.
And just like that they had begun. I'll spare you some of the memories I have of the surgery. I didn't feel anything but I chose when to divert my eyes and when to look at that small reflection in the overhead light. The anasteologist got Michael's attention, "It's time to meet your daughter." He looked up above the curtain and saw our baby girl now removed from my body. I looked into the epreflection desperate for a glimpse. All I could see was a very twisted umbilical cord. But that's when I heard it. The immediate cry of my daughter being pulled from my womb and now entering the world.
"11:53" I heard someone say. She was here! She was crying. She was alive. She was ours. She was immediately passed to Dianne and I told Michael to go be with her. He was torn between comforting me and being with her. He came back a few moments later to show me her pictures. I couldn't stop the tears. "Please wipe my eyes," I asked. Just a few more moments and they were putting her beside me, then on my chest. I could barely move my arms and I was so overwhelmed with emotion but I clung to her the best I could and kept repeating "She's beautiful. She perfect. She's here."
While I was being sewn up, Michael went with our baby girl back to the labor and delivery room. Nana and Papa were there waiting to catch a glimpse of her. Within 20-30 minutes I was wheeled into the room and reunited with my husband and baby girl. The nurse asked if I wanted her bathed and as I watched her get her bath and heard the nurse exclaim "She's pooping!" As I was slowly regaining feeling, I was then able to have my baby girl placed on my chest. Finally. Reunited. Skin to skin. Me and my baby. The one I felt move and kick and hiccup inside me all those months. The one I carried with me every hour, every minute, now finally in my arms.
This is her story. I couldn't have planned or predicted it when I was writing and wondering about the circumstances and timing of her birth just a few weeks ago. Now here we stand one week after her birth and I am in awe of God and how He prepared everything. But mostly how He's blessed us with this picture of His grace and love and goodness. We've missed her face with thousands of kisses. We've unapologetically snapped hundreds of photos. Make no mistake - this is our miracle. The life we now hold in our arms is the culmination of years of prayers and a masterpiece in the making that neither Michael nor I could have ever seen in the midst of our valleys years ago. She is the picture of God's poured out blessings upon His children who wait and trust Him. It is not how He answers every prayer but we look upon our sweet Violet Hope and know this is how He answered us.
So many of you have shared in our journey. You cried with us over the baby we lost. You've rejoiced with us over this tiny miracle we now hold. You've prayed for our family, for our sweet Eli, and prayed us through so many other trials. So we share her birth story with you to share one thing: this happened so that many would give Praise and Thanks to the Lord. He is good. His mercies are abundant. His love is lavished on us. And in this little bundle of joy we've seen Him manifest Himself to us in tangible ways. Thank you for sharing in this journey, and enduring all the pictures we post! Today we celebrate Violet's first week of life and we ask you to join with us in giving thanks where thanks is due.