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Eliza’s Birth Story

November 16, 2011

One of my favorite things about my birthday was that my parents would always tell me the story of the day I was born. So, in honor of Eliza’s birthday, I want to share her birth story…


Saturday night, Nov 15th, Tim and I went to friends’ house to have dinner and play Settlers of Catan. We had a great time, but the whole evening I was having some minor back pain- I chalked it up to sitting in the same position for too long.

On the way home, about 10:30pm, I had my first contraction (well, the first one that I recognized as a contraction). It was a sharp pain that started in my back and spread to my hips and eventually my lower abdomen. Tim asked what we should do, and I told him it was probably false labor and we should just go home and watch it.

Once we got home, I had another one about 30 minutes after the first. And so began the timing of the contractions. Tim and I stayed up until about 3am timing them. They were all over the place- 8, 6, 10, 12 minutes apart- no rhyme or reason. I finally told Tim to go to sleep and went in the other room to continue timing them. By 5:30am, they were stronger, consistent and 5-minutes apart. I woke Tim and told him I thought it was time to go to the hospital.

We were at the hospital by 6am, and the triage nurse hooked me to up to the uterine and fetal heart monitors and told me that they would need to track it for awhile to make sure it was true labor. By now, the contractions were pretty strong, 3-5 minutes apart and VERY uncomfortable. I remember thinking, “I hope this is true labor because I can’t imagine going home and waiting it out for the next few days with contractions like these.”

About 7am, the nurse came in and told us the on-call doctor had decided to admit me. I was wheeled to our labor and delivery room and hooked back up to all the monitors. Tim and I, having never done this before, just looked at each other and asked, “Does this mean we’re having a baby today?” We asked our nurse, Allison, that question when she came back in the room, and she just smiled and said, “Yes, Eliza will be born today.”

That’s all we needed to hear. Tim got on the phone and started furiously sending out text messages and making phone calls. Meanwhile, my contractions were downright painful by now, and I asked Allison when I could have my epidural. She explained that the anesthesiologist was with another patient and I was next in line.

After what seemed like forever (but was probably only half an hour), the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural. Tim left the room to get stuff from the car. I was really nervous, but the doc cracked jokes the whole time and totally put me at ease. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, and the end result was amazing- I tell ya, they ought to bottle that stuff and sell it! It’s wonderful!

Shortly after I had my epidural, Allison came in and explained that the baby’s heart rate was being “inconsistent,” which could be the result of where the baby was positioned in relation to the monitor, so the doc wanted to insert internal monitors to get a better read on it. Doc came in shortly thereafter and broke my water and put the monitors in.

After that, began a cycle of the doc, Allison and another nurse coming in periodically, helping me move to one side or another, and staring at the monitor. It was pretty intense, especially since no one told us what was going on. Finally, the doc explained that every time I had a contraction, the baby’s heart rate would drop. She said my contractions were only going to get stronger, longer and more frequent, and it didn’t seem like “this little girl” was going to tolerate labor very well. Since I was only 3cm dilated and had a long way to go, she explained it would be best to go ahead and do a c-section. (We found out after Eliza was born that the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck twice, so it would have been a dangerous labor that would have gone to c-section eventually anyway. We are grateful for the wisdom of the doctor who made that call early on, before Eliza was in real danger).

Tim and I told her we wanted to do whatever was safest for the baby, so we agreed and then the whirlwind started. Tim read to me from Psalm 23 and Psalm 139, and we just prayed, asking the Lord to protect our baby. The anesthesiologist came back in and pumped me more full of “the good stuff.” Allison came in and gave Tim some scrubs to put on over his clothes and explained what was going to happen, who was going to be in the room, etc. and then off we went to the OR.

The OR looked just like on TV. There was a big table and bright lights overhead. The labor and delivery team was prepping the room and the neonatologist team was standing in the corner, waiting to care for the baby. They strapped me down with my arms out like I was on a cross, and the anesthesiologist kept poking and pinching my stomach and legs asking, “Does this hurt? Does this hurt?” It was bizarre to see him doing that to my body yet not being able to feel it. They hung the drape near my head and let Tim come in.

The whole time during the surgery, I just kept repeating Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And I kept listening for her cry. I just wanted to hear her cry. After about 15 minutes (it seemed like forever), the anesthesiologist told Tim, “Stand up, Dad, they’re pulling her out.” Tim looked over the drape and just a minute later, I heard it- she let out a huge wail. It was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. I just started crying.

Tim went over to take pictures, and I just listened to her beautiful cry and kept crying myself. In fact, I was crying so much that the anesthesiologist questioned me, “Tears of joy, right? Not pain? You’re not hurting are you?” I assured him they were tears of joy. My OB eventually looked over the drape as well and asked if I was in pain. I told her I wasn’t in pain, just very happy.

The neonatologist came over shortly and patted my head and told me, “That’s a perfect, beautiful little girl you have.” I got barely get out a “thank you” through my tears. They finally gave Eliza to Tim, and he brought her over to me. She looked so precious all bundled up. It was amazing. We both just stared at her for a long time.

It definitely takes longer to close mom up than it does to take baby out. It seemed like they worked on that for a really long time. I told Tim at one point, “Geez, this is taking forever.” Of course, I am grateful that they took their time and did it properly, but I just didn’t expect it to take so long.

Eventually, I was all done and wheeled to recovery. Tim started making phone calls to let everyone know Eliza had arrived, and Allison helped me get started with nursing. I just kept staring at our daughter, almost unable to believe that she had just been inside of me a few moments before. You always hear it called the “miracle of birth,” and I never appreciated what that meant until now. It truly was a miracle, and we are so grateful to God for our sweet baby girl.

Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”

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