January 20, 2017

The prelude to a birth story.

This post was written January 3, 2017.

I ended 2016 off with a post about the year's high and lows. I started 2017 off with my water breaking 5+ weeks before my February 7 due date. Sitting in the hospital, trying to keep baby girl in until the 36 week point I've had the chance to do some more reflection.

God has thrown some serious curve balls in our direction these past three years. "You're worried about whether you should move to Regina? I've got this." "You're stressed about going back to work? I've got this." "You're anxious about getting enough hours in for your EI? I've got this." It's like he's been preparing us for something we really have no control over. "You're worried about your baby being born too early? Hey, I've got this."

When we came to the hospital on New Year's Day to get some minor leakage checked out I was coincidentally wearing my "You Got This" shirt. We were there for about 45 minutes before being sent home, only to return 12 hours later, no longer under any delusions that my water hadn't broken. I cried. A lot. There was significant leakage from both ends.

Up until then, everything was going fine. I was more comfortable than I had been during my first pregnancy and, even though I'd always thought we'd have a January baby, I wasn't expecting one so early. When the nurse checked us in she asked if she was reading my due date correctly. Yes, it was, in fact, 36 days away. I told her we really didn't want to be there.

They gave us three options. The first, which my doctor recommended, was to get induced that day. Trying to keep baby in longer even with antibiotics, as far as he knew, still had a 50% increased risk in infection in baby. This could mean a longer NICU stay. All signs point to baby staying in the NICU until at least 36 weeks old. The second option, which we eventually chose, was, assuming labour didn't get started naturally, me going on 48 hours of IV antibiotics in hospital, then five days of oral antibiotics at home, then being induced at 36 weeks. The obstetrician told us that there was no evidence that this increased risk of infection for the baby, but there haven't really been any studies done on babies 34-36 weeks in this area. We're firmly in a medical grey area. The third option my doctor called "patient led" and involved us going home and just seeing what happened. The problem with this, however, is we live 15-20 minutes from the hospital, once labour got going with our first things moved along very quickly, and I have a tiny 35 week old baby inside me right now. She's likely to Simon Birch her way out of me with very little effort and probably one good sneeze. He didn't recommend this option, and we were okay with that.

Sitting in my hospital room later that day, being filled with IV antibiotics, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between it all. Through all the crazy ups and downs of the past few years, God was just getting us ready for an even bigger moment to rely on Him. Moves and jobs come and go and while they're big life moments, they're nothing like the even bigger moment of welcoming a new life into this world.

When we came in yesterday morning, I had a bit of cramping that hadn't been there the day before. All signs pointed to it being the beginning of labour. Thankfully, it's all gone away. My hips aren't even hurting, and aside from the fountain of joy that living with ruptured membranes is (constant seeming incontinence) it's good. I haven't cried for nearly 24 hours, if all goes well I'll be heading home in about 24 hours, and I've got 48 hours to catch up on some rest and Netflix. I am nervous about going home because of the quick labour potential, but I'm not a hero. Any cramping and I will be standing in Labour and Delivery demanding my epidural, ready to rumble.

This was supposed to be my month of hanging out with Parker and getting everything slowly ready for baby's arrival. I'm mourning the loss of the time with just my first baby, but grateful that my second one is still in her safe, leaking waterbed. God's got this.

My mom was here until yesterday morning (she flew out as we were checking into the hospital; I saw no need for her to stay because we weren't sure what was going on) and we got to set up the furniture in baby's room and go through all the newborn clothes, getting them ready. We don't have a crib mattress or anything hung on the walls, but we bought a throw cushion and a new picture. Karl doesn't like either of them, but he doesn't hate them so they stay. When I left the house yesterday morning all the baby clothes were sitting piled knee-deep in our living room waiting to be put in her drawers and closet, and I begged Karl for them to moved before I got home. He got out the car seat last night. He's going to pack baby girl's hospital bag and wash the blanket I made her. I'm optimistic that I'll be home before she comes, at least for a day or two, but at least I know that it's okay. My dad is also flying out tonight so that when I am home I can take it easy and hopefully keep labour at bay a little longer.

My biggest fear in all of this is having to leave baby in the NICU and go home. Our main goal is not to have to leave her here. My doctor is incredible, though, and he assured me that girls are tougher than boys and that the two big things they'll watch for are breathing and weight gain. If this girl is anything like her mother (or brother), she will not have a problem gaining weight. I've been getting steroid shots to mature her lungs so hopefully breathing won't be an issue either. I can tell you, her brother certainly has a good pair.

This wasn't our plan, but thank God it doesn't have to be. He's got this, and he has all along.


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