Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Toad

Leah is a Toad. But she is OUR Toad. She really shouldn't even "be". God knew we needed her, and worked extra hard to insure we got her.

Caleb was only 4 months old, and nursing, so I didn't even realize I was pregnant. Very soon afterwards I developed a complication called placenta previa, and had early difficulties as a result. Not knowing I was pregnant meant I did not manage some of these complications very well! On Valentine's Day Christopher simply stated I was pregnant. Mind you, Caleb was now 8 months old, and I was ready for another baby. But something seemed to be happening to keep us from getting pregnant. I was discouraged, and thought the idea that I was already pregnant ludicrous. It took me two more days before I bought a test. I think I just waved it over my belly, and it began blinking, in neon letters, and saying in an audible voice, "Yes, you are pregnant!". Great! I couldn't figure out when this all happened but one thing I have learned in Odd, when the test says you are pregnant - you are pregnant. I called my doctor, and made an appointment for a few weeks later (we all assumed I was about 6 weeks along).

Christopher and I were married on March 1, 1997. In 2004 we decided to spend our anniversary going to dinner, and a movie. We picked Cheaper by the Dozen. No joke. And while watching this movie version of Odd it happened - I felt movement! That can't be, I am only 7 or 8 weeks along... In actuality, we discovered a few days later, I was 19.5 weeks pregnant! Nearly half way done.

Once we had the correct due date I went on a rampage to find a doctor, and hospital that would give me the kind of delivery options I longed for. After several doctors, and a final decision to leave the Monterey County for Santa Cruz County facilities, I found my "soulmate" in obstetrics. She was willing to allow me to have a natural birth, free from intervention, and fuss. She was willing to let me gestate as long as my body needed. She was willing to sit back, and allow God, and my body do what they were designed to do. But God had other plans, and those little complications I mentioned earlier turned into big complications at about 32 weeks.

I was in my routine ultrasound with my OB when she puzzled at the screen. "This seems odd," she mused. Together we started fitting pieces of a huge puzzle together that ultimately showed us I had complete placenta previa, with little to no chance of change, and my dream delivery was out the window, being replaced with a planned cesarean. We agreed that she would allow me to go to 39 weeks (a mere week short from "full-term"), and things were set. But things weren't really "set". As the days progressed we discovered I might have other complications which could ultimately lead to the loss of my uterus, my life or my baby's life. This devastated me. The idea of never being able to bear more children was a grief I could hardly fathom. And on the flip side Christopher was coming to terms with the possibility of losing his wife or child. It was an incredibly emotional, and faith-building time. But in it all we never wavered that this little child was somehow meant specifically for us.

On the morning of my planned cesarean date I woke up at 4am to use the potty (or rather my bladder decided to wake me up because it had 12 drops it HAD to void before another minute passed). As I crawled back into bed for my last hour of sleep I felt an odd sensation, and realized I was hemorrhaging blood. Uncontrollably. We called 911, and I was rushed to our local hospital for an emergency cesarean. No one was allowed in the delivery room, and I was put under general anesthesia. It was the epitome of what I fought so hard against in my decisions for facilities, and doctors. The irony was not lost on me as I slipped in and out of coherent consciousness.

Leah was born on July 26th, 2004 at 6:11am. She weighed 9lbs, 11 ounces, and was 22.5 inches long! She lost some blood during my hemorrhage but both of us were able to slide by without a transfusion, and in incredibly good health considering all my blood loss.

And so as I watched her playing at Park Day yesterday, with the other homeschooled children running around her, I laughed to myself. She has SO much personality. She is my most tempestuous child. But she melts my heart every day.

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