I have procrastinated writing this story, because it reminds me of a very scary time in my life. This story must be shared, though, because it is how I met the most beautiful girl in my life. Savannah, I couldn’t love you more and be more thankful that you are here and safe. Getting you here and safe, though, was a true battle, and I am thankful every day that God delivered us through.
Your pregnancy was really stinking hard. I had a subchorionic hemorrhage at 10 weeks, thought I was miscarrying, and spent 18 weeks on activity restrictions. I bled on and off for months, prayed that the hemorrhage would resolve, but it only started to shrink at 24 weeks. I don’t know if it ever resolved entirely.
Because of a global pandemic, I went to every appointment alone, covered in a face mask, doused with hand sanitizer, and praying that we wouldn’t catch the Coronavirus, a deadly virus that put the entire world into quarantine. I was lonely, scared, and so very worried that you wouldn’t make it. Your dad lost his job, your brothers were very young, 2 and 3, and my body was in bad shape by the time I delivered. The veins in my leg swelled uncontrollably, my entire left leg turned black and blue, and I had to wear compression socks through a hot summer. Further, my tailbone got turned to the side, and I was in excruciating pain until I was able to start physical therapy at 29 weeks. I gained 40 pounds and felt every ounce every second of every day and night.
When the fall arrived, I started walking, enjoying the cooler weather, and feeling much calmer since you were viable. So many people prayed that you would stay in until November, and once November arrived, I was ready for you to come on out. You took your time, though, waiting until your due date.
I had a doctor’s appointment the day before 40 weeks, and my blood pressure was higher than normal. I have always trusted by body to birth my babies when they were ready to arrive, but I wasn’t as sure that you were going to come on your own. I had prodromal labor from 37-40 weeks, the bloody show, and thought repeatedly that it was time for you to arrive. I think that you were in a position that was causing difficulty for us both.
My doctor pressured me to induce the following day, and I pushed back. When I came in the next morning, my blood pressure was better, but a non-stress test showed that you weren’t having the heart rate fluctuations that the doctor was hoping for. We had an ultrasound, saw some very chubby cheeks, and you were ultimately doing just fine on the scan. The doctor still wanted to induce, though, and scared me into thinking that keeping you in was worse than letting you come out. So, your dad and I headed to the childbirth center to induce on the afternoon of November 13.
I was tired. I was stressed out. I sobbed for a while. The nurses in the hospital were the loveliest support group I could have asked for. They told me everything would be ok. They wrote “Happy Birthday, Savannah” on the white board. I didn’t understand how you were going to come out, but they were calm and confident, and it helped me immensely. One of the nurses was named Hope, which is your middle name.
A different doctor was on call, and she came to visit me. She explained why we were inducing, and she agreed to deliver you. I felt so much more peace with this doctor. When she checked me, it turned out that I was already 4cm dilated and having contractions. I felt so relieved. I had a feeling that I was already in labor, and this made me so glad that I waited as long as possible to come to the birth center. The doctor broke my water, and I was started on the lowest dose of pitocin possible. Contractions intensified immediately.
I labored while walking around the room, and Dad and I watched Hamilton. It was hard to be up and moving since I was attached to the IV, but I did my best. The nurses brought in some jello, which was delicious.
The problem is that I didn’t eat much that day because I’d been so stressed out and feeling sick, so I started to get really tired. When I hit 6cm, about 3 hours after they broke my water, I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough energy to push you out when the time came. I was also in a lot of pain. The nurses in no way pressured me. They listened and talked me through options. Then, I asked your Dad if I should have an epidural, and he said he thought my body needed the help. We decided to go for it. You, my darling, are my first and only medicated childbirth. I’ve always done the hard work to push my babies out on my own, and this time, I asked God to get you out. He provided so incredibly.
The nurses changed shifts at this point, and I was initially upset, but the new nurse was a mom of three who’d had three epidurals. She called them her best friends. She held me so tightly in her arms as the anesthesiologist administered the epidural, and I will always remember her kindness and comfort. After months of Covid restrictions and isolation, it was amazing to be held so tightly and intentionally in a moment of fear. I felt like God sent her to me in that moment.
It took some time for the epidural to kick in. I was laying on my left side, and still feeling pain. The nurse checked me again, and I was 8cm. I was clearly in transition when the epidural process started. The nurse then laid me on my right side and placed a peanut ball between my legs. It is so rare that I lay on my right side when I am pregnant. I had surgery on my right kidney years ago, and when I’m pregnant, the pressure on that area is too much. Since I had the epidural, I couldn’t feel anything, and for the first time in months I felt warm and calm and relaxed. Your Dad and I started watching The Great British Bakeoff, and it was a very peaceful point of labor.
Not 30 minutes later, the nurse came in to check me since the heart rate monitor was having trouble finding you. I was so comfortable that I didn’t want to move. The nurse didn’t even do a finger test. She took one look, said, “Oh girl,” and called for the doctor. You were right there, crowning, and I had no idea. I had an idea that you had moved down, because I could feel pressure, but I had no idea that you were basically coming out on your own!
The doctor came in and had an urgent look on her face. I knew then that you’d be here soon, and I started laughing. The doc told me to stop laughing because you were gonna come out! Everyone rushed in, told me that you had lots of hair, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I have never been so happy during the pushing stage of labor, and that is the beauty of an epidural. The doctor asked me to push when I was ready. It took two small pushes, through one contraction, and then you were in my arms. You were born on November 13 at 9:03 pm, weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 20 inches long. Oh Savannah, I’ve never been so relieved in my entire life. You were very purple, very tiny, and absolutely perfect. I double checked that you were in fact a girl!
Micah and I both smiled and laughed and enjoyed meeting you after a long 9 months. The doc stitched me up, and the nurse told me that I was having more bleeding than normal, likely due to the pitocin, even though they never used more than the smallest dose. After a tense half hour, the medicine they gave me kicked in and the bleeding calmed. You latched like a champ, and I was finally able to eat some food. I remember you crying for a while. Micah walked you around to calm you, but it didn’t work. He handed you to me and I kissed your nose and you immediately calmed and fell asleep. I can still feel your nose on my lips and am thankful for that moment.
Savannah, my love, it is nearly a year later, and I am so grateful that you are here and healthy. Thank you for being so strong for so many months of pregnancy, thank you for staying in until your due date, and thank you for being such a sweet and calm baby girl for this last year. I thank God every day for your life.