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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Would You Do With 10 Days?

     It had been a month since my parents had helped us move back to Florida.  Carl, my husband, was still in Tennessee tying up loose ends.  This is when it happened, this is when I found out and told him… I’m pregnant !  Again!  We both decided, this had to be the last one.  We already had 3 children under the age of 3 1/2 and like the others, this was a surprise too.  The pregnancy turned out  perfect.  There were no issues, no high blood pressure, no gestational diabetes, no problems at all.  When I went into labor we waited for awhile till I knew I needed to go to the hospital. 

     At the hospital everything was different than I expected, I felt like I was being treated as a waste of their time.  They immediately made me lay down.  The nurse came in and put the monitor on me ... upside down so the readings all came up upside down.  The doctor, when he finally came in hadn't even checked out my medical records… if he had then he would've realized that my contractions, though they would pain me greatly, had never done what was necessary to progress things along during labor.  He ask me a bunch of questions and then told me to go home.  

Go home?  

     Yes, he wanted me to go home and not come back till I could no longer walk or talk through my contraction…. then he left.  My wonderful husband started getting things ready to take me home but something was wrong.  

All I could say was that I couldn't go home, 
if I did I won’t make it back.  

     He figured I meant that I’d not make it back in time to have the baby in the hospital.  That was not what I meant.  I didn't understand it, and I wasn't being irrational, I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would not make it back alive if I went home.  So we stayed… not at the hospital… but at a restaurant not far away.  

     Eventually the pain was too much to bear and we went back to the hospital but it didn't take long for them to realize something was very wrong.  Fifteen minutes later my room was filled with a dozen people prepping me for an emergency cesarean.  They whisked me out of the room without ever telling my husband what was going on.  He had no idea what was happening or what was about to occur.

     In the operating room as they continued prepping me, they brought in a portable sonogram machine.  When they realized what they were seeing they informed me that I had a decision to make.  The placenta had been tearing away, I was bleeding and my child was going without oxygen.  They had no idea how long she’d been without oxygen.... so I had to make a choice….. my life or hers. That’s really what it came down to.

Choice 1 – We do nothing and just let her die. 

Choice 2 – I was told that they could go ahead and start the surgery and attempt to save her life but to do that I'd have to put my life in the hands of the nurse anesthetist who they said doesn't have the same level of training as the anesthesiologist.  This would mean, according to them, that I was severely risking my life and could die. 

Choice 3 – We could wait about another 10-15 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get there and then we could start the surgery… the risks to my life would be minimal they said. 

     I was so scared.  My husband is outside and has no idea what’s going on.  Why couldn't they ask him?  Why do I have to make this choice alone?  The thought of dying while trying to save my child frightened me, not because I was afraid to die but because that would leave my husband trying to raise four young children alone.  I couldn't do that to him.  I told them I wanted to live but I wanted them to save my child too….. choice 3 was the only viable option they gave me.
     When I came out of recovery and was placed in a room I couldn't tell my husband the choice I'd had to make.  All he knew was that his wife and daughter were alive.  Sarah was born that day but they had to work on her for 45 minutes to resuscitate her.  After that they took her to the neonatal ICU.  When I was able to go see her she was attached to so many machines.  

     I would never get to see her in any other way, we would never have the chance to take her home.  We were notified three days after she was born that all brain function had ceased.  I've never heard my husband grieve like he did that day.  His pain was the only thing that touched me, otherwise, I was numb.  I didn't even cry.  This was my fault.... I felt so much guilt and condemnation.  If I’d demanded that the doctor not send me home, she would have lived.  If I'd said I'll take choice 2… save my child at all costs… she would have lived.  Now, I definitely couldn't tell him what had happened and the choice I'd been forced to make...I was afraid he'd blame me like I blamed myself and that would be too much to bear.

     We then found ourselves between church members who advised holding on to our faith that she would gain back her brain function and open her eyes and breathe totally on her own…. and the hospital neonatal doctors who began almost immediately to push us to remove all life support now.  

The pressure at times from both sides made me feel even more alone.  

     I don't have a lack of faith.  I know God can heal but how long do we leave her in this position before we let her go?   On the other hand, why must we be pushed so hard to immediately remove life support?  Why can't the doctors back off and give God the chance to work things out?  She’s just been born and has never opened her eyes or made one noise, can't we wait a little while?  We finally had to make the decision, one of the hardest in our lives, to remove life support.  We prayed and told God that we knew that he could heal her and that our faith was such that when we took her off of life support the decision was God’s.  He could heal her or take her home.  So ten days after she graced us with her presence, we let our little Sarah Jane go home.  We held her till she took her last breath and even the nurses cried.

     This was definitely one of the hardest things I've ever gone through.  I know what helped me get through it though…. helping others.  You see, we did something different than most people do.  We didn't quickly bury her, we acknowledged her life… her ten precious days and mourned her death by having a viewing.  

Many came to the viewing intent on ministering comfort to us but the sight of her little casket would open up wounds they thought had been buried long ago and forgotten.  We then had an opportunity to bring comfort to those who had come to comfort us.  

     You wouldn't think that a life so short would make the impact that hers did.  She never moved a muscle, never made a sound, never opened her eyes but her death brought life.  I know that sounds totally crazy but it’s true.  There were so many women in our church at that time that had gone through the loss of a child either through abortion, miscarriages or infant deaths.  

They knew my pain and it brought their pain to the surface.  

     They were faced with a decision to allow those hurts to finally be healed… or continue to deny the wound and rebury it.  

In the days and weeks after her death about 30 women found total healing.  I don’t know why Sarah only had ten days…… but it was amazing what God did with it.

What would you do with 10 days?

1 awesome comments:

  1. Hi,

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    My husband and I are Iranian and live in the UK. We love Jesus and my weblog is mostly about him. Since we are Iranian we have added some Persian topics to the weblog but you can read and watch English ones.

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    May Jesus bless you,



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