Elana’s Story, Part 2

So, picking up where I left off… I was 37 weeks pregnant and had just been released from 15 weeks of bed rest.  (Feel free to go here if you missed the first part).

Those last few weeks of pregnancy were so wonderful!  I felt like a new person and it was so good to be able to go out with Kenton & Abigail. After being inside for the past 4 months, getting outside for fresh air and exercise felt like such a gift!

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We were still declaring that I would carry Elana past my due date, to October 7.  My doctor, though amazed that I had carried the baby this far, was still very skeptical that I would even get to my due date.  My last appointment was on October 2nd and at this point I was 5 centimeters dilated, but still having no contractions.  She gave me detailed and strict instructions of what to do if I felt even a hint of labor.  Her fear was that I would have this baby in the car, and she did NOT want that to happen!  Just for the record, we didn’t want that to happen either 😉

Sunday came, and from the moment I woke up, I knew something was different.  I still wasn’t having contractions, but my body just felt different.  We had a restful day at home, took Abigail to the grandparents for the night, and enjoyed frozen yogurt with some friends.

After we got home that evening, I took a nap on the couch and when I woke up at 11:00 I felt cramping in my lower back.  I knew immediately that it was time to go to the hospital and it was on the way there that my contractions started coming every 2-3 minutes.  Thankfully, the hospital was only 10 minutes away and traffic was light, but we still didn’t waste any time getting there!

Up to this point, I was able to talk through the contractions.  While we were finding a place to park I had my first hard, can’t-talk-through-it contraction.  They put me in a wheelchair and we finally made it to the labor/delivery floor.  While signing in at the registration desk, the head nurse came over.  She observed me having a contraction and immediately suggested I do the paperwork later and just get into a bed.  I am so thankful for her timing and insight, because if not for her, Elana would probably have been born in the hallway of the labor/delivery unit!!

They put me in a bed and wrapped the baby monitor around me.  I was still talking and laughing with Kenton and the nurses and everything was fairly calm.  Kenton was amazing and was constantly by my side. He was praying in my ear, holding my hand, and talking me through each contraction.  I had been praying and believing for a supernatural birth. I wanted a labor with no pain.  I did experience one contraction where all I felt was the tension of my muscles, and there was no pain involved.  I remember telling Kenton to keep praying, because it was working!

All of that calm changed in an instant, when the nurse checked me.  Her next words were “Baby’s head is right here!” and immediately there were 8-10 more people in the room moving as fast as they possibly could!  I remember hearing people say that there was no doctor available and that I shouldn’t push yet.  By this time, my body was pushing on its own and there was nothing I could do about it!  At one point, a nurse shoved her finger in my face and said “my finger is a candle and you need to blow it out!  Just don’t push yet!!” It’s funny now, but at the time all I could think was “I’m not pushing!  And why is your finger in my face?!”

But my body and this baby girl were not listening to any of the nurses and she was coming whether a doctor was there or not!  Thankfully, the on-call doctor walked into the room at the perfect time and was able to pull his gloves on just in time to catch Elana.  I pushed one time and then, finally, I could hold this precious miracle in my arms!

Elana Raine, born on October 6, at 11:51 p.m.

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(Yes, my entire labor was less than one hour, with my official time on the monitors being a grand 8 minutes!  Even as I’m writing this, reliving it, I still find it hard to believe that all of that took place in 51 minutes.)

While we were still in the delivery room, Abigail was able to come and meet her new sister.  She was thrilled to finally get to hold her!  All of it felt so surreal!

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We were so grateful to God for allowing me to carry Elana to full term, and even past my due date!  We did wonder why she was 9 minutes “early” and why she couldn’t have waited just a bit longer to make it to the 7th like we believed for.  Well, we had our answer five months later.  That March, we celebrated our 8th anniversary in California.  (For details on that trip, read Part 1 & Part 2.)  We were able to attend a service at Bethel church, where we again had the chance to talk to Bill and Beni Johnson.  We briefly told them about the prayer time, the pregnancy, and the birth date.  Bill said “Well, that’s perfect.  When we pray over couples to become pregnant, our desire is to see that fulfilled within a year.”  So no, Elana wasn’t born 9 minutes “too early”.  She was born with 9 minutes to spare in that time frame of “within a year.”

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Her story, from the beginning to now, has been so amazing and God-filled!  I’ve heard people say that babies who’s lives were in danger in the womb have a strength and spunk that most other children don’t have.  They had to fight for their lives and that is reflected in their personalities.  That is so true for Elana!  She has a fire and a spunk in her that sometimes makes me want to cry one minute and laugh the next.  But as fiery and determined as she is, she is also just as cuddly and sweet.  We feel so honored and blessed to be the ones to raise her and we’re excited to be on the front lines of seeing how God will lead and use her.

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Until next time…

–Sherri

 

 

 

 

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The Birthday Girl’s Story, Part 1

This sweet child turned 3 last week:img_20161006_063201465

She had talked for weeks before about this birthday & her excitement just bubbled over.  She loved to tell people that “I am 2, but I’m turning 3 and I’m getting bigger!”  She answers to Elana, Ellie, Ellie-muffin, sweet pea & baby girl (to name a few).  But this girl…she is feisty, sweet, determined, energetic, her Daddy & big sister are her heroes, and ballet is her new found love.

A little back story first…our oldest, Abigail, was born in November 2008.  July 2009, I got pregnant again, this time with a boy.  New Year’s Eve, at 25 weeks gestation, I went into preterm labor.  The doctors were unable to stop it & our son, Brady, was born.  He lived for less than an hour (I’ll go into more detail when I post about his birthday celebrations).  After his death, we had about 2 1/2 years of not being able to get pregnant.

And now here is Elana’s story:

Her story begins with a change in Kenton’s heart, a desire to have a real relationship with God and not just know about Him, but really know Him.  The Lord answered in an unexpected way and the year 2012 was a year of amazing & beautiful growth for Kenton & myself.  Through out that year we learned the truth that God is good All.the.time.  We saw the importance of giving thanks and praising and we watched how it changed our hearts so beautifully!

On October 7, a group of ladies, led by Bill Johnson, prayed healing & fertility over me.  It was amazing & faith growing for me to experience the love & faith of people that I had never met before, yet they all believed with me that God wanted me to be pregnant and have more babies.

Three months went by…three months of learning and trusting and praising.  I’ll never forget that day in January 2013 when I saw that positive pregnancy test…tears & awe & laughter!  It was so much fun to tell our family & friends…these were people who had walked with us in our journey of grief & pain and knew just how much this pregnancy meant to us.

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At 27 weeks.

My doctor had suspicions that Brady was born early because my cervix was weak.  We agreed to do extra ultrasounds to visually see if anything was going wrong.  We found out at 19 weeks, that I was carrying a girl and everyone was ecstatic!  Abigail especially, was so excited!  As soon as I told her I was pregnant, she had said that the baby was a girl.  She was right & completely thrilled to be having a sister!

At 21 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound and we saw that my cervix was thinning, and it was half as thick as what it should have been.  According to my doctor, a normal cervix should be 5 cm thick and mine was 2.5cm.  I was put on moderate bed rest and told to come in the following week.  That next ultrasound showed that it had thinned even more, now down to 2 cm.  I was sent to the hospital to see if I was contracting.  Thankfully, I wasn’t.  The doctor that was in charge there, called me a “ticking time bomb” and basically said that he is sending me home, but I should prepare myself to have this baby soon.  So I was put on strict bed rest…I could get up to go to the bathroom and shower, but the rest of the time I was to be laying flat.

At this point, we began declaring that I would carry this baby to full term and would even go past my due date of October 5, and have this baby on October 7.  This day would be exactly one year since I had been prayed for.

So for 15 weeks, I lay on the couch and allowed others to care for my family.  And it was amazing!  Our friends from church came around us (literally & figuratively) and helped in so many ways…meals, cleaning, laundry, helping with Abigail, taking me to Doctor visits, prayers, words of encouragement, and just being there.  I’ve been asked the question “Didn’t you go crazy laying on the couch for that long?!”  Surprisingly, no.  I read, prayed and journaled for hours. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that God’s grace was all over me that summer & He was the One who carried me & our family.  It was amazing, hard and beautiful all at the same time.  But even in the middle of it all…when it looked impossible for me to carry this baby to full term, when we could feel the fear from the doctors, when our own fears & doubts threatened to overwhelm us…we could feel God with us, and those God-moments are what carried us through.

img_20130809_184722Celebrating my 30th birthday!

I’ve heard recently that ‘hard is not always bad.’  That describes my pregnancy perfectly!  It was hard, but it was also amazing and it was a time of deep growth for myself personally, and also us as a family.

My cervix kept thinning, I stayed on the couch, and then, finally, I made it to full term, 37 weeks!  The ultrasound technician, my doctor, the nurses…they were all so excited to see me at full term & still carrying this baby!  At this point, since Elana was full term & would do fine if she was born, I was able to come off of bed rest.  It was such a good feeling to be up and getting ready for this miracle baby to be born.

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I was up & driving myself to a doctor appointment!

When I started writing this, I soon realized that I’m going to have to do 2 parts.  Her story is just that big!  So this is the end of Part 1, and I’ll be back soon for Part 2.

–Sherri