Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Time with Timothy

It has taken me 2 weeks to compete this entry. With tears of joy and tears of sorrow, I would like to share Timothy's birthday with everyone...

July 28, 2008 3:55 pm. A glorious day that will be etched in my memory forever. It began with me arriving at the hospital in tears telling my nurse, Sarah, "I can't do this, I can't do this, I can't do this..."

Sarah was kind and reassuring. We sat on the couch together and discussed our birth plan and desires for the day. She heard my fears and took time to get to know us and Timothy. Before we started the induction she held our hands and prayed with us. She prayed for Gods strength and courage.

I was still a having a very difficult time. It was very scary to walk into the hospital knowing that I only had hours left in my pregnancy with Timothy. Normally, we go to the hospital excited to deliver our children. This was so different. We had no idea what was going to happen. The unknown was more difficult then words can express. Would we listen to our son's heart stop during labor and deliver him without ever knowing the color of his eyes? Would he live for one minute, hours, weeks or months? What would it be like to watch Timothy take his last breath? I couldn't cope with the unknown and fear consumed me.

Our original plan was to have a private birth with only Kevin and our photographer, Patty, in our room. We realized that I needed Karen with me. I needed the support that only a very close friend could give. Kevin called her and asked if she would be willing to come to the hospital early and be with us. Since she already had child care lined up, she was able to come to the hospital right away. Just knowing she was on her way helped me to focus.

Sarah started the pitocin at about 9:00 am and we were on our way to our first moments with Timothy. With the help of God and prayer I began to calm down and relax. Kevin's comedic nature and and Karen's quiet reassurance helped me tremendously. My fears began to melt away and be replaced with the discomfort of contractions every couple of minutes.

God also chose a wonderful nurse for us. He hand picked her for us. He knew that we would need her with us on this special day. Sarah hardly left our room. She kept us informed about everything that was going on with Timothy and allowed us to make decisions about our care. We were able to connect with her on a personal level with common friends and common interests. She is friends with my childhood best friend, Kelly, and her husband went to the same high school as Kevin. She also attends a church a couple miles from our house (which happens to be where Austin went to preschool). We had a lot to talk about and even laugh about.

We had an unexpected surprise when the Neonatologist came to visit us. Since we already made the choice to do comfort care for Timothy, we weren't expecting to have a Neonatologist with us when he was born. I was so happy when she came in and told us that she would be present for his birth. It didn't change our birth plan, but we were able to discuss Timothy's many medical problems and make some decisions about how we would support him if he was able to make it through labor and delivery. She was also very upfront with us about his prognosis and she felt that he would only live for a couple of hours, maybe a day or two.

Though my contractions were mild, Timothy quickly began having decelerations. We knew that labor would be difficult on him and we were glad to see him recovering well after each contraction. Dr Shope came in at about 10:00 to rupture my membranes. That was the funniest part of the entire day. I had polyhydramnios (excessive fluid). Without giving too much information, it was like a river overflowed! We were all laughing and giggling...even Dr Shope and Sarah said that they have never seen anything like it!!

The moment of joy was quickly turned to worry shortly after being ruptured. As I continued to contract, his heart rate began to rapidly decrease. Within a few minutes, it was in the 90's with decelerations into the 60's. Prior to rupture his heart rate was in the 140's, so it wasn't looking good. We tried different positions hoping that we might decrease his stress level but nothing was working. Kevin and I had already made the decision not to have an emergency c-section (someday, when I am ready I might share our birth plan). So we decided to wait and pray. Luckily it didn't take too long for him to adjust to the lack of fluid and his heart rate began to increase. Within about 30 minutes it was back up to the 140's, although, he did continue having decelerations with the contractions.

We were thrilled to see him doing better and decided to check for progression. Sarah did an exam that showed we were still 3-4cm, but she also noticed I was having problems with bleeding. After watching it for a while she decided to call Dr Shope (she was worried because the bleeding was more then normal). He told us that it looked like we had a partial abruption (the placenta begins to detach from the uterus prematurely), causing moderate amounts of bleeding. I was very worried with this diagnosis knowing that it could lead to a complete abruption which would instantly take Timothy's life as well as cause complications for me. Again we waited and prayed.

At about 11:00 my contractions were starting to get a little more painful and I decided to request the epidural. It turned out to be a good thing that I wasn't in extreme pain because the anesthesiologist wasn't able to come until about 12:15. I highly recommend the epidural. After having Kadin without one...I highly, highly recommend getting one.

At one point (I couldn't tell you when) we had another scary moment. We were all sitting around talking and waiting when all of the sudden I felt like I couldn't breath. I felt like there was fluid in my lungs and I was trying to cough it out but couldn't because of the epidural. I began to feel like I was going to pass out and the room went dark. I don't remember much... the nurses started pushing the fluids, putting oxygen on me, talking about a blood pressure drop, and calling anaesthesia. Kevin tells me that my blood pressure dropped form 120/70's to 80/40's. Sarah gave me effedrine to bring my blood pressure back up. Luckily it didn't take too long for me to start feeling better.

I was relieved to feel (almost) normal again. Roughly 45 minutes later I began to feel the smallest amount of pressure. I asked Sarah to do another exam and was shocked to hear her say that we were complete and ready to have Timothy. The room became a buzz. Dr Shope came within a couple of minutes, as well as the neonatologist and neonatal nurse. Patty was standing by with her camera and Karen was ready with the video. Timothy was born in 2 easy pushes...

It felt like time stood still. They placed him on my chest and I was able to see him for the first time. I was thrilled and scared at the same time. We didn't know if he would take a first breath. I was inches away from him and couldn't see him breathing. The neonatologist kept listening to his heart and I asked "Is he breathing?" over and over. All I heard her say was that he had a heart rate. No one would answer if he was breathing. I kept talking to him, begging him to try to breath. Then I heard it. He took a gasping breath. The atmosphere in the room changed; everyone was so excited. I rubbed his little body and kept talking to him. They gave him some oxygen and he continued to improve.

He made little squeaking noises, began slowly blinking his eyes, and looking around. Kevin was standing over us talking to Timothy and he would open his eyes and look for his daddy. He was so small and precious. To finally see and hold our new son was an answer to prayer and a true blessing. I wish words could capture how it felt to see and hold Timothy. All I can say it that it was wonderful, glorious, awesome, powerful, and amazing (and that doesn't even fully describe it).

We wanted his brothers and sister to have as much time with him as possible so we asked them to get him cleaned up and get the room ready for visitors. Timothy loved the heat of the warming table and continued to improve. Kevin stood over him like a proud daddy, and was especially thrilled when he went potty all over the Dr! They weighed and measured him. 4 pounds 12.9 ounces and 16 1/2 inches long!! WOW. Within a couple of minutes we were ready for Austin, Emma and Kadin to come and meet Timothy.

They were all thrilled to see Timothy. They had been waiting so many months for this moment and looked at him with love in their eyes.

Austin was so happy that you could see the radiance in his eyes. His smile took over his entire face. He was so protective with his new brother. He was quick to tell us how to hold him and to protect his head and neck. Every time someone would move Timothy, Austin was standing there telling them to be careful and not to hurt him. He cradled Timothy's head in his hands and he loved looking in Timothy's eyes and studying his face.

All Emma wanted to do was to hold him. She followed him around the room from person to person. She would allow other people to hold him for a couple of minutes then she was quick to tell them that it was her turn again. She was so gentle and careful with Timothy. She was the happiest sister in the entire world. She prayed and begged God for those moments with Timothy. I'm so thankful that His answer was YES...

Kadin was a little nervous and confused about all of the commotion but he curled up on my lap to see is new brother. His eyes were big as saucers when he saw Timothy for the first time. He kept his little hands on Timothy's little body. He held his foot for a while then placed his hand on Timothy's tummy. He held his new little brother and looked at his little face and loved him.

Aunt Janelle, Grandma, and Grandpa Myers came in to hold and see Timothy. They knew that this was going to be the only time that they were going to get to be with Timothy and it was very difficult for them to say hello and goodbye in the same moment. Uncle Raymond and Aunt Desiree were also there to spend some time with their newest nephew. They all were able to have a few treasured moments with him. After being held by everyone it was apparent that Timothy was getting tired and overstimulated.

Our family decided it was time to head out to give Timothy some quite time. Kevin was thrilled to have the opportunity to give Timothy a small bath. Since he was already a little overstimulated we decided not to undress him for a full bath. Kevin washed his hair and face in the sink. It was wonderful to watch him gently hold Timothy and quietly talk to him and he washed him. He was so gentle and loving.

Then everyone left and we were finally alone with our son. The room was quiet and peaceful for the first time all day. No nurses or doctors... just Kevin, Timothy, and me. I cherish those moments alone with my husband and our son. We placed him on my chest for skin to skin contact and used warm blankets for additional heat. We looked into his eyes and watched him take his first and only nap. Amazingly, of the 2 hours and 50 minutes he was with us, he was awake most of the time. It was wonderful to watch him sleep. Kevin and I had a a little while longer with him before it was time for him to say goodbye. At 6:45 pm he peacefully gained his wings.

We were able to spend several more hours with him before we had to let him go. I don't think I will ever be able to share those moments. All I can say is that it felt like I was giving up my heart. It is a moment that I hope no one will ever have to feel or experience.

For 2 hours and 50 minutes our sweet Timothy was in our arms. He will be in our hearts forever.


Michelle said...

You've painted the picture of a day to be remembered forever. I continue to pray for you as you go through the stages of grieving. Again, please let me know if there's anything I can do for you ... especially this week!

Anonymous said...

What your family and you have gone through and will still go through, I don't think I would ever have the strength for. But seeing how much strength god and the people you love has given you makes me feel like anything is possible. I'm so happy that you were able to spend a small lifetime with your precious Timothy. I can be honest when I say you are the most amazing woman that I know. Your strength, love, and belief is so powerful not only in your life but others as well. Keep moving forward. We love you.
Bree & Brock Metzger

Myers 3 said...

It was a time to be cherished. But you were a beaming mother, very proud of the creation God had given and we are so thankful we were able to meet him.

The Young Family said...

Reading your journal makes me feel as if I were there. It was beautiful to hear about how God hand picked your nurse and the miraculous and glorious moment of meeting Timothy. Tears came to my eyes as I read about the precious time your children had to meet their little brother. I appreciated get to hear more of the story of that day. Thank you for sharing it. Rejoicing, grieving and praying for you.
The Youngs

New Mom and Dad - to-be said...

Thank you for sharing, Jen. It brought tears to my eyes... Praying for you as you continue to process, grieve, and release...

kimberly_munson said...

Thank you so much Jen for sharing your story. I had to stop a few times just to drain the tears from my eyes. You are an amazing woman of God, with a wonderful family. I am so thankful God has placed Karen in your life for support. I continue to pray for God to heal your broken hearts. Keep your head up and your memories close.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer and Kevin,

I just found out yesterday that you had your baby boy. I was not sure what he was diagnosed with. I love you both so much and am so sorry for your loss. As now as you were then, you are in my prayers. I would like to say that you did a great job with this blog of yours. Last night as I was looking at the pictures of Timothy I asked Jake to come in and take a look. He is so wise. He said that God made him for a special reason and that maybe someone will be touched by reading this. You doing this Jen will help someone out there and that will be your blessing returned. They say that out of something bad, something good happens. Stay strong to your faith, cast all your worries, your cares, fears and concerns onto God, He will guide you through no, He will carry you through this.
I love your strength and you have an amazing husband!!!!
Melanie Galbraith

The Finnestad Family said...

What a blessing to read this blog and relive a truly glorious day! Jen, I know this was so difficult for you to write...and you have done an amazing job of capturing Timothy's birth. There are very specific moments in that day that have been etched forever into my heart and I thank you for letting me be a part of it. You were a beaming example of the strenth of God. You amaze me!

Cindy Kay said...

Thank you so much for your faithful journaling and updates. You absolutely amaze me with your inner stength. I dont always know what to say in the comments but by reading Im able to know how to better pray for you. Thank you for your honesty and your example of holding on so tightly to God's hand. - With Love, Cindy

The Earnhardt Family said...

Ya know, every time I read your blogs, and then read everyone's comments, I'm nodding along thinking "yes, yes, exactly, praise God, yes, you're in our prayers, yes, yes, I agree, yes, you are so amazing, yes, my goodness, I could never, yes, exactly..." Everyone hit it right on, we are all so appreciative for you, that you've shared this experience with us, shared your prayer requests, been so open. You are utterly amazing and I have such a deep respect for you and your family. Thank you for sharing the story of Timothy's birthday. What a whirlwind of events and emotions. We'll continue to pray for you all, don't stop posting, and be sure to let us know if there are any ways we can support you. Love ya! ~Denise

The Wagner's said...

Jen, I can't even imagine how hard all of this was to put on paper, so to speak, but thank you so much for letting us be part of the journey. I know you don't think so, but you are such an inspiration for all of us- you're amazing! Praying for peace for your heart, and your family. We love you guys!

Anonymous said...

I am carrying a son with Trisomy 18 & your story gives me hope. Hope of even just a short time with him.
Thank you.