We got the the hospital at 11:15 and received the last open room. We were so excited as April 19 had been Esther's original due date and CDH awareness day. What a tribute it would be if we could have Josephine on this day.
My contractions still were not coming on so the nurse told me she would need to start pitocin at 1pm if they did not start. I got the best meal before my contractions started. They accidentally gave us someone else's ordered food. Jason and I got to share a huge club sandwich, milkshake, fruit and fries.
At 1:15 contractions had not started and I was only 3cm dilated. Dr Thomas my OB/GYN was on call that night starting at 6pm. He came in around 2pm saying, " I wish I could deliver her, but most likely you will have her before I come on shift."
Around 3 pm, my pain was getting pretty intense. Way more than I had with Esther. I felt pain shooting from my stomach to my back and down to my knees with only about 1-1/2 min between contractions. At that point she was totally ready, but I was only dilated to a 5cm. I got an epidural. I ended up having cold shivers from the epidural that were hard to control along with feeling way more pain even with the epidural. I never felt those things with Esther. I knew in those moments that God had completely helped my birth with Esther not allowing me to feel and go through such things as I was this time. At 5:45 our doctor on call came and checked to see how I was doing and to see how I was dilated. Again, I was only at a 5cm but was told everything else was primed and ready and that things could change quickly. Doctor Thomas came in at 6:10pm just to check. We were all surprised that when he checked I was at 10 cm. As he was gloving up across the room and getting the nurse to set everything up, he told me to try a practice push. I did and he quickly said," stop, I can already see her coming." It was so quick and so surreal. On one end Jason was trying to set the scene quickly by putting on Esther worship CD and trying to figure out if he should video the birth or just take pictures or just stand by my side. On the other end our nurse we had all day had taken a break and if she wanted to see me have Josephine, she was going to have to come quickly. Dr Thomas sat at the end of the bed ready to catch her with the biggest smile on his face. I looked around and only saw one doctor and two nurses and Dr Thomas told me to push. I thought, really, doesn't there need to be more people in here? I was used to 20+ people being in the room. I pushed twice and she came out. They instantly placed Josie on my chest. She didn't make a cry for what seemed like 10 sec. I was worried. Esther made two peeps when she came out and that was all I ever heard. How come Josie isn't making a noise? I felt assured though, that she was okay when she cried. It was the most beautiful sound. All the nurses did was quickly wipe the afterbirth off of her as she cried and gazed into my eyes. I couldn't believe I was holding onto her. It felt like a dream. Aren't they going to take her away to clean and check her to make sure she is okay? She instantly latched on as I got to breast feed her. It was amazing.
We got to spend almost an hour with her on my chest without anyone talking or looking at her or taking her away. They knew. This was our moment. They knew we were bringing a new blessing into the world. They weren't going to take that moment away from us. Our nurse was honored to be there on such a special day. They fight for normal patients like us. Couples that love each other and want to have this baby. Ones that have somewhat normal lives and stories, but even more, ones that have lost their first baby and are welcoming a new one and a new start. What pure joy and happiness it was.
Part of the story you don't know is this: Dr Thomas, our obgyn, walked with us as we experienced the birth and death of Esther. He also loves Christ. A month before Josephine was due, they found out their 2 yr old daughter Lydia had cancer, and was near death with her organs shutting down. It was throughout her tummy, and inoperable. She was now fighting for her life. Dr Thomas was only working Tues in the office and Friday's at the hospital while spending the rest of his time at Children's hospital in Seattle. This isn't supposed to happen. For us to switch places like this. We had found out through another doctor that took Dr Thomas place during one of our visits telling us he knew we were Christians and would want to know that Dr Thomas' daughter might not make it past that day. He knew we would pray for her. We saw Dr Thomas the following week. Our hearts were hurting as we spoke prayers and comfort to him. I asked how he could possibly be at work? He simply replied with a giant smile and said "Jesus lives." That spoke so loudly to us. Dr Thomas got to be the one to deliver Josephine. I knew that the smile on his face was different than most babies he delivers. He got to bring a new blessing into our lives.
As I was working in the yard yesterday, that statement Dr Thomas said "Jesus lives" hit me again. Over the last year since Esther has passed, God has painted life in much more detail and understanding for us. He continues to speak to us through music, landscape, people and his word. A hymn David Crowder covered called "Because he lives"was playing on our itunes. It is an old hymn we used to sing in our church growing up. The elders would pass a new babies down the aisle and our church would sing this song.
People always ask us how we can do this. We asked Dr Thomas the same thing, how are you coming to work in the midst of this with so much joy? Its simple, but not to so many who are still hurting and grieving with the loss someone they love, or walking through something so difficult in their lives. Its because JESUS LIVES. Here is the song:
As our church passed the baby down the aisle, we didn't know what their future would be, or even our own. But we do know that Jesus rose from the dead and He is most definitely alive. We know that we have the promise of eternal life with Christ; and today is just another chance to live lives as God's children who are loved by Him.
Our first three weeks with Josephine were intense. We read the book babywise(maybe just a little to gung ho for our brand new baby girl)- but let me tell you- its not as easy as it sounds. We are thankful for friends who have been there to ease us along with advice. One day a sweet friend with seven kids showed up at my door step at the drop of a dime hearing Josie was having trouble with the night time. She rang the door with her husband with a giant smile on their face and a fancy swing in their hands saying, "this is what we do when are kids wont stop screaming."
We love our community and you who have loved and supported us, cried with us, and are rejoicing with us. It makes this all easier. Thankfully the same friend with seven kids told us to read/watch the DVD "the happiest baby on the block." I feel like that saved our life. Josie is a fighter. She is amazing all day and come anywhere between 5pm to 10pm, she can scream, kick, arch and twist, and nothing works to calm her down. Until the 5 s's came along, that is. She needs to be swaddled, shooshed and swung sideways to calm down. That can take a long time, but it has saved our sanity.
She was born April 19th weighing 7 lbs, 6oz and 20.25 inches long. She is gaining weight and getting taller all the time. Josie has been giving us 5-8 hrs of sleep in a row during the night. She wakes up smiling most times. She loves hearing us sing and smiles the most when we sing "Jesus loves me or Oh how he loves us."
To finish off a real long post, Dr Thomas just wrote on his caring bridge site about his daughter and their experience so far as they are still fighting the cancer in her. He said, "Yes, this has been a life-altering experience. But, I don't want to define her or myself as a (or as having a) child who had cancer. I'd rather her/me be defined by self, faith, love and have all of those be molded through the furnace of this experience into greater compassion for others and greater faith in God."
I think that also sums up what Jason and I feel. We don't want to be defined as people that have lost a child, but rather be defined by self, faith, love and have all of those be molded through the furnace of that experience into greater compassion for others and a greater faith in God.
Thanks for being patient as it has taken us forever to update this blog. Here are some of our favorite pictures thus far.
|Right after Josie was born and the cord was cut holding onto Pappa's finger|
|Josie sleeps just like her Pappa|
|The only way to get her to sleep for long periods without waking herself up is with a swaddle blanket. It has to have velcro on it. She is so tough.|
|Pappa reading Josephine bible stories.|
|Her head has been so strong since day 1!! She was rolling over 4 times in one day on Day 10 of her life.|
|Week 2, we gave her a pacifier. It was the only thing to get her to stop crying while in a car seat.|
|The dress grandpa Jim got Josephine. She puked all over it as soon as I got her in the car to go to church on mothers day|
|She can't stop smiling at us|
|First couple weeks at home|
|Giving her a bottle at Children's hospital for Esther's memorial so mamma didn't have to breast feed in front of everyone.|
|Our first family picture in the hospital|