Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Emily's Day: August 29, 2009

August 29th was an unforgettable day in our lives marked by God’s incredible provision and abundant love.

Laura checked into University Hospital for an 8 am induction still mulling questions if this was the right decision; we did not want to get ahead of the Lord and His timing for Emily's birth. To our shock Laura was already 6 cm dilated! This was such a gracious gift and encouragement to our hearts to know that this day was exactly the time God wanted Emily to be born.

A little after 9 am our doctor arrived to do an ultrasound. Humorously, Emily was swimming around the womb; she would not stay put in the appropriate birthing position. It was fun to see her again on the ultrasound screen. A few hours later Laura's new best friend, the anesthesiologist, arrived and soon Laura was feeling much more comfortable. Without the need to breathe through contractions we grabbed our Bible and began to read underlined verses throughout the Psalms. It was so encouraging to be reminded of God’s character and love. After the 150th Psalm Laura gently closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Not long after 1 pm Laura’s brother, Tim, surprised us by flying in from Chattanooga, TN. It was so good to see him. Our visit was short as the medical team jumped in at 1:30 with another ultrasound and the breaking of Laura's water. Emily shared her disapproval with some swift kicks to Laura's side; her swimming days were over. Within an hour Laura reached 10 cm dilation (all without induction) and was ready to push. God was so gracious to us throughout the day, guarding and guiding Laura at each step.

We waited a good 30 minutes before Laura began the process of pushing. During this time the kids arrived in the room for a quick "hi" to Mom. Finally, a few minutes past 3 pm it was time for Emily’s birth so the room was emptied except for 3 doctors, our nurse Christine, the Neonatologist, and myself. With our hearts focused and anticipating meeting our daughter (every parent knows this feeling) unbeknownst to us Emily gave Laura one last soft kick goodbye only a minutes before her birth. A few pushes later Emily was born (3:16 pm).

When I (Ryan) first saw her I knew she was gone; she was silent and limp. Emily was placed on Laura and, following a heart check by the Neonatologist, she was declared dead. These words and the reality of the situation hurt more than we could have ever imagined. After catching our breath we began to study her little face and body: a bruise on the left shoulder, a thick, stout frame, and the cutest little mouth. They quickly provided a hat to cover her head wound but we didn’t care when it was exposed- we loved every part of who she was.

After a few minutes I (Ryan) was able to hold Emily for the first time. All I remember is that we danced and I told her how much she is loved. After awhile we brought Sean, Megan, and Alayna in to meet their sister (as well as the photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep- D.L. & K.R. you were amazing!). They each took a turn holding Emily. The kids also brought out the birthday presents for Emily and gave them to her: a duck from Sean, a tiger from Megan, and a doll from Alayna.

After a few hours we were moved to another room in the hospital. I only mention this as it was a sweet highlight for me (Ryan) to be able to bring Emily to the new room. For a brief time I had Emily away from the medical environment of the birthing room and we were able to have a father-daughter stroll. I walked slow. This was one of my moments and I took it in as a priceless treasure.

"And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness- secret riches. I will do this so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." Isaiah 45:3

1 comment:

  1. I do not ever think I will be able to express in words how deeply Emily has touched my life. Although I was unable to be with your family for her arrival and celebration, I feel so honored that you would welcome and include me in such a beautiful process.

    Thank you so much for inviting me into your lives during such a private time, your family has taught me so much in such a short time.