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Hey ladies, I'm still here,just busy with Miss Ella.... had some time to type up her birth story and pics should be up tomorrow night!! I have to preface all this to say the love and admiration I have in my heart for Shantel is indescribable. She is doing amazingly well and even came by for a visit on Friday... she is one remarkable young lady and I can't wait until Ella is old enough to understand just how incredibly lucky she is to have her in our lives.
On Monday, November 1st 2010, I took Shantel to her 37 week appointment. I remember joking with her on the way to the clinic that I was serving Ella her eviction notice and that she only had two more days to make her appearance. Really, I just didn't want to have to go back to work on Thursday! Well, we got checked in and they did the usual urine check and weight check. Shantel had a bit of protein in her urine which they were concerned about, but what was more concerning was her blood pressure. It was something she had been struggling with throughout the pregnancy. Nothing stayed high for too long, but every once in a while it would peak and stay there for a few hours. Well, it was high! I can't remember the exact number now, but it was 150-something over 90-something. Too high. They had her lay down on her left side for 10 minutes before they rechecked it. Still way too high. The OB came in and checked her cervix. Still only dilated to about a 1 but was now 50% effaced. Her doctor said she wanted us to head over to the hospital and have Shantel be monitored for a couple of hours to keep an eye on her BP. No big deal, we had been down this road before.
We got all checked in at the hospital and they started doing a 24 hour urine on Shantel to monitor her protein. Shantel was not looking forward to having to save her urine at home all night long. Her BP was even higher... 165/110! Yikes! Her OB also ordered an ultrasound to check on Ella to make sure she was doing alright in there. We were just about to head down to imaging when they decided Shantel was too unstable to be moved again, so the ultrasound tech would be coming to us. At this point, I kind of figured we wouldn't be going home, but didn't say anything to Shantel so that I wouldn't freak her out even more. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later the nurse was on the phone with someone and said, “Nope, she's being admitted for overnight observation....”, Shantel's face dropped. She immdiately said, “If they don't take this baby out by tomorrow, I'm gonna be really mad!”. She was done being pregnant and didn't want to spend a whole night in an uncompfortable hospital room unless it was well worth it. Well, we started making plans for an overnight stay. Both her boyfriend, Chet, and our mutual friend, Anna, were there now, so I headed home to pack up some stuff to spend the night with Shantel. Brian stayed home and held down things around the house. Took care of the animals and I told him I'd only call him if there was a really good reason to. I went out and bought a couple of pizzas and pop and made my way back to the hospital to make myself at home.
It was a long night. Lots of nurses in and out, checking her BP every 15 minutes and having her lay on different sides and in different positions. We didn't get much sleep, and what we did get was pretty lousy. We got a wake up call at 7:13am from Shantel's OB's husband, also an OB and actually the DR that devlivered her twins a couple of years ago. He came in, flipped on some lights and asked her how she was feeling. When neither of us really said much, he said, “Well, how do you feel about having a baby today?”.... we both shot out of bed at that point! He said his wife, Shantel's normal OB, called in this morning to get an update and then asked him to get her started on induction right away so that we'd have a baby here by that evening. Holy cow.... it was time!!! She was too unstable to continue letting her stay pregnant, and the ultrasound from the previous night showed that Ella was nice and big and ready to come out. We were an all go for delivery!
Shantel called Chet right away, and I called Anna – her birthing coach. Once that was taken care of and we could start wrapping out heads around things, I called Brian and filled him in. He actually works for the hospital, just not usually AT the hopsital, so it was pretty easy for him to still come to work and just work AT the hospital for the day. That way he was close, but still working and getting stuff done. Plus it was one less day of his paterniity leave used up by just sitting around waiting. He actually made himself an office space in the waiting room for most of the afternoon, it worked out quite well. We gathered all of our stuff and got moved down to the labor room. Got everything set up and they immediately got her started on pitocin. By 8:30am the OB was back, after performing a quick early morning c-section, to break Shantel's water. It went flawlessly and he checked her right away. She was dilated to a 3 and now 70% effaced. She was progressing even without much of the pitocin on board and he commented that this baby was coming all on her own, she was ready! Well, it was a few hours before they checked her again. She was having regular contractions, however she said she wasn't really feeling them. Around noon she was dilated to a 5, still 70%. They upped her pitocin and asked if she wanted her epidural yet. She declined and wanted to wait it out for a bit longer. We all kept encouraging her to take a nap, but she was stubborn and didn't want to sleep until it was all over. Finally, around 3pm we convinced her to get her epi, telling her it would probably help her relax and might even move things along a bit quicker. Well, they got everything set up and she got the “good stuff” around 4:20pm and by 4:50pm she was feeling very comfortalbe, she even napped for about a half an hour. At 5pm they checked her progress, she was dilated to a 6-7 and 90%. They started getting the room set up for delivery and got us all prepped for how things would work. At 5:30 she was checked again and was dilated to a 9 and 100%!!!! The nurse wanted her to start pushing on the next few contractions. She gave it a try for about three contractions, around 15 minutes and we could already see Ella's little head full of hair! The OB arrived just in time and at 5:45 she offically started pushing. It didn't take long, Ella made her appearance at 6:00pm on the dot! There wasn't a dry eye in the room. I was in awe... I couldn't believe that the little person laying on Shantel's chest was my little girl. Finally, she was here and I was a mommy. Shantel and I made eye contact and both just cried and smiled, it was the most heart wrenching thing to have the birth mom of your child, grab your hand and look into your eyes and tell you, “Here she is, she is yours, please take good care of her”.
The rest was a blur... I cut the cord and they started getting her cleaned up and all her measurments recorded. She was 7lbs 6oz and 19 inches long. By about 6:15 I asked Shantel if she would like some time alone. She nodded, all of us with tears streaming down our faces, knowing my my heart that this would be some of the hardest moments for Shantel. Not wanting to leave my daughter but knowing that Ella needed this time with her birhtmom just as much as Shantel needed them with her. I gave them both a big hug, told them how much I loved them and left the room, crying uncontrollably. I made my way down to the hallway to tell Brian, clutching my camera in hand... my only link to my little angel for the time being and the only thing that Brian would see until we all got settled in our rooms. I told Brian all about her, we hugged and then hugged some more. I showed off the pictures I had to him and our dear friend Lisa who was there they whole day keeping him company and keeping me sane. Then we waited... the waiting was SOOO hard. As sure as I was that this was all going to go as planned, not being with Ella was so hard and I started questioning everything. There were so many nurses going in and out of the room and none of them were coming down to tell us what was happening.
Finally, what seemed like an eternity later, but was really only about 30 minutes, everyone emerged from the room. They were moving Shantel and Ella to her room, but we still didn't know what was happening and when we'd be put in our room. Thankfully, Anna came scooting down the hallway and filled us in quickly. They were getting them set up, then someone would come get us to set us up in our room, which was right next door. Then the Chaplin was going to come up and say a few words. I breathed a sign of relief, everything was still going as planned. We gathered our things and made our way with our nurse down to our room. We barely got everything set down when the Chaplin was here and ready for us to come next door and be with Shantel and Ella. I was shaking... so excited and so nervous all at the same time. As much as I was happy for myself, I was scared and sad for Shantel. I knew this wasn't going to be easy, I knew it would probably hurt like hell.... I didn't want to hurt her. Well, we walked in and there was a feeling of peace in the room. Everyone was still puffy from crying and I knew there were more tears that were waiting to come. The Chaplin said a prayer over Shantel, then over Ella and finally over us. Then a final prayer for everyone and that was it. Shantel gave Ella a kiss on the cheek and then on her head and made the slightest motion for me to come over. I did and she handed her over to me. We cried. I couldn't help myself, I knew I had to say a few things or I would burst. I asked if it was alright for me to say something, and as much as I would like to say I remember every word... I don't. What I do remember is I needed her to know how much I loved her, how much we appreciated everything she was doing for us and how much we already loved Ella with all our hearts. That this was forever, and not just for Ella, but for her too... she is stuck with us now. Part of our family, forever and ever. She holds a very special place in my heart... and always will. I will have a bond with her like no other person on this planet and I can't wait to see what life has in store for her now. I gave her a big hug, she kissed Ella again, I told her how much I loved her and we left... went to our room and kept on crying.
Brian got to hold his little girl about 2.5 hours after she was born. He was a daddy and my heart melted the moment I saw him look down at our precious angel and whisper the words, “Hi Ella, I'm your daddy.” We took some pictures, of which I look like crap in... but most new mom's do at this point anyway.
We were a family, finally all together and so happy to have this little miracle in our lives.
Yet another wonderful siggy by HeatherW.... thank you so much!!!
Good thing I have a new box of tissues on my desk today! What a wonderful story, thank you so very much for sharing with us. I am so happy for you, and I am so happy for Shantell. I understand the pain she is feeling right now, but she is so lucky to have found such wonderfull parents for Ella, parents who love her as well, and want her to continue to be a part of their lives! I know I've told you this a million times now, but I just think you are awesome. I love that you care so much for your Birth Mom, Ella will be surrounded by so much love!
There is a website called Life Mothers, and the reason the founders use the word Life Mother instead of Birth Mother is because "A Birth Moms role doesn't end at birth" and I think the fact that you recogznize that is amazing.
Lots of love to you, your hubby and baby Ella. And lots of prayers being sent Shantell's way. Please let her know that if she ever needs Birth Mother support, we are here for her as well.