Thursday, September 5, 2013

Catching Up, Month by Month: October 2012

OCTOBER 2012.  Oh dear.
Well, we just have to dive right in.

Monday, October 1st: It was a normal day, except that I was exceptionally tired and achy. But...I was nearly eight months pregnant so I chalked it up to that and figured I'd feel better the next day.

Tuesday, October 2nd: I did not feel better this day.  In fact, I felt much worse and stuck to the couch for most of that day. Thankfully, I had a OB appointment on Wednesday, so I held tight till then. Also, Braelyn went to my mom's on this day because our "babymoon" was supposed to begin on Wednesday...which I was still hoping to go on.

Wednesday, October 3rd: We went to my OB appointment and I told him that I was feeling quite fluish, and even teased a bit that we should go ahead and get baby out so that I could take some medicine.  Well, of course he said he could do no such thing, as baby was safe and sound where she was, and I was sent home with instructions to rest.  I did go home and did absolutely nothing, but unfortunately it was anything but restful.  At this point, I could hardly sleep, due to an excruciating pain in my back (which I thought was muscle pain, it wasn't) and it was becoming difficult to breathe. Babymoon was cancelled.

Thursday, October 4th: Feeling worse and worse each day, we decided that this wasn't a simple respiratory infection, but must be the flu.  In my pajamas and bath robe, I went to see our general practitioner.   Upon her entrance into the room, I asked her, in a Joking-But-I'm-Not-Joking-Sort-Of-Way, if she would kindly put me in a coma until this was over.  Once again, my medical advice was immediately, although compassionately disregarded. I was tested for flu and sure enough, it was positive.  My OB didn't feel comfortable giving me Tamiflu, so our only option was to let it run its course.

Friday, October 5th: Around 5am I got out of bed after getting no sleep at all.  I was in tears and a bit of a panic because I could hardly breathe and the pain in my back was now unbearable. We called Dr. Z (our GP) and she recommended we go to the ER.  My quick shallow breaths and my unusually low blood pressure were cause for concern, so I was admitted to the hospital and spent most of that day in the ER. The doctors discovered that I had developed pneumonia on top of the flu (the pneumonia being the source of my back pain).  Despite all this, I was still in pretty good spirits, but I couldn't really believe this was all happening.  It was very surreal.  I was confident that I was going to fine, but of course, I was worried about Abby.

Saturday, October 6th: This day, things took a dramatic turn for the worst and consequently, where my memory starts to get fuzzy.  Long story, short...I was moved to the ICU, intubated and sedated, although I think doctors were being conservative with the sedative because of Abby.  Around 2 am that morning I had the first of several episodes.  Gasping for breath.  Heart rate rising.  Panicking.  During one of the episodes, I remember working so hard to breathe, and I just wanted more air.  I was motioning with my hands, telling the nurse how and when to pump the manual air pump.  Somewhere in all of that, I was frantically writing notes to Casey, trying to communicate with him and the nurses that it was so hard to breath, and if they would just leave me alone for one second I would be able calm down and catch my breath.  This was obviously not the case...the nurses were doing what needed to be done, but I wasn't thinking clearly at this point.  I was so worked up that the nurses had to restrain me. Finally, a doctor came in and said he was going to help me rest.  I remember feeling so relieved.  Yes! Rest! Please!  I was put into a medical-induced coma. As the anesthesiologist (who had obviously skipped the day they taught bedside manner at medical school) walked out of the room, he told Casey he wasn't sure that I was going to make it and walked away.

While my husband's world was falling apart, I slept.

Prayers from all over the world began to go out to our Almighty God.

Later Saturday evening, the doctors could see that I wasn't getting any better.  In order to give me the help I needed they had to get the baby out.  The decision was made to do an emergency C-section. Abigail Anne Cease was born around 9:30pm. 5lbs 14oz and 18 inches long. Once Abby was born, I was pumped full of medicine for the flu, pneumonia, and blood poisoning.

Sunday, October 7th: Sleep

Monday, October 8th: I met Abby for the first time, although I have no memory of this moment. Mostly...sleep.

Tuesday, October 9th: I started to come back to the world. I held my baby. It was strange because I didn't remember holding her before, but it wasn't like meeting her for the first time either.  I never had that moment of, "Oh my goodness!! The baby that I've waited and waited for is here and she's beautiful and perfect, and thank-you, Jesus!" None of that. It's is still so odd to me.  After all that, after 5 long baby was born and I didn't celebrate and cry and hold her and laugh and rejoice that my wait was over.  I have since then of course, but not in the moment or even in her first few days.  I do wish that I had had that memory.

Wednesday, October 10th: I was able to get around a bit more and I saw Braelyn for the first time in a week.  She was an instant success at being a big sister.

As Casey and I would walk through the hospital, nurses who were with me when I was very sick, would stop me in complete shock, eyes as big as saucers...they could barely believe that I was alive, let alone walking around and smiling and laughing.  One sweet nurse, with tears in her eyes asked if she could hug me.  It was a happy day, indeed. It seemed like everyone who knew my story was starting to see that God had done a miracle.

Thursday, October 11th: I was released from the hospital, Casey and I grabbed a little lunch date at Goose's Acre, and I spent the rest of the day with Abby in the nursery. I was finally able to start bonding with my sweet baby.

Friday, October 12th: Our family of four went home.

So that's how October began and how my baby was born and how I was reminded that life is so very fragile.  Honestly, this is only a fraction of the story.  So much happened that I slept through. I know there were some very dark moments.  I know my husband went through hell, and my parents, too.  I know that I can never know the half of what they went through and what they did for Abby and me that week.  But I know that I am blessed beyond measure to be loved so very much.  I know Abby spent her first night with one of my dearest friends by her side, loving on her when I could not.  I know friends drove back and forth to the hospital, day after day, to check in, to save me from hospital food, to assist me in some awkward and unpleasant situations.  I know gifts and meals and words of encouragement poured in for weeks after Abby's birth.  I know while I was in the hospital my friends put together Abby's nursery and cleaned my house and did my laundry and took care of Braelyn. I know people from all over the world, strangers, were praying for our family. I know that I can never say thank-you enough for all that was done for me.

Grace upon Grace upon Grace.

After all that, well, we rested and recovered and enjoyed our new baby.  Although, like an INSANE PERSON...I did attempt to get back to homeschooling that next Monday.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?! ;) (I am literally laughing out loud at how ridiculous I am!)

Anyways...some happier pics from the rest of October...

Lots of sleepy smiles.

Sweet sisters!

Some newborn pics by our friend Lori McConnaughie.

This one went on the baby announcement.  I was not so great about getting those out.  Some people got one and some people who were supposed to get one did not. :/ As was the case with the thank-you notes.  #Anoouncement/ThankYouNoteFail #HopeMyFriendsCanForgiveMe!

Oh yeah! And Halloween! 

*Casey blogged during the time I was in the hospital to let people know what was going on and to process everything for himself.  I think it's safe to say that this was harder on him than anyone. You can read about his experience here.

Casey Cease...Thank you for fighting with me and for me.  I love you beyond measure.


Anonymous said...

Steph, our whole church was praying for you and receiving daily updates. I even sent out the picture of you holding Abby in the hospital. We're thankful to God for His mercy on your family!
-Sheridan H.

The Taras' said...

I read through this just in tears at the goodness of God. I remember praying for you guys even though we had never met. I think I even commented on one of Casey's posts! I am so thankful The Lord brought you and sweet Abby through!! And yes, homeschool the next week?? You are straight up cray!! ;) Praying you guys have a restful, uneventful year!! Blessed to have finally met you!!

Love and Hugs!!

Amy said...

Praise be to God! So honored to have prayed during this trial with you all. Blessings, Gardner family - Brenham, Tx

Caryn said...

BEAUTIFUL pics! I didn't realize that Abby & I share birthdays! :-)

mandi said...

Oh girl. I remember these days. Every time I see sweet Abby's face on instagram I think about these days. So thankful (beyond thankful) for God's sustaining power. For his graciousness. So thankful that you and Abby pulled through. Love you guys...