Monday morning James went to work like normal. He dropped Brooklyn off at my parents' house so I could get some rest (because she likes to wake up at 5:30 now). I remember waking up at about 8:00 and feeling some stomach cramps. I briefly thought that it felt like the cramps I had when I went into labor with Brooklyn, then I turned back over and fell back asleep. I woke up at about 9:00 and noticed a few more light cramps, and they'd come and go. All morning I had light cramps, and at about noon I started to time them. They were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds each. They were fairly mild, more of a tightening sensation than anything, and I was exciting wondering if I was in labor. By 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I was pretty sure I was in labor, but I wasn't sure if my contractions were doing much since they weren't lasting too long. I couldn't tell if Eden was head-down or not, but I thought maybe she was head-down because of the pressure in my pelvis with each contraction.
At about 4:00, my contractions seemed to be getting stronger, and a little longer in duration, so I told James to come home - luckily it was only a few minutes early and he didn't miss a lot of work. When he got home, we are dinner and decided we were going to go to the hospital to see if I was in labor and what was going on. I had texted my doula, Sharon, and also my doula, Amy, and kept them updated. Sharon lives quite a ways from me, so she was going to leave after rush hour and meet us at the hospital. Amy lives a lot closer by, and also said she was going to meet us at the hospital. Of course, Brooklyn decided 5pm was a great time to settle down for a nap, so we let her sleep a couple hours and made sure we had everything for the hospital. We left for the hospital between 7:30-8:00 and got there and checked in by about 9:00.
By the time I got the the hospital, my contractions were very painful. They didn't exactly feel "normal", and they were way more painful than any contraction I ever had with Brooklyn. Amy arrived shortly after we got to the hospital. Almost as soon as I got into my room, my OB came, and we checked for Eden's position. Eden was not head down like I had thought. She was in a steep-oblique position like she had been at my previous OB appointment. My doctor then checked my cervix, and we discovered I was only 2cm dilated, about 60% effaced, and still had a pretty posterior cervix. We also discovered that Eden's shoulder and possibly part of her cord was presenting, which is the pressure I was feeling during my contractions.
We decided to go ahead and attempt a version, even though I was slightly afraid of the possibility of a cord prolapse because it was presenting. I received a hep-lock in my right hand, and I received a shot in my left arm that was supposed to slow my contractions down and relax my uterus. The shot seemed to work for a little bit. I got a contraction almost right away, then another one 5 minutes later, but that was as slow as they ever got. They stayed about 5 minutes apart for another 2-3 contractions before speeding up again to every 1-3 minutes. Between contractions, my doctor tried to turn Eden. He tried to turn her both ways, but her shoulder wouldn't disengage and he never was able to get her to turn.
I was devastated because it meant I had to agree to a c-section, but everyone was very supportive. Sharon had texted me right as we had arrived at the hospital and told me that she had a tire going flat. At around 10:20, she texted me again and let me know that road-side assistance was having issues getting the lug nut off her tire. At this time, they were prepping everything for the c-section. I texted our photographer, Terina, and called my parents to see how close they were. My parents arrived before I was wheeled back for the spinal, and Terina arrived as I was being wheeled back.
It was very surreal to be wheeled back to the OR. I had a c-section with Brooklyn, but I had also received stadol and was completely out of it during that one. This time, I was completely aware of my surroundings and what was going on around me. I hated being separated from James to get the spinal put in. I remember that the room was super clean looking and bright. I got the spinal put it, and jumped when he stuck it in, even though I wasn't supposed to - I couldn't help it. I also declined the narcotic pain medicine he asked if I wanted when he was putting in the spinal, because I wanted to make sure I wasn't out of it to meet Eden. It was terrifying when the spinal started to numb my feet and legs. At first I felt a ton of pins and needles, and my feet felt really cold. They helped me lay down, and I had the strongest urges to move my legs but couldn't. I was terrified at that point that I would never feel my legs again. It felt like my feet were up by my butt and my legs were spread wide open, though in reality they were straight and closed. I couldn't see over my stomach to see my legs, which only added to my terror.
They let James and Terina into the room shortly after I received my spinal. They also gave me an oxygen mask, and it tasted horrible. The taste made me a little nauseous, but I didn't actually feel like I was going to throw up at that point. I was so afraid of what was happening. I remember them pinching my stomach to see if I was numb, and everyone waiting the full amount of time to make sure my spinal was totally effective. I was so cold and my nerves were so crazy that my teeth were chattering severely. I couldn't get them to stop chattering. My hands and fingers also felt like pins and needles, and they told me that meant my spinal was good and strong.
When they finally started the c-section, I was so afraid. I could feel the pressure, and it took so much longer than when it did with Brooklyn. I was afraid that something was wrong with my uterus because it was taking so long. My OB said that my uterus was still pretty thick for laboring all day, but I guess my scar tissue was very strong, which is a relief.I kept asking James why it was taking so long, and they said it was just because it was my second c-section. At one point, I heard the strangest sound and asked what it was - it was my water breaking. They lowered the curtain so I could see, and they pulled Eden out. I still didn't get to see her being born, because I couldn't lift my head high enough, but they cut the cord because it had already stopped pulsating, and quickly handed her to James. I remember asking if she was alive and being told she was. I was so happy. James sat with her next to my head, and they started sewing me back up. She was so beautiful, and she was breathing and making a little purring noise. She also made little crying noises, blew little spit bubbles, and sneezed several times! She opened her eyes, and we saw that she had blue eyes just like Brooklyn.
It took them a long time to sew me up as well. That part was horrible and also very scary. I felt this bad pain, like someone was standing on the top of my uterus while they were sewing the bottom of it up. The anesthesiologist said that was normal even though they weren't touching the top of my uterus. The pain started to make me nauseous, and I begged him for some kind of pain medicine. He put something in my IV for me, and it helped to relieve the pain a little. It wore off very quickly though, and the pain started making me nauseous. I had him remove my oxygen mask and I dry-heaved a few times and concentrated very hard on slowing my breathing to calm the urge of throwing up. My neck and shoulders were also very sore and aching because I had been laying there for so long. I asked for more of the pain medicine and received it. I had the urge to throw up a couple different times, but luckily never did. It was terrible.
At some point when they were sewing me back up, we let them weigh and measure Eden. She was 6lbs, 13oz, and 18.75 inches long. They told me she was born at 23:20 (11:20pm). James also brought Eden out to meet everyone, though I'm not sure if I was done being sewed up or not. After they were finally done, they lifted me onto a bed. It felt like I was falling, and once I was on the bed, I felt like I was laying all crooked with my legs in weird positions. I still couldn't feel my legs, even though the urge to move them was so strong. I was wheeled back into the recovery room, and I got to see Eden more. They let my family and Amy in, and I remember them all helping me to hold Eden. When I was finally able to move my legs a little bit, they brought me back to the room we stayed in for the rest of our stay.
I was in so much pain after the c-section, and I was slowly allowed to sit up a little at a time. We held Eden for hours, and we had my pastor come dedicate her life to Christ after a few hours. It all seems like such a blur now, and the time went by so fast. After we dedicated Eden, I was in so much pain that I finally accepted some morphine. I thought that it would knock me out, and that Eden would pass away while I was sleeping, but strangely enough, it didn't seem to do much. Normally a benedryl would knock me out, so they only gave me the minimum dose, but it took the edge off for a little while, and we spent more time with Eden. An hour later, they gave me a slightly higher dose, and it still only took the edge off. I think I was running on so much adrenalin that nothing was going to make me sleep, despite being exhausted.
During Eden's life, she did so much that they say anencephalic babies aren't able to do. I am SO incredibly proud of my little girl. She appeared to have more than a brain stem, though a large portion of her brain wasn't formed, and her soft tissue was exposed. The majority of the time, she appear to be conscious. She would occasionally open her eyes, and we were able to see her beautiful blue eyes. She also would lift her head - she was very strong for a newborn! She would pull her arms and legs in reaction to the cold when I'd unwrap her blanket, and there was a few times I'd feel her move her legs up, then she'd cry just a bit, and fart! She also peed in the first diaper we put on her (soaked through it!), and after she left to be with the Lord, we discovered she had also pooped (guess it was more than just farts)! Before she left us, I was able to have skin-to-skin cuddling with her, though it was very hard to keep her warm. She lost a lot of heat through her head, and she was so cold that her hands and feet were purple after a while. I also tried to nurse her, but she wasn't able to suck. I think it was still comforting to be put to the breast though, and it's a memory I'll always cherish. I was able to pump just a few drops of colostrum that we gave to her through a dropper. She didn't drink it, but I know she was able to taste it. She also reacted to our touch. When we'd tap on her little nose, she'd scrunch it up and squint her eyes. Eden was absolutely perfect, and I'm so incredibly humbled and grateful for the time we were given with her. I have thanked God for the time He gave us over and over again.
She went to be with Jesus at 5:47am on November 27th after holding on for a long time. A couple hours before she passed away, we were told that it wouldn't be long, because her heart rate had slowed down so much. She was so strong, and such a fighter. She passed away very peacefully in my arms...I waited for that next breath, and when it didn't come I just knew. James tapped her little nose one last time, and when she didn't scrunch her eyes up, we both started crying. My mom had just given me the phone with my Uncle on the other end, and James was on the phone with his father. The nurse confirmed to us that she was gone, but had to call the doctor to confirm it for it to be official. It was heartbreaking, but I knew she was in my Mema's arms and totally at peace. Her hands and feet had been a dark purple because she was so cold, but after she passed away, she turned a soft pink and actually seemed to warm up. I feel like she was showing us that she was okay.
We spent a lot of time with Eden that morning. We gave her a little sponge bath, and we took pictures of her in different outfits. We said goodbye to her, and let the nurse take her to get her DNA sample for the Duke University anencephaly study while we slept a little before deciding if we were ready for the funeral home to take her. I was only able to drift into a very shallow sleep, and I don't think I was ever fully asleep. I rested for about an hour. Terina was going to come back that evening to take more pictures, but I texted her to let her know she had passed away that morning and she came back sooner. We got more pictures of Eden, and eventually called the funeral home. They arrived much quicker than I liked, but I knew I'd never really ever be ready to hand my child over. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do to place Eden in the little basket they brought all wrapped up in her blanket knowing it was the last time I'd ever see my daughter on this Earth. I cried for what seemed like forever after they took her.
Though I never wanted another c-section, I know that we ended up with one so God could give us the time we needed with Eden. She had a lot of soft tissue exposed, and probably wouldn't have lived through a vaginal birth. I'm at peace knowing that we tried everything we could to get her to turn for a normal birth, and when that didn't work, we trusted God and followed through with what we discovered was His plan. I'm so grateful that I went into labor on my own, and that I got to see what a true miracle Eden was and is.
I still can't believe that she is gone, and the whole pregnancy seems like a huge dream now. It's hard to believe that three days ago I had a child. My arms feel so empty, and I'm going about each day wondering what in the world I'm doing. The only proof I have that I had a baby is the scar across the bottom of my stomach, and the pictures that we have. If I didn't have those, I think I'd question myself if this all really happened because of the surreality of it all. I haven't cried quite as much as I'd expect since being home, but I have my moments. Suddenly it hits me all over again, and I'm a ball of tears. Other times I can't cry because I feel like I've cried my eyes dry. I cried when I was walking the halls after the c-section (part of what you have to do to be able to go home) and heard someone have their baby and the baby start crying, and when the nurse told us that the hand and foot molds she took didn't turn out, and when we left the hospital, and when our own hand mold broke when we were taking the dried plaster out...I've just been crying and wanting my baby back so bad...what I'd give to go back and experience the time we had with Eden again. It feels like it flew by way too fast, and now it's over and already the details are starting to blur. Please continue to pray for us, because even though Eden's perfect journey here on Earth has completed, our grief has just begun.
|Gorgeous tiny feet...|
|Little belly button and hands. <3|