Breathe Mylah.... Breathe...
I begged her to breathe. I just wanted her to utter one moan, cry, scream, anything to let me know that she was alive. Mylah was purple, her eyes wide open but no sound, no movement. That was the hardest thing in that moment. I massaged her back, tried to massage her chest like I'd seen on the many baby birthing shows I watched over the years. The room dimly lit, quiet, everyone around me seemed to disappear and it was just her and I. I begged, pleaded for her to cry. Tears formed in my eyes. After what felt like eternity, I handed her off to the nurses praying for a miracle. I felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do.
Then..... I heard it... the meek sound of my baby... She cried, not a full cry, but a small cry and it was GOD's way of showing me that he answered my prayer!
Mylah was swaddled and given back to me and we met. For the 1st time, mother & daughter; coach & fighter. She was beautiful, nothing like I could ever imagine. The moments after are somewhat a blur. Juwan and I had so much support during my labor & delivery. The hospital was phenomenal in the accommodations they made for us and our family & friends.
I arrived at the hospital Friday, March 23, 2012 at 8 am. During the first couple of hours there were some stressful moments. I had to discuss my options for delivery multiple times. I had always expressed that I wanted all measures used to help Mylah get here as best as she could. I knew that a C-section wasn't really an option due to some medical issues that I have but telling a mother whose been waiting 41 weeks to meet her 1st child is kind of hard. I finally had to realize that what my doctor wanted was what was best for my overall health and she didn't want to put me in danger of leaving the hospital worse than I arrived, so I agreed that Mylah would be delivered naturally and that a c-section was not a option. That was one hurdle for the day.
The neo-natologist arrived in my room later than morning to discuss what would happen once Mylah was born. She explained that once Mylah was born if she wasn't breathing then they wouldn't make any attempts to resuscitate her because it would be "prolonging the inevitable" and that this wouldn't make things better. I was so upset I wanted to just jump up and leave. I hated myself in that moment because I felt that I should have decided on another location to delivery my baby. I was upset because I was basically being told that Mylah if not able to breathe on her own or after being bagged would be allowed to die......
My life was turned upside down in a matter of minutes.... I felt so betrayed, I felt so misled. I thought to myself; why develop a birth plan of what I wanted if "what I wanted" wasn't being honored. I felt no one should have the right to tell me how they were going to treat my daughter. After more discussions I had to finally accept the fact that my baby would die if she wasn't strong enough to breathe on her own. I then expressed that I didn't want to discuss it any further once the decisions were made. I felt that my desire for a positive birthing experience was being snatched from me. I knew I was in for a long night and already I was ready for it to be over. I felt my courage and strength deteriorating but soon felt peace come over me. Whatever was going to happen was meant to be and I wasn't worried about it anymore.
During the discussions with my OB & the Walk With Me team I discussed fetal monitoring during my labor. I was aware that Mylah's heart may not have been strong enough to tolerate labor and that there was a chance that during my labor her heart would stop completely. I made it clear that if this happened I did not want to know because I knew I would not be able to handle it emotionally. We opted for intermittent monitoring of her heart. This plan worked well, the only issue I had was that each time I had to use the restroom (no bed pans for this momma) I had to unhook the fetal monitoring belts so eventually I just left the monitors off, especially once the labor pains started to intensify because I wanted to walk Mylah down. Which turned out to be a good decision and because of the number of visitors I had I never really focused on Mylah's heart once the monitors were off. There were times when the contractions started to intensify I did notice that Mylah's heart rate dropped tremendously but strangely I wasn't concerned about it.
Eventually my contractions started to pick up and I opted for the IV drugs, then the Epidural at 1:30 a.m. but I wasn't really dilated any. I was able to rest, but at 3:00 a.m. the pain started again. I thought to myself "this can't be real, I thought the epidural was supposed to help me not feel any pain" For almost a hour I withstood the pain, Juwan wanted to go get the doctor immediately but I wouldn't let him. I got the 2nd shot of medicine in my epidural around 4:00 a.m. and I was only 6 centimeters dilated. I went from 6 to full in a matter of what seemed like minutes and with 1 1/2 pushes she was out.
Born.. into this world..... into a family that loves her very much!.... to a mother & father who are willing to do what they have to in order to make sure she gets the same opportunities as any other baby.
There were so many tears of joy during this time. I think once she let out a sound everyone let out a sigh of relief.
We met some AMAZING people during our hospital stay. My 2 nurses in Labor & Delivery Carol & Kristin. Both said they'd be praying for Mylah. The nurse who bathed Mylah expressed how honored she was to bathe her and she thanked me for letting her be a part of Mylah's life for the brief moment; she left the room in tears. I wish I knew her name. Dr. Boyer who was pleasant and calming during my entire stay. There was something in her tone that let me know that Mylah was in good hands. When we were transferred to the Mother Baby unit, Heather who fed Mylah through a syringe, was so accommodating and a pleasure to meet, & finally Bobbie Anne. I don't know what to say about this woman. From our first encounter she was pleasant, funny, & caring. You could tell that she actually took pride in her job and loves what she does. Nurses like her are a God send. She took special care of Mylah and I know that they shared a special bond with each other. She was so concerned about Mylah. She never wanted to upset her or put her through too much. She discussed everything with us. Her last night with us was very emotional. She didn't want to go and I didn't want her to leave. I felt that my daughter was safe with her. GOD truly sent the perfect person to care for Mylah in Bobbie Anne.
The Walk With Me team has been nothing but supportive. My nurse was PHENOMENAL during my delivery and there isn't anything that I can do for her to thank her enough for assisting in bringing Mylah into my world.
I still have a lot of fight in me. I've been a little frustrated lately. Being a 1st time mother is a task, but add to that load; Trisomy 18, a heart defect, lack of cooperation/understanding from medical policy makers, it makes for a pretty heavy weight. I'm grateful for my husband, parents, sisters, and the gigantic circle of friends & family that have stepped up during this time to help where they can, because the LORD knows I need it.
Mylah is doing well, Monday she had her feeding tube removed and has been bottle feeding ever since. She's sleeping well & crying even better. I know she has a nice set of lungs on her. I know that it was GOD who gave me peace in the moments when I felt defeated. It was HIM who whispered to me in the moments when I needed to make decisions regarding my health and Mylah's life. I know it was HIM who carried me during those times because there was one set of Footprints.
We are gearing up for the next leg of this race and I'm running with a wonderful team; Juwan, Mylah, and GOD running as the anchor on our team bringing us down the homestretch!