Miracles Born – Book Excerpt from “Full Heart Empty Womb”

In case you missed the letters leading up to this, you can find them here,here, and here 🙂

Book Excerpt from “Full Heart Empty Womb”

October 17 – Welcome to the World

The next morning they had me attached to the fetal monitors for awhile. I was borderline delirious because I hadn’t had any real sleep in almost 48 hours. I was also still in an enormous amount of pain. Lying on my side for the monitoring was excruciating. They were starting to talk about delivering again because the babies were not responsive. There was a constant stream of tears running down my face. They still had a strong heartbeat but they were lethargic….much like their mommy.

My OB came in to visit me. She was immediately alarmed when she looked at me. I told her about the pain. She asked me if I minded if she checked me for dilation. She checked me and I was four centimeters dilated. It was finally time to have my babies. My tears of pain and agony turned to tears of relief and happiness.

We sprung into action again. The phone tree was activated. My dad had just gotten on a plane to Chicago so he boarded a plane home as soon as he landed. My sister, Amy, made plane reservations to fly down later that week. Everyone else hopped in the car to drive to Nashville.

Within no time at all, the anesthesiologist came to administer my spinal tap. I remember he kept trying to get me to hunch over a little more so he could get it in the right spot. I am pretty sure I had a smart aleck reply about not being able to hunch over much more with my huge belly!

I lay back in bed and waited for them to whisk me away to the operating room. Eric still paced the room with a crazy look in his eyes. He had been through the emotional and physical ringer the last couple of days too. He didn’t get much more sleep than me. I also cannot imagine how difficult it would be to watch someone you love go through so much pain and not be able to do anything about it.

I was wheeled into the operating room with happy tears running down the sides of my face. I had made it. Praise the Lord for giving me the strength to get through the last eleven weeks.

There was a crowd of about 20 people in there. There was my OB and her nurses. The NICU staff was there with an incubator ready to transport the babies to the NICU after delivery. I had also consented to have some nursing students come in to observe the delivery. I guess I was a good learning case for them!

At 11:07am Ethan Brent Greer was born weighing a hefty four pounds four ounces. One minute later Ella Bailey Greer was born weighing four pounds. I didn’t get to hold or kiss either of them. I got a quick look at them in the incubator. They each had a nurse who had them bagged and was helping them breathe. And just like that they were gone to the NICU. And I immediately passed out. My work was done.

Final Thoughts

People may hear about my difficulty getting pregnant with Ethan and Ella and think I was pushing fate when we decided to go through fertility treatments. Maybe God just didn’t want us to have babies. After hearing about my struggles to just stay pregnant, they may think that we were still pushing something that just wasn’t meant to be. Maybe we just weren’t meant to be parents. It was a very bumpy road getting to here. Aren’t most of the roads worth traveling anything but smooth?

Today Ethan and Ella are healthy, normal eight year olds. They just started second grade. They have already been a blessing to our lives and to so many others’ lives. I can look at them today and see the potential that they have. Ethan is a little math genius like his Daddy and that makes me so proud. But it is his caring heart that brings me to my knees. Every night he prays from his heart for several people. I listen to his heartfelt prayers and know that he is straight from God. He tells me he wants to be a doctor or go into the military. How many lives will my baby save because we were brave enough to fight for his?

Ella has a love for reading like her Mama. She is always asking for five more minutes with her book before bed. But it is her nurturing heart that brings tears to my eyes. Since she has been in preschool she has always had at least one special needs child in her class. Ella always gravitates to them. She never looks at them as different. She just wants to be their friend and help them. She tells me that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. I can see her being a special education teacher like her Aunt Sharon. How many lives will she touch because we didn’t give up on hers? I also know without a doubt that she will be a wonderful mother. How many more generations of children will come from us because we didnt give up on our family?

Ethan and Ella then and now

God was at work in our very bumpy road. He never guaranteed us or anyone a smooth road to parenthood or anything else for that matter. This bumpy road taught me so many lessons that made me a better mom, wife, and daughter in Christ that I would never take for granted.

It is hard for me to read this and think this all happened nine years ago.  The memories are still so fresh.  Now the tears are happy.  Little did I know that this was just the start of my journey.  With my 20/20 rearview mirror vision, I am thankful for my very bumpy road and the ability it has given me to relate and encourage women.  If you know someone that is dealing with infertility or has in the past, please share “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility … Twice” with them.  It may be just the encouragement that they need on their very bumpy road.

“Today Should Be Your Birthday” Letters to Ethan & Ella – October 16th

In case you miss the first two letters, you can find them here and here.

October 16, 2006

Let Me OUTTA HEREDear Ethan and Ella,

I am trying so hard to stay strong for you. I didn’t sleep a wink last night because I was in so much pain. My nurse told me that it was her goal this shift to get me in the delivery room. I feel so conflicted. I am excited to finally meet you, but I know that you still need more time to develop and grow. But I am just in so much pain.  I am praying for strength.

I have a whole team of doctors that take care of me. They have one mission – keep me pregnant for as long as they can so that you can grow. They have hammered it into my head that every day that I stay pregnant is four less days that you will be in the NICU. The last eleven days I have been on an IV of a drug called Magnesium Sulfate to help slow the contractions. All the other drugs have lost their effectiveness. I thought I was on the highest dose. When the doctor came to see me this morning he increased my dose once again. I will not get to meet you today, and I am so sad.

I have never cried or complained to any of my doctors or nurses the whole time I have been here. Today I cried. I cried because I was disappointed. I cried because I was in so much pain. I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I felt guilty. How selfish of me to want you to be born any sooner? I begged the doctor to at least give me something to settle my stomach and help me sleep.

Daddy didn’t even go to work today. He didn’t want to leave my side. I am so glad he stayed. Unfortunately the sleep meds didn’t work on me. Instead of making me sleep they just made me delirious. I would nod off for a minute then jolt up and feel like I had to go to the bathroom. By the afternoon I couldn’t even walk to the restroom without his help.

Four less days in the NICU…..Four less days in the NICU…..Four less days in the NICU….

Can’t wait to see you,

Mommy

Stay tuned tomorrow for an excerpt from “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility … Twice” when Ethan and Ella were born 🙂

Letters to Ethan & Ella – October 15, 2006

If you missed the first letter to Ethan and Ella, check it out first 🙂

Nine Years Ago Today – October 15

October 15, 2006

Dear Ethan & Ella –

Steph in the hospital with her visitor – Majors!

The last few days have gotten harder on me. I am trying to remain strong. I have gotten more and more uncomfortable. I can only lie on my left and right side and that gets old 24 hours a day. But I will do it as long as I can! I made it to the 32-week mark, so now we are aiming for 34-weeks.

It is funny I have had the same nurses the whole time I have been in the hospital. They are now getting to the point of being surprised that I am still here after they come back from their days off. “You haven’t had those babies yet??!!” We are hanging tough, and they are all cheering for me.

Your Nana and Papa came and visited with us on their way home from Knoxville today. My back started to hurt more and more throughout the day. It got pretty tough to lie back with a smile on my face and act like I was okay. It was a brutal night. I feel like it was one giant constant contraction that never lets up. I wasn’t able to sleep more than a few minutes at a time and I am in so much pain that I have actually thrown up a few times. Your Daddy is starting to look a little freaked out and that is not easy to do!

I still love my Opals and the love they represent :)

I still love my Opals & the love they represent 

Daddy knew I needed some cheering up, so he gave me a present today. When I opened my gift bag, I found an opal necklace and earrings. Opal is the birthstone for October. It brought tears to my eyes. It cheered my up not only because they were pretty, but it was the message he was saying to me. My due date is in December, and we knew I would never make it that long. November is only 17 days away, but it feels like an eternity away. He was telling me that I have fought hard, and that it was ok to have you in October. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. I wouldn’t be letting him down if I couldn’t make it until November.

But I still have 16 days left in October. I will keep fighting as long as I can.

Every day = 4 less in the NICU. Every day = 4 less in the NICU.

Love you Babies,

Mommy

Letters to Ethan & Ella – October 12, 2006

Becoming a mother was a long, hard road for me.  After years of tears and prayers, God blessed me with a pregnancy – twins!  Little did I know that the pregnancy would be yet another opportunity to lean on God…

Nine Years Ago Today – October 12

October 12, 2006

Dear Ethan & Ella –

72 Days. I have been laying in a hospital bed for 72 days now on bed rest. I would stay for 72 more if it meant my babies would be born healthy. People keep asking me how I am doing this and I don’t understand. A mom would stand on her head for a hundred days if it meant she would help her babies. And that is what you are making me….a mom. I am finally going to be a mommy after years of waiting and I can’t wait!

You have been trying to speed up your arrival for the last few months. Thank God for the doctors who caught my contractions at my ultrasound appointment when I was only 21 weeks pregnant. I never even felt them. What would have happened if my appointment were even a day later? Would I have lost you? They have never stopped the contractions, but the doctors have slowed them down so you have time to grow and develop.  I thank God for watching over us. Do you know that you literally have hundreds of people who are praying for you? Their prayers are what are giving me the strength to make it another day.

I kind of feel like I am stuck in the movie “Groundhog Day.”   (It is hilarious. Don’t worry – we will watch it together when you are old enough!) I feel like I am reliving the same day over and over. I wake up. Order my breakfast from the cafeteria (blueberry muffin, cheerios, sweet acidophilis milk – which we affectionately call my sweet ass milk ;). Pee. Lie and wait for my breakfast while I watch The Today Show. Pray. Sit Up. HOORAY!! Eat. Lie back down. Wait for my morning nurse to give meds. Drink water. Pee. Nurse comes gives me meds in my IV. Shift to my other side. Drink water. Pee. Finally the doctor comes to round on me. Tells me the same thing as the day before. “Every day we keep them in you, is four days less in the NICU!!” Pray. Then the best 10 minutes of my day – SHOWER!!! Lie down. Drink Water. Watch Talk of the Town. Order lunch. Pee. Drink. Shift positions. Sit Up. Hooray!!! Eat. Lie back down. Crap. Gotta pee again. Get hooked up for my daily monitoring. Shift and try to get comfortable with all the cords. Stare at the contraction monitor and wonder why I can’t feel any of them. Pray. Shift. Count the flowers on the wallpaper. Drift off to sleep. Wake up when the nurse comes to turn off the monitor. Pee. Drink Water. Pray. Watch “Everybody Loves Raymond” in Spanish because I am that desperate for entertainment. Drink water. Shift. Stare at the clock. Daddy’s here with supper!!!! Pee. Sit up!! Eat yummy take-out. Lie down. Pee. Watch TV with Daddy. Shift. Pray. Watch Daddy make his fold out bed next to me like he does every night. Drink water. Take my Ambien. Pee. And fall into a peaceful sleep.  Every.  Day.

Ethan and Ella UltrasoundEvery few days I get a real treat. I get to have an ultrasound and see you. All day, every day I have my hands on my belly talking to you and singing to you. I love the opportunity to actually see your little fingers and toes. Sometimes I promise it is like you are looking right at me. I can’t wait to finally hold you in my arms. But for now, Mommy is doing her best to keep you in her belly as long as I can so you can be healthy when I get to hold you.

Every day = 4 less in the NICU.  Every day = 4 less in the NICU.

All my love,

Mommy