I’ve been gathering up my thoughts and my courage to write about our time with Elizabeth Grace. I plan to do so in a series of posts. I want to share the details because I feel like so many of you have been so invested in our story. The sheer amount of facebook messages I’ve received in my inbox from people I’ve never met are a testament to that. To those who have been praying so very faithfully for us and who have invited others to do so, Onan and I simply can’t tell you how much that has meant. How much we have felt those prayers. And how I know that’s part of the reason we’re still standing right now. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Thursday February 2nd, the second night I went in to induce labor, was the right night. God’s timing is always prefect. It was calm, quiet and we were immediately given a room at the end of the hall. My nurses were incredible. My night nurse for both Friday and Saturday only works weekends and I would not have had her if I’d given birth to Elizabeth on Wednesday. And, as it turned out, I needed her—which of course, God knew. It was the same situation for my day nurse that was on for both Saturday and Sunday. I cannot overstate the immense gratitude I have for these ladies and how much they came to mean to me during our hospital stay. My labor and delivery nurses were exceptional as well. Everyone was so kind and empathetic. More answered prayers.
At 8:30pm I was given a drug called cytotec to help soften my cervix and get contractions going. It's administered every four hours and up to four doses are allowed to be given. By my fourth dose around 9am the next day, I was eight centimeters dilated, totally thinned out and in desperate need of the epidural! I received it at 10:30 and by 1:00 pm, it was time to push.
I prayed for peace and it was poured out on me. After only three pushes, Elizabeth was actually born in her bag of waters. One of my birth plan requests was that my water not be broken, if at all possible. From the research I’d done, it was clear that babies with anencephaly have a better chance of surviving delivery if this is the case. It wasn’t broken until she was safely out and I have no doubt that this helped ease the stress of delivery on Elizabeth greatly. It was 1:27 pm.
She was immediately placed on my chest. She was squirming, kicking and making little squeaking noises as she was cleaned up. She needed minimal suctioning and began breathing on her own right from the start. This was a huge answer to prayer. From the time we’d been given Elizabeth’s diagnosis, I’d been praying that she would make it through delivery and that we’d be able to spend some time with her. And here she was, pink and breathing, moving and alert. Five pounds and thirteen ounces of perfection.
We weren’t sure how much time we’d have with her, but we had this. These sweet moments where Onan got to stand with her and hold her little hand as she was dressed and swaddled. We had this. The priceless opportunity to introduce her to her big brother and big sisters and all of her grandparents and her aunt and cousin and so many friends.
The photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep had been waiting with our family while I delivered. He came in and captured all of these moments for us. I cannot wait to receive his pictures. As he left, he told me the count was "about three million" and I don’t think he was exaggerating all that much! I’m so thankful for the many pictures that were taken to document our time with Elizabeth and to help us remember. Until we receice the professional pictures, here are some of the "amateur" ones that were taken.
Thursday night, ready to begin the induction
Keeping a Labor Log on Friday Morning
She's here! Friday, February 3rd, 1:27 pm. 5lbs, 13 oz. 17 and a half in.
First Diaper Change, by Daddy
Totally in love...
Family of Six