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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

.Her Story.

Because of this post here I have been asked by many to share Cadi's birth story. I hesitate to share. I am not really sure the reason. Partly, it may be because still after more than four years it is emotional for me to go back. Partly I think it is because my story ended up with a happy ending while I know for many other mommies out there the ending was not at all happy, and I feel for them. I am grateful for my happy ending, but at the same time I am so undeserving.

But I am going to share it. For one thing I have it written no where in its entirety, and although I have shared bits and pieces of age-appropriate portions of this story with Cadi, I want her to some day read it all.

I think Cadi's story really did shape me into the mommy that I am. Her story is written all over my heart and it presents itself in a million different ways in my life. Her story is why I became frantic over documenting my children's and my family's life through my camera lens. Her story is the reason I started a blog. Her story is the reason I do not get {too} easily irritated by my children. Her story has affected my decision to home school, to be passionate about my roles as a homemaker, a wife, and a mommy. Her story has made me want to pursue a healthy way of life, to get truly intimate with my daddy in heaven. Cadi's story has tattooed my heart, and made me truly understand the importance of a moment cherished. I can honestly say that I wake up grateful for every moment that God grants me and my family together on this earth. I have truly come to grasp with the fact that my life is just a mist - a vapor.

Although Cadi's story is so rampant in my life, and so near to the surface, the details have long ago been locked away. I think God was gracious to me with that. I am a very sensitive, tender, soft person - many times to my dismay and embarrassment. Especially when it comes to real life. God has gifted me, although some days it feels more like a curse, with the ability to truly feel other people's pain. I am still learning how to use and not abuse this gift. I am learning how to not let it suffocate me.

But back to the details... I had to pull out an old journal and Cadi's baby scrapbook, because so many of the details are truly gone. But this is what I can remember about Cadi's story.

I was very sick during my pregnancy with Cadi. I had extreme nausea and vomiting, especially the first 16 or so weeks. I missed a lot of work. I remember mornings just laying on the floor in our tiny bathroom with my cheek pressed against the cool floor, willing myself to make the waves of sickness go away. I will be the first to admit that I am an absolute baby when it comes to nausea and vomiting. I hate it. I fight it. It zaps the life from me. Other than the horrible sickness, everything was pretty normal at the beginning. There was always confusion regarding my due date though. It was changed a few times, but ultimately landed on September 11, 2005. I was kind of reluctant to have that day as a due date, so I told most people the baby was due the 12th. That is my brother's birthday anyway, so I liked that. We even tossed around using my brother's name Benjamin. We liked Byron Benjamin.

I went in for an ultrasound around the normal time that those are done in a pregnancy - so between 18-20 weeks. I cannot remember exactly. We were hoping to find out the gender of our baby. Although truth be told I was certain I was carrying a boy. At the ultrasound there was more confusion over my dates. Our baby was very tiny. She was so tiny that we could not find out the gender. Because of the health insurance we had at the time, we were unable to go back for a follow-up ultrasound. We were disappointed, but so certain was I that our baby was a boy that I just went about the following months as if she really was. I prayed for her as a him, and I stocked up on really cute baby boy clothes. I did, fortunately receive many yellow and green neutral outfits as gifts. They were a life saver! {grin} And just for the record, I was able to use those adorable boy clothes for Scotty, as they were both born in the same season.

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Towards the end of my pregnancy I was very uncomfortable - very large too. I was extremely swollen. I remember a few occasions right near the end where I would wake up, and I would be so swollen that one side of my face would be nearly numb and tingly. I couldn't get real shoes on my swollen feet, and my rings had not fit my chubby fingers for months. It hurt to breathe, it hurt to sleep, and I could not eat more than a few bites at a time without feeling extremely uncomfortable. I was so ready for my baby to be out! However, September 11th came and went. So did the 12th, the 13th, the 14th....

On September 21st, I went in for a check up with my mid wife. My blood pressure was quite elevated. It had been for a few weeks by then. My midwife did some blood work. I really cannot remember why. She checked to see if I had progressed at all (at my urgent pleading). I had not. I begged for her to induce me. She finally consented, and she scheduled me for an induction on Sunday, September 25th. To Jim's dismay the induction was to take place right in the middle of a NY Giant's game! I could care less. I was finally going to meet our baby!

The next morning, Thursday September 22nd, we received a frantic phone call from my mid wife at 7:30 in the morning. She had received my results from the blood work and found that my liver functions were not right and because my blood pressure had been elevated for quite some time decided I needed to be immediately induced. (I was never explained the reason for this, but my new OB after examining my medical records and hearing my story believes that I had pre-eclampsia. My mom had it with me, and it makes sense with my symptoms.)

We arrived at the hospital that morning, excited and nervous. My blood pressure was very high at this point. I had a pill inserted to start the dilation process, as I was not dilated on my own at all yet. Both my mom and Jim's mom came to support and encourage us through the labor. I started getting mild, crampy contractions very soon after. I was monitored with the contractions, and they were getting progressively stronger and closer, but each time I was checked I had not dilated. We got permission to walk around the outside of the hospital. I even walked some hills. That was not fun in the middle of contractions, but I was hoping they would help things progress. After walking outside I walked the halls of the hospital. Stopping to lean on Jim and breathe through each contraction. I was continually checked, but the progress remained the same for the entire day. I was told to settle in for the night, and that I would be put on Pitocin in the morning. None of us got much sleep that night. I was in pain and uncomfortable. I paced, prayed, and showered, as I breathed through contractions. I could not wait for the night to end. In my wildest imaginations I never dreamed of what the next day would hold for us.

Friday morning the pitocin was started. This is where things get blurry for me. I was exhausted and weak. I had not eaten anything since a piece of toast early Thursday morning, and I had not slept the night before. My dad and Jim's dad arrived in the hospital waiting room at this point, anticipating the arrival of their grandbaby. The day was filled with intense contractions and every hour the level of pitocin given to me would be increased. By Friday evening I had finally dilated to five centimeters. I vaguely remember that the intensity of my contractions were becoming more than I could bare on no sleep and no food. I was physically exhausted. The midwife ordered me to get an epidural to manage the pain. I was too tired to refuse, and I remember crying as I was barely able to hold the pen to sign a consent form for the epidural. The needle was put in the wrong spot, so I had to have it redone. It was excruciating having to hold perfectly still through contractions twice.

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My epidural was turned as high as it could go, and I was also given other IV drugs of which I do not know anything about. I remember being told that I would feel drunk. I remember having absolutely no control over my body, and if that is what being drunk feels like I want none of it. The rest of my memory of the delivery is very, very foggy. It's as if it happened to another person. I remember crying out to my midwife to please let me have a C-section. I remember being refused. I was told my mother-in-law (who is a NICU nurse and is an expert in high risk deliveries) begged to be able to see the overseeing OB and was refused because he did not want to be bothered. People whispered around me. The fear in the room was palatable. I didn't understand why. I just wanted it all to be over. Around 9:00 that evening I was finally told that I had reached 10 centimeters, after nearly 36 hours of no sleep and no food.

Thank God I do not remember any pain with the pushing. I was so drugged by this time. I was told that I fell sound asleep between every single contraction and push. That went on for three solid hours. I heard afterward how terrified Jim was. How he would leave the room and cry and call family and friends for support. I knew nothing of that at the time. I felt like he was my rock. I remember waking at one point and seeing the midwife with the suction machine. After several failed attempts she was finally able to suction my baby's head out of the birth canal. She suctioned with such force that she literally flew across the room.

Things got crazy at this point someone was yelling about the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck. We didn't get the celebratory moment of Daddy cutting the cord, rather the midwife hurriedly cut the noose-like cord from the neck and quickly pulled the baby out. Cadence Grace was born at 12:14 am on Saturday, September 24, 2005. She was 6 lbs 14 oz. and 20 inches long.

I can remember the details of the moment that the midwife passed a limp, blackish blueish tiny baby over my head to the awaiting nurses behind me. For some reason I noticed her feet and thought they looked long. (Cadi now has big feet!) They tried over and over to resuscitate her. It was probably only a matter of mere moments, but for Jim and I who clung to each other crying out to God to save our baby it was an eternity. Finally Jim's mom (who did not work at that hospital) pushed the nurses aside and was able to get Cadi to breathe. I don't remember when I found out she was a girl, but I remember being in awe. So was Jim. Cadi had his heart from the moment she exited my womb. There is nothing like the arousal of a Daddy's fierce desire to protect his daughter.

I remember praying over and over that God would let us hear Cadi cry. I cannot explain in words what it is like to deliver a silent baby. I shudder now thinking of the absence of that sweet sound. (Still to this day I love a cry of a newborn baby. It is beautiful and melodic to me. Granted I did not at all have babies that cried much.) She finally did make a noise. It was other-worldly. Cadi's cry sounded like a sick, strangled animal. Jim continued to kneel beside me panic-stricken and praying. We learned her APGAR test was very low. A 6 or a 7 I believe. She needed more monitoring. I was able to hold Cadi for about thirty seconds, before they took her away from us to evaluate her condition more thoroughly. I cannot write much of that, because I am still working through bitterness of not being able to have that moment of feeling your newborn babe on your chest. (I will tell you with Scotty I relished it. I memorized it, and I regretted and hurt over what I had lost with Cadi.)

We soon learned of Cadi's pneumothorax - hole in her lung. She had to be taken by ambulance to a NICU. The one that Jim's mom worked at. I stayed over night in the hospital - baby less. It was very hard walking out of that hospital Sunday morning with pink balloons and pink roses, but no pink bundle of baby.

But Cadi's story indeed has a happy ending. God healed her lung without any medical intervention (there had been talk of surgery) within a week's time. We brought Cadence Grace into our home exactly one week after her birth, and she has had no complications from her birth since. I used to worry about learning disabilities and other problems because of the amount of time she went without oxygen the day she was born, but God has set my mind at ease.

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Jim's first time holding his baby girl. She was attached to so many wires.

Cadi's story was and still is hard for me, but what is even harder is the realization that God knew this was exactly the story I needed to begin my journey into mommyhood. As soft and tender as I may be I am hard headed and prideful and selfish. I needed Cadi's story to see all that God had given me, and to truly learn to be thankful for life's blessing while taking the time to daily remember a moment cherished.

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The day we brought her home.

* All of these photos were pre-digital camera and were scanned in. I apologize for the poor quality.


Jessica Kramasz said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing story!

Unknown said...

Thank you Lord for saving Cadi's life. Thank you for sharing her story. I have a similar story of my daughter Ellie. She had a heart issue and was told she would need major surgery when she was born, but God healed her heart and she is well. As you do, I thank God for this trial and count my blessings even more. I love how you write.

Melissa said...

I remember...We didn't get many details at the time, but we prayed, and I was so excited to visit you and your sweet baby girl! She was and is precious!

La Familia Garcia said...

What a beautiful story! The way that you shared the work the Lord has done! What a great testimoney she will have!

Colleen said...

What a great story. My daughter Alyssa was born on Sept 24th. What a wonderful day.

Mandi said...

I found myself holding my breath while I read this...

I will never understand the mystery of how God works - but I am SO glad He does!

Heather said...

This story is so beautiful and touching.
Thank you for sharing.
The family photo of you all at the end is so beautiful and I can see the joy in your faces.

Jen said...

That is an amazing story! It's even amazing that you were brave and courageous enough to have another child!

Theresa said...

Wow Tiffany! I knew you guys had a rough time with Cadi, but this is quite a story. And it's such a blessing to see how you have taken God's love and strength from that awful period and just let Him mold your heart into what it is today! Thank you so much for sharing.

mosey said...

Thank you for sharing your story, especially sharing the fact that you struggled with bitterness about loosing those moments. I have for 7 years wrestled with the feelings of bitterness over those lost moments as well, and anger off and on for all that went wrong. Please know that I am praying for your heart every single time I feel those feelings rise in myself from now on!

And thank you again for sharing your story!

Carrie said...

Oh, my goodness, thank you for sharing this - what an amazing story - I'm so glad Cadi is okay! What a horrible labor - I can't imagine how utterly exhausted you must have been to sleep in between pushing!!! Wow.

Aunt Kathy said...

Tiff, Praise the LORD for all HE has done. I remember that time very well. I was at your Grandma and Grandpa Day's 50th and remember hearing of your delivery and of Cadi's struggle. Praise HIM for HIS graciousness. Love, ~AK~

Amy W. said...

Thank you, Tiff, for sharing your story, and your true feelings. I appreciate your ability and your willingness to be real, and to share your heart so openly. May God continue to use you and your writing to further His Kingdom, and to fulfill His will in you and in the lives of others.

Jennifer said...

Your story brough back the memories of what our family endured a year ago. Our sweet girl Evelyn had an APGAR score of 2 and was born at 32 1/2 weeks weighing a mere 3 1/2 pounds. It's so great that you were able to take your baby home after a week and that God healed Cadi's lung. In our experience, I remember holding onto the verse that says "The Lord has done great things and we are filled with Joy." That is how Evelyn got her middle name "Joy". Thank you for sharing your story

Precision Quality Laser said...

Oh He is so good and faithful...
Thank you for sharing her story with us all.

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