After a very long break from blogging, I am back to share with you one of the best days of my life.
On April 4, our family welcomed our beautiful Elise Katherine into this world. After a few weeks of highly fluctuating blood pressures and a concerning ultrasound, I was induced at 37 weeks and 2 days. I was not induced with Evan (you can read his birth story here), so this was a very new experience. I was excited but so very nervous. After the induction began, things actually progressed very similarly to my labor with Evan. The doctor broke my water at 7:30 am and Ellie Kate arrived at 10:52 am – she didn’t even wait for the doctor to make it in the room and was delivered by our incredible L&D nurse. All the concerns about the scary ultrasound we had disappeared as the doctors looked her over and told us everything looked great. We cuddled and she nursed – everything was progressing perfectly.
But the thing about perfection is that it doesn’t take much to rock that boat and for things to drastically change. The nursery took her for her bath and to check her vitals. They came to our room to let us know that she had an episode of respiratory distress, but they thought everything looked fine and she just needed another hour of observation. We settled into our postpartum room, chatted with our visitors, and ate some lunch while we passed the time waiting for them to bring our sweet baby girl to our room. Within the next thirty minutes, everything in our perfect little bubble was called into question as our world was totally rocked from the inside. We had visits from nurses and doctors in incredibly quick succession and the news got more terrifying every time. Our baby had stopped breathing multiple times, they thought she had a seizure, something could be going on in her brain, she needed a breathing tube, she was going to have to be transported to a neonatal intensive care unit. Every time our door opened a piece of my heart broke away until the door closed after that final piece of news and I truly felt I had nothing left inside me.
I remember standing by the window in that terrible hospital gown as the door closed and the doctor walked out. My legs suddenly could not support my weight and I sunk to the ground weeping trying to force the pain and the fear out through tear ducts that felt entirely too small and inadequate to handle the force and volume of what was tormenting me inside. What. Just. Happened. I remember the door opened again and the little bit of my heart that was left dropped – what else could they possibly be here to tell us? We looked up and saw our pastor walking in – he had stopped to see us not knowing what was going on. Our tears poured out as he prayed for our sweet girl and we tried to wrap our fingers around the promises of God – at first, they felt just out of our reach, but as we prayed we grabbed on and held tight believing that God truly held our baby girl in His hands – and His hands are so mighty, so faithful, and so trustworthy.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord, your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.”
The transfer team came and loaded our precious, hours-old baby girl into a transport pod and drove away. I remember standing with Alex and our friends and family on the sidewalk in front of the hospital as the ambulance drove away taking my fragile heart with it – I can’t even begin to explain that feeling. After a tearful conversation with my OB, she agreed to discharge me from the hospital immediately which allowed us to leave only a few moments behind the ambulance and follow our baby to the NICU about an hour and a half away. We spent the next four days praying, believing and cuddling our little girl every chance we got.
Alex and I would sit together and he would hold me while I cried and confided in him about my fears and anxiety. We would pray together and remember the lessons that God had taught us during the difficult times in our life. When we faced our second miscarriage, God showed us that true faith requires us to believe that God is just as good and just as faithful on the dark days as He is on the good days. The anthem of our hearts during those days was God is Able – a song released by Hillsong Church that put into words what our hearts were crying out each day.
God touched our sweet girl in ways we will never even know. After she left our local hospital, she never had another seizure or another episode where she stopped breathing. The brain scans that were done in the NICU showed no areas of concern and she was quickly weaned off of extra oxygen and placed on room air. Many members of the hospital staff struggled as they sought explanations for the quick, dramatic change in Ellie Kate’s health – the truth was, God healed our baby girl. We saw His provision over and over during the first few days of her life. We were very blessed and only had to stay in the NICU for 4 days – this is not the story for many of the other precious babies and parents that we met while we were there. After Evan’s birth, I understood the joy that parents experience after their child arrives in the world, but our short stay in the NICU opened up my eyes to the pain and fear that other parents can face that inexplicably meshes with that joy. We walked out of the hospital on a bright, sunny April Sunday with our baby girl knowing that our lives would never be the same.
Life brings us those moments sometimes. Those defining, life-altering experiences change our perspective and bring definition to the lens that we use to see the world. Pain, joy, grief – these things cause us to feel – they don’t allow us to continue on with “life as normal” while precious moments slip through our fingers. But even more than just causing us to feel, they require us to act – to break through the numbness and show love and walk in mercy. I want to take these moments that life brings and allow them not only to alter me while I’m in the throes of emotion but to bring lasting change to my heart.
Can I tell you that our Ellie Kate has been perfectly healthy since she arrived at home? She was four months old on Sunday, and we haven’t had one sick visit to the doctor, she hasn’t required one dose of medication outside of the hospital, and she is the sweetest, most loving baby girl I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I am so thankful to be her mom and to be able to raise her and teach her about love, and God, and friendship, and of course, the best nail polish colors and how to make the most out of a good sale. Becoming Evan’s mommy changed me in so many ways – but I have to say that I can feel myself still changing and evolving as I become the mom of a girl. It’s amazing how we are given exactly what we need at the time that we need it.
So – I’m happy to introduce the newest part of Our Life. Elise Katherine – welcome to being one of us.