The Arrival (Rachel’s Story, part 2)

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At 9:30 PM, Rachel, resigned to what was about to happen, agreed to the c-section. As soon as she said, “OK”, the room exploded with activity. The lights came on and people rushed all over the place. Aaron panicked and began calling everyone he knew. While Rachel watched the craziness around her, she could sense God’s presence. She knew He was there with them which kept her calm. She looked down at her body and told it, “Body, you had one job,” signed the consent papers put before her, and called her mom.

The anesthesiologist, the only calm person in the room, sat down on her bed and explained what to expect while a nurse tossed scrubs at Aaron. “Put these on,” she told him as she ran off.

Then the doctor returned to tell Rachel what would happen, and what could go wrong, “But it won’t” she added.

As Rachel was prepped for surgery, she watched Aaron on the phone with his mom and thought, “This is surreal.” When Aaron finished his call, he was told to wait in recovery room. They would get him when Rachel had been given a spinal and was all set up in the OR.

Aaron, still in panic mode, made his way to the recovery room and was joined by the respiratory specialist. “Everything’s going to be OK,” the specialist said. He continued speaking reassuring words until Aaron was able to calm down. Well, maybe not calm but at least not panicking.

At 10 PM, Rachel, feeling loopy on the magnesium they were giving her for her blood pressure, was wheeled into the OR and watched as people scurried around preparing for her surgery. Aaron joined her just before her doctor arrived after scrubbing in. She walked up to Rachel, holding her hands up, and said, “Remember when your baseline protein level was 125 early in your pregnancy? Well, four hours ago it was 900, and now it’s 4500.” From earlier talks with the doctor, Rachel knew protein in her urine meant her placenta was breaking down.

Rachel said, “So I’m exploding.”

“Yes, you are,” her doctor said. When everyone else in the room introduced themselves, Rachel acknowledged each one, but then said solemnly, “I promise to forget all of your names.”

“What music do you want?” they asked her.

“I don’t care,” she said. So they put on their shower play list and began singing along.

Aaron was brought in and they started the c-section. She was worried that she would feel the knife slicing her open, but she didn’t. However, she did feel a lot of jerking and yanking and pushing down on her diaphragm which made breathing difficult. She also noticed her hand turning purple as the blood pressure cuff kept going off every minute.

As she struggled to breath, she heard Aaron’s commentary while he snapped picture after picture.

“I see her!”

“This is so cool!”

“I’m looking at your insides!”

“Wow!”

And then, at 10:58 PM Rachel heard a baby cry. Aryn Jade had arrived!

While Aaron helped bathe newly born Aryn, Rachel noticed the music that had been playing in the background. “Is that the Backstreet Boys?” she asked.  “Yes, it is,” someone answered. “Cool,” she said.

Aaron held Aryn next to Rachel while the anesthesiologist took a family picture of the three of them. Aryn was breathing well and didn’t need intensive care so a nurse took Aryn to Nursery Two, a higher care nursery for premies than the regular newborn nursery, but not as intensive as NICU.

Still laying on a table in the OR, Rachel asked her anesthesiologist, “Why does my chest hurt when I breathe? Am I having a heart attack?”   “No, you’re fine. It hurts because they were pressing down on your diaphragm to leverage your baby out.”

Then she focused Aaron, who was still taking pictures and giving a running commentary as the doctor finished working on her.  “That’s gross!” he said as the placenta came out.

“Take that, placenta!” Rachel said, and heard the doctors crack up.

Jerking as they sewed her back up, she commented “I smell something burning.”

“They’re cauterizing you,” the anesthesiologist answered.

“I smell me burning. That’s so cool,” she said.

Everyone was still singing along to the music, and later remarked that this was the most fun delivery they had had in a long time. Finally, the anesthesiologist held a bottle of morphine in front of Rachel’s eyes. “I’m going to give you this now.”

“OK,” was all Rachel said and quickly began to feel the effects. They turned her and flipped her as they moved her from the table to a bed and she lost all sense of direction. And then the drug really kicked in and she lost touch with everything.  That is, until she got to her recovery room where she threw up all over herself.

If she had been able to think about it, she might have marveled at how quickly life can change. She had had no idea when she awoke that morning that it would be the last morning she would wake up pregnant. She had no idea as she got ready for work that her body would go into crisis later that day. She just knew God was in control of her life. It was this deep foundation of faith that carried her calmly through the unexpected events of the day. And it was the amazing God she trusted that had arranged every detail perfectly -from the time she “just happened” to be having her regular checkup in an office that “just happened” to be across from the hospital when she went into crisis – to her doctor “just happening” to be on the one on call.

Yet, as well as this day had turned out – a beautiful, healthy little girl and a Big Mac in the freezer – she had little idea that her faith in God would soon be tested like never before.

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To be continued.

Just Happened To Be (Rachel’s Story, part 1)

Rachel just happened to be at her doctor’s office for her regular check up when the crisis began.

“Your blood pressure is quite high. We’ll wait a little while and take it again,” the nurse told her.

But the second one was just as high. So instead of letting her go home, she had to stay to have some lab work done and for her unborn baby girl to be given a stress test, which she passed with no problem.  Bored and hungry, but not really worried about her blood pressure because it had been high before, Rachel was left in the examination room to wait for the results of the lab work.

Finally the doctor came in to talk to her.

“So we’re still hoping to delay this birth but we need to get your blood pressure down so we’re going to hook you up to an IV in a labor and delivery room at the hospital to monitor you.” The hospital just happened to be across the parking lot from the doctor’s office.

The doctor motioned to a nearby wheelchair. “Sit down.”

“Now?”

“Now.”

“What about my car?”

“It’ll be fine in the parking lot”

Tired of the games her blood pressure continued to play, she sighed and sat down. For IMG_20180623_220720815 (2)years her blood pressure had caused her problems, but now, with the pregnancy, it was getting increasingly hard to control. Her doctor, who just happened to be the one on call that afternoon, pushed her across the parking lot and into the ER entrance.  She was taken to the third floor maternity ward and, once settled in her room, texted her husband.

“Don’t panic. They want to monitor me again.”

“Ugh,” Aaron texted back. “OK, fine. Are you OK?”

“Yeah, no hurry. Just bring me some food when you come.”

Two hours later, after receiving more medication in her IV, her blood pressure lowered a little but was still dangerously high.  Her room was darkened to reduce stimulation and she was given a steroid shot to mature her baby’s lungs just in case their efforts to reduce her blood pressure didn’t work. Rachel lay in her bed, not allowed to do anything, and wondered why the drugs weren’t working. She spent a little time praying, knowing God was there with her, then zoned out to pass the time in between the vitals checks the nurses performed every thirty minutes.

She hadn’t eaten since early that morning and it was now well into evening and she was starving. She asked a nurse and was given permission to eat the food Aaron would be bringing with him after he got off work and took care of their pets. He arrived a couple IMG_20180623_220742262 (2)hours later with a Big Mac and fries. “Are you sure you can have this?”  Rachel nodded and managed to get four fries in her mouth before the nurse came rushing in the room.

“Stop! Don’t eat that!” she told Rachel. “I misread your chart. You can’t have any food!”

Rachel stared longingly at the Big Mac and fries, and then looked at Aaron. “Don’t throw these away. Put them in the freezer. I’ll eat them when I get home.” She saw the look on Aaron’s face, and added, “This is my version of a wedding cake. I don’t anticipate it tasting good. It’s the principle of the thing.”

“OK,” Aaron said, knowing she would do what she would do and there was no sense trying to dissuade her.

Not long after that her doctor came into the room with her lab results. “Soooo,” she began. “You aren’t responding to the medication in your IV which is bad. We’re going to have to start a magnesium IV drip. And we’re probably going to have to have this baby tonight. Vaginal delivery is better, but the magnesium is a smooth muscle relaxer and you can’t really have contractions when your muscles are being relaxed. So I’m thinking we’re going to do a c-section tonight.”

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Rachel looked at Aaron with resigned exasperation while Aaron stared back with the beginning of panic in his eyes. Tonight? They had known their daughter would be delivered early, but six weeks early? Really?

to be continuted