It’s hard to believe that this was one year ago. I wanted to put this in writing because I know I’ll forget some of this in years to come. Honestly, it’s probably not a bad thing. This was literally the most emotionally draining week of my life.
If you know me, you know I can’t possibly tell a story without leaving out every detail [sorry Lesley]. So here goes:
Day 1 of bed rest
It all started one year ago. Eleanor woke up. It was a little after midnight. I don’t remember who was able to get her calmed down, but I do remember walking from her bedroom to our bedroom and Lesley was on the floor, cleaning up what looked like a water spill on the floor. I asked her, “did you spill something?” she said “no”. Jokingly, I said “did you pee on the floor?” to which she shrugged and said “I dunno”. We talked about what it could’ve been and agreed to call the doctor in the morning.
Lesley woke me up around 3:30am. This time the bed was soaked. I remember thinking “uh oh”. We prayed and thought it would be best to call the doctor in the morning rather than rush into OB Triage at 4am with an exhausted toddler [and her exhausted parents].
Around 7:30am, Lesley called the doctor and scheduled an appointment for around 10am. I went to work for about an hour and then came home to pick her up.
At some point that morning, Lesley made the observation that her belly was a lot smaller, to which I agreed.
We got to the doctor’s office. I really don’t remember much about this experience except having some of the fluid checked for its place on the pH scale [amniotic fluid is a base]. In hindsight it probably wasn’t the greatest idea for the doctor to leave the test strip out for us to watch as it turned bluer and bluer [indicating that the fluid was a base] but I think it helped “break the ice” for the news we would get next.
They quickly moved us into the ultrasound room. Eleanor played with a toy that was in the room while they checked Lesley out. The ultrasound tech didn’t say anything. She didn’t say anything until we asked if she was allowed to say what she saw. All she said was “there’s not a lot of fluid”.
My mind flashed back to 7 weeks prior at the 20 week ultrasound, when the doctor said “there’s an unusually high amount of amniotic fluid”. I knew something was wrong.
The doctor came in and looked for herself. She confirmed our fears: there was very little amniotic fluid and Lesley’s water broke. We would need to go to the hospital, Lesley would be on bed rest with antibiotics and other treatments until the baby came.
I will admit, I’ve never known that “bed rest” meant “you-stay-in-the-hospital-and-we-make-sure-you-stay-in-that-bed” rest. I always thought it meant you stayed at home and didn’t do anything. So when they told us that, I was thinking “Okay, cool, so we go to the hospital for meds, come home and Lesley will just have to take it easy”.
Nope. About 2 seconds later I learned that “bed rest” meant that you stay in the hospital.
We were very quickly told that they would tell the hospital that we were on our way, given a brief description of what would happen next [Lesley would get a steroid shot to try and help the baby’s lung development and would be given antibiotics to try to prevent infection] and that the latest they would keep her on bed rest would be until 34 weeks. I quickly calculated it and thought “alright, so September 28 doesn’t seem so bad”.
It was a solemn parade out of the doctor’s office. I feel like every nurse and assistance was looking at us. We were both barely holding it together. As we stood at the checkout window, I tried to give Lesley a hug. She tried to push me away and ran into the empty room across the hall because she didn’t want to have Eleanor see her upset. A nurse that we had gotten to know fairly well over the last 2 years of going there ran into the room to give Lesley a hug. I finished checking out and walked into the empty room with Eleanor. Then we left.
On the drive down 77 to Akron General, I made a phone call to my boss and explained to him that I didn’t know what was going on, but that I needed to take the rest of the day off. Lesley called my mom and asked if she would be able to come pick up Eleanor because we didn’t know how she would do at the hospital. We parked at the visitor’s lot and walked into triage. After checking in, they didn’t send us to the normal triage room [which we had been to 3 times for Eleanor and once already for Evelyn at 11 weeks with a placental abruption] and immediately admitted us to a labor and delivery room.
Once in the room, they immediately tapped her for an IV and got her hooked up to nearly every gadget that existed in the room…a stark difference from when Eleanor was born. They set her up with antibiotics, checked for contractions [there weren’t any] and gave her the first steroid shot. Everything that happened in that room was a blur. Shortly after, my mom and Gabe showed up. We all went to Five Guys in Fairlawn to get lunch. Eleanor at that point was exhausted and fell asleep on the way, so I sat in the car while my mom ordered and got the food. When we got back to the hospital, I sent my mom and Gabe home because Eleanor seemed to be handling everything okay and I would need to leave in a few hours to get her into bed anyways.
I don’t really remember much of what happened between when we arrived back at the hospital and when we left to go home. I do remember Eleanor and I saying goodbye to Lesley and wondering how Eleanor was going to handle the car ride home without momma.
The drive home was miserable. Not only did I hit two traffic jams due to accidents, but Eleanor was just bawling her eyes out and crying “want momma”. I couldn’t handle it. I don’t think my eyes were dry for the rest of the night.
Sometime during that ride home, I called my boss and updated him on what was going on. I’m not really sure he understood much because I couldn’t really get words out without choking up, but at some point I think I was able to get the point across that I couldn’t be at work the next day.
We arrived home around 7, which a year ago was actually way after her bedtime. It was an interesting feat trying to feed her but I managed.
Eleanor and I had the same bedtime routine since she was about 6 months old. Lesley tells her goodnight and would nurse her, then I carry Eleanor to her room, hold her, we sing, we pray, then she goes to bed.
This night was awful. I couldn’t make it through a single song without choking up. It’s hard to sing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” when you’re an emotional wreck.
Every song we sang reminded me that Lesley wasn’t at home and might not be there for weeks. Oh boy. I was reeling at this point. How could I possibly handle this? How could I keep up with work? How can Eleanor handle this much time away from Lesley, and vice versa?
After I finally got her to sleep, I picked up some things in the house, did laundry, and made myself something for dinner. I packed some clothes for Lesley and grabbed all of the things on her list she needed to get ready for bed at the hospital.
Becca came over and hung out at the house so I could take stuff down to Lesley. At some point while I had been gone, Lesley moved from labor and delivery to a different area of the hospital. The new room was small and we requested her to be moved somewhere a little larger that would accommodate at least a couple of chairs and an area for Eleanor to play in. I hung out with Lesley for a while and then headed back home.
At home, I listened to some music, read my Bible, and went to bed.
Timehop reminded me that I posted these words to one of my favorite worship songs a year ago:
“My whole life is Yours
I give it all
Surrendered to Your Name
And forever I will pray
Have Your way
Have Your way”
Hillsong – “Arms Open Wide”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnQPfWlCP_Y
A year later and these words of surrender have never been more true. I would not have survived the last year without surrendering my “normal” life to Christ and accepting that His plan was better than what I had thought was best.