Saturday, February 7, 2009

The miracle of Abigail's birth

Here's our beautiful princess, Abigail Coralee Gingras. She was born on January 21st at 4:53 PM weighing 7lbs. 6oz. and measuring 20.5" long. That day was full of miracles and this is Abby's story.

By 6:30 am (on the 21st) I had had two contractions and told David that I thought that this was the day. He called into work and we called Gisele, our midwife. Answer to prayer number one - Gisele was available and would be able to attend our birth. Gisele came to our home by 11:00 am. She listened to baby's heart rate and it was a little high, but within safe measures so we continued to labour at home until about 1:30 - 2:00 pm, when all three of us felt like it was time to head to the hospital. I was having contractions 3 minutes apart by this time and was 3 cm dilated. David called my friend, Patty-Jean who then would meet us at the hospital to help support us through labour. Patty-Jean was wonderful, she was so calming and tender and I am grateful for her presence! Our dear friends, Tony & Heather also headed to the hospital to support David especially and to pray for us all. We were all feeling good about the progress of labour. In triage, Gisele strapped a monitor to my belly so we could watch baby's heart rate some more. (I have little sense of how time went from that day, just keep in mind that we arrived at the hospital around 2 and Abby was born by 5) We laboured in triage for awhile and Gisele felt like we needed to go to the high risk side of labour and delivery based on baby's heart rate. Once we were in the labour and delivery ward Gisele told me that she was going to break my water and put a fetal monitor on the baby. This was so intense and probably the hardest part of the labour. My contractions were still 3 minutes apart, lasting for 2.5 min and when Gisele was attaching the fetal monitor it put me into back to back contractions. Answer to prayer number two - If at any point up to now I was going to have a seizure, this was it and yet... no seizure! Shortly after the fetal monitor was attached, I was being rushed into the operating room with Gisele saying to me "the doctor will explain everything to you soon and I will be there as soon as I can". Apparently, when Gisele broke my water, it came out green with meconium (baby poop). Baby was in distress and we needed to be prepared to get her out of the womb.

In the OR, someone took my hand and put it into a lady's hand and they said "this is a student nurse and she's not leaving you". David was not there yet, as he went to pray with Tony and Heather and get scrubbed and dressed for the OR. I was so scared, but I kept quoting the bible verse "For God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind". I could hear the heart monitor on the baby and just before each contraction, I could hear her heart rate drop lower and lower. At one point I heard it stop. The doctor had explained to me that I was now 5 cm dilated and they would give me half an hour to see how far the labour would progress naturally, but that they might need to go in and get the baby. After hearing the heart monitor drop down to nothing, I knew they'd have to do just that. Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, David and Gisele were both in the OR and the anesthesiologist was talking to me about what he was going to do. Up to this point I had been labouring without drugs and they would need to give me a spinal which would freeze me from the chest down. I would feel what was happening without the pain. This was one of the things I was most afraid of - being awake during surgery. David was heroic here. He was so wonderful. He kept talking to me and praying with me and quoting promises from the bible for us. My body was trembling with the intensity of the contractions, but I no longer felt pain. I tried not to listen to anyone except David. I didn't want to imagine what was going on. I could feel everything, without pain, that the doctors were doing. I had no concept of when they brought the baby out, they were still working on me. This is David's most heroic moment, because aside from a tiny cry, Abigail made no sound and David was staying strong for me while straining to hear even the slightest sound as the doctors worked on Abigail. He kept praying the lord's prayer over and over again. Finally, she cried. The best sound in the world at that moment! The doctors wanted to wisk her straight to ICU, but Gisele fought for us. She told them that David would pray a blessing over the baby and we would get to see her first. I got to kiss her tiny head while David held her and prayed over her. Then they took her away. The doctors finished up with me and I got sent to recovery. The student nurse stayed with me the whole time.

I was in recovery for a couple of hours then to my delight and surprise the nurses wheeled me straight into the ICU so I could see my baby. I got to touch her foot and see her for a few minutes, before they wheeled me to the ward. The first test of my strength after the surgery was when the nurses woke me up to go to the washroom. (After surgery 2 years ago, every time the nurses woke me up to go to the washroom, I fainted and went into a seizure). Answer to prayer number three - absolutely no seizures! I walked slowly and didn't even feel dizzy. Hallelujah!

Abigail was in ICU for 3 days. I got to hold her on the 22nd (pictured here), again, much to my surprise and I even got to try and breastfeed her. By Friday night, I was waking up every few hours, walking down to ICU and feeding Abigail. I would try to get her to eat a bit, then I would go back to my bed and use the breast pump for 30 minutes and then sleep. I did this all through Friday night. Saturday morning at 11 am, I was just getting ready to go see Abby, when to my delight and surprise again, the nurse was bringing her to me. We had to stay in the hospital until Sunday night at 8:30 pm... the longest few days I have ever experienced!

This picture is of our first outing - to church on Sunday, just a week and half after Abigail was born. We were heartily welcomed by all and Abby slept through the whole morning.

Here's Gisele with Abigail at her 2 week checkup. Abigail weighed in at 8lbs 10oz and is doing great. She sleeps mostly really well, but has about a four hour span of fussy time in the evening. We are still trying to see if there is any connection with what I am eating or if she is just hard to burp. She doesn't like gripe water and gets pretty angry when we make her take some to settle her stomach. Abby is incredibly strong and can already lift up her own head. She loves to be held to sleep, though we are trying to break her of that habit. Last night (February 6th) she spent the night in her own bed. Up to this point she's been sleeping in her car seat in our room - a great tip I received from a friend and would highly recommend until you get used to baby noises.

We are so blessed and proud to be Abby's parents. We have been so wonderfully taken care of by our friends and family. Thank you to everyone who prayed with us for a safe and seizure free delivery. I believe I will never have another seizure again! Hallelujah! Thank you to all of you who sent your love via email, facebook, telephone etc. We feel so loved. Thank you for welcoming Abigail so warmly and we look forward to seeing what God is going to do in and through her.

1 comment:

patty-jean said...

Beautiful!!!Beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes! (presently at the Encounter wknd - so tears come easily). You and Abby look so beautiful! The fussy part will pass - not always the easiest - Joash was very fussy too - i found that only the sling would calm him - we learned it was the upright position that worked really well for his sensitive tummy!
Talk soon!