On the morning of December 12th I awoke excited that it was finally the day I had waited for the entire semester. I was going to take my final 2 finals, and finally join the ranks of a college graduate. Our baby wasn’t due until the 15th, and I wasn’t expecting her to come until then or even days later. The whole semester, people had asked me what I would do if our little girl came early. I would laugh and jokingly say that I had spent lots of time talking to her (her being our baby) and I knew she would listen and stay inside me. However, there was more to it than that.
Back in February when Heavenly Father told me very personally that I needed to start trying to have a baby, (see my last post), I had an overwhelming confirmation that God wanted me to finish college too. I knew that ultimately He was in control here, & He had the power to help me finish school before this baby was born. I wasn’t surprised at all that December 12th had come and I had shown no signs of going into labor. Heavenly Father had blessed me and allowed me to finish my education.
After about an hour of early morning studying, something surprising began to happen. Every 15 minutes or so, contractions began seizing me from my back to my stomach and I could hardly focus on the notes I was studying for my finals. I called Thomas and asked him to drive me to campus because the thought of walking while experiencing these contractions was too much for me to handle. Thomas drove me to my finals but not before giving me some homework to do. He asked that I make a little tally mark on my test every time I had a contraction. I told him that these were false labor contractions and that our baby wasn’t coming for another week and a half. He smiled and asked if while I was taking my tests if he should pack my hospital bag. I told him no, and that this baby wasn’t coming for another week and a half. He just smiled again, gave me a good luck kiss and in to take my two finals I went.
Throughout the two finals the contractions continued and I raced through my tests so that I could go home and lay down. I made a tally mark about every 15 minutes and after an hour and a half I had completed my tests and Thomas came to pick me up again. We ate lunch, timed contractions, and then Thomas went to go take a 3-hour final. He told me to keep tracking the contractions and that if they got closer together to call him and he would leave his final and take me to the hospital. I laughed and reminded him our baby wasn’t coming for another week and a half and that I wouldn’t pack our hospital bag because I didn’t want to unpack it when I needed to brush my teeth that night.
In the 3 hours that Thomas was gone the contractions became longer and 8-10 minutes apart. I tried to watch mindless television via Netflix to take my mind off the increasing and reoccurring pain, but to no avail. Thomas came home, read me a chapter of Harry Potter, and then made us dinner. By this time the contractions were roughly 6-7 minutes apart and I was still in denial about being labor. I was in such denial that I suggested we go on a walk because I had read that if they are false labor contractions, a little walk would make them go away. Well, the walk actually didn’t make them go away and with the contractions then 5 minutes apart, I finally let Thomas pack my hospital bag and me into our car and away we went.
When we arrived at about 7pm, the nurses took us to a triage room to monitor me for an hour to see if I progressed enough to keep me for the night. I was dilated to a 4, but I was so sure that we would be sent home that I kept my sweatshirt on under the hospital gown to “save me some time later.” During the hour of being monitored, the nurse talked about how when I would have a contraction our baby’s heart rate would go down, but that it was normal. I wasn’t concerned at all at this point. We watched some Studio C, drank pebble ice water, and I thought calming thoughts every time I had a contraction. After an hour, they checked me again. I had only dilated to a 4.5 but because of the baby’s heart rate they were going to keep us. I was in shock! I was in labor and because of this felt it was probably best to stop being a noob and take off my sweatshirt. I was going to have a baby!
As we waited for my doctor to arrive, the anesthesiologist came in and gave me the epidural, which was just as wonderful as I had hoped. The doctor came, broke my water and then he said we would wait for me to continue to dilate. He also said that because they were having a hard time monitoring the baby, they were going to hook a monitor into her head to be able to monitor her more closely.
It was only a few minutes later when I was having a contraction and I heard our baby’s heart rate continue to drop that about 4 nurses and the doctor rush back into our room putting an oxygen mask on me and say they were going to pump fluid back into me in hopes that it would help our baby calm down because it would create a more normal environment for the baby. It was at that moment that I realized everything wasn’t okay. The oxygen mask scared me & I started to go into a little but of shock and shake all over. “What if my baby wasn’t going to be okay,” I worried. “She just has to be okay, I have faith that she will be,” I said to myself. Then words from a recent talk from Elder Bednar came to my mind & I wondered if I had the faith for my baby “not to be healed” & not be okay. I prayed for Heavenly Father to protect my baby and “help my unbelief.” I felt in my heart that though such an outcome would be incredibly difficult, I had faith that Heavenly Father would help me get through it. It was when I began to feel that peace that I asked Thomas to give me a blessing. I felt Heavenly Father’s love for me and my family.
Soon the doctor and several nurses returned. Our baby’s heart rate was dropping every time I had a contraction because the cord was wrapped around her neck. They decided to put a monitor inside me to measure the strength of my contractions to see if I would be able to dilate fast enough for her to be born normally. Her heart rate had been good for the past few minutes or so, and they said they would be back to check on us in an hour or so. I couldn’t help but be a little frustrated at this point. My mind felt all foggy but I thought to myself “why don’t they just do a cesarean delivery? I want my baby to be okay.” I looked at Thomas who I knew was wearing a brave face for me, but his eyes were full of the same worry I felt inside.
Just minutes later I had a contraction that made our baby’s heart rate drop and go the slowest I had heard the whole night. Thomas later told me he looked at the monitor and it was in the 40’s and it’s supposed to be between 130-150. The doctor and all the nurses rushed in. The doctor gave me a clipboard to sign consent to have a c-section. He said that if her heart rate dropped that low again, it might not come back. I shankingly signed the paper and within 10 minutes I had been wheeled back to the operating room. I was so relieved that she was going to be born so soon. Thomas held my hand and within minutes our Ellie Rose was born at 11:20pm. She was alright and more perfect and beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
Ellie’s birth was an incredibly faith building experience for me. I was reminded of the power of prayer and God’s love for us. Ellie has helped me to love Heavenly Father more, because since she was born I’ve needed to rely on him more. Ellie is also teaching me that God really does show us our weaknesses so they can become strengths. I feel that Thomas and I are learning and growing with our little Ellie girl. Above all, we are grateful to our Heavenly Father that she was able to arrive to our family safe. We sure love her!