Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Miracles and Mourning

Did you know that Colorado has THE most beautiful sky? It's so BLUE!!!

I want to give you all a run down of how things went at the hospital so that you can know how powerful your prayers are.

On Saturday morning (the 25th) I woke up to a gush of blood. I changed my pad and soaked through it within 45 minutes. I also thought I might be having contractions. Griffin was always a strong kicker, but I was feeling a tightness that resembled Braxton Hicks. George had helped pack the night before and stayed the night so he was at the house. I told him about the bleeding and contractions. We decided to go to the hospital even though I was sure they'd check me out and send me home with a prescription for more bed rest. So we got to the hospital and they took me up to Labor and Delivery instead of to the ER. And then it was pretty clear that I'd be there at least overnight. I was dehydrated so they started an IV and then decided I needed to be on a catheter because every time I got up to go to the bathroom, I leaked a ton of blood and sometimes large clots.

I called my mom to let her know what was happening. She and my Dad were in Pennsylvania for a wedding that weekend and she was supposed to fly home to Texas that Sunday and then fly to VA on Tuesday. I figured they were only 4-5 hours away and so asked if we could figure out a way to get her to VA on Sunday. So my aunt drove my mom down to the WV/MD border and George and Jackson drove up to meet them. By this time, the doctor had informed me that I would be staying at the hospital on bed rest until my bleeding had completely stopped for 48 hours. My instructions were to drink a lot of water and be very still. I thought, "This I can do. I WILL get out of here!"

Later in the afternoon on Sunday, I had a gush of blood while lying down and called in the nurse to check it out. She thought it looked pretty watery and was concerned I might be leaking amniotic fluid. The doctor came in and we talked about the risks involved with that. This is when I first became scared. As they were wheeling me down to ultrasound, I actually thought to myself, "This doesn't feel right. I feel like I shouldn't be pregnant anymore. I'm afraid for my life." Then I felt really morbid and selfish for even thinking that! The ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid was really low...measuring 9.3 and the normal range is between 8 & 20.

By this time our main concern was hemorrhaging. I was at an extremely high risk for having a total bleed out and dying within 3 minutes. With the knowledge of the low amniotic fluid came the concern of my contracting an infection. Those two things combined were very scary for me and my family. That night I had pictures of Griffin so small and wrapped in a blanket in my arms...but not alive. I couldn't understand why I was seeing something like that b/c I am normally such a determined, positive person. But I couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to not be pregnant anymore in order to stay alive. So I accepted the images of Griffin...and they weren't scary. They were completely peaceful.

I had another ultrasound Monday morning and found that the amniotic fluid had decreased to 4. Not good. The doctor came to talk with me and George around noon and told us that it did look like I had a tear in the amniotic sac and that Griffin would not survive, and that I would only survive by delivering Griffin. I felt prepared for this news, but George was not. He had a hard day. My doctor had been in contact with a Dr. Chisholm at UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville who said I needed to be there and he could take very good care of me and Griffin. He apparently was very skilled at delivering non-viable babies vaginally with a placenta previa. It would be similar to a DNC but keeps the babies "in tact". I know, I'm sorry for the vulgarity. So at 3:15 pm on Monday the 27th, I was transported to UVA.

Nothing happened once I got there because the team of doctors wanted to observe me and do their own tests. So I got poked and prodded and then given an ambien so I could sleep. :-)

The next day started with a bang as I was a high priority on this high risk L&D floor. Dr. Chisholm did an ultrasound and after what seemed like an eternity he said, "Well, I haven't seen your other ultrasounds but I know a lot of people saw that you had a placenta previa. But you don't have a previa anymore. Your placenta is completely off your cervix." We could not believe it. I just knew God had performed a miracle overnight and had moved the placenta. Miracle #1!!

Next was my 3rd pelvic exam which are no fun anyway, but the tools he used looked large enough to jack up a car. So that was hard and painful and pretty much humiliating but necessary. He was hoping to get enough fluid to look for ferning, which would confirm that I was leaking amniotic fluid. At this point, the doctor was 95% sure that I was losing amniotic fluid, but didn't have any scientific confirmation. So he sat with us for a while and gave us a library of information on our situation. We were basically faced with the impossible decision between inducing labor which would terminate the pregnancy and waiting it out to see what might happen. With so little amniotic fluid, Griffin could not grow and develop healthfully. He would be severely handicapped, mostly likely with lung disease and the need for a respirator for the rest of his life. There were a multitude of other handicaps that I can't even remember. And he was 100% certain that I would contract a severe infection within 10-14 days. I couldn't make the decision to induce labor without knowing for sure that I was leaking amniotic fluid. So I told Dr. Chisholm that I wanted to do the amniocentisis and that if it confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid, I wanted to go ahead and induce labor. He was relieved by my decision because he also did not want to terminate my pregnancy without knowing for sure.

At 2:00 pm on Tueday the 28th, Dr. Chisholm injected blue dye into the amniotic sac and found that the sac was so empty that he could not extract any fluid for testing. He told me that if I was going to see blue spotting, it would be in 4 to 8 hours. So I prepared to wait. At 2:20, I saw blue. Miracle #2. Dr. Chisholm confirmed it and I said, "So now I just let you know when I'm ready to be induced?" and he said, "Yes, but there is absolutely no rush. I know how hard this is so you just take your time and let me know if you have any questions." Earlier I had asked him if there was an average amount of time it takes a woman at 20 weeks to go from being induced to delivering. Unfortunately, the answer was 24 hours. But I was at least comforted by knowing that I would be able to deliver Griffin without the need for intervention because God had moved my placenta.

After the doctor left my room, I was overwhelmed again with having to decide when to be induced for a labor that Griffin would not survive. I just didn't want to have to make that sort of decision!! At 2:30 I said to my mom, "I think I'm in labor." Miracle #3! And sure enough, within an hour I was asking for pain medication and by 5:00 I was asking for an epidural and then by 5:10 I was pushing (never needed that epidural!) and at 5:30 Griffin Jacob was delivered and even more beautiful than I had imagined he would be. I then held him, wrapped in a white blanket, and felt completely at peace.

The whole time I was in labor, I was thanking God for his extreme love for me that he took away all the hard decisions and made everything crystal clear.

Yesterday I took my mom to the airport after lunch and Jackson was asleep in the back seat. And I finally bawled my eyes out in mourning for my family. For my septic marriage and the loss of my baby. I had cried after the doctor told us we were going to have to make a heart wrenching decision and I had gotten teary eyed a few other times but I think my adrenaline was pumping overtime and it wasn't until I was alone and back in Colorado...back where things were so different a year ago...that the tears really came. I cried most of the way from the airport to the place where George is staying. He got Jackson out of the car and I got the car seat out and he asked if I was doing okay and I told him I was just sad about Griffin and I started to cry again. He was holding Jackson, who was still asleep, and opened up his arm to me and I fell into him, just letting it all out. I had been so sad that we weren't able to mourn Griffin together as his parents and I guess I just needed to cry with him because he lost his baby too.

Thank you for praying for us and lifting us up. I love hearing from you! Please continue to pray for the healing of our hearts and especially for the softening of George's heart toward me and toward God.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful touching heartwrenching sorrowful hopeful peaceful story.
I thank you for helping me put my life in perspective. Peace to you

Sheri said...

You were truly in God's hands that day. I am continuing to pray for God to keep his arms wrapped tight around your family. I am so happy for you that you are back in that beautiful state.

weavermom said...

What a beautiful story of your little Griffin. As you said - Praise God that He made all your decisions so clear.

Welcome back to Colorado! May it be a healing place.

TCC said...

I've been reading and praying but haven't commented yet. I was so moved by the way God took care of you and Griffin. I just had to thank you for sharing. I will continue to pray for you and believe for restoration of your family.

Nancy Peacock said...

As tears slide down my cheeks I wanted to let you know that people, from far and wide (I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) are praying for you. I'm so glad that somehow, your connection with the Father is sustaining you through the most difficult of situations. I'm praying for restoration for your family, and for your wounded heart. The family of God knows no boundaries or borders! In Him, the world is small.

Jeffcoat House said...

Thanks so much for sharing your stories. This one in particular touched my heart so much; more because of the peace God gives that passes all understanding. I am so sorry for your loss and pray God will continue to heal your heart and use it for His glory.

Anonymous said...

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things."


Jody said...

Erin~ Just wanted to share that I came to your blog not long ago through Adrienne's and my heart has been heavy and has lifted prayers up for you. I, myself, have been living through tragedy, brokeness and grief for just over 6 years now. I can truly say that God is faithful and His promises ARE true. He continues to amaze me with His timing, His grace and His mercy. I have had to give up my plans, my ways and surrender to Him my everything. But what I have been given out of the hurt and pain of my life is a treasure and Joy that I do not deserve.
I will pray for this same peace and comfort and Hope to fllod your life and your soul. And one day I pray you will look back and this time of your life will look like a beautiful blessing out of which you will reap many rewards. THAT is the miracle, wonder-working power of our God and Savior. I pray for you much strength and willingness to seek God every step of this journey you are on. Sweetly~ Jody

Stephanie Fisher said...

I am at a loss for words as I write to you... all I know is that I want you and Jackson to know that I am praying for you guys and we love you here in Oklahoma. I praise God for your life and yet I mourn for your loss of Griffin. I pray that God would give you His peace... the peace that He promises that passes all understanding. You are so strong in Him, Erin. I LOVE YOU!!

Monette said...


Words escape me at this point. Welcome back to Colorado - get in touch with me when you have time. I'd love to see you!


Sheri said...

Your story confirms that Life in Christ is all about being empty and broken and Him filling us and letting His glory shine through. I know I can be extremely independent and stubborn and niave when things are going "my way." But God has a way of allowing things into our lives that hurt REALLY BAD sometimes but they shape us and glorify Him if we can just die to ourselves. I'm sorry for your pain and loss, but inspired to see you are getting yourself out of the way and allowing God to work His miracles. Thank you for sharing in a very authentic way what your journey and secrets have been. It's so freeing to be there and air it out. I am in the process of getting my junk on the table too, you are not alone, my friend.
Praying for you,

SingerMamaMelody said...

Dear Erin,

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am mourning with you. I'm so thankful that God's peace and protection was upon you as you waited for and delivered Griffin. May God continue to hold you all in the palm of His hand...

Adrienne said...

So very, very much in the last 5+ years, huh, friend?! Looking forward to meeting Griffin face to face one day! Love you! xoxox