My baby is here! And her name does not start with "J". :) Here's the story of how she came to us. . .
Thursday night (the 28th) I was watching a movie with 2 junior high girls from church. I had a contraction that caught my attention -- it took my breath away! I knew it was the start to something new . Sure enough, I was awake all night that night with contractions 20-30 min apart. Some were more intense than others. By the next morning, they had not increased, so I went to work. After a couple hours there, they slowed to just an hour or more apart. But throughout that day, the intense contractions would pop up every now and then! I was on the floor in the Church History department at one point. That evening, Josh and I went out to celebrate our anniversary (which is actually on Tuesday), and I had more of the same while we were at Cheesecake Factory and the mall (the worst was in Payless shoes, where I was on the floor gasping for breath while the lady shopping nearby tried to get some shoes right where I was crouched!).
Friday night I was up on the hour, or more frequently, with very intense contractions. I tried writing down the times, because it seemed like something was happening, but I was so out of it during the night -- this was my second night of getting very little sleep. By early morning, I felt like things were shifting big time. Close to 7, when Josh woke up, I told him I thought things were progressing. Little did I know what a long day ahead of me I had! Josh called into work, and I started experiencing strange, heavy contractions that gave me the dry heaves surrounded by less intense more normal contractions. A few times, I threw up, and I had a contraction that lasted 9 minutes! However, the doctor I called told me my body was trying to go into active labor, but I needed to regulate more before I could head to the doctor.
Praise the Lord, at about 4:00 that afternoon, I started having a series of regular contractions! I actually prayed for them to continue. By 6, they'd been 5 minutes apart for an hour so we started packing up to head to the hospital! I was so relieved when they told me I could stay -- after my water broke when I got into the bed. Right away, I had another extreme contraction that lasted 7 minutes and caused me to vomit. The baby's heart rate dropped very low during my contraction. "She doesn't like that," the nurse told me "your contractions should not last that long -- we want them to be shorter and more frequent." As it turned out, it was Providential that I had that contraction, because we knew what to expect as the night went on!
My Aunt Pat arrived shortly before I got my epidural. She was traveling back from Alabama that day, and happened to be just an hour south of Louisville when we were admitted to the hospital. I was so thankful to see her! Around 9ish, the nurse was checking me, and suddenly another nurse was at the door. "She's dropped" the nurse said, and suddenly the room sprang into action. There were more nurses around me than I realized, and they were flipping me from side to side, and putting an oxygen mask on me. I realized that I could hear the baby's heartbeat and that it was still low. Josh and Aunt Pat were in the room, just talking -- they hadn't quite realized that things were getting urgent. The next thing I knew, everything was getting unplugged and the nurses were wheeling me into the hallway, talking about calling the doctor. I was very frightened, but the Lord graciously gave me the words to the William Cowper song:
"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
the clouds that you now dread,
are rich with mercy and will break
in blessing on your head.
Oh, God, we trust in You!"
I repeated the chorus softly to myself (inside the oxygen mask) over and over. My heart filled with tears, but the Lord showed me great grace!
In the operating room, I was flat on my back on the operating table when I heard the heartbeat monitor pick up again. A sweet nurse with lots of pink lipstick bent over my face and told me my baby sounded good! I lay there with these words on my lips
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. . . there's just something about that name,
Master, Savior, Jesus, like a fragrance after the rain."
I don't even think anyone could hear me, but in my heart, I was able to enjoy the sweetness of Christ in that moment. I wanted Josh to be with me so bad so he could know that I was okay, and trusting in Christ, believing that God was good, even though this was scary -- he came very soon. The doctor did, too. She looked at the baby's strip very quickly and told me she wanted to go ahead and do the c-section because there was some reason the baby's heart kept dropping and she didn't want to risk it happening any more. I was so relieved. I hoped she would be very decisive about what course to take -- I trusted that the Lord would use her to show us what to do.
Moments later, a curtain was up, and Josh was talking to me, when the anasthesiologist said "Hey, Dad, get your camera ready!" and I heard a baby cry. I could NOT BELIEVE how fast it was! Was that my baby?
"Here's her trouble!" I heard the doctor say "her chord is wrapped around her wrist!"
My heart was flooded with relief and joy as I heard the baby crying. I just sobbed as they brought her around to show me and didn't stop as Josh followed her around taking pictures as they tended to her. I was SO THANKFUL to hear her precious cry, and I couldn't believe the amazing gift the Lord had given me.
"What's her name?" someone asked.
"Susan!" I answered as loudly as I could -- it was hard to know if anyone could hear me, under that curtain, covered with hot blankets as they stitched me up. Josh explained our name -- Susan after my mom, who had passed away a couple months ago. Her middle name is Faye, after Josh's mom.
Here is the Psalm I prayed for Susie as I lay in the recovery room:
"May we shout for joy over your salvation,