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Experiencing a Miracle

by:Rachel

contemplativeEnjoying my time of relaxation in the hospital

That last week before Kiera was born was a little bit hard… at least once Tuesday rolled around. This is because we didn’t have an exact due date for this wee one. The doctors in the States said Jan 26th, but they were going by the baby’s size from the first ultrasound, and that was done kind of late (33rd or 34th week pregnant). Unfortunately, after about the 20th week, it’s much harder to base a due date on size because it really starts to vary from baby to baby. From my calculations, I thought I was due on February 7th—quite a big gap there. When I came to Scotland, I found out that the doctor’s wanted to keep the January due date. This meant that if the baby didn’t come, I would have to be induced by February 5th. I did not want that at all as I believed it was two days before the due date that I myself thought to be correct.
Thankfully, after discussing this with one of the doctors, they decided that they would be willing to let me keep my own due date; they would be keeping a close eye on me though. So two times a week, I hopped on bus #60 and went to the hospital.
As thankful as I was to have them keep my due date, after February 5th rolled around, it became harder and harder to wait. I knew that if I hadn’t said anything, I’d probably have had the wee babe (or big babe) by then. I had some false labour on Monday night too (Feb. 5), so when nothing in the way of contractions happened for the rest of the week, I felt pretty down. I tried to keep busy and go on lots of walks as well as plan different things for each day in order to keep my mind off the fact that labour had not yet started. But I did break down about it a couple of times.

graceful sleeperTwenty-four hours old.

Friday night, I experienced a bit more false labour, but it didn’t progress into anything of substance, so I went to bed; however, somehow I expected something to happen within the next 24 hours. I woke up at 3:45 in the morning to a real contraction—short, but definitely real. This was still really false labour as it was short and there was significant time spaces between the contractions, but it was encouraging and I felt excited as I took deep breaths to help me relax as my uterus tensed and then relaxed.
Labour didn’t begin in earnest ’til sometime after midday. I still didn’t feel like I could go into the hospital yet, but once someone suggested timing them, we discovered that they were less than four minutes apart. Between contractions, I got my partially packed overnight bag filled with all the essentials and then my brother-in-law drove John and I to the hospital.
We hadn’t called before-hand and had to wait in a little room for a while before I could get evaluated. The labour and delivery ward was pretty busy that day so there was only one nurse available to evaluate patients. But before long I was lying on a narrow examination bed, dressed in a simple pink hospital gown with two straps around my belly: one to calcualte the baby’s heart rate and the other for the strength of my contractions. Once the nurse determined that I was really in labour, she then examined me to discover I was 4 – 5 centimetres dilated and that my bag of waters was going to burst soon. Without further ado, I was helped off the bed and we went down a long hallway to a corner room in the ward.
The room was far different than the “deluxe suite” I’d had for my labour with Aria in the States. This room was somewhat dingy with dull fluorescent lighting and a plain decor that was probably over twenty years old. It didn’t even had its own bathroom. But at this point, I hardly cared about these things, though I definitely noticed them. I felt like I could barely keep my head above water as the midwives came in, introduced themselves, and started getting me hooked up and prodded. I didn’t feel like cooperating when they asked me to turn or put my arm out to get my iv in (being a strep b carrier, I am required to have antibiotics in labour). Before I ever went into labour, I was slightly annoyed that I wouldn’t be allowed to have anything besides water and ice, but little did I realize how quickly this birth would transpire. I had hardly anytime between contractions and had my arm in a gripping “hug” around John’s neck with my face pressed against his as contraction after contraction grabbed me. I was getting to the point where I felt like I couldn’t go on and in the next couple of contractions, my body involuntarily pushed hard. I prayed a wee bit in a desperate sort of way and was vaguely aware that the door of my room was open and other people in the ward could undoubtedly hear my loud exhalations and primal yells as I let my body take over—I could have cared less.

Three Clancy girlsSharing a time of bonding. Aria is enthralled with her new little sister and often asks to hold her by indicating the baby and then signing, as well as saying, “more”.

During one of these involutary pushes, I felt my waters break and a tremendous pressure bearing down on my pelvis. I think it was at this point that I yelled, “Oh Jesus, help…” and then louder, “I CAN’T DO THIS!” The midwives exchanged glances and moved into high gear. Everything was happening so quickly and suddenly I was pushing. In amazingly short order, I felt the intense pressure let up as the baby’s head was born. I had my first real “break” since I’d got in the labour room as I waited on the next contractions to push out the rest of my little babe. The contraction came, and after a couple of good pushes, I felt the baby’s body, in a sense, slip from my own and my newborn daughter was lifted up onto my chest. The delight and ecstasy of meeting her washed over me though I still felt shocked that it had happened in such short time. We’d walked down the hallway to the room at 4 o’clock p.m. and our daughter was born just forty-one minutes later: a night and day difference from my 28 hour labour with Aria. And her APGAR score was a 9 compared to Aria’s 5.
As I pushed out the placenta, we discovered that a rare condition was present that could have caused very serious problems. I forget the name of the condition, but we were told that it was as rare as 1 in every 10,000 births; the Paisley Maternity Hospital delivers 3,000 babies a year—that’s a pretty big rarity. Because of a problem with the cord, the bag of waters had become surrounded by either blood or a blood vessel (I’m not too sure on this); anyway, if my labour had not progressed normally, or if the midwives had broken my waters and accidentally burst the blood vessel, I would have had 10 minutes to be rushed in for an emergency c-section or else Kiera would have died and possibly myself as well. This condition is impossible to detect by ultrasound or other; it was completely God’s grace that we came through with such flying colours.

Going homeKiera Jean: 8 lbs, 3 ozs; 20 inches long. All dressed and ready to go home on the bus.

I spent the following three days in the hospital as Kiera needed to be administered anti-biotics because of me being a strep B carrier. If I’d had a longer labour, I would have had been given enough anti-biotics intravenously to make this unnecessary, but this simply didn’t happen! Anyway, I really did enjoy the chance to rest in the hospital. This was another opportunity to see the differences between having a baby in the States and in Scotland: I was in a room with three other women. In the States I had my own room, own bathroom and tub, and own television. Here, I shared a toilet room and shower with these three other women, and there was no television. A curtain could be drawn to create your own little “room” when privacy was needed or desired and each “room” had its own personal lamp. It was a bit of culture shock, but I came to greatly appreciate this feature. What a joy it was to get to know the other women in the room, to share meals as well as experiences with them, and to enjoy fellowship with other women who naturally had one big thing in common, if little else. I left the hospital on February 13th. John and I took Kiera home on bus #60 and she slept through her first outdoors experience. I found myself missing the friendly intimacy of fellowshipping with the Scottish women I’d met and I hope that I will be able be surrounded by such warmth as I move into life in this new season.

6 Responses to “Experiencing a Miracle”

  1. Rebeca
    February 18th, 2007 00:40
    1

    She is perfectly beautiful! I’m so thankful that she is safely in your arms. Enjoy the sweet moments!

  2. jayne
    February 19th, 2007 06:13
    2

    How wonderful to hear how God is in control. We miss you, Give those little girls a kiss from us.

  3. Krista
    February 20th, 2007 22:02
    3

    Beautiful. Congrats on your new beauty!

  4. Tara Hills
    February 21st, 2007 17:39
    4

    I love you Rachel! Thank you for sharing the story in such detail. I’m encouraged and that much more looking forward to my time which couldn’t come soon enough (you know exactly what I mean!)

  5. Kellie
    March 1st, 2007 22:05
    5

    rachel, thanks so much for sharing your story. as our wee one is due in 5 weeks or less, reading of your labor made me nervous and yet inspired for what is to come. love you!

  6. Beka
    March 6th, 2007 03:58
    6

    What a beautiful story of life and the power of our Lord! Thank you so much for sharing it with us! How beautiful it is to have two small daughters!

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