One month ago today our Crawford girl was born and I've spent a month trying to wrap my mind around all that happened. Her birth happened in a blur and was 100% different than the experience I desired. For years I've desired a natural, drug-free birth. There's just something about experiencing every bit of that pain that was important to me. I've been reading and researching for YEARS about how to prepare and plan for this kind of birth. Once we found out we were pregnant with Crawford I was so excited that I would actually get to have this experience! I quickly ordered a few books from amazon to help prepare. But now I have a scar on my belly to always remind me of the emergency C-section that brought our sweet girl into the world. I don't have professional photos or even a photo of the first time I saw her... or held her. I hardly have any photos of friends or family meeting her for the first time. She came in a blur and there's so much I wish that I could do over. But this is her story. Her perfect story the Lord has written for the first moments of her life and no matter the circumstances surrounding her birth... we are so so glad she's here. We love our Crawford girl so!
My last 10 weeks of pregnancy were hard. About the time we got Campbell I started to swell. At first it was just a tight feeling in my feet but within a few weeks you could really see it in my feet and by December 1st I was swollen literally everywhere. There wasn't a part of my body not holding fluid. By the second week of December I had almost no mobility in my legs. I was miserable and I hated it. I hated that I was wishing the days away and not able to fully enjoy my last few weeks with Campbell. By the end of December I was really concerned about my swelling and felt like it wasn't normal. My blood pressure had been on the high side of normal, but it wasn't anything that really concerned my doctor yet, so he just told me to keep an eye on my swelling and blood pressure. On January 3rd I had my 38 week appointment. Campbell and I got to see Crawford on the ultrasound which was extra sweet since we hadn't seen her since 20 weeks. Again, my doctor just said to keep an eye on my swelling and blood pressure and sent us on our way. About 5pm that evening I started to feel really bad. My back was hurting, I had a terrible headache, and overall just felt like something wasn't right. After calling a nurse friend of my mom's we decided to go ahead and go to the hospital just to be safe. Tyler gave Campbell a bath and put him to bed and my mom came over to stay. Once we arrived at the hospital they quickly hooked me up to monitors and started running some labs. My blood pressure was high, but it continued to fluctuate so they ultimately decided to send me home and they planned a follow up appointment with my doctor for Thursday. We left the hospital around midnight and I tried to rest as much as possible.
Campbell and I had a lazy morning and I missed a call from my doctor while we were napping. He wanted to know how my symptoms were, so I called his nurse back and told her I still felt the same as I did the night before. His nurse called later that afternoon and said that he was concerned and wanted me to go ahead and come back in. I snuggled Campbell so tight because I just knew I probably wouldn't come back home until after she was born. It felt so bittersweet to say goodbye to our time with him as our only babe. I'm so glad I snapped a photo of us. I always remember that moment! I dropped Campbell off at Megan's house and drove myself to the hospital.
By the time I got to the hospital I could tell my blood pressure was really high because of the way I was feeling. They quickly got me back and as soon as my doctor saw my blood pressure they put me in a wheelchair to take me from the physicians building to labor and delivery to be monitored before they started induction the next morning. With the way I was swelling and with my blood pressure always being borderline, I wasn't surprised that I had preeclampsia in the end, but I am SO grateful that I was at 38 weeks and not before. I am so thankful our girl was just about done growing and that we were both healthy!
Tyler arrived at the hospital from work about that time and we ultimately made the decision for him to go spend a few hours at home with Campbell. So as I was getting all set up in my room he went home to spend some time with Campbell and do a few things around the house. I'm so glad that he was able to spend that time with Campbell and put him to bed one last time before we brought a sister home for him!
I spent several hours alone at the hospital and looking back it was a sweet time I'm really grateful for. I turned on some worship music and listened to her heartbeat and just enjoyed some quiet. My mom and sister came to sit with me for a little bit and I was so thankful to spend some time with them too! Tyler arrived later that night and the nurse got me started on some meds that were supposed to help get me ready to be induced. (That's all I'll say because thinking about the medical terms being on my blog make me cringe! Ha!) They made me contract all night long (unfortunately I still didn't make any progress) and poor Tyler had a long night with me. I was basically immobile because of the swelling in my legs so anytime I had to move the slightest or get out of bed he would physically have to move me. It was a really sweet night of relying on him and being encouraged by him.
Crawford's heart rate kept dropping so they would constantly have to change my position in order to get her heart rate back up. This happened for several hours and ultimately pushed back my induction because her heart rate wouldn't stay up. My doctor arrived later that morning and made the ultimate decision to go ahead and get my epidural, break my water, and see if I would progress any without pitocin. My blood was so diluted from all the extra fluid that my platelets were low so there was a question of if I could even get the epidural. In the end we made the decision to go ahead with it and I am so grateful that we did knowing the end result. Since I ended up in an emergency c-section situation I was able to be awake since I had the epidural instead of being totally put under. I can look back and see so many little moments the Lord completely took care of us and I'm so thankful for His provision.
Almost immediately after getting the epidural my doctor came in to break my water and within minutes I could hear her heart rate almost come to a stop on the monitor. I remember telling Tyler that it didn't sound good and within seconds several nurses were in our room and the doctor came in to say we were heading to the operating room. Within a few seconds our room was filled with several nurses prepping me and the anesthesiologist trying to explain to Tyler and I what was about to happen. They quickly got me into the operating room and Tyler stood on one side and the anesthesiologist on the other. She was truly such an encouragement from the Lord because Tyler was upset at this point and I was a little out of it, but nervous about what was happening. As they both stood on either side, I heard her tell me that there was about to be a lot of pressure and a few seconds later on Thursday January 5, 2017 at 10:32 AM (fun fact- Campbell was born at 10:32 PM!) we heard her cry for the very first time. Tyler and I just sobbed as we listened to her and soon, saw her from around the curtain. They took her to be cleaned up and Tyler was able to hold her as they wrapped up my surgery. I shook terribly for probably about an hour afterwards and I didn't hold her for the longest. Those first hours of her life are a blur for me, but I'm so grateful Tyler had some time with her. My doctor wanted to keep me in L&D for a while to monitor me so it wasn't until much later that night when we finally made it to a room. Our families had already arrived (It was so sweet for me to see photos of Campbell hanging out while we waited for Crawford to arrive! I have more photos of him than I do of her! Ha!) so we let them come back in small groups to see her. Since I hadn't really spent any time with her yet we didn't let anyone hold her and Tyler just propped her up in my arms for people to see as they came in. Of course we were so so ready to see our sweet Campbell so he was the first one back to meet his sister!
It was sweet to share our girl for the first time and to finally be a family of four. I'll never forget those first moments! I started to finally come around a little bit and they took us up to our room. My mom and sister left shortly so Campbell could get to bed and we had our first night with our girl. I'm so thankful for all the sweet staff that took such amazing care of us! Tyler was the real MVP when it came to taking care of his girls. I still couldn't move without help thanks to my swelling and incision And Tyler changed every diaper and did many feedings so that i could just snuggle our girl when I held her. He was constantly encouraging me and telling me what a great job I was doing. He held my hand as we walked the halls and I built up my strength and I am just so grateful for him and our marriage. My love grew for him in those few days!
We randomly got a "big" snow for our area of the county and no one could visit us the next day! Ha! We had a really chill day of just snuggling with our girl and watching it snow. We even got some photos and videos of Campbell experiencing the snow for the first time! It was really hard to be away from him for three nights but one thing is for sure... he was loved on by so many people! Later that night a couple of friends ventured out to come see us and it was sweet to share our girl.
Saturday we got the all clear to go home so Campbell came to see us as we were getting discharged and they had their first photo together! Getting to come home with our girl seemed like such a dream come true. We were finally a family of four and I could not have been more grateful.
Crawford's birth story is something to Lord is using in my life to sancitfy me and teach me more about surrender. The story of her birth is 100% different than what I expected or what I desired. But the Lord is using the circumstances surrounding her birth to remind me that my life should be lived in surrender to Him. My desires, my dreams, my plans... I need to hold those with open palms. I can't live my life with a death grip on my plans because as I've learned... His plans are always, always better. Even if "better" just means sanctification and an opportunity to lean into Him through my disappointment. In the midst of the disappointment and hurt I have been incredibly grateful and humbled. The Lord so graciously allowed me to grow our girl and that is something I'll never stop praising Him for. It was a gift He never had to give, but He chose to in His sovereignty. As my friend Katie says, He is only ever good. Thank you Jesus for the gift of our Crawford girl! Whether you're a Mama or not, whether you've experienced birth or not, I hope that you can be encouraged to seek Jesus in your disappointment and to keep your palms open as you take your plans and dreams before Him. We can trust Him with every single desire and dream of our heart knowing that every single thing He does is for our good and sanctification. As my friend Katie says, He is only ever good.