My Labor Story...
Sometimes you can plan, plan and plan some more and still find yourself in a situation where nothing goes as expected. When I found out I was pregnant, I did everything to try to prepare myself for motherhood. I read dozens of New York Times' bestsellers and scoured the internet to try to read up on every blog and article on what to expect. (By the end of my second trimester, I had written a birth plan that was long enough to be a novel) But no amount of knowledge can ever prepare you for when your baby decides to come early or the heartbreak of seeing your newborn whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
I was admitted to the hospital at 34 weeks because I was experiencing some minor bleeding. After a series of questions and running a few tests, the doctor concluded that the bleeding was most likely due to having overworked my body. (We were in the process of getting ready to move). The doctor cleared me to go home, but one of the nurses had recommended that they also perform an ultrasound. The nurse came back, (seemingly perplexed) asking me about my pain level because I had been experiencing some heavy cramping that my OB, just days before, had told me were “normal”.
It turned out that the I was actually experiencing contractions and they were only 5 minutes apart. They quickly moved me into labor and delivery and upon checking my cervix and finding that it was still closed, they gave me a dose of terbutaline to stop my contractions. They hoped that if they could stop the contractions, I could bring my baby to at least 35 weeks so that she would not have to go the NICU. They told me they would need to monitor my contractions for another 8 hours before they could determine if it was safe for me to go home. Unfortunately, the terbutaline had little effect and decided to give me a second dose 8 hours later because my contractions were now 3 minutes apart. The pain only worsened, but I tried my best to endure because I knew that if I could prolong the labor for two more days, we could avoid the NICU along with the risks of complications from having her born too early.
It seemed as though the medication to stop my contractions had little effect while my pain only intensified. They decided to check my cervix again and this time found that I was now 2cm along. The doctor decided to try Nifedipine (a type of calcium blocker) as a second measure to stop the contractions and delay my labor. They monitored me for another 16 hours as I laid in anguish, enduring every contraction that was now fluctuating between 5-7 minutes. 36 hours had passed and I had already gone through several nurse shift changes. The final resort was to give intravenous doses of magnesium sulfate.
From my understanding, women are typically given an initial infusion of 4 to 6 grams over 15 to 30 minutes, and then a maintenance dose of 2 to 3 grams per hour. My doctor, however had decided to give me a maximum dose of 6 grams in 15 minutes with maintenance doses of 4 grams every half hour. I instantly felt the side effects, feeling uncomfortably feverish, extreme dizziness, severe headaches, dry mouth, nausea, and blurred vision, and the cramping only seemed to intensify.
My husband could no longer bear to see me in such pain that he demanded that something be done. The floor nurse who was in charge suggested that I try to use the restroom because the medication could have made me constipated and could be the reason I was in so much pain. I tried to tell her that I knew how to distinguish between a bowel movement and the excruciating pain that I was experiencing, but she continued to try to convince me otherwise. She proceeded by bringing in a portable toilet and advised my husband to help me up to sit on the seat. I was now experiencing the most intense pain I have ever felt by a landslide, coming in sharp and fast waves. As he helped me to my feet, I had just enough strength to whisper to him, "I think I'm going to die". (Pretty dramatic, I know, but I promise you, I was in A LOT of pain.) This was when my husband knew something was terribly wrong and ran to get the nurse. The nurse hesitated, but eventually came in to check my cervix a third time, and to no surprise, I was 10cm dilated. They rushed me into a delivery room and within 30 minutes, I delivered.
It turned out that I had a placental abruption that the doctors had not detected. After being in the hospital for three days, my precious baby girl was born at 34 weeks and 6 days, weighing 5.0 lbs. and measuring at 18cm. They immediately placed her in my arms and gave me only a matter of seconds to hold her, before they took her away to the NICU.
The devastation and hardship of having a premature baby is a story I'll have to save for another time. The real story here goes beyond my labor, but is about what God revealed to me through this experience. During the 36 hours of agonizing labor, I prayed and asked God why any of this was happening, but when I finally held Taylor in my arms, it was then that I knew that even in the midst of my pain, God is faithful and His timing is perfect.
There is never a time in which He is not aware of the desires of our hearts. He does, however, know better than we do, whether what we want to happen, is necessary or good for us. Sometimes his timing may be just the amount we need to see that what we thought we needed, we never did, or that the waiting made the receiving that much better.
His timing will always be perfect, even when our trust in it is not.