We just had our 4th baby, and this time around we opted to stay here in Costa Rica for the birth. Lucía Joy was born April 6th here in San José. And she has quite the birth story!
Because of past c sections we had scheduled the c section for 39 1/2 weeks, and for a while it looked like we might not make it to that date. Starting about around 34 weeks, I began to have a lot of contractions. Since I've never gone into labor on my own, this was a bit of a surprise. My doctor had me come in for monitoring and told me stay off my feet. And just to make sure I knew he was serious, he added "or you can rest in the hospital for the next couple of weeks." Yeah, no.
Two days before the scheduled c section I had my last pre natal appointment. There was a quick ultrasound to make sure baby was doing well and fluid levels were good. We were given a "Everything looks great! See you Wednesday!" and we were off to pick up my mom from the airport (insert a huge sigh of relief that we made it to then without having to use plan B or C or D!)
Wednesday morning we headed to the hospital before dawn. I had joked with my OB that all of my Spanish went to the baby, and he was great about it! He told the surgical team that while my Spanish is perfect (bwhahah, he was being far to kind and lying!) to use English with me. Our family doctor was there as well, which was a huge help as he is bilingual and works with missionary families all the time.
In the operating room, it took a while for my husband to be brought in, but he was in time for Lucía's birth. Except her birth wasn't quite right. Remember, I couldn't see anything and had a spinal so things were a bit fuzzy, but I remember her not crying. And not crying and not crying. I asked again and again if she was ok, and the doctors and my husband did a good job at downplaying what was really going on. When Lucía was born she wasn't breathing and had no tone or movement. Her heart was beating, but that was about it.
Our OB told us afterwards that it was a miracle she was alive. He thinks that early that morning the placenta had started to detach, something they call placenta abruption. This caused bleeding into the uterus, which meant Lucía was not getting the life support she needed from the placenta anymore. It also meant that as she swallowed amniotic fluid (something babies do) she was swallowing blood as well. Most of the time, if a woman has a placenta abruption, she has a lot of abdominal pain and she starts to bleed. I had none of that. It wasn't until the doctors started the procedure that they knew anything was wrong.
As soon as Lucía was born, the pediatrician used a CPR mask and bag to breath for her. She didn't breath on her own for around 7 minutes. Once she started to breath, the pediatrician brought her to my face so I could touch her and then it was off to the NICU. She was given oxygen, they put a glucose IV into her belly button, and began to monitor her. I went to the recovery room and my husband went with Lucía. He spent a lot of time in the NICU with her, singing and praying.
Because they had her under a plexiglass tent for the oxygen, we weren't able to hold her until the next day at around 1pm. I think that was one of the longest 30 hours of my life. And because I was recovering from a c section it was around 5pm the night she was born before I really got to see her when the nurses took me in a wheel chair to the NICU.
The doctors and nurses were amazed at how well Lucía did. When the OB came to check on me the next day he said "It was only God! Everything was fine on Monday and had the c section been scheduled for the next day or even a few hours later, she probably would have been a stillborn." He also told me that he was able to hold it together while he saw patients that day, but when he got home that night he just started crying and praying for us. He said "sometimes this job is really hard." There is something very nice about having doctors that acknowledge that it was God.
It was interesting, in all of the time of bed rest, a friend of mine said she was praying for God's timing for Lucía's birth, not the doctors. We started to pray that way too, which is sort of a strange prayer for a planned c section, but my goodness, did God answer!! That morning when I was getting ready to head to the hospital I asked the Lord for something to get me through the day. He started to talk to me from Isaiah 43
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Except I stopped listening as soon as He said "when you pass through the waters, I will be with you." It scared me. I was afraid of what might be coming. But He did exactly what He said! He was right there in the midst of something that could have been so very, very bad. He kept the waters from overcoming us and Lucía. He had us surrounded by doctors and nurses who kept Lucía breathing and did what it took to get her stable.
All of Lucía's test have come back saying she is just fine. She is acting just like any other new born, eating and sleeping like a it's no big deal. Her name means Light and her little life is already a testament to how great our God is! We're thankful, very, very thankful!
What about you? Did you have any of your babies in your host country? How about in a second language? Come on, share! We all love a great birth story!