In writing this I’m hoping to help keep you all informed to the best I can, but I also use this space to help myself process. Because of that there are details that may be hard but honest. Thank you for following along despite the sometimes uncomfortable reality of our story.
Early Monday morning, June 4, we decided to go ahead and do a test run for L&D. Kidding. Sort of. I started having contractions around 2:30 in the morning. As I laid in bed I noticed they were sharp and my belly kept getting very tight. Because I was induced with Ira I have not experienced contractions outside of Braxton Hicks (which had been increasing in frequency the past couple of weeks) that weren’t brought on by pitocin. I knew that more than five contractions in an hour meant I was supposed to call my doctor. So after feeling several I decided to download a tracking app and start making sure I was actually having contractions, not just making it up in my mind. They continued to come and after about 15 within the first hour I woke up Cooper, who had only been home and asleep for 3 hours after working all weekend long out of town. He sweetly asked, “Should we be concerned?” To which I jokingly replied, “well I did wake you up for them…” 😉 He told me to call my doctor so I got up to find the number. Then instead of calling, I came back to bed to try and see if they’d go away. 🙃 I’m not stubborn or a procrastinator at all.
After several more I decided to call the doctor, who wanted me to come in immediately and be monitored. We called our family and started texting our prayer warriors to have them pray for us. Off we headed to Medical City in Dallas. We honestly had already mostly decided we were going to deliver in Fort Worth but because my appointment with who would be our new OB wasn’t until the following day, we went to Medical City where they knew us and us them. We were so well cared for by all the staff while we were there. It made us seriously reconsider our decision.
God was already answering prayers as my contractions began tapering on the drive to Dallas. We showed up, got put in a room and began being monitored.
At some point the nurse came in and explained that Ellis’ heart rate had dipped some and they wanted to watch it. He wasn’t in “fetal distress” yet but they did not like what they saw. She began asking questions about if we’d want an emergency c-section if he entered into fetal distress or to just labor regularly. Because of his diagnosis these are questions we are faced with. He doesn’t have a good life-expectancy. In fact, statistics say if he makes it to labor, he probably won’t make it through it. Our goal has always been to get him in our arms alive, but some families just want to labor regularly and let whatever happens happens. We know we want a c-section if it means he gets here alive, but because I am on blood thinners for a clotting disorder, an emergency c-section would likely mean putting me under with general anesthesia (if my platelet count wasn’t right for an epidural or spinal, or we just didn’t have time for those things). If I am put completely under and our boy arrives, knowing we have very limited time with him, I may miss every moment with him. I panicked. And our nurse (who we later found out is a member at our church – another way God is working in amazing ways to surround us with who we need when we need them), gently calmed me down. The doctor came in and checked me, and because labor didn’t seem to be progressing we were able to go ahead and run labs to see where my platelets were at – I had missed my dose of blood thinners the night before so I might be sitting okay to receive an epidural if labor progressed. It’s in these moments where we have to fully trust God’s sovereignty over our entire situation, over Ellis’ life, and our own. We trust and believe He already knows exactly what it will look like when Ellis arrives and that whatever that is, it is better than our own plans. In the moment it’s hard to not want to try and control whatever we can, so we find ourselves constantly having heart-checks and falling on our faces before the Lord pleading “Your will, not ours be done”. Holding Ellis’ life in open hands has been really hard, but really worth it.
[A dear friend wrote an incredible article on God’s sovereignty over illness and suffering that you can find here. I definitely recommend giving it a read!]
Contractions continued to taper and get more random and further apart. My body was chilling out and Ellis’ heart steadied. They monitored us for another 4-5 hours and when labor did not progress and Ellis showed himself to be the fighter he is, we were released to go home. Our God is so good.
Tuesday morning we had appointments all day in Ft. Worth. These appointments would be our deciding factor (finally!) for where we wanted to deliver. We met with the general surgeon and neonatologist in the morning. The general surgeon will perform Ellis’ congenital diaphragmatic hernia repair. We really liked him and felt peace about Ellis being in his care. The neonatologist sat in on the meeting with us and then we continued after to talk about general care when Ellis arrived. We felt so understood, heard, and genuinely cared for by her during our meeting. She was fantastic and exactly what we felt we needed to go ahead and decide to have Ellis in her and her team’s care. Such a relief to finally know where we will deliver and where Ellis will be! So many answered prayers.
We then had a sonogram and appointment with the high risk OB/MFM that would be taking over my care. Ellis looked great on the sonogram. He is still very small, which is expected. They measured him at 2 pounds 8 ounces, a little less than my last appointment with my other MFM but sonos can vary depending on machines and the person doing it. Also third trimester weight checks can just be very inconsistent. We’re not too worried about it. Due to our scare on Monday we decided to go ahead and do a round of steroid shots to hopefully help Ellis’ lungs develop better in case we end up in labor before term. There’s a very high chance of that happening and due to his already small size and his CDH, we want to give his lungs the best shot we can. Our goal is to get to 37 weeks and if Ellis is still strong we’ll try to get to 38 weeks for inducing. We are having weekly and possibly twice-weekly sonograms to keep an eye on him and since our goal is to get him here alive, if he is showing signs of struggling we will induce and take him early. Stillborn rates go back up now due to his diagnosis and we are trying to avoid that very possible reality if we can.
We would love your continued prayers for our family. On days we don’t have the words we find comfort knowing that our fellow brothers and sisters are pleading with the Lord on our behalf. Thank you for that.
Would you continue to pray for:
-Healing over Ellis, and that he would continue to grow and develop;
-that we would make it to full term before needing to deliver (at least 37 weeks);
-for mine and Cooper’s hearts as we near meeting our precious boy, that we would find complete comfort in God’s sovereignty;
-that God would strengthen us for the days ahead and we would praise His name no matter the outcome, He is worthy of our praise!
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Psalms 135:5-6