Amy's Birth Story

amy-roseThe Birth of Amy Rose

On April 7th, I woke up at 11pm, after half an hour of sleep, to my first real contraction. Knowing the most important thing I could do in early labor was rest, I tried to go back to sleep. I was able to doze but contractions were every 10-20 minutes, and uncomfortable enough that I was getting out of bed and standing or kneeling with every one. Finally I gave up on sleeping a lot and went out to the living room. I managed to sleep decently well the rest of the night in a chair. I’d just scoot to the edge and sit up straight during each contraction.

In the morning, April 8th, I told Noah to go ahead and go to work, because the contractions were still fairly far apart and not strong. I did make sure he could leave at a moment’s notice though! I e-mailed Patrice to let her know things were getting started! Then I spent all day about the same…sleeping as much as possible between contractions, eating a little bit here and there, and trying to sleep some more. I did manage to doze most of the day, which I’m thankful for!

Contractions gradually got closer together and a little stronger. I had some bloody show a couple different times during the day. Exciting! By 4:30 contractions were 5-10 minutes apart and just stronger enough that I decided I was ready to have someone with me. I called Noah and he got home about 5:15 or so. He sweetly washed the dishes and cleaned up the house in preparation for everyone coming over! J We went and walked around outside and played with the dog for a while. It was much nicer having Noah to lean on during contractions than it was being by myself.

We called my Mom to let her know things were going on. I had wanted to wait to call her until I was ready for her to come because I didn’t want her to be stuck at home knowing I was in labor. She got there around 7 or so.

I talked to Patrice around 8:30 or 9. She sounded like she wanted to come J but I didn’t want her to spend more time than necessary just hanging out at my house. I felt like I still had a ways to go, even though contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart or closer. But by 9:30 Noah was ready for them to come and it was fine with me, so we called Patrice back. She and Barb got here around 10pm.

I was feeling sort of nauseated with contractions by this time, and somewhere around here is where I started throwing up, which I did repeatedly for the duration. L I had broken blood vessels in my eyes from vomiting so much.

I got in the tub shortly after 10pm. I’d been wanting to for a while but was waiting as long as I could. The warm water felt so good and was very relaxing. Unfortunately it made my contractions space out a little more. That was nice though in that I could take a little break if I was getting too tired. I spent the rest of the night going back and forth between being in the tub, sitting on the bed or kneeling or standing in the bedroom. In the tub, contractions would space out to 5-6 minutes apart and not be quite as strong, but if I got out they were 2-3 minutes apart and pretty intense—making me throw up more. Barb was laughing at me carrying my bucket all over the house! J

Noah and I were both starting to get tired during the night. He read the Bible to me—the first chapter where we were reading was Psalm 61…“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou has been a shelter for me and a strong tower…” I love this Psalm and it was extra meaningful at the time. Noah prayed and read Psalms to me off and on for most of the night and the next day. He’s the best…

The sun started coming up Thursday morning, April 9th, and that’s when I started to get really discouraged. Another day starting and I was STILL in labor. It was very disheartening and I was getting tired. I was in the tub for a little break and with one contraction I finally said “I don’t want to do this anymore!!” My Mom was in the living room and came hurrying back to the bathroom and put her arm around me and said, “You DO want to do this. You do.” And I believed her because she had been there, done that…her labor with me was 40 hours long. And apparently she thought I was worth it. So I decided ok, I was going to do this. (As if I had a choice!)

Mom asked if I wanted my music on again, and I asked her if she’d sing to me instead. So she did…The Lord is My Light and I Will Abide (based on Psalm 61.) “When my heart’s overwhelmed…” Mine was, then, and I needed the reminder to draw strength from the ROCK that is higher than I am. So Mom and Noah and I sang for a while, and I felt much, much better and much more ready to face whatever the day held. I kept thinking of and saying God’s promise in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Around 8am, Patrice offered to check me, and I was ready to know what on earth was going on and why I still hadn’t had the baby! J Good thing I’d already worked through my moments of feeling despair, because the news that I was only 4-5 cm dilated was very discouraging. Not surprisingly, the baby’s head was asynclitic. I remember Patrice saying she could feel a fontanel and thinking, “PLEASE let it be the posterior one…” No, it was the anterior fontanel. My baby was not interested in tucking its chin and making the coming out easy!

My contractions had spaced out and gotten pretty irregular by this time, so Patrice and Barb decided to leave for a few hours. I got in the tub and tried to sleep in between contractions for as long as I could. When they picked up a little more (and probably when Noah talked me into it again J) I got out of the tub. I tried doing some hands and knees and knee-chest positions, hoping to encourage the baby into a better position.

Patrice and Barb came back around 11am, and Patrice checked me about an hour later. STILL 4-5cm. L But the baby’s head had rotated…Patrice thought to a posterior position. Not ideal, but at least it was moving…

I spent the next hour standing as much as I could, and I went outside and sat on the deck for a while. Tried more knee-chest position. When Patrice checked me at 1pm I was 5-6cm! Finally some measurable progress! The baby’s head had moved more, and actually rotated even more while Patrice was checking me.

Sometime during the morning, I learned that it helped a LOT to look right at Noah during a contraction. To just look into his eyes and see that he meant what he was saying when he was telling me over and over that I could do it and that I was doing good. I needed him for every contraction!

I spent the next hour doing 3 contractions on my left side, then 3 on my back, 3 on my right side, and 3 on hands and knees. Repeat and repeat and repeat… I got back in the tub at 2:30, and being upright again I started to feel kind of pushy with some contractions! Patrice checked me again at 3pm and I was only 6-7cm. I was kind of hoping for complete. So I got up and walked around for a while, trying to breathe through all the pushy feelings I was having.

At 3:30pm, I was still 6 cm, so we decided to have Patrice break my water. I think I asked if that was going to make contractions hurt more. J It did make them closer together than they had been. The next hour I moved around a lot—lying down, standing, kneeling, etc, breathing through contractions the whole time. After that hour I was still 6-7cm, but the baby’s head was finally a little better applied to my cervix.

I got back in the tub and contractions spaced out as usual. Noah encouraged me to please get out of the tub again… He was ready to get it done! J Patrice tried holding my cervix during a contraction and it stretched to 8 cm, but she was having a hard time holding it.

I tried the knee-chest position again. That hurt. Like, really, really bad. Barb suggested I do it for 10 minutes or something like that. It took a lot of coaxing on Noah’s part to get me to stay in that position through that many contractions. Ouch. And I was still only 6-7cm after all that.

6pm. Tried more new positions. Mom called Dad and asked that the church would all be praying for us. They were actually all getting together that evening, and so they had a time of prayer together for us. Wow…God is good. We are so thankful for our church family.

At 6:30pm, I was still breathing through the pushy contractions. Patrice told us I could go ahead and try pushing, taking the risk of my cervix swelling or tearing. We talked about it and decided it was time for something to happen, so I started pushing and doing belly lifting at the same time. Patrice started holding my cervix at 6:45, which she did for the next 2+ hours! It took an hour and a half to get rid of the last lip of cervix. I was pushing and the baby was moving down. I got to feel the baby’s head a little before 9pm. Wow…I couldn’t believe I was really able to feel it…finally!

And I was finally, finally complete at 9pm! Thank You Lord… I think Patrice was thankful to be able to take a break from holding my cervix!

It was good to push and feel the baby’s head moving down. They held up a mirror so I could see the baby at 9:40pm. Way cool!

I really, really, really didn’t want to tear, so I was trying so hard to blow whenever the baby’s head really started stretching me. Noah helped a lot…we’d talked about it beforehand and so he knew to get in my face and remind me to blow. I was helping hold the baby’s head back so it would be born slowly. I was so conscious at the time of not wanting to tear!

It felt so weird to push the baby’s head down, and then have it swoosh back inside between contractions! In the most intense moments right before the head crowned I kept forgetting to blow. Barb would say “Dorothy! Blow!” and I would realize that I had stopped and was just pushing! It’s so hard to NOT push! But between Barb and Noah reminding me I did the best I could. And I did not tear. J

The baby’s head crowned and was born at 10:20pm. I could feel the little face and hear it making little squeaks and gurgles!! It felt so good to be able to really push and NOT have to blow when the contraction came and the baby’s shoulders were born. Noah and I caught the baby together. I had to be reminded to give one last little push when the baby wasn’t all the way out and I was trying to pick it up. Finally, at 10:24pm, 47 ½ hours after I woke up to my first real contraction, our baby was born!! We checked to see…a little girl! Our Amy Rose…

God is GOOD!

Labor was hard, very hard. But it wasn’t horrible or awful at all. It was certainly not more than I could handle with lots of help from the Lord, my awesome husband, my wonderful mom who’s been there, done that, and my fantastic midwives. It was an incredible, strengthening experience—so awesome and amazing. Our little Amy is worth every single minute!

We chose home birth because we feel that birth is a normal, natural event and we have confidence in the God Who designed the mom, the baby, and the birth process. We didn’t want unnecessary interventions and the lack of privacy that a hospital atmosphere provides. We wanted a peaceful, gentle, beautiful birth for our baby.

My favorite parts of labor were singing with Mom and Noah Thursday morning, singing along with Noah a love song that was on my music cd, and feeling and seeing Amy’s head being born—putting my hands on her and bringing her up into my arms.

Looking back, the only thing I would or could really do differently is to try more different positions sooner. I would spend more time on hands and knees and in the knee-chest position, more time doing the 3 contractions and then switching positions.

I’m just so, so thankful we were at home…


Amy’s Hospital Stay

It’s been a year now, today, since Amy was born. Two intense but wonderful, precious, beautiful days of labor and finally the birth of our precious baby girl. I wrote all about that soon after she was born. It was joyous and amazing and wonderful. I couldn’t wait to write it, to relive it, to reread it over and over and over.

But a few hours later, the nightmare began. It’s been a year, but during this Easter weekend and remembering last Easter, I became very aware of how hard it still is to think about that weekend and the time in the hospital. I hadn’t even realized till now, but I think I need to process it all thoroughly and then let it go forever. So here goes.

After Amy was born, she was so mucusy and had a hard time breathing. Patrice and Barb suctioned her many times, DeLeed her, tried percussion, and still lots of mucus. She pinked up a little and showed improved muscle tone. I held her and loved her. She didn’t really seem interested in nursing yet. Noah’s family and my family got here and came in and saw her. I’m so thankful for this time that they all had to meet her in her own home. We bundled her up in blankets with a hot water bottle and passed her off to Noah to hold so I could get up to the bathroom. While Noah was holding her she got more cyanotic and her muscle tone deteriorated again. Patrice did the newborn exam and that completely wore Amy out. She was really blue and floppy. Patrice gave her blow-by oxygen and she pinked up well, but once they took away the O2 she went downhill again.

Patrice recommended taking her in to the hospital. Everything in me just wanted to cuddle into bed with my baby and sleep and sleep and sleep. But with more than my human, exhausted self I wanted my baby to be okay. We held hands in a circle on our bed and Dad prayed. Mom and Amanda dressed Amy while I got ready to go. Amy looked so tiny and helpless and floppy. I knew we needed to help her.

I remember sitting in the kitchen getting ready to leave and people talking and just feeling so tired. I felt like I was under water and that all the voices were coming to my head from so far away. I was so tired.

Dad and Mom drove us into Fremont to Gerber hospital. I couldn’t sleep in the van. Patrice was holding Amy on her lap and continuously giving her oxygen. I kept my hand on Amy and laid my head down on Noah’s shoulder and tried to obey Patrice and sleep. But I just wanted to hold my baby. I couldn’t sleep without her.

We got to Gerber about 2:00am. We had a wonderful pediatrician, Dr. N. They put Amy on the baby warmer with a horrible looking oxygen hood over her head. They had to give her 40% oxygen for her to maintain good O2 saturation. With that oxygen Amy pinked right up and looked fine and healthy. They did a chest x-ray that just showed very wet lungs. Thank You, God, for that. Blood work showed everything normal except for elevated bands and nutraphils, which could potentially be indicative of infection. What they didn’t tell us, and what we found out from our friend, Dr. R, later, is that those numbers in blood work are basically useless in newborns. They can be elevated by stress, as well—such as a long labor. In which case, duh. ‘Cause we had that.

So Dr. N recommended starting IV antibiotics. I didn’t really want my tiny baby getting pumped full of antibiotics, but since there didn’t appear to be anything else wrong they wanted to deal with a possible infection. Amy’s heart rate had been absolutely fine during labor, and my water hadn’t been broken that long before she was born— ~7 hours. But better safe than sorry.

We said we didn’t really want to go to Spectrum in GR because it’s so much further from home. In retrospect, after dealing with Gerber, I’d have gone to Spectrum right away. So Dr. N said if they could get an IV started we could stay at Gerber and just get Amy IV antibiotics for 48 hours before going home.

Getting the IV started was rough…it took an hour and a half, a dozen different pokes, and 3-4 different people’s attempts. Finally after they called in the nurse anesthetist, he was able to get it started. We were very thankful.

Dad was taking pictures on my camera for me, which I’m thankful for now. At the time I just didn’t want to be there and didn’t care if I had pictures to remember by. I always take pictures of every event in my life, but this one I didn’t want to. It was just all like a really bad dream.

Finally everything seemed settled. Dr. N left, telling us we’d probably see her partner, Dr. W, in the morning. Patrice and Barb went home, and Dad & Mom went back to our house to pick up my sleepy siblings and go home to bed. It was about 7am on April 10th. We moved with Amy up to CCU because the nursery was full. That was nice because we could be right in the room with her. Noah and I curled up in the single hospital bed and fell sound asleep in no time flat. It’d been days since I slept for real.

We were rudely awakened a couple hours later by Dr. W. I opened my bleary eyes to see her standing over the bed jabbering away. My dazed, tired brain couldn’t comprehend the words she was saying. I could tell it wasn’t the best news. I didn’t have my contacts in or glasses on and couldn’t even see her. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who it was that woke us up. She finished saying whatever she had to say and left the room. Noah and I looked at each other in confusion. Huh? Say what?

Noah got up and went down the hall and found her (he knew what she looked like!) and asked her to please come back and start over now that we were awake. So she came back to the room and patiently (condescendingly) explained that we had a very sick baby and they just couldn’t give her enough care here so she was sending her to Spectrum. She had already called to let them know and the NICU ambulance (the Baby Bus) was on the way to pick her up. ????????? WHAT????????? We were very confused, since Amy was obviously doing just as well as a few hours before and in fact requiring less oxygen. “But Dr. N said it’d be no problem to stay here…” Dr. W informed us very rudely that we had a very sick baby and the nurses just weren’t comfortable with taking care of Amy (we didn’t pick up on anything like that from the nurses themselves). I remember expressing our surprise that she hadn’t bothered to even discuss it with us before calling and getting the Baby Bus on the way. Noah reminded her that we really wanted to stay closer to home at Gerber, and Amy did have an IV and was doing fine. She blew us off and said this was just what she had to do, sorry. Noah said, “So you’re saying we have no choice or say in it?” “That’s correct.” She left the room and I just cried and cried. Amy was doing fine, I was still so tired, and we didn’t need Dr. W to treat us so badly. We were so upset. I think Dr. W sent a nurse in to hover beside Amy and act all concerned, doing nothing, like she was dying or something. It made me so mad. I don’t think we were rude back to Dr. W, but we were obviously very upset about the upheaval and lack of communication. I looked at Amy’s chart later and saw that she had written, “Parents angry about their child’s illness.” What? What on earth? This woman has all the bedside manner of an angry, charging rhinoceros, rudely treating us like we are ignorant and not allowed to help or capable of helping make decisions for our daughter’s care, and she has the nerve to say we’re angry Amy’s sick. We were angry, for sure, at being treated the way she treated us. At not being consulted in decisions regarding our daughter’s care. But not angry she was sick.

So Noah called Dad and got him up after his half hour night’s sleep, since we had no vehicle at the hospital. Dad came to drive us to Grand Rapids while Amy rode in the Baby Bus. The NICU team got there with the ambulance around noon and started switching Amy over to their monitors. The nurse got out a pacifier to give Amy to soothe her while she peeled the sticky leads off her skin. I asked if I could let her suck on my pinkie instead, and she said sure. I saw later in her chart that just from that the nurse had written, “Mother requests no pacifiers.” Very nice. She got Amy all ready to go and then asked if I wanted to hold her. DUH. YES. FINALLY. So I got to sit and snuggle my sweet little girl for 10 minutes or so while we waited for Dad to get there (he was stopping at our house to pack some clothes for us). The nurse held the oxygen right up to Amy’s face the whole time. They were all as nice as could be.

Dad got there and they tucked Amy into the little isolette thingy. Yuck. I hated seeing her get shut up in the little plastic box. I asked if I could ride in the ambulance with her and they actually let me. Noah rode with Dad. I was able to doze a little on the way to Spectrum.

We got there and they admitted Amy to NICU. As soon as they got her all settled in they got her OUT of the incubator for me to hold and hold and hold. She got switched to a nasal cannula from the O2 hood, which was a drastic improvement.

I saw the lactation consultant who set me up with pumping equipment and some tips to help get my milk in and maintain a supply till Amy started nursing well. I started pumping colostrum, and got a lot each time, which was an answer to prayer.

My mom and Noah’s mom and my sister Amanda drove our car down that afternoon so we’d have a vehicle there. Noah’s mom, ever serving, brought plenty of food down for us. We saw a doctor and I asked if I could please nurse Amy. He said sure, no problem. So that afternoon while our moms were there, Amy latched right on for the first time and nursed for 45 minutes nonstop. Praise the LORD…such a relief.

We got settled into the Renucci House, which is attached to the hospital. That was such a huge blessing. We had a super nice room, and local volunteers provided meals in the big kitchen/dining area for us. I pray God blesses richly every one of those wonderful, amazing people who gave of their time and energy on Easter weekend to bless us so much. They can have no idea how much they did for us.

Our families headed home that afternoon. At some point they went to our house, did my laundry and watered my plants. Mom was e-mailing tons of people asking for prayer for Amy. We felt those prayers so very much and were so thankful for every one of them.

That evening when the doctor came in and found out Amy had nursed he cut her IV fluid intake in half so she’d be hungrier and want to nurse more. That night I think we just slept through the night and didn’t go see Amy till morning. The complete night’s rest felt wonderful, as did the shower the next morning! J

When we got to the NICU in the morning, April 11th, Amy was out of the incubator in a normal crib. AND NO oxygen cannula on her face!!!!! YAY!!!! Thank You, LORD!!!! Much easier to cuddle and hold her, although we still had to be careful of the IV, heart rate monitor, respirations monitor, and O2 saturation monitor.

It took a little effort nursing that day, but Amy did pretty well. The nurses in the NICU were fantastic. I wish I could remember all their names and write them all thank you cards. They were so good with Amy and with us. We felt like they were really angels in scrubs. J

The hospital was very full of babies, so it took a while to make room, but that evening we finally got transferred out of NICU to the NIM, Newborn Intermediate Nursery. A step in the right direction!

That evening Amy stopped getting any supplemental IV fluid, since she was nursing pretty well. Yay!

That night we trekked up to the NIM from the Renucci house every 3 hours or so, whenever they called us to say Amy was awake and wanting to nurse! Noah pushed me in the wheelchair because I still felt pretty drained and tired from losing so much sleep on top of giving birth. Noah maybe still remembers how many steps it was from our room to Amy’s. J

The first time Amy was hungry after she got moved to NIM, the nurse in NIM didn’t have the right phone number to reach us at. We were napping and I woke up hearing the phone next door ring and thought probably Amy was getting hungry. After a little bit I woke Noah up and we went up to Amy’s room, in time to see the nurse finishing giving her a bottle. Grr. Thank God I had been pumping and it was my milk. The nurse felt bad because she knew I wanted to nurse but she couldn’t get hold of us. We straightened out the phone number thing so that would definitely not happen again.

We started having a hard time nursing that night. I think I was tense because she needed to be nursing and it was new to both of us and we were in a hospital, for crying out loud! J And it all started right after Amy got that one bottle. I think it really may have affected her ability to latch on correctly. It took a lot of time and prayer each time she nursed to get her latched on. I remember being almost in tears trying to get Amy to nurse and Noah praying over us. It didn’t help that the nurse that night put the pressure on—it didn’t suit her if Amy took time to latch on. One time it’d been 20 minutes or so and the nurse was recommending a nipple shield. I didn’t want to do that, but after she got out some of my milk and started warming it to give to Amy in a bottle, I decided the nipple shield was a better alternative. That did help a lot. But I was thoroughly sick of that nurse by the end of the night.

That night my brother Jesse and Noah’s brother Titus and Titus’s girlfriend Ashley were on their way home in the middle of the night from Ohio. Going right through GR, of course they had to stop in and see their new niece! We were going to be up to nurse Amy anyway. Judging from the reactions of the nurses, I don’t think many people get visitors at 4am. J

While our siblings were there Amy’s bilirubin got checked and came back high. I overheard the nurse talking to the lab on the phone about it and knew what came next. I sent our sibs out and to get Noah (he was in the lobby since only 4 people are allowed in the baby’s room at once) so he could hold her more before she got stuck under those bright lights with a mask over her eyes. L They brought in the incubator and the light and she had to be under the light unless she was nursing. L

Sunday morning, April 12th, Amy was nursing better, still using the shield. Her bilirubin was higher yet so they added another light—a rectangle thing she laid on.

We started asking about going home, since originally at Gerber they’d told us 48 hours of IV antibiotics. This is where we started really getting frustrated with the system. There are a bunch of doctors, and while we had one primary doctor, they all take turns seeing all the babies, and they all have to agree on changes in the baby’s care and on discharging the baby. Dr. R said, “That’s bad medicine.” After being involved in it, we couldn’t agree more. We called Dr. R to find out if there was anything we could do to get Amy home Sunday, and he agreed to see her the next day or whenever if that made a difference to the GR docs. So we talked and begged and pleaded and each doctor we saw had some different thing they played on to keep us there.

Dr. S was considered Amy’s doctor. He admitted her and then we didn’t see him again, although he saw Amy during the night once. Dr. G is the one we saw the most of. He was youngest and seemed most relaxed and flexible. On Saturday he sounded really positive about us going home Sunday. Then Dr. B said Sunday he couldn’t let us go without an okay from Dr. S, who was off for the weekend. Sunday evening we saw Dr. G again and he explained that Dr. S was of the older school of thought that said when you suspect infection in a baby, keep them in the hospital for 10 days on antibiotics. NO!!!! We canNOT be here another week!!! PLEASE!!!! Dr. G, being younger, felt like the 48 hours would be okay. However, since Dr. S was Amy’s primary doctor, all decisions had to be okayed by him. Dr. G explained that as a sort of compromise, they check CRP (C Reactive Protein) levels in the baby, which is a measure of inflammation. If those are low enough they can feel fairly confident that whatever infection there may have been has been dealt with. Amy’s CRP levels were going down, but not as low as Dr. G wanted to see them. He felt confident they’d be fine by Monday morning, and that we could probably go home. He said the doctors all were getting together Monday morning for their “war room council” as he put it. Since Dr. G had been on call over the weekend, he’d have the floor first and having been the last one to care for Amy, he’d recommend she be released. He did say that he knew we were good parents and loved our baby, but other doctors might not think so just in seeing that we’d refused the Hepatitis B vaccine, Vitamin K, and antibiotic eye drops. But he’d do his best to use his influence and get us home.

So we had everyone praying mightily to that end, and settled in for another night with every 3-hour visits to the nursery 200+? steps away from our room.

It just felt like such a fight to get our baby home. We wanted to just pick her up and walk out of that hospital. That was probably the hardest part of the time in Spectrum, just feeling like we didn’t need to be there and the doctors were playing off each other to keep us there and cover themselves instead of acting in Amy’s best interest. So, so frustrating.

Amy was nursing ok that day and night, although still taking a little time to get started. The same obnoxious nurse was back for the night, which I was frustrated about when I found out. The first time I nursed Amy and she took a little bit to get started the nurse started hassling us, saying Amy needed to be back under the bili light. Noah very kindly (I thought. Nicer than I might have been) explained that it was the most important thing that Amy nurse, and we needed to just go with that and not expect Amy to fit into the nurse’s schedule. And I thought, oh, hey, we can get out the rectangular light Amy was laying on and hold it against her while she nurses! And while Noah holds her! J After that the nurse was great and didn’t bother us at all! By morning, I actually liked her quite a bit! J God was great to do that for us…that night went so much better.

In the morning, April 13th, the night shift nurses headed out and were telling us goodbye! We figured if the nurses said goodbye, there was a good chance we’d go home!

Some friends of ours were in town that weekend for their brother’s baptizing Sunday, and they were flying out of GR that morning. I was disappointed to not see them at all, so we were very glad when they all stopped in for a few minutes. They came back and saw Amy really quick, and it was just so good to see them even for a few minutes. And it gave us a distraction as we waited and waited to go HOME!

Finally, finally, late morning, Dr. B started the process of discharging Amy! Finally! We called our families, texted our friends, and just praised God. We left around 2pm and got home at 3:30pm. My parents had come over and started a fire, brought food Mom made and some from another family at church, and returned some of my clean, folded laundry.

We soon crawled into bed and took a nice long nap. All 3 of us, together and sleeping soundly in our own bed, at last. God is good.

We would probably do things a little differently, were we doing it again. We would call Dr. R and talk to him before leaving the house. Dad saw him that Sunday we were in the hospital and asked for his honest answer on how he would have felt about a middle of the night call from us. Dr. R said it would have been absolutely fine with him.

Also, because of the connection with Dr. R, we would probably go the Shelby hospital instead of Gerber. It’s closer anyway. And after our experience at Spectrum, we know that they know babies and know best how to deal with them and we wouldn’t resist going there at all.

We would definitely not take a baby to Gerber again. We were very happy with Dr. N, but Dr. W was horrible. Another client had a similar experience with Dr. W a few months later (they had to stay for 10 days of antibiotics and got threatened with CPS for wanting to go home) and I just don’t think I could recommend to anyone to take a baby to Gerber. It may be the best hospital in the area for natural birth, but because of that one pediatrician, I couldn’t bring myself to send someone there with a sick baby. I just couldn’t do it. I don’t want our bad experience to make the choice for someone else, but I don’t want anyone else to ever be in that vulnerable place and have to deal with a person like Dr. W. Parents deserve more respect than that and a little politeness.

The whole hospital experience was really, really hard. Way harder than labor, that’s for sure. I told Noah the other day I wouldn’t have any qualms about having 6 kids even if I knew I’d have 48-hour labors with each of them. However, if each baby required 3 miserable days in the hospital, 2 would be plenty. We could have our big family by adoption!

That said, the hospital experience was a blessing once it was all said and done. We felt the prayers of the saints and were so, so uplifted by that. I haven’t felt the power of prayer so strongly and mightily affect my life before that. It was incredible and a blessing I wouldn’t change, despite the hard place we were in. (I’ve wondered since what great things God’s people could accomplish for the kingdom of God if they prayed so mightily in times that weren’t hard.)

Only through God did we have the strength to hang in there. There was no strength whatsoever left in my exhausted, sleep-deprived, emotionally drained body. In calling on the LORD he gave us strength to stand. He is so faithful. His strength really is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I also feel like our experience can be an asset as I’m involved in midwifery. I can empathize deeply with clients who have a baby who needs the hospital. Hopefully I can use my experience to be a blessing to them.