David William came to join us on January 31st – a full five and a half weeks early. Needless to say, once again, we found ourselves living a different plan from our own. And in each circumstance, God provided.
A few weeks before David’s birth, I began to experience an insane amount of itching. As if I had been rolling in poison ivy. But pregnancy had come with a lot of uncomfortable weirdness so far, so I didn’t think much of it (aside from “I want to tear off my skin”). I wasn’t going to even mention it to the midwife, but a couple of hours before a routine appointment I googled my symptoms on a whim. Cue mild panic.
Later that day, the general pleasantries between the midwife and I turned into a concerned conversation. Blood work was ordered, and within two days I was diagnosed with a liver condition called intraheptic choleostasis of pregnancy (ICP). If you’d like to read extensively about the condition, I encourage you to do so here. But for the shorter version, ICP affects 1-2 in 1,000 pregnancies. It’s not terribly dangerous for the mother, but it can be harmful to the infant in a number of ways. Since it only lasts as long as the pregnancy and increases risk of stillbirth after 37 weeks gestation, it’s typically treated by inducing early labor.
The midwife explained all of this over the phone, and that she’d like to talk about inducing labor at 36 weeks – I was 33w 6d at the time. She also told me to schedule an appointment for that Monday to come up with a game plan and retest my blood. Dutifully, I made and attended the appointment, with a different midwife than the one who had been working with me so far. This new midwife brushed aside all concerns, and told me that there would likely be no need for an induction. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled with her blasé attitude (this is my child’s life we’re discussing) and more than a little confused and upset. My husband and I made a plan to call the office first thing the following morning to speak with the original midwife.
Fast-forward a few hours, my husband and I attend our evening childbirth class and learn all about pain management and breathing techniques. We walk downstairs together, and I tell him that I’m planning to stop at Wendy’s on the way home to grab a late night snack. We hop in our separate cars and head homeward. As I exited the Wendy’s drive through, my water broke. Events proceeded as follows:
10:35p – Husband receives phone call requesting that he not go to bed yet; I am 60-70% certain my water has broken.
10:50p – I arrive at home and we decide my water is most certainly broken. But no contractions yet (as far as I’m aware).
11:00p – Call midwife; I am told to come in so we can figure out what’s going on, but I’m probably not in labor.
11:01p – Since I’m “not in labor,” I tell my husband I’d like to take a shower and have a snack before we go in. (He declines the bedtime story request.)
12:00a – Arrive at hospital, fill out copious amounts of paperwork. Do lots of waiting. Find out that I am having mild contractions, according to the belt monitor, but they’re really irregular.
2:00a – Midwife finally checks me out; I am definitely not in labor or going to have the baby tonight since I’m not dilated at all.
2:10a – I am moved out of triage into a delivery room because that’s the only place they have space to put me.
2:20a – Definitely having contractions now that I need to breathe through.
3:20a – HOLY COW, I AM HAVING CONTRACTIONS. I CANNOT DO THIS FOR HOURS. NO WAY.
3:30a – Midwife returns; apparently I’m fully dilated and it’s time to start pushing.
3:40a – There’s suddenly a lot of activity at the end of the bed. Baby needs to come now because he’s not tolerating the labor well.
3:52a – Oh, hey there kiddo.
David spent two and a half weeks in the NICU as a result of preemie status + vomiting green goop on day 4 of life (which scared the begeebers out of everyone and led to transfer to a bigger hospital than where I delivered… but that’s a long story). There, we met some amazing medical providers and tremendously encouraging NICU parents. Although it isn’t what I would have chosen, it actually ended up being an amazing blessing to have so many people helping me learn how to care for an infant in those first weeks. Also, Ronald McDonald House was a HUGE blessing, providing a quiet place for us to step away from the bedside, as well as grab meals. The hospital also had a meals program for me as a breastfeeding mom, and their financial aid program covered all of David’s medical bills. God. Is. Good.
We’ve all been home for 5ish weeks now. David is already 8lbs and 13oz and counting – which is great especially considering he had dropped from 5lbs 9oz to 4lbs 11oz his first week. As everyone keeps telling me it will, the time is flying by. He’s already outgrowing newborn clothing. He’s making messes everywhere and stealing our hearts. And as I wake (many times) in the middle of the night to meet my son’s needs, God is still good. God’s teaching me patience, generally refining me, and also reminding me how great my husband is. God’s seen fit to place a number of fantastic people in our lives that have blessed us in countless ways. To say I’m humbled by His provision for us is a bit of an understatement. So I’ll just finish by repeating, God is good.