Thursday, November 17, 2011
Isabella’s Birth Story

It is said that a miracle is any amazing or wonderful occurrence, a marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of God.  Isabella’s birth was far from a wonderful occurrence, although it was pretty amazing. We saw God manifest his power through our journey, as well as feeling abandoned by him during our darkest hours.

       Our journey began on Tuesday, August 17, 2010.  I had just entered my 24th week of pregnancy, the beginning of my second trimester.  When I found out I was expecting we decided not to disclose our wonderful news until I was 14 weeks, it was our little secret.  I felt so close to Eddie during this time, when we finally told everyone, I finally became the glowing pregnant women, a role I filled with delight.  My first trimester was blissfully easy.  I didn’t have morning sickness, slept all day, and craved strawberries.  I had the usual round ligament pain and back pain.  I delved into mommy-to-be world head on, reading books, magazines and buying furniture the nursery.

As was usual, I woke up at least 6 times during the night to pee, nothing felt different. I had gone to my OB appointment the day before and everything looked typical.  Eddie had lost his job shortly after I became pregnant. At 19 weeks I had to go on Medi-Cal for my pregnancy, but didn’t get a new doctor until I was 24 weeks.

Tuesday morning I woke up to pee and when I wiped there was bright red blood. I yelled to Eddie “Blood! I have BLOOD! I SHOULDN’T have BLOOD!”  I was horrified, I rubbed my bump as I whispered to our baby girl “please be okay, please be okay”.  Blood began to drip down my legs, my back kept hurting.  In my naivety I called my OB who told me to go to the hospital.  All the while distracting myself by chanting “it’s all going to be okay” “nothing is wrong” “I’m okay”.  When I got the L&D I was hooked up to the heart monitor for an hour. We sat in the room listening to the musically rhythmic heartbeat of our baby girl.  I got up several times to pee, and at each wipe there were streaks of blood which I left in the bathroom for the nurse to take a look at. The doctor on-call came in and told us that I had a bladder infection, gave me antibiotics and sent me home.  Before I left the nurse exam me and said I was “funneling” but that I was okay because I was still closed.  In retrospect,  I should have never allowed myself to believe that everything was okay. I should have trusted my instinct telling me something was wrong.  I should have asked for an ultrasound.  I should have asked more questions. I should never have left that hospital that day. It’s the “should of” of that day that I still struggle to come to terms with in my life.

On Wednesday, the day Isabella would be born, I woke up to pee.  I looked into the toilet and saw my mucus plug.  I hadn’t gotten to “that” section in my pregnancy books. The third trimester part that talks about going into labor.  Yet instinctively I know what it was. It sank to the bottom and I felt my world was over. I yelled to Eddie, it was about 4am. He said “Babe, you have an infection, you’re okay”. I couldn’t go back to bed. I had excruciating back pain, so I went to lie down on the couch.  I felt that as long as the baby was moving, we were okay. She kicked, she rolled and my back still hurt. I kept trying to wake up Eddie, but he ignored me. This is the part we hurt over the most. Eddie still beats himself up for ignoring me, and we don’t really talk about this part anymore, it’s just too painful. The “what if we would have…” is too much for us to even think about revisiting.

It’s hard to believe but we waited until 3pm for my OB appointment. As we waited in the doctor’s office I was scrumming and couldn’t hide my pain.  I was in such pain that I knew it wasn’t normal yet I wasn’t rational enough to think this had something to do with preterm labor. This is the part where I feel like I’m in a movie. The facial expression on doctors and nurses faces seemed unreal. Like everyone was acting on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, very dramatic.  We were called into a small room with a nursing student and a nurse practitioner.  They showered us with parents-to-be pamphlets and samples. I couldn’t breathe, my back was killing me. “Are you okay?” asked the NP. I managed to get out an  “I’m bleeding, my back really hurts”.  She quickly sat back and her eyes widened, I reassured her “No, it’s okay, I have a bladder infection, I was in the hospital yesterday, I’m okay” still in complete denial. She jotted my symptoms on a sticky note and sent it to the doctor. We were asked to go to the doctor’s office, Eddie and I sat there flipping through some photograph books of babies. Blissfully ignorant at what was about to happen, this would be the last moment in our lives were we wouldn’t know the existence of a new world we were about to be thrown into.

I was exam by the OB, he said “You are 2cm dilated” and as we looked at the ultrasound screen; his face turned as white as his coat and began to sweat profusely. This is when it hit me. “See her little foot poking throw the sack” he pointed to the screen.  I looked at Eddie, looking for some comfort. He didn’t seem to be breathing. I had packed an overnight bag thinking I was probably going to be sent to the hospital from the appointment and be put on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy.  The OB called the doctor on-call at the hospital to let them know I was on my way.  The hospital is next door to the clinic, as I entered L&D I stopped at the reception desk and felt my first contraction. I couldn’t speak. I whispered “the OB called, I’m here”. “Are you having a contraction, honey?” asked the receptionist; I said “No, I’m only 24 weeks”. Eddie was parking the car so we met in the hall as I was helped to a room.  I remember thinking, wow this is a nice room to deliver and they even have a shower! Obviously I wasn’t far along to have taken Lamaze classes or tour the hospital, so it was all new to me. Since it was Wednesday, Eddie was going to lead worship that night at church.  It was now 4:30pm and he called and cancelled.  Our nurse that day was so sweet and soft spoken. Eddie’s cell phone went off and a song by Hillsong rang, the nurses recognized the song and we began making small talk about our shared faith.  Like an episode of Grey’s I didn’t understand their medical jargon, they kept distracting us by asking if we knew the sex, if we had picked out a name, how long we were married.  Random questions to keep the mood lighthearted.  It wasn’t until the doctor on-call came in that the nurses couldn’t hide their fear.  He ordered “mag” and left to attend a women in labor. The nurse kept frantically yelling “I NEED MAG!” As another nurse put in a catheter and another put an IV in my arm, she couldn’t find a vein so she kept poking me. My vision started to get blurry, and then I felt a gush of water between my legs.  I told Eddie “I think the catheter came out, I’m wet” The doctor had came back, as he lifted the sheet he had the same expression of panic on his face as the nurses. The color drained from his face as he said “Your water broke, you are 10 cm dilated and fully effaced, let me feel, she is breached, we need to do an EMERGENCY C-SECTION!!” I felt Isabella’s foot kick my thigh. I looked at the clock, it was 6pm. I looked at Eddie and began to cry hysterically.  Everyone kept chanting “relax” and yelling “call NICU we have a 25 weeker here” They had done the math wrong and didn’t have my medical records.  They knew nothing about me. Eddie rushed out the room to call my parents, as the NICU team rushed in.  It seemed like 50 people were in the room, I was signing papers and praying. Since the nurses knew I was Christian they took the liberty to pray with me.  The doctor prepared me as he said softly  “Honey, I want you to understand that you are going to have your baby.  There is a 50/50 chance she will be born still. Okay?” This is when I began to yell at God as I was wheeled to the OR.

I was totally conscience of everything that was going on, yet I felt like I couldn’t process any of it. I yelled for Eddie, as a nurse held my hand the entire time and prayed with me.  I screamed “God! Please don’t take her, please God” and in Spanish “NO te la lleves Dios” the nurses tried to calm me by praying softly in my ear.  My hair was soaked by my tears. The sweet nurse smiled and wiped my tears and prayed.  Eddie came in the room and took my hand from the nurse.  He was eerily calm.   He smiled and said he called my parents, they were on their way.  The chaos quieted as the doctor began to cut me open.  I felt the pressure. I tried to focus on the bright light above the doctor.  Eddie had taken my glasses off when I had begun to cry in the delivery room. I was blind.

 I felt a peace and God’s presence. We didn’t hear a cry. They quickly asked us what her name was and I yelled “ISABELLA! Since it means consecrated to GOD!” We thought we still had 16 more weeks to decide on a name.  We had about 5 names before that day. “She’s good! She’s pink and trying to cry” said Eddie.  The team said “Look Mommy, your baby” as they whisked her away. All I say was a tiny blanket and small blurry pick face.  I didn’t have my glasses.

I knocked out after they took her. I woke up in another room. A nurse sat at a desk and I whispered “where’s my husband?” That’s when the doctor came in and explain he had to perform a classical c-section and natural birth in the future wouldn’t be possible.  He said Isabella looked like a 24 weeker. That she was 1lb 7 oz and that she was tiny. That her eyes were still fused and I had to recover before I could see her. I asked him to get my Eddie.

Eddie came into my recovery room, with a huge smile saying she was beautiful and perfect.  My parents came into my room and I felt so ashamed. Ashamed that my body couldn’t hold Isabella in. Saddened that they didn’t get to gush as first time grandparents. We were robbed of the typical birth experience by my weak body. My dream of giving birth naturally and kissing my husband as I snuggling with my beautiful healthy baby on my chest, was gone.

 The next two days I went in and out of sleep. I had a horrible reaction to the Anastasia, my body itched unbearably and was given a shot of Benadryl.  I was given a picture of Isabella but even that didn’t help me assimilate to what had just happened. On day three I was wheel chaired to the NICU, Eddie showed me how to call in, to wash my hand and wheeled me to the isolette. I peeked into the foggy isolette , she had my profile, her daddies’ nose, was see-thru and teeny tiny. I thought “wow all this was inside of me!”   I was amazed at God’s works. How He made her so perfectly. I’ll be honest. It was not love at first sight.  It took weeks to see this tiny human as mine. On day four we were sent home.  We sat with the Neo as he explained Isabella’s condition.  We sat, like we would for the next 139 days, listening to medical jargon, and asking questions without clear responses.  The days at home were by far the worst. I laid on our couch, starting at the ceiling not talking, not eating, not showering and crying. When I did get the courage to get up to visit Isabella, I would scream in the car, the only place I knew nobody could hear me, yelling at God. I was angry with God. On day 9 Isabella had to be transferred to CHOC, about 45 minutes away for emergency bowel surgery.  She was intabated for a month, on CPAP for about 6 weeks, then on nasal canula for about 2 weeks. Her last month in the NICU she didn’t need any breathing assistance. She had a PDA ligation, a grade III in her cerebellum and an osotomy.  Isabella had 6 blood transfusions and NEC.  She spent time under the billi lights and was on TPN/NPO for 45 days. She had a reservoir placed in her brain to drain the excess fluid that was accumulating in her brain, a condition caused by her bleed called hydrocephalous.  Isabella did not need a permanent shunt and had the reservoir removed.  By the divine grace of God, He healed her brain.  We went home not needing oxygen support, a monitor or a shunt. Isabella is a true miracle! 

We recently celebrated Isabella’s first birthday.   She is developmentally delayed which we receive OT (feeding issues) and PT twice a weeks to help her reach her milestones.  Isabella was diagnosed with Auditory Neuropathy.  The nerve that sends the message of sound to her brain doesn’t function properly.  We are still following up with Auditory to see about hearing aids.  On Oct 26, Isabella underwent her 5th surgery for strabismus.  Her right eye kept “going in” towards her nose which was seriously affecting her vision and causing slight torticollis.

Today Isabella is a happy and bright baby.  She loves to discover new things and challenges herself to reach her milestones.  She just cut her two bottom teeth. She has the curliest golden brown hair and sparkling eyes.  She is obsessed with tags, blocks and spoons.  Isabella has her daddies’ smile and my temperament. Isabella is our little miracle and our gift from God.



Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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