I looked intently into her deep blue eyes and burst into tears. She was reminding me, just by her very presence, that nothing was more important than her. Why was I feeling pressure to do dishes or laundry? She was mine, this beautiful baby girl laying in my arms. For years I prayed for her arrival and now here she was, in the flesh, no longer in my womb. What else could be more significant that bonding with her? Nothing else. With tears falling down my cheeks, I thanked God for this precious moment and that I was alive to enjoy it. Two weeks earlier I almost lost life and my opportunity to see my baby grow up.
At the end of December I gave birth to our newborn daughter in an uneventful c-section delivery. It went smoothly and our hospital stay was fairly comfortable, as good as hospital visits can be. We were thankful for a capable and caring medical team that followed our birth plan with no questions asked. What a blessing. What was better? Our baby was healthy and strong (at 8 pounds 1 ounce and 21 inches!) and nursed easily from the first hour. I was hoping for a little girl, so I was overjoyed to bring her home and begin our new life together. (In a future post, I will share more details about my “gentle cesarean” surgery.)
On Day 12 of my postpartum recovery, the bleeding that was normal turned into a full-fledged uterine hemorrhage. (The exact cause of the extreme bleeding is unknown, but it could have been related an artery that fed my uterine fibroids. Read my series about fibroids here.) Thankfully, it was a weekend and my husband was at home. We raced to the emergency room when I turned ghostly white and almost passed out. After seeing the ER doctor and on-call obstetrician, I was rushed into surgery in an attempt to stop the gushing. I remember laying in a pool of my own blood when they wheeled me into the operating room. Little did I know how serious it was. It got worse. I lost 60 percent of my blood and required an immediate blood transfusion. The skilled surgeons were able to put-in a stop-gap measure until they could send me via ambulance to a larger hospital for a more advanced procedure. My husband said it was one of the scariest times of his life. He already lost his first wife to cancer and now he was facing the possibility of raising his newborn daughter alone without me.
The second surgery was successful, thank God! The abnormal bleeding ceased. I spent three days in ICU while doctors monitored my blood levels closely. I rested and reflected on what they called a “rare” delayed postpartum event and I relished short visits with family. I especially soaked in time with our baby girl, as I was not able to nurse her for almost two days. (God provided donor breast milk for our little one from unexpected outside sources – just one of the amazing stories of answered prayer on this life-threatening journey! Another story for another day.)
I went home, exhausted but alive. Two weeks later, here I was thinking about laundry and dishes. It’s incredible how our minds can so quickly forget the important things in life and seek out the mundane. Maybe I was seeking routine, just so I didn’t have to think about life and death.
She stopped my wandering mind in its tracks.
I’m alive and my baby girl is here. More tears.
Thank you God.
Everyone keeps telling me that this baby time goes so fast. Enjoy it while it lasts. I’m doing just that. I have managed to keep up on daily Facebook posts, but if you don’t see another blog post from me until March or April, now you know why. I’m enjoying time with my baby girl. And my husband. And I’m just trying to recover and figure out life with a newborn. Even though I’m gaining more energy everyday, the laundry and dishes can wait. It’s enough right now to plan and cook a few meals a week. On my death bed, I’m going to look back and thank the good Lord that I spent time with my family.
Can I persuade you to do the same? Go hug your loved ones and thank God you’re alive.
My baby girl is awake now and calling my name. Time to sing to her again. Her favorite these days is Somewhere Over the Rainbow. What a precious thought – she loves to hear her mama’s voice.