I think this may be the best and easiest way to share my memories from the day Brielle was born. I’m including my memories I wrote down for that day from my diary. I’ll post about the OR part tomorrow. This was such a long day and I’m not sure how to properly present it to you all.
“Lynda told me that she was going to put two IV’s in just in case I had a lot of bleeding (postpartum hemorrhaging). She asked me where I wanted them and even though my veins were incredibly difficult, she did her best and put the IV’s where I wanted them.
The anesthesiologist, Dr. Phoenix, came in and talked to me about how the spinal block would work, answered my questions, and asked me some. He was very nice, very young, but very nice. We also met Robin, the something nurse, I can’t remember her title, but she was wonderful.
Jamie came in, it was so good to see her! She saw that I did not have a pillow and was not happy about that. She checked with David to make sure that he had been eating and taking care of himself. He hadn’t been eating, so she and Lauren made sure he would get something. She went off to get him coffee and find me a pillow. Lynda told her that they were short on pillows and ordering more and said maybe she could borrow from triage, but Jamie said she had a secret place and would go there first. She came back pretty quickly, so I’m guessing the secret place had the pillow she needed. Jamie watched over me and kept an eye on me the whole time. She is really a Godsend.
Dr. Armand came in and talked to us about what would happen. He told me that the neurosurgeons at CHOA refused to care for Brielle or cover her head. They had dropped Brielle as a patient and never notified us. He said they might be talked into it if she lived for a while. I told him that if she needed a covering there were surgeons in St. Louis who had experience with this and I was willing to go there. He seemed fine with that idea, we both were of the mindset that we would make the best call for that if the situation called for it. He said they wouldn’t use dura, but would use wet surgical gauze and this warmer for preemies. I’m not sure what he was saying, I was so disoriented focusing and worrying about Brielle. But I trust Dr. Armand.
His assistant Linda came in and introduced herself. She was very kind, she is also a minister’s wife. As she was talking, Jamie and her boss came in and Jamie introduced her. I felt bad because Linda was excusing herself so that I could speak to Jamie’s boss. And I couldn’t focus on both. But the other woman was incredibly kind. She had been following my story as well and was moved by our faith and journey with Brielle. Her, Jamie, Lauren, and David circled around me and Brielle and prayed over us. It was very comforting and she was very kind. She loved on me and told me how much our story meant to her and then she left.
We then met Saan, Dr. Bootstaylor’s assistant. She was kind, the meeting was short. I was surprised at how busy the morning was. I had been started on IV fluids and would make my way to the bathroom and have alone time with Brielle. I would pray hard and tell Brielle what was going on. I’d love on her, cry, and tell her this was the time she needed to be strong. I’d sing to her and love on her. I was so scared, but she was such a good girl all morning and moved around happily.
My family arrived around 11. Ari, Grandma, Bernice, Tessa, Zach, Dad, and Mom all arrived and really filled up the room. They came over and loved on Brielle and asked how she was doing. I tried reading Brielle “On the Night You Were Born” but couldn’t make it past the first page. So Mom read it to her for me. She also read Brielle “Silver Slippers” and “Froggy’s First Kiss.” Brielle had fun listening to her books and it made me feel so much better to know she was hearing some of her favorites before she was born.
I went to the bathroom again and talked to Brielle. I rubbed on my belly and told her how much I loved her. I told her how scared I was and that this was the big scary thing that she needed to be strong for. I prayed so hard, so very hard and cried my eyes out. Mom knocked on my door and asked if I needed help. I told her I was fine. She couldn’t hear me, but I had been in there for a long time. I cried some more with Brielle and felt her wiggle around. My sweet, sweet girl. I remember wiping my eyes and making sure I looked presentable and then opening my door. Mom asked if I was having some alone time with Brielle and I told her yes.
I sat in my bed for a while and just listened and zoned out thinking of Brielle. Everyone was talking excitedly and was very happy. I was a ball of nerves, things just felt like they weren’t going to be okay. I rubbed on Brielle and did my best to be strong, keep it together, and be happy for her. And I did, I pulled myself together.
At one point I saw my Mom go and hold hands with Dr. Bootstaylor and say something to him, he said something back and I wondered what was said there. I asked Mom days later and she told me that she had thanked him for taking care of me and respecting me and Brielle. She said that he said, “Of course.” He is always so humble.
David and Lauren were given gowns, booties, and hair nets to put on. Of course David’s feet were too big for the booties, so Jamie had to search for an alternative. She came back with boot booties and David was able to use those to cover his feet, but it took a bit of work (David wears a size 13).
I started reading her “It Will Be Okay” and was staying positive and upbeat for her. I wanted her to hear it right. Everyone stopped talking and started listening to me, I didn’t anticipate that. Brielle wiggled and danced, she was very happy. Dr. Bootstaylor came in and I stopped reading. We went over a piece of paper, he signed it and then asked if I was ready. I asked him if I could finish reading to her and he said yes.
So I picked the book back up and began reading to her again. I started crying at the part where Little Seed says, “Oh no, please no! I don’t want to go!” And Dr. Bootstaylor came and sat beside me and wrapped his arm around me. I cried through a couple of pages and then pulled myself together while Little Fox looked for Little Seed. Dr. Bootstaylor was very nice and rubbed and patted my shoulder, like a consoling father. Brielle did little kicks and little wiggles and I laughed to myself as I read to her. I finished the book as strong as I could and rubbed on her the whole time I read. I closed the book, nodded my head, and said I was ready. Dr. Bootstaylor gave me a squeeze and got up. Then everyone came to me, like a receiving line, gave me a hug and told me it’d be okay. Some of them would rub on Brielle and hug me. I’m sure my face was etched with worry.
I got out of bed and helped David get his gopro and hair net situated. I also put a cap on my head. That was a funny situation. I was joking with everyone and getting us all laughing. We were all comfortable with each other, but we all knew and understood what was about to happen and there was a bit of anxiety. Once we were all ready, we all circled around near the door and looked to Dr. Bootstaylor. He rocked back and forth on the heels of his feet and seemed to just take things slow. Later I’ve come to appreciate that, he was in no rush to end my pregnancy. He nodded his head and said alright, let’s walk to the OR. I said that I was happy to enjoy walking before the surgery. I wouldn’t be doing too much painless walking after Brielle was born.
As we left the room, my family was waiting in the waiting room next to my recovery room (they had small alcoves on the labor and delivery floor where family could wait). They came back and Mom hugged me, as did everyone else. They all looked a bit worried, but optimistic. I made a joke about our “blue hair” and Mom said we looked like smurfs, I told her I’d always wanted to look like a smurf. Smiling and laughing we left each other and began to walk towards the OR.
I was happy, laughing and joking for most of the morning. I don’t want to forget that Brielle had a good morning, she was loved on, snuggled, talked to, read to, sung to. She had a great morning. She was very blessed and surrounded with love and prayer, she really was her whole life.”