It was a typical Sunday night, staying up a bit later than we should, folding laundry with the TV on in the background, responding to some emails on the computer. We were about to call it a night, pack it up and head to bed when, at the stroke of midnight, Mary realized she was bleeding. And then she realized she was bleeding ... A LOT! Since Mary had placenta previa (a low placenta), any bleeding was considered a bad thing and could cause harm to the baby.
Mary rushed to the powder room, Jeremy rushed for the phone. A call was placed to the doctor's office, but waiting for a call back from the doctor as it was after hours. Then another call to 911. They dispatched an ambulance immediately, and stayed on the phone with Jeremy until a police office arrived a few minutes later. In the meantime, Jeremy was rushing around, collecting towels, getting new clothes, starting to pack a bag. Wait! What about the kids? Mary suggested calling the neighbor. Thankfully, although we called Christy's cell phone, Carl was still up and answered the phone. He was going to be right over. The police officer arrived, the doctor called back, and he was going to head to the hospital to meet Mary there. Jeremy was still running around, thinking he was being productive, and Mary was still bleeding. A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived, the female technicians helped get Mary ready to go, they loaded her on the stretcher and off to the hospital she went. All the kids were still sleeping. Carl had arrived and was waiting outside until things settled down. The police officer left, Carl came in and Jeremy tried to systematically sort through all of the things they would potentially need while downloading information to Carl and checking texts from Mary regarding things she wanted him to bring. Finally, after about 10 minutes after Mary left in the ambulance for the hospital, Jeremy was on the road. Whew.
At the hospital, Mary was taken right up to the surgery prep room and the process began. Jeremy joined her shortly after. Finally, she was wheeled to the operating room, and Aubrey Faith Riggall was born via C-Section at 1:27 am Monday April 8th, 2013, weighing 6 lbs, 5 oz and 19.5 inches long. This C-section was part of the Lord's plan for sure, as the umbilical cord was wrapped around Aubrey's next twice, which could have caused significant problems during a normal birth.
After a few minutes, the beautiful little girl was brought over to see Mom and Dad for the first time. Jeremy held her close to Mary's face and she was unable to hold the precious girl. And, for about 60 seconds, there was peace as the three of us reveled in the moment, being together for the first time.
Jeremy then handed Aubrey back to the nurses for them to finish their process, completely unaware that it would be several days until we could hold her again. Jeremy went with Aubrey as they wheeled her in her little crib to the nursery and Mary was wheeled to the recovery room. Jeremy and Mary joined up in the recovery room and the next few hours were a little hazy. We know phone calls were made, texts and emails were sent and Facebook was updated so that the world could celebrate with us. Mary slept for a bit, and Jeremy wandered off to the nursery to see how Aubrey was doing, only to find that she wasn't there and had been moved to the NICU. He was told they didn't like her color - she wasn't pink enough. Um, OK, what does that mean? The doctor came in once to talk to us, but being somewhat out of it at 3:30 am, it's hard to recall what we were told. We did understand that it had something to do with her breathing but that they were consistently monitoring her.
With no baby to care for and kiss, and being utterly exhausted, Mary set off get more sleep and Jeremy headed home to relieve Carl. He got home at 5 am and Carl was still awake; not one kid had woken up. Carl was indeed a trooper that night, and a gift from God.
Mary was transferred to her permanent room, and Jeremy cleaned up from the event and then went to bed to see how much sleep he could get. Jaron walked in two hours later, wondering where Mom was. He was ecstatic when he heard that Aubrey ahd been born, and ran off to tell Abigail, who also squealed with joy. From then on, it was normal morning routine with the added tasks of packing another bag for more permanent items for Mary as well as locating an available sitter for the day. Clearly, this caught us off guard and Mary was only 37 weeks. Geniene Simrak stepped up to the challenge, and re-arranged her day to come spend it at our house, taking care of our kids. Throughout the week, Jeremy's parents, friends from church and other family members came over to care for our children while we were at the hospital caring for Aubrey.
Back to Aubrey: the doctors were doing different tests to try to rule out any major concerns, and an x-ray confirmed that her heart was fine. Hooray! The prognosis was good, and it was either under-developed lungs or a matter of her aspirating amniotic fluid while she was being born that caused her to have to stay in the NICU, connected to oxygen, feed tubes, monitors and all sorts of other kinds of tubes and wires. For a few days, Aubrey stayed about the same in her condition, and the prognosis was still good. Towards the end of the week, she got better, was able to reduce how much oxygen she needed and we were even able to hold her. The next day, she was able to try to nurse, and one by one the tubes and wires were removed and Mary nursed Aubrey more and more. Finally, on Friday, the doctor committed to allowing us to take Aubrey home on Sunday morning! Although we had a good scare, we were praising the Lord for his benevolence towards us and Aubrey, and were very excited about having the entire family under one roof again.
Mary did quite well in the hospital while recovering from her surgery, and even had the nurses concerned by how quickly she was back on her feet and eating regular food (on Monday, actually). But she showed those nurses a thing or two, and, besides, she had a baby in the NICU that she had to go see. Of course, the recovery from a C-section takes longer than just a few days, and she has to be careful of how much she does.
When Aubrey came home on Sunday, all three kids were so excited to see her! They just couldn't get enough of her and each of them wanted to take turns holding her. We love having her home with us, and she is a normal baby and we have little reason to believe that her stay in the NICU will have any lasting impact on her in the future.
Below are some photos of Aubrey while she was in the hospital.
Mom and Daughter together for the first time...
So warm and cozy!
We can hold her now!