Libby Is Here!
The morning of Wednesday, February 4th, I woke up having contractions, mostly in my lower back. They were uncomfortable, but didn’t feel productive at all, so I got comfortable and waited for them to stop.
Except they didn’t stop.
After 10 hours of being uncomfortable, I finally called the doctor and went in to the hospital. By the time I got there, each contraction was too painful to talk through and coming one after the other. And I was only 3cm.
Keith and I were determined to work together for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Caesarian) so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all the ugly parts of a surgical delivery. Right after he got sick, we scheduled a C-section just in case we needed to have a fixed date with a predictable recovery when we thought he’d be doing chemo and having a stem cell transplant. After he died, I kept going back and forth on what I wanted to do. It was a complicated argument constantly occurring in my head.
As I was contracting in the hospital, I still couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. All of a sudden, with one intense contraction, I knew that I was too tired to even attempt a long and painful labor without the man who was supposed to coach and comfort me through it. I needed to be able to hold that baby as soon as possible to comfort the hurt, loss, and frustration I was feeling.
My mom and I were still in shock that the baby was actually coming. She wasn’t due for another 12 days and my c-section was scheduled for exactly a week later.
I am so thankful that even though my OB wasn’t on call, she came in to deliver. She never did get to meet Keith, but from the moment Keith got sick, she was an important part of my emotional support team. She understood the emotional complexities of my pregnancy and delivery and could provide comfort in ways that no other doctor could; she promised to advocate for me by minimizing the number of possible triggers in the OR and recovery rooms and kept me laughing during the delivery when I started to get overwhelmed. It is an unbelievable blessing to have a provider who understands my emotional needs as well as my physical/medical ones.
Delivery went smoothly and mom held my hand and we cried together at how equally wonderful and sorrowful the moment was. She even peeked over the screen and saw baby girl’s entry to the outside world. We were both so thankful the doctor had encouraged me to care for myself and the baby by choosing a repeat c-section: on top of the tremendous amount of emotional stress, both baby and my heart rates were very high (the decision was confirmed when she discovered that my uterus was thinning significantly faster than I was dilating, which is the beginning of a possible uterine rupture).
And just like that, she was here:
Elizabeth “Libby” Grace.
Keith and I had picked out her name soon after finding out she was a girl. The meaning of “Elizabeth” (dedicated to God) became eerily profound when we realized how sick Keith was. She was a comfort to Keith on his worst days as he would touch my belly as a reminder of the special gift God was making just for us. Now as I write with her sleeping on my chest, she provides me comfort as well.
Libby’s arrival and this period of post partum healing may be one of the most difficult challenges I ever face. Every part of her birth was a reminder of Caleb’s birth, my dad’s death, and Keith’s absence. It was a highlight of the way things should be, but aren’t. And yet, somehow there was beautiful comfort in holding the little girl that God has already promised to take care of. She is both a joy and a reminder of the someone who is missing.
Since coming home, Libby has been a good sleeper and a better eater. She grew .75″ in her first week and continues to amaze us with her funny faces and snuggly personality. Caleb is so in love with “Wibby” and takes every opportunity to hold and snuggle her. He is already incredibly protective and so very proud of her. I’m thankful they will always have each other’s companionship.
It is hard to understand the “why’s” and “how on earth’s” of the last few months, but I’m thankful for the people around us who constantly remind me of the shelter and comfort that bring healing a little bit each day.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. [Psalms 91:4 NLT]