Introducing . . . Nora Allison. This sweet bundle joined our family on October 4th. She couldn't possibly be more adored by her brothers, sisters, and parents.
As her mother, I particularly feel that Nora is a blessing from heaven. You see, we were feeling pretty content (and at times, overwhelmed) with our family of seven. Five kids kept us busy as can be, and with three boys and two girls, I thought we really had the perfect family. Then, one day just over a year ago, when I was praying about something completely unrelated, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the feeling that there was one more baby waiting to join our family.
Although I immediately knew that we would do what Heavenly Father wanted, I will admit that I spent a few weeks asking Him if He was sure, if I had heard correctly, if there wasn't some mistake. I felt inadequate. I was scared. I wondered how we could make room in our lives for a baby. But there was no mistake. Time after time when I asked, I felt a warmth and a peace that only comes from the Lord. I knew we needed to take a leap of faith and have another baby. I knew that we would be blessed by this child and would always be grateful that we had listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost to expand our family. But I still didn't know HOW it was going to work.
Throughout my pregnancy, I will admit that I mostly tried to not think of what life would be like when she was born. Not because I didn't want her, but because I still wasn't sure about the how. But I knew that it would be okay.
Towards the end, I needed lots of help. My blood pressure started rising and my doctor told me to cut back my activities. Each week when I saw him, he told me to cut back some more. Thankfully, unlike two previous pregnancies when high blood pressure had been an issue, this time the baby seemed unaffected by it. Friends and family reached out to me and insisted they help. At first it was hard to accept, but I knew I needed to do what was best for the baby and my own health, and had to humble myself.
Then, three weeks and two days before she was due, I had a miserable night. My blood pressure had been harder to control, even with rest, for the past three days, and on this night, I could barely sleep because I kept having contractions. I knew I needed to get checked out at the hospital-- they aren't really keen on having a woman with 5 previous C-sections labor because of the risk of uterine rupture-- but I had also been through this kind of thing before. I knew that I would get to the hospital and my contractions would stop, my blood pressure would drop, and after several hours they would send me home. So I waited for morning. After I dropped my kids off at school and preschool, I headed in to get checked out. Things felt different and I fully expected to deliver our baby sooner than her scheduled delivery date which was still over two weeks away.
Sure enough, my contractions stopped cold as soon as they began monitoring me and my blood pressure dropped after about half an hour of resting. The nurses assured me that I'd be going home soon, but that my doctor had ordered some labs just to be sure. I am sure they get plenty of women coming in with a few weeks to go in their pregnancy, desperate to find a reason to deliver early and have pregnancy over with, but I am not one of those women. I knew that Nora was going to make her entrance sooner rather than later.
The labs came back with results that landed me an overnight in the hospital while they ran more tests. It seemed that my kidneys were struggling and that the PIH was affecting me, even though the baby appeared to be fine. They gave me one of those nifty steroid shots that help the baby's lungs just in case, and I spent the next several hours figuring out the logistics of my family's needs with mommy in the hospital. Even though they were saying I would be in for 24 hours, I went ahead and made arrangements for help with kids, meals, etc, through the end of the week, feeling like it would be easy to cancel if needed. (Wouldn't you know it, my mom was out of town, visiting my brother and his wife and newest baby.) Thankfully, I had many people offer to help and had it all figured out by dinner time.
The next day, after more labs, my amazing Dr. S. and I agreed that we were not going to wait for Nora's scheduled c-section, still two weeks away. We decided to wait one more day to give the steroids the best effect, and scheduled the c-section for 5pm the following day.
The next evening we welcomed our sweet baby into the world. It took the doctors quite a while to work through all my scar tissue after so many surgeries; we were all bantering about needing a saw and talking in a relaxed way. When they got to my uterus, I heard the tone of my doctor's voice change.
"Have you been having contractions, Michal?"
"I had them the day and night before I checked into the hospital, but they have mostly gone away since I've been in bed here," I replied.
"I think we are delivering this baby on the right day," he said, sounding somewhat solemn.
Apparently, my uterus was so thin that he proceeded to open it with his finger, not even needing a tool. When he did so, it sort of fell apart. My friend, Kristen, who was there and who is a L&D nurse, said after one look at it, she was sure that I would need a hysterectomy on the spot, because they would never get that fragile, spent organ sewn together again. Miraculously, they were able to stitch up the silvery tissue just as it needed to be. We all felt that it was God's hand that prevented my uterus from rupturing earlier, during my contractions (which would have been extremely serious and life threatening to both Nora and me), and that allowed me to avoid hemorrhaging or a hysterectomy.
I am so grateful for this sweet little girl in my life. I am grateful for the Lord's tender mercies in sparing her life and mine, as well as for the many, many people He has prompted to bless us with help over the past months.
Our life is crazy with six kids, to be sure, but blessed and wonderful. I love being a mother, even though it pushes me to my very limits sometimes; even though I make mistakes and have to apologize to my children; even though it wreaks havoc on my sleep, my body, and my patience. It is the best choice that I have ever made and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be a mother to these six wonderful kids.