Tiny Miracle

It has been two whole weeks since I gave birth to my daughter and life has once again burst wide open. While her birth was starkly different than my son’s, both experiences have enriched me in immeasurable ways. Ravina Jayne arrived on schedule via c-section, without any incident and in doing so she gave me the peaceful birthing experience that I so desperately wanted with Lelan. His birth taught me to let go and her’s to hold on…

Before I dive into her birth story, I should describe the events leading up to her birth because it really is a miracle that things worked out as well as they did. Throughout my pregnancy I was feeling great physically, but emotionally I was struggling to keep it together. As I’ve shared before, around 13 weeks we had some disturbing results from genetic testing (CVS), which were thankfully negated by further testing (Amniocentesis). Still, the weeks of stress leading up to it was not lost on me. Even though, my gut told me my baby was okay my monkey mind was a wreck with worry. Around this time we made the tough decision to switch OBs due to scheduling conflicts, which would turn out to be the best decision for my pregnancy.

At 20 weeks pregnant, I nervously sat in the office of my new OB. He came highly recommended by a friend and did not disappoint. Right off the bat he laid out a plan of action. I immediately felt at ease with his no nonsense approach and attention to detail. After reviewing my chart thoroughly he made a few recommendations including regular ultrasounds to closely monitor both the baby and I. Given my state of mind, I was more than relieved to hear his plan. The first several weeks went by uneventfully. At around 30 weeks, during one of those routine scans, we got another dose of unsettling news.

At first the mass was described as a common ovarian cyst inside the baby caused by maternal hormones. But, by the next visit it had doubled in size and we were told that it could be a tumor. And, more tests were ordered including a MRI, which is hard enough to endure laying down without being almost 34 weeks pregnant. As one doctor put it, the best case scenario was inducing labor between 34-38 weeks with possible surgical intervention immediately after birth. None of this seemed to make any sense to me since the baby was growing as she should and I was feeling perfectly okay. Again, my mind started to wander even though my heart knew better. Thankfully, my OB kept me focused on the task at hand by reassuring me along the way. I’ve seen these things resolve itself, he said. Let’s wait and see… So, we continued on with weekly monitoring and scans. We met with pediatric surgeons and neonatal specialists just in case we needed to intervene early. Each week I went in clutching my heart, preparing to hear hard news only to hear that we had survived without any complications. With each visit I was getting closer to carrying my daughter full term and my scheduled c-section date. Towards the end, miraculously, the mass stopped growing giving us greater confidence that perhaps it might resolve itself on its own. While the drama played out behind the scenes, my husband and I made a decision to spare our families from unnecessary worry until there was actual cause…

As my scheduled c-section date neared we focused our energies towards planning for our son while I was away. Naturally, grandma and papa were our first choice, but due to a previously planned trip they would be out of town the entire week before my scheduled date. Every day I pleaded with my daughter to hold on until they were home and thankfully she obliged. On Friday, September 8th, I shut down my work computer for the last time and officially began my maternity leave. Everything had gone according to plan and I was finally ready to have this baby.

I could barely sleep the night before from the excitement of it all… which in retrospect was not the smartest thing to do before major surgery. On Wednesday the 13th, at 5:30am, my husband and I left our home for the hospital to welcome our baby girl. Upon arrival we were quickly registered and ushered to the labor and delivery unit. Within an hour I was hooked to an IV and administered preliminary procedures. The L&D nurses were both kind and funny making the entire experience pleasant. Are you feeling these contractions? One of them asked me. They’re quite regular at 15 minutes apart. I guess with or without the c-section, Ravina had chosen her birthday!

Promptly at 8am my doctor arrived and came in to chat with us. After signing a few consent forms we were ready for the races. See you soon, I said excitedly as I kissed my husband and walked into the operating room. A lovely anesthesiologist welcomed me and helped me up the operating table. I was given a pillow to clutch and asked to sit at the edge of the table facing a blank wall. She explained the next few steps in detail and began the process of administering a spinal tap. She cleaned my back with something cold and then I felt a pinch followed by a warming sensation which only lasted a few seconds. I didn’t feel anything afterwards. I was told to sit very still while the spinal was being administered. Two nurses helped me lay down on the table and placed a sheet over me. The anesthesiologist stayed by my head making sure I was okay. My husband joined her moments later and gently rubbed my forehead. Tears streamed down my cheeks as months of preparation and anticipation culminated into a single moment. I said a quick prayer and breathed through my anxiety. Several minutes later, after some tugging and pulling, our daughter emerged from my womb at 8.56 am weighing 7.7 lbs and measuring 20 inches long. She barely cried as she entered into this world…

Once out of surgery, my husband wheeled our precious little girl over to me. But sadly the combination of powerful drugs and lack of rest from days prior rendered me completely useless. I held her for only a few minutes before feeling light headed and nauseated. The hardest part of my recovery was the first 12 hours post surgery. But thankfully by 6 pm that evening I was starting to feel like myself again. The next three nights were spent in the hospital at the care of the excellent nurses. They helped me every step of the way including getting my little one latched on. Any concerns I had about spending the night alone in the hospital with the baby were quickly alleviated by these caring individuals. The next morning a pediatric nurse practitioner stopped by to give us the best news ever… The initial ultrasound revealed no traces of the mass in Ravina’s body. A follow up scan was recommended at her 1 month checkup to be on the safe side, but for now it seems the issue may have resolved itself just like we had hoped for. She passed every one of her newborn tests in stride. She is a hearty little thing with a strong will and composition.

As I hold my daughter in my arms, I’m flooded with gratitude for all the blessings that have been bestowed along the way. I’m humbled by the grace that has chosen me to be the guardian of this beautiful spirit. She is perfect in every way and the final puzzle that completes our lives. But most of all, I’m grateful for the lesson in faith that she has brought with her. Life is a sequence of tiny miracles even if we cannot feel the collective weight of them in any given day, we’re nonetheless changed by them. The transformation is gradual, if we choose to notice at all. So, the only way to live life is to understand that every little thing is a miracle and every single moment is a blessing.