Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Intimate thoughts and memories of before you were born

How is it possible that our baby, our youngest turns 5 today? The older I get the more I realize just how fast time is flying and our days are numbered. But today I celebrate the precious surprise blessing that has forever changed my life.

I went back and forth between writing an intimate post about my pregnancy and keeping it short and sweet.
At the end of every year I print my blog into a book. A book about our life as a family and changes on our farm. So, with that in mind I decided this post should be more in depth, more spiritual and intimate. There might be somethings that some readers might regard as TMI ( to much information), maybe slightly graphic, so please be warned that you may not want to continue to read and that's okay.

Anna was an "unexpected blessing" as we really weren't planning on having more children. I couldn't have been more then a couple days pregnant, hadn't even missed my period yet when I woke in the middle of the night and as if God had whispered to me in secret, I knew I  was going to have a baby.

We were excited, yet a little apprehensive as we had dropped our maternity insurance and new that it was going to an expense we should start saving for.
Everything is embedded in my mind as if it were yesterday, I can recall no other time in my life that my memories are so vivid.
Early in my pregnancy I remember not feeling well. I worried over every ache and new pain. I often shrugged off my institution as insecurities, blaming  the miscarriage I had a year earlier or the fact that I was getting older. I remember expressing my concerns to  my friends that I didn't feel "right" but I couldn't explain it. I passed it off as just being a worry wort.

 March 4, 2007, my birthday.
I was crabby that day, not feeling good, probably mad at my husband, although I can't remember why. It was a Sunday so I went to church and took myself out for breakfast. If it sounds like I was feeling sorry for myself, I'm pretty sure I was. My parents were on vacation and I really wanted to go home and prepare for them a nice home cooked dinner for when they got home.

I came home later that morning and discovered after a trip to the bathroom that I had started to bleed. I was 26 1/2 weeks pregnant and new that this wasn't just me being a worry wort, something was wrong. I called my midwife and she said to stay off my feet the rest of the day.

Monday morning, March 5th.
 I called my midwife again to tell her that I still didn't feel good, the bleeding had stopped but my lower back felt achy, like it does right before a women starts her period. She suggested an ultra sound and the necessary appointments were made.

By early afternoon the diagnoses was made "Placenta Previa" What the heck was that? The ultra sound Tec gave me a brief description and said I would have to deliver by C-section. I began to have a hard time wrapping my mind around this new information. None of this fit into my plans, but that was just the beginning of the bad news. When we meant with the midwife she informed me that I would have to go on permanent bed rest. My response was "seriously?" I always pictured women who had to be on bed rest as fragile...I was a far cry from a fragile type of woman. I don't think I took her at all too seriously, I had that "yeah, yeah" I'll do as you say attitude. But, it was the last comment she made to me before I left that day that gave me pause. It was almost spoken as an added last minute connotation. "You will need to have someone who can drive with you at all times because if you start bleeding again, you need to get to the hospital immediately".

Tuesday March 6, 2007, early morning, I think around 3a.m. I awoke suddenly, blood gushing from me. It was if someone had popped a balloon in side my womb.  I remember waking my husband and trying to tell him in a way that wouldn't cause him to panic that we needed to go to the hospital. I called my parents to come out and stay with the kids while my husband went and woke our oldest son to let him know what was going on.  I grabbed my rosary and we raced to the hospital. I can only say its at times like these that I am thankful for the childhood prayers we memorize.  I wanted, needed to pray but to form a good prayer from my heart at those moments was next to impossible. However, The Hail Mary and Our Father were right there on my lips and I knew God was with me and would hear what was in my heart.

One of the first things they do when you arrive at the hospital in a situation like this is to start the drugs to stop any contractions. Magnesium sulfate (they call it Maggot Juice for a reason) it really is awful stuff, was their drug of choice. Then the fetal monitor, blood pressure cuff, etc. etc. When the doctor finally arrived in the early a.m. hours she decided I needed to go to Peoria where they were better equipped to handle a baby born 13 weeks premature. The kicker was they needed to life flight me there in a helicopter - again Not in my plans. $50,000 later,  I was laying in St. Francis in Peoria, IL. where I received the sacrament of anointing of the sick.

St. Francis has a whole wing for women who are having complications. They don't tell you when you first arrive how long you are going to be there. They only tell you "a couple days" then we will see. Its a good thing too, because when you are on bed rest and all alone, time slows down to a crawl.
I was at St. Francis for a total of 4 weeks. I was only allowed up for the use of the bathroom and to shower. I otherwise had to stay laying on my left side except when eating. I only remember crying once while I was there. That was on day 2 when I was still on the "Maggot Juice" and had double vision, and was really weak from the drug as well. I felt so helpless, I couldn't even open a package of syrup for my pancakes. I struggling with it for a few minutes I was finally able to rip it open, only to splatter myself with it and leave a big sticky mess that I couldn't clean up. I refused to ask for help and finally the nurse came in for another reason and found me crying uncontrollably. I was more embarrassed for having made such a mess and not being able to clean myself up then anything. I learned a lesson in humility that day.

There were women there who's conditions were worse then mine. I learned some had to have their cervix stitched shut. Still others had to lay with their feet up and head down at all times.It was beginning to sink in just how fragile life truely is. .

As I mentioned, I spent 4 weeks in Peoria. While I was there I received communion every day! Every day! The actual graces infused through the sacraments by Christ are so miraculous. Another lesson learned. When I was discharged after week 4 from St. Francis,  my husband picked me up and we drove from St. Francis in Peoria to Trinity in Moline where I spent the next 4 weeks.

Things got easier when I got to Trinity. I was closer to home and received more visitors, which helped pass the time. I hadn't experienced anymore bleeding as was allowed to out in the wheel chair sometimes during the afternoon. My wonderful husband purchased a laptop for me and I was able to get online and purchase things for the baby. I even had my husband bring in the paperwork so I could pay bills and feel useful again.

Our Doctor decided to deliver Anna 5 weeks early. I was ecstatic and terrified all at the same time. Now that I had a laptop computer I could "research" Cesareans - Yeah, don't do that. Cause usually the only thing people talk about are the ones that go bad. I had myself scared to death.

It was an experience, I'll just say that. God delivered into our hands a beautiful, healthy, baby girl with red hair and big blue eyes, weighing 6lbs 12oz. She was beautiful and a true miracle.

 after 8 weeks of bed rest - I have learned to enjoy the daily chores and will never again complain about doing laundry or dirty dishes. I am thankful I have the ability to do them. I have learned that life is fragile, handle with care. God is good ALL THE TIME and if it feels like he has given you more then you can handle He is right there to help. There is something to be said for "boring" and "uneventful" when asked about life circumstances. Looking back now, I can see God's plan in it all. I've learned first hand what I've heard preached over the years, peace, happiness really does come from doing God's will and not our own.

I think those who know her would agree -

She is a true blessing
we thank God for her everyday.

Happy 5th Birthday Anna Rene Smith

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