Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Emery Hope

On Wednesday morning, July 23rd, I woke up and called the OB office.  I had been having what I thought was probably just Braxton hicks contractions, but I had been bleeding a little as well, so I figured it was better to make sure everything was ok.  The doctors had me come in within a couple of hours to do an ultrasound and check things out.  When the doctor started the ultrasound he immediately saw what the problem was.  They told me I have an incompetent cervix.  My cervix was no longer closed and I was in pre-term labor at 18 weeks pregnant.    There was a little bag of water on top of my cervix and our little one’s head was resting on top of the bag.  Things were not looking good. They wanted to admit me immediately and told me what the plan was.  I was to be tilted backwards in the hospital bed for at least 24 hours to try to get the bag of water to move backwards.  If that happened I was to be getting surgery to get a cerclage put in to close my cervix.  They would keep me on bed rest after that and then once I hit 24 weeks I was to be sent to Hawaii to wait to give birth there. 
(18 weeks, right before going to the hospital)
I was becoming very nervous and extremely uncomfortable being tilted backwards and not able to move.  I was also in a lot of pain because I was still having contractions pretty frequently.  After a couple of hours they sent me to have a more detailed ultrasound done to make sure our little one was developing ok and to check to see if there were any issues there on top of the incompetent cervix.  They also were able to tell us the gender and we found out our precious little one was a little girl!  This was an exciting moment for us even though we knew things could still go horribly wrong.  The technician was able to tell us that she looked great and seemed to be developing normal and still had a strong heartbeat.  He also pointed out that she was quite active and that she would not move her little hands away from her face!  Very stubborn.  Definitely just like mommy and daddy.  

                On a side note:
When I was in high school I decided I wanted to name my first daughter Emery.  The meaning of this name is brave and strong.  It is mostly known as a boy’s name, but I thought it was too pretty to be a boy’s name.   Originally, we wanted to name her Emery Shea, because my brother’s middle name is Shea and he has always been a great influence in my life.  After I started struggling with having Hyperemesis Gravidarum along with being so sure we miscarried at 12 weeks, we decided we wanted to give her the middle name Hope.  Because, she had given us so much incredible hope in our lives.  So her name became Emery Hope.  A brave giver of hope.  

After the ultrasound they brought me to my room and put me back in that horrible backward position.  And we waited.  Joey did not stay the night that first night with me, but the nurse was able to give me some Ambien so I slept through most of the contractions pretty well.  

The next day, they came in to do another ultrasound to see if there was any progress.  What they found was not what they wanted to see at all.  Emery had flipped over and stuck her legs through the water pocket.  Her legs were now through the cervix.  Now the plan had changed.  The plan was now to work through my contractions and I would have our little girl within 24 hours.  

I remember, I kept telling Joey, “I can’t do this.  I can’t have her right now.  It’s too early.  She won’t make it.”  I was in a pretty major panic mode.  I was not ready to deliver her at all.  

The nurses were so amazing throughout the entire time I was in the hospital.  Joey and I had to start making decisions for when Emery arrived.  Did we want to hold her?  Did we want pictures taken?  Did we want feet and hand prints?  Did we want tests to be done to see if there was anything else wrong?  Did we want to have her cremated?  It was so much to talk and think about at one time along with being in labor.  The doctors also came in and explained to us what to expect.  They wanted us to know she would be small but she would still look like a baby.  They also made sure we knew that there was a chance she would not be born alive.  It was something I would have to work through and I honestly never was able to work through it.  I just prayed through it and had hope that she would be alive.  That night was really rough.  Joey stayed that night in case she decided to come.  My contractions were extremely strong.  They were giving me a pain med in my IV every few hours which helped a little, but it also made me throw up, so they had to give me nausea medication at the same time.  Throughout the entire night I kept feeling Emery move down more and more.  My night nurse was so amazing.  He helped me work through figuring out if she was coming or not and it was obvious that he genuinely cared for me and Joey.  

The morning of the 25th rolled around and things had started moving a lot faster.  They called the doctor and gave me medicine for the pain of contractions.  I decided not to have an epidural or any other pain medicine.  I have always wanted a natural birth, so I chose to stick with just having the one dose of medicine in my IV for the contractions.  Which, honestly, seemed like it was no longer working well.  

I’m not sure on the exact time, because things began moving very quickly, but around 6:30-6:45 that morning the doctor came in and told me it was time and I needed to start pushing.  This was very hard for me and I’m sure it was difficult for Joey to watch.  I started to be kind of at battle with myself.  I did not want to push at all.  I wanted her to stay in, but I knew I was not being realistic and I had to push.  So I know that made the process much more difficult.  As I felt him guiding her down more while I pushed it all became VERY real and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  All of a sudden I was out of control crying and the nurses and Joey were being so wonderful and helping me get through the pushes.  

At 7:07 am our precious Emery Hope was born and I was terrified and excited to hold her all at once.  I did not know if she was alive or not. It was the most scared I have ever felt.  Joey later told me he saw her move after I delivered her and that he was overwhelmed with emotions.  He was already such a caring father.  The doctor called Joey over and he got to cut the cord.  This was such a special moment.  I am incredibly thankful that he got that opportunity as a father.  
(Still holding that hand over her face just like in her ultrasounds!)
Once they checked Emery out and confirmed she was breathing, they wrapped her in a blanket and gave her to me to hold.  The doctors then left us alone to spend time with her.  This was absolutely the most beautiful and special moment in our lives.  We got to watch her breathe!  We took turns holding her and hoped time would go by slowly.  We spent about an hour with her staring at her beautiful face and telling her how much we loved her.  We told her she was going to be taken care of and loved on by so many people in Heaven.  

After an hour, we called the nurse in to take her to get her pictures taken. I cannot even begin to express how happy I am that she was alive in our pictures.  The pictures took about 20 minutes, then they FINALLY brought our precious girl back so I could hold her more.  

Our precious little family <3
They had Emery in a cute little outfit so we couldn’t see if she was breathing anymore.  We decided to ask the nurse to check for a heartbeat after we had been holding on to her for about 20 minutes.  The nurse confirmed that she had passed.  While I don’t know for sure when our little girl joined her other two siblings, lots of family, and Jesus in Heaven, I like to think she waited right up till the end when we asked the nurse to look at her.  That may just be wishful thinking for some extra time with her, but that is the story I’m sticking to.  

I decided to hold on to her for a while after we knew she had passed.  Me and Joey stared at her and talked about how perfect she was.  I did not want to let her go.  I knew she wasn’t with us anymore.  She was with Jesus.  But her precious little body was so beautiful I just had to love on her a little more.  Eventually Joey and I got the courage to call the nurse in to take her.  Once we did this we knew there was no turning back.  

Later that day I delivered the placenta, which was a horrible experience.  I post-partum hemorrhaged and they had to keep a close watch on me anytime I got up to walk, because I was borderline passing out from the mixture of being in bed so long and losing so much blood.  I was exhausted and tired of not being able to be in control of what was happening with my body.  

That night, our night nurse sat down and talked with us about everything to expect emotionally and physically.  She told me my milk might come in and that it can be a really emotional experience.  I had no idea exactly how miserable it would be, but boy did I find out the next day. 

She also brought in a memory box.  The nurses had put together this box with all her birth information, hand and footprints, pictures, a card signed by the nurses that helped us the entire time we were there, and the outfit they had put Emery in to take her pictures.  I will forever treasure that box.  It was so unexpected and I can’t imagine life without it at this point.
Along with the amazing blessings we have felt through the nursing staff and doctors, we have also felt so blessed by everyone around us.  Not only here in Japan, but also back home in the states.  People we don’t even know have been praying for us.  We feel so fortunate to know Emery has touched so many people’s lives.  God used her even in her short little life!  

Joey and I have such a strong feeling of pride for our little angel.  She has truly been a miracle and a blessing.  

The road ahead is a really terrifying road, but I know we will get through it with faith and the leadership of God.  We now know that along with PCOS and the past of multiple miscarriages, I will also have Hyperemesis Gravidarum along with an incompetent cervix if we do have the opportunity to conceive again.  Things are going to be difficult no matter what for us.  It is something we are having to really talk with God about daily.  Our faith is being put to the test, but that is ok.  I know I’m going to struggle with acceptance.  But I also know God will help us and guide us if we allow Him to.  We don’t have to walk this road alone and we have no plans on leaving God behind. We can’t do any of this without Him.

There is no magic remedy for living with grief.  But living with God can help make the grief a little easier to handle.

“Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalms 55:22

“By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God.” Galatians 3:26

“My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50