On May 23rd the Hair Family welcomed baby Leighlin May Hair into the family.
She was born at 2:25pm and she weighed in at 8lb 3oz
She was also 21 inches in length!
As many of you know, this pregnancy came after the very sad loss of another last January 2016. We were thankful for an “easy” uncomplicated- uneventful pregnancy. Everything was pretty much “text book” when it comes to what to expect when your expecting.
Though the pregnancy was textbook, the delivery was not.
Because this delivery was going to be a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section), our O.B. had it in mind to “take it slow” so that there would be a very low risk for tearing or rupturing. Near the end of the pregnancy we made plans for an induction and set the date for May 30th. With the date set and about a week to go, we began preparing the kids, the house and the help. Except, we didn’t get that far. Unfortunately, Tami began having some pretty terrible headaches over the weekend and by Monday, May 22nd she felt compelled to stop by the local store where she could get a pretty accurate blood pressure check at one of those machines near the in store pharmacy. Her check revealed that her BP was high and we agreed it would be good for her to go to the women’s center at St. Elizabeth East here in Lafayette to get things checked out on a more professional level.
I (Todd) would have gone with her but we agreed that it would be ok for me to go ahead and keep an appointment with one of our Love Ministries clients and then catch up with her right after the appointment was over.
Tami packed her things for a “delivery stay” but was pretty well sure that she would be coming home after a quick check up and maybe some instructions to just “take it easy.”
When I caught up to Tami after my client appointment, her headache had grown a bit worse. We still weren’t sure what the Dr.’s were thinking but I felt it would be best to join her there at the hospital. I asked my oldest daughter Ashlin and her visiting boyfriend Tyler to drive me to the hospital so that mom wouldn’t have to drive herself home if / when she was released.
I got to the hospital about the same time that they were telling Tami that they were not just going to have her stay for observation, instead, they were recommending that we go ahead and induce labor! The Dr. explained that her headache symptoms seemed to be in alignment with the development of the preeclampsia she experienced with Riehlin’s pregnancy. They saw no real risk in delivering early and because delivery is the only real cure for preeclampsia, we agreed to move ahead. And after a few hours in triage Tami was happy to trade the little curtain room for a much larger birthing suite in hallway B.
The Dr.’s plan was pretty simple… start Tami on pitocin and increase it one unit per hour to begin to slowly prepare and soften the cervix.
At about 4:30 am the Dr. came in and ruptured her water. At that point I began to silently estimate how many ours it might take before she would be ready to deliver.
Our K-11th grade kids were still in school so our oldest daughter played “mom” for the morning and helped the gang get up and off to school as usual. Our oldest daughters were very excited and curious. I fielded questions throughout the morning as their texts buzzed my phone between their classes and final exams.
Much of the morning was quiet in our delivery room. Our night had been long and Tami still had a pretty good headache. The day was bright and sunny outside but we kept the curtains drawn, the lights low and for a long time we just sat across from one another listening to worship music and keeping a prayerful presence with one another.
By noon Tami was having quite a few strong contractions, but not as strong (or as long) as she recalled as being good and normal for helping things progress. The pitocin was working but she felt that she was “tapering off” before the next unit came. After discussing this she and the Dr. agreed to begin going up 1 unit every half hour instead of 1 unit every hour.
Tami also discovered that laying in the bed seemed to diminish or weaken her contractions so she opted to sit up on a “birthing ball” (large exercise ball). Later on she was more comfortable standing and so I stood with her. We played worship music in the background during her labor. I tried to offer her comfort and assurance by holding her hand, rubbing her back and praying for her. As the contractions got stronger we stood together face to face and she would lean into my chest while she endured the contractions. I don’t think I said it out loud to Tami at the moment but it was oddly romantic. It was all a bit reminiscent of our prom and wedding reception. I kept those thoughts to myself as the music played in the background and we did our “delivery dance.”
At about 2:00 Tami began feeling the baby move and begin her downward descent. Through it all the baby’s heart rate remained strong and consistent.
Just a few short minutes later and Tami announced that she was nearly ready to push. The Dr. and nurses went to work preparing the room for delivery. In seconds they had the bed transformed into a birthing table and a few moments after that Tami began to push for delivery.
The Dr. reported Tami’s progress and encouraged Tami as she pushed… “Great job Tami… ok… rest and push with your next contraction… ok, push, push, push… good rotation…keep pushing…” at a certain point we both noticed the baby’s heart beat left the monitor but we didn’t say anything to each other about it. Tami and I both reasoned that it was due to the fact that the baby was now in the birth canal and on her way out, therefore she had moved away from the monitor’s detection.
Tami continued to push with each contraction and finally the baby’s head was out. The Dr. quickly removed the umbilical cord from around the baby’s neck (something I’ve seen a number of times before). I could see that the baby was beginning to turn blue but I believed all would be ok and that she would be out and breathing just fine with the next push.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead of sliding right out, the baby became stuck. The Dr. firmly pulled on the baby’s head to help Tami deliver but it didn’t help. The baby continued to turn blue as the face of the Dr. and nurses turned white revealing the severity of the situation. With a quick swipe of the emergency call button 10 or more nurses came rushing in the room. Two of them climbed on top of Tami and others went to stations around the room standing by in ready positions near the instrument table, along the bedside and near the warming station. Tami continued to push with everything she had. I pulled back on her left leg while another nurse pulled on her right. The nurses tried to help Tami deliver by pushing down hard on Tami’s abdomen in various ways to try and help dislodge the baby’s shoulders. After a few moments of frantic wrenching the baby finally came out with eeiry silence.
There was no cry of new life. The Dr. called for the cord to be cut by the nurse who was nearest the instrument table and then quickly handed the baby off to a NICU nurse who then rushed our seemingly lifeless baby over to the warming station to try and get her to come alive and take her first breath.
With so many nurses crowded around and working on the baby we couldn’t see what kinds of life saving measures they were taking to try and revive our baby girl. I leaned into comfort Tami and with tears in both of our eyes I prayed, “God, Please let this baby live!” Just seconds later our prayers were answered as we heard the baby cry out in a normal – healthy cry. Our tears of fear changed to tears of joy and I could feel the whole room relax just a bit.
Tami looked for someone who could offer assurance that the baby was truly going to be ok. Thankfully, one of the nurses who was present is the mother of one of our special family friend. She assured us that the baby was going to be fine and that the nurses were simply going to check her over to be sure her shoulders were ok. As it turns out, the baby became stuck in the birth canal from a shoulder distocia. The Dr. later shared that the baby’s right hand was up near the right shoulder at the time of delivery. So the baby delivered in the following way: head first, then right hand and shoulder, then left shoulder and body.
Leighlin had quite a bit of bruising on her head and body from the difficult delivery. The lack of oxygen had caused her face to become a dark shade of purple as well.
Once things calmed down a bit more I left Tami and went to touch and visit with my new baby girl. I knew all would be well with her when she relaxed and began to listened to the sound of my familiar voice.
Thankfully, panic left the room about as quickly as it came in. One by one the nurses who had rushed into help left the room and normal, celebratory questions and conversations began… “what’s her name?” “Wow! Look at all that hair! Did all your babies have that much hair?” “So, what’s the ratio of girls to boys in your house?”
These normal questions were emotional stabilizers for us as we became acquainted with our little purple faced Leighlin May. Over the next several hours the trauma of her birth gave way to the joy of having her in our arms and seeing her do all of the normal newborn things including nursing like a champ.
Leighlin did so well that we even decided to leave the hospital the next day, which happened to be the kid’s last day of school. We were able to check out of the hospital just in time to get over to the middle school where Madelin and her friends were trading their normal bus ride home for a special last day limo ride!
And that’s how it goes in our family… our life is full of ups and downs. We experience the ordinary and the exceptional, average and amazing all the time…. and sometimes all in one day.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ~