This is the story of our beautiful daughter Anastasia Laelyn. We are writing it for two reasons. 1. We are writing to remember: we want to be able to look back one day and share the details with our precious girl. 2. We are writing to share with you the miracle our God gave us. To read part 1 of Anastasia Laelyn click here.
I was so ready for Anastasia to arrive. My mom had come out to California for three weeks to help care for the baby and me…so we needed to get the show on the road. Her due date (July 4th) came and passed, and I tried everything. I ate spicy food, went for walks every night, drank loads of red raspberry leaf tea, and then I remembered hearing about “the cookie.”
Rumor has it that a bakery in the next town over sells cookies that induce labor. It started as a joke when the baker’s sister ate one of the cookies and subsequently went into labor with her child. However, it quickly gained popularity. So much so that the news has covered this bakery and these mysterious cookies. Monday, after my Dr. appointment where they confirmed that I was 100% not in or close to labor, we headed to the cookie store. I went inside and the conversation with the guy went like this:
Me: Are those the cookies that are supposed to help you go into labor?
Me: How many do I have to eat? (Mind you these are pretty large cookies)
Guy: (Laughs) I don’t know. However many you want.
Me: I’ll take one.
Guy: (Seeing how dejected I am, slips two into the bag and charges me for one.)
Me: So does this really work? Like has it really worked?
Guy: (waves hand at bulletin board next to cash register)
Literally, they have a bulletin board FULL of baby pictures. People eat this cookie, go into labor and send in pictures of the kids. We hopped back in the car, and I opened the little pastry bag and ate both cookies in under 5 minutes. I kid you not, I started feeling sick almost immediately. In fact, I had to leave work early that day because the sickness would not subside. Inside I was kicking myself for eating both cookies, thinking that I had just overloaded on sugar. The next morning I woke up and felt even worse and declared, “I am starting my maternity leave today.” And it was a good thing too because two hours later my water broke and, yes, I was officially in labor. Thank you magical cookies.
I called Kris excitedly and told him to come home from work. However, I held my ground and made him promise to run by Walgreens first to get me an eyebrow pencil. (My eyebrows were looking absolutely awful the month of July, and I did not want my child meeting me with mismatching brows. Don’t judge me.) My mom got all of our stuff together, and we waited for Kris to get home. We drove to the hospital, happy and excited. I was finally going to meet my baby girl!
I could not believe Randi asked me to stop at Walgreens. All I could think was, “SERIOUSLY?!? I am headed home to pick you up because your water broke; I am excited beyond belief because after nine months and a few days of waiting we are finally headed on our final trip in the car before our beautiful baby girl is born; and you want me to stop at Walgreens? To pick up an eyebrow pencil? Are you NUTS?!?” I knew things would not go well if I arrived home without fulfilling this request, so I swooped into Walgreens, quickly grabbed the pencil, and headed for the line. I jumped in by far the shortest of the two lines and watched as the man in front proceeded to take FOR…E…VER (read in the voice of Squints from “The Sandlot”). The person in front of me actually switched to the long line after awhile. First he couldn’t find his coupon. Then he asked the lady if she could look up the coupon–first in the newspaper, then online. Then, when he finally paid, he kept trying to give her an extra dollar (I don’t think he was quite all there). After finally completing his checkout, he stood in front of the register gathering
all three ofhis things for at least two minutes while the poor cashier just looked at me with an apologetic expression on her face. I actually reached around him to hand her the pencil, but still had to wait to pay until he moved on. After paying, I went out, got in my car and left the parking lot before this poor turtleman even got into his car. I was slightly annoyed…
Now this may sound crazy, but this labor business couldn’t have happened at a better time. You see, we don’t have cable in our house–no Dish, no Direct TV. We have good ol’ rabbit ears up in our attic. Usually not a problem, except this summer was the World Cup, baby, and we had World Cup fever! We thought we were going to miss a bunch of the games because we couldn’t get ESPN, but we soon realized that the Spanish channel we picked up was airing all the games. So for the past couple of weeks we had been watching soccer in Spanish. Fine, but people, this was the big time. We were headed to the hospital right before the start of the Germany/Portugal game. Germany was our favorite team (besides the USA, of course) and the hospital had cable! We were going to be able to watch it in English! Literally during my initial check-in exam, I told Kris and my mom to go to our room and get the game setup on the TV. After I settled into my room the nurse began encouraging me to get up and walk around. I asked if I could walk circles in the room instead of the hallway so I could watch the game. At one point, they started to put an IV in my arm. I was really into the game when I heard the nurse say, “Oh no…” I looked down and saw a huge pool of blood covering my hand. Apparently, my vein was extra sensitive, and, apparently, I had been too into the game to notice.
Every time we asked for an exception to be made so we could watch the game, the nurse looked at me as if to say, “Seriously? You’re going to make your in-labor wife stay in this room so you can watch the game? What’s wrong with you?” Ya, she doesn’t know Randi…
A few hours after the game, things started to take a turn for the worse. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot. From 11:00 am on Tuesday to 4:00 am on Wednesday, labor did not progress well. I became violently sick – drugs were brought in, fluids were hung, an oxygen mask was put on, and all I could do was watch the clock and count the hours go by. Despite everything going on, I remember at one point God saying to me, “This baby is a gift to you.” Ironically, (probably because of that) I was never worried that my baby would be okay.
I came into this whole experience knowing labor would take a long time. In our birthing class, they said the average time of labor for a first child is something like
forever10 hours. What I did not expect was for those hours and hours of waiting to produce almost no progress at all. I wanted to make sure I was awake if anything major happened, but sometime around 1am, I decided I should probably at least try to get some sleep. Sitting in a chair next to Randi, I remember thinking, “Well, at least she’s at peace and not in much pain.” Then I felt shock, guilt and anger toward myself when the nurse asked Randi her pain level on a scale of 1-10 and Randi responded, “8.” The whole time she had been facing away from me – I thought she had been asleep. I couldn’t see the pained expression on her face as she stared at the clock for countless hours wondering when the pain would end.
I had rolled over and was ready to die. Goodbye, world. Goodbye, Kris. Goodbye, moon.
I immediately got up, moved to the other side of the bed, and grabbed Randi’s hand. For the next two or so hours, I sat holding Randi’s hand, watching the machine that monitored her contractions. I could see the contractions coming before Randi felt them and would squeeze her hand and let her know it was going to be okay as the pain soared to new heights. I would tell her when the contraction began to ease off, letting her know she had made it through the worst of it and had just a few seconds left til she would feel some relief.
So, I didn’t die, obviously. Around 4:00am Liza, my beloved nurse, came into the room and told me they could give me an epidural if I wanted one. Praise the Lord, hallelujah, yes, I did. The anesthesiologist told me it might hurt – um, no pal, contractions hurt.
Shove a needle in my back all day long and I’ll dance atop unicorns while rainbows pour from the sky. I know that doesn’t even make sense. No, the epidural did not hurt. It did make me extremely itchy, but I’ll take itchy any day of the week and twice on Sunday compared to what had been going on. Kris had stepped out of the room at this point and when he came back in I looked up at him with a big smile and said, “Hey! Guess what! I love epidurals!” I’m pretty sure I also professed my love for the anesthesiologist and told him (a couple times) that he was my favorite doctor ever.
When the anesthesiologist came in the room, he told us that only one other person could stay while he performed the procedure. I knew the cafeteria was about to close (it’s open from 1-4am for the night shift people), and, after being awake all night, I was starving. So, we decided it would be best for me to go grab a sandwich so I could make it through the long journey ahead (one of the best decisions ever considering I would not get to eat again until around 2pm that day). When I made it back to the room, I immediately knew Randi was feeling better. First of all, she was smiling from ear-to-ear. Secondly, her statement about epidurals was said with the tone and fervor of an 8-year-old telling her dad, “Guess what! Mom said we could get a puppyyy!!!”
After the epidural, the baby began showing signs of distress and the medical staff started talking about doing a C-section. I really didn’t want one, so I shot a text out to some friends asking them to pray. My mom, Kris and I prayed together, and I asked God to allow me to have a regular birth. Immediately after we finished praying, my doctor walked in and declared, “You are having a C-section.” (Future note: looking back, never have I been so glad that I did not argue or push for what I wanted.) The baby was in distress and, while it wasn’t an emergency, it was time for the baby to come out. Well, there ya have it: I was having a C-section. They dressed Kris up like this:
and we were ready to roll. I waved goodbye to my mom and called out, “See ya later.”
Now can I just say, I was exhausted at this point. I had been up for almost 24 hours and, as they wheeled me into the operating room, I was having trouble staying awake. However, when they hung the curtain, I knew it was go time, and I began to get excited. They asked if we wanted to watch, and we both said, “No.” I laid back, and I waited – waited to hear my baby cry. Instead, all I heard was silence…