Friday, June 26, 2015

Aubrey's Birthday!

Aubrey Lea Gates was born June 12, 2015 at 6:51p via a vaginal delivery.  She lived for 49 minutes and went to be with Jesus at 7:40p.  The following is an account of our day...

We got to the hospital at about 4:00a.  The original plan was to not have her heart beat on the monitor, so we wouldn't make any decisions that would compromise me based on a "bad strip" or drops in her heart rate.  But I couldn't do it.  My life is spent in and out of L&D suites, and coupled with being in those rooms is the constant, beautiful sound of the babies heart beat.  It was way to quiet in our room without her heart beat.  So I said, leave it on.  I left it up to my capable partners to know if and when to turn it off. **SPOILER ALERT** She looked awesome!! Picture perfect strip the whole labor. 

I got one dose of cytotec to kick the process off.  That stuff (if you get the good batch...tehe) is legit!  I was contracting and hurting within an hour.  So I went ahead and got my epidural.  God bless those of you who do this without them, but God also bless modern medicine.  And Robbie, the CRNA who put in my epidural and Steven, the CRNA who managed it all day. 

At around 8a, Bridget, my partner, came to break my water.  This was one thing that was making us both nervous going in to my induction.  For those of you who AREN'T Ob/Gyns, when you have a large amount of fluid, when your water breaks you are at risk for things such as placenta abruption, cord prolapse or the baby flipping positions.  None of these things would be good...however, I trusted Bridget totally so I wasn't worried in that moment at all.  She made a very small hole with a spinal needle...and the river flowed!!!!  Apparently there was a lot of fluid :).  But sweet girls head came right down, no cord, no abruption, no problems.  Good work B! 

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur with visitors and slow labor progress.  We had so many sweet friends and family.  It was perfect.  My mind was kind of going crazy, so I was happy for the revolving door of people.  I would even take a snooze while listening to everyone talk around us.  I loved it.  Jen (my best friend) and Josh put a stop to it at some point, so I would sleep ;).  I didn't sleep too much though....Didn't want to miss a moment of my girls birthday. 

Kye was a rockstar all day.  My dad kept him at home in the morning and he came to visit me around lunch.  Wasn't even phased by me in a hospital bed.  That's the kid of a doctor for you.  He has rounded with me numerous as far as he was concerned it was just another day at mommy's office.  Fil (my father in law...John to most of you) took over at nap time and took him to my in-laws where he always sleeps like a boss.  He showed back up around 5 (after he finally woke up!) and was a total champion through the rest of the process. 

I am not a fast laborer, apparently.  With Kye my water broke at 330a, started Pitocin at 8a and I did not deliver him until 11:23p that night.  With Aubs, I started the process at 5a and didn't deliver until almost 7.  So much for being more speedy with the second.  It was a long day, and for a little while, I think we were all worried she was not gonna fit.  Her sweet head took a while to descend.  But at one point, Cindy (my amazing sweet nurse and friend) checked me and said with so much joy and honesty, "Talia, your 8! and I can feel all the way around her head...I think she is gonna fit!  She is gonna fit!"  The next time B checked me, she agreed.  Finally, at about 5 or 530p, I was complete! Time to push. 

Pushing her out, I can say without a doubt, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I had epidural issues all day (not because of placement, because of some crazy anatomy I have), but it was working great at time of pushing and I couldn't feel to push her.  So I (micromanaging my own care) had them back off on the rate of the epidural.  BIG MISTAKE.  I started to feel it alright! HA!  About 30 minutes later I was begging them to turn it back up! My mind kept saying "don't do it! don't push her out, just keep her inside! she is safe there" but my body was in so much pain, only relieved by pushing.  I was fighting for every push.  At some point, I really didn't know if I could do it. Bridget and Lorissia, both of my partners were right there encouraging me.  Josh was amazing, so strong.  My nurses Cindy and Lauren were total cheerleaders.  I couldn't have done it without each of them. Turns out she was OP (sunny side up) which makes it much harder to push out vaginally and her final head circumference was consistent with a 41 week size head (she was only 36 weeks).  I needed an episiotomy, but finally, at 651p she came out.

She was ALIVE! Reese handed her to Josh so he could finishing pulling her out.  Josh put her on my chest.  And Aubrey cried!! SHE CRIED! We were able to hear her sweet voice. And then even more beautiful, she opened her eyes and looked at us.  Perfection.  At that moment, all I felt was peace.  True peace that I hadn't felt since I realized her legs weren't growing back in February. 

Josh was truly in-tune with her from the moment she was born.  She would just gaze into his eyes.  Her tiny hand grabbed his huge finger.  A true daddy's girl :).  He somehow knew we wouldn't have much time.  Not long after she was born, he said "We have to get Kye!"  He ran out of the room and got Aubrey's big brother.  Kye was also smitten.  He climbed right into bed with me and said "Hey Aubs!" He then sang her Happy Birthday.  Sweetest sound ever.  She also gazed into her big brothers eyes.  He loved on her, kissed her and was SO happy to be with her.  I will forever cherish that moment that we were a family of four here on earth. 

Josh then brought Kye out and said we had to get our parents.  All four of Aubrey's grandparents came in and saw their beautiful granddaughter.  They each got to hold her and see her open her eyes.  I am so happy they got to meet her!   

Josh and I then had our moment alone with her.  Everyone left the room, on Josh's wise request.  We then just held her and told her how much we loved her.  At 740p with her earthly daddy holding her, she went to be with our heavenly Father.  It was the most beautiful 49 minutes of my life. 

After she passed away, our brothers and sisters that were there came in to see her.  My best friends Sheena (who got there right as she was born), Sashi and Jen were all there too.  They each were so supportive and patient all day.  I am glad that they got to see her. 

We then got her foot and handprints, bathed her and put her sweet clothes on.  We went to our room, were she stayed with us.  This was made possible by HALO (Hope After Loss Organization) and their donation of a cuddle cot, which is a cooling blanket, allowing her body to stay with us overnight.  This may seem weird to some.  But it truly eased the transition for me.  And I could still hold her, memorize the weight of her in my hands.  Memorize her sweet little features. 

Some fun tid-bits of the day.  My sweet friends Sam and Andy Byars brought our whole crew lunch, so no one had to leave.  Thanks friends!  Several people (Paige and Crystal) brought Kye toys which was so sweet and amazing.  It was 4 week old Charli's longest time away from her momma, Reese.  She didn't like it.  Ha.  Paige, Ashley and Kayla, some of my sweet office girls, stayed with Charli until Aubs came in the world, allowing Reese to be there to deliver me.  My dad sat outside the labor room listening to the whole pushing process.  He ran to the waiting room after she was born and said "She's here! I heard her cry!" (He was right outside my room for Kye this was very special and sentimental).  At this point everyone came to stand outside the room to listen.  Many heard her cry.  Jen said when she heard my voice, it was the first time I had sounded like myself since we found out her diagnosis.  As I said earlier...peace, peace that passes all understanding.  

This post will only be about her birthday.  Highlighting her beautiful, perfect day.  I will post soon about all the emotions that have surrounded all of this.  I just wanted y'all to hear her birth story.  Thank you for all of the prayers.  The day could not have gone better or been more perfect.  We got everything that we could have wanted.  Of course I wish she was laying beside me right now, but that was not the story that God had for her. 

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful!" Hebrews 10: 23

"Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say 'It is well with my soul'."

It is well sweet friends, it is well.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nearing the End

Hello sweet friends. Since we have last talked, I have had two MFM appointments in Birmingham and little has changed.  The biggest thing is that Aubrey's head size as started to increase as babies heads with TD will do.  This happens because the bones fuse before they are suppose to, a component of their skeletal dysplasia.  This past Friday, I was 35 weeks and 2 days and her head was measuring 41w1d (a week bigger than a full term baby).  Friday, we had a very frank discuss with our MFM about the risks and the benefits of staying pregnant.  Frankly, I think everyone is a little surprised that Aubrey girl and I are still hanging in there :).  I know that is because I asked everyone to pray for more time and God has been so faithful.  What Josh, Dr. B and I discussed was that there was no added benefit to prolonging the pregnancy much further.  There is not any added benefit to her, in fact the risk of still birth for her starts to increase, and the delivery starts to be riskier for me with her increasing head size.   Dr. B felt if my cervix was favorable (dilated and inducible for my non medical friends) that our chance for a safer, vaginal delivery was good and that we shouldn't wait too long, letting her head continue to grow.  He told me to discuss it with my partners (friends and doctors) and to let them make the call.  So, we checked my cervix Monday and its very favorable, Aubrey's head is engaged in my pelvis (that would explain the watermelon-coming-through-my-vagina feeling I have been walking around with).  My last day of work was yesterday and Dr. Bridget Brunner and Dr. Lorissia Autery, my partners, friends and doctors, scheduled my induction. 

This has, no doubt, been the hardest part.  I NEVER wanted an induction with her.  I feel like I am ending her life before we are both ready.  This is where being a doctor AND being her mom is really hard.  I feel like I know too much.  If I was just a patient, my doctors told me the safest thing was to induce, I feel it would be easier to let go.  This is why I made Bridget and Reese pick the date for me.  So I wouldn't have to choose that day, that time.  Choose the end of our time together.  The medical side of me knows that its the right call.  We are constantly weighing risks and benefits in medicine.  Its how we make most of our decisions.  And here the risks have certainly started to out-weigh the benefits.  But the mom side of me cannot stand it. 

She is so happy inside of me.  Moving more than ever lately.  So much personality.  She stuck her tongue out at us the other day on ultrasound when we were trying to get her to roll over.  Literally, she turned her head, looked right at us, stuck her tongue out and rolled back over where we couldn't see her.  Then yesterday, while we were ultrasounding her, I said "Dr. B says she probably cannot close her  mouth because of her bone structure of her jaw".  Aubrey promptly looked at me, mom and Dede (our ultrasound tech), and CLOSED HER MOUTH.  As if to say, "I heard you mom, don't tell me what I cannot do!" 

But it is time.  Its time to begin the process of saying good bye to our daughter.  Plans have been made, dates and times set.  I will tell you, it is surreal to walk through a graveyard, picking a spot for your daughter while she still kicks inside of you.  Thankfully, Josh has taken most of the burden of planning THAT part off of me.  He is so strong for us.  I don't know what I would do without him.  My mom and dad are here.  They rented a house for a month on the lake and I am forever grateful.  Josh's parents are here already.  And the rest of the friends and family that we need are beginning the trek to be here with  us. 

The most amazing part of this pregnancy is the realization and confirmation of how much life truly does begin IN the womb.  The moment of conception.  Aubrey and I have had a life together.  I wouldn't trade they last 36 weeks for anything.  I wouldn't give up one minute. 
Psalm 139, again, says " For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you for I am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me..."

Thank you so much for all the love, prayers and support.  Please keep it coming.  We will need it now more than ever.  Please pray for a safe, vaginal delivery.  Pray Aubrey girl arrives alive.  Pray Kye enjoys meeting his sister and is not overwhelmed.  Pray that between now and my induction date, MAYBE she would just come on her own to ease my mind.  (I realize I asked you all to pray for MORE time last time and that is totally how I have made it this far...thank you)

I am still feverishly praying for a miracle by our earthly standards.  That she could stay with me, Josh and Kye.  However, to paraphrase what a new friend of mine who has been through this exact thing wrote....whether by MIRACLE or DEATH, on the day of her birth, Aubrey will be restored.  Praise Him for this.  Do not forget to praise Him for her life. 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!