Asher is our second miracle baby. Another gift from God to our family. Two years ago we had just taken our premature son Levi home from the NICU, still in shock from the trama HELLP Syndrome brought to our lives. Facing the reality that having another child of our own was most likely not in our future, we shared this possibility with family and friends. This decision was made quickly based on the severity of how sick I had become and the high probability that it would all happen again. Matt didn’t want to lose his wife and raise Levi (and possibly another premature child) on his own and I didn’t want Levi to not have a mother. Fortunately Levi was very healthy for being born 9 weeks early, but we also didn’t want to put another child at risk for having medical or physical problems. So our decision at that time was no more children. It broke my heart and fear had won the battle.
Fortunately God is greater than my fear! He broke down the walls in our hearts over getting pregnant again and gave us the insight to seek professional advice. After going to a specialist, we learned that there was a 60% chance of reoccurance for preeclampsia but they wouldn’t let it escalate to HELLP syndrome if possible. So the odds of HELLPs was a lot lower. Also if it did happen again it would be more likely to occur later in the pregnancy, giving the baby a better chance at being more developed and healthy. With this new info and the prompting of God’s peace in our hearts, we decided to go for it. Only four months later on Christmas Eve, we received the best gift… we found out that we were pregnant!
38 weeks and 4 days later, Asher William was born full term, healthy, and no signs of preeclampsia or HELLPs in Mama! In my very first post, I mentioned that no matter what the outcome we would find joy at the end of this journey through a pregnancy after HELLP Syndrome. And JOY we have found! In Hebrew, Asher means “joyful.” We didn’t choose this name based on the meaning but how appropriate it has become.
For my own recollection and to those who are interested, here is the story of Asher’s birth. The morning of August 23rd, I was preparing Levi to spend the day with my parents to give me the extra rest that I needed. Just after 9 am, unknowningly my water began a slow leak. After Levi was picked up, I had another small gush. This began to concern me. Calling Matt at work, he advised me not to wait for my doctor’s appointment later that afternoon but rather call them right away. I called, left a message and waited. 10 minutes later, I called back, afraid that I was leaking amniotic fluid. This time I told the receptionist that I was concerned and didn’t want to wait for a returned call. She went and talked with a nurse, got back on the phone and said that it sounds like my water broke and I better head to the hospital.
A call to Matt immediately brought him home from work, at a shockingly fast time. He wasn’t sure how he would find me and was pleasantly surprised at my relatively calm state. Just after 11am, we pulled into the hospital and made our way to labor and delivery triage. The process started out slow. Initially I wasn’t feeling any contractions and only had the slow leak of my water. I received my IV and the decision was made for me to get the epidural and they would dose it when I was ready. Having previously had a c-section and now trying for a VBAC, it was important for me to also be ready for surgery. During this time of prep, my water finally broke while being checked. I was already 3 to 4 centimeters and the labor process had begun. As they were giving me my epidural, I decided to go ahead and dose it as the contraction were suddenly coming on strong.
I was quite thrilled with how well I handled everything from internal monitors being put in, to the epidural and IV needles, and even feeling the contractions. Labor progressed beautifully, gaining a centimeter per hour or so and the baby dropping into place. We had one moment of Asher’s heart rate dropping, but all concern left once I had been repositioned. Progress slowed a bit as the day went on and the nurses predictions of the baby being born before midnight became false as I began pushing at that time. As active labor progressed, we realized that the baby was transverse, meaning he wasn’t face down but rather up and a bit to the side. The goal now wasn’t to push him out but to try to turn him. After two hours of pushing and little progress, my epidural wore off. I do not know how women do it completely natural! I continued to push as it actually helped relieve the pain but was encouraged to rest for awhile. A new dose of meds gave me a renewed momentum to keep trying. Another hour of pushing went by and the doctor made the decision that he wasn’t going to turn and the only way to get him out was by c-section. Matt was relieved that this decision had finally been made as he hated seeing me in pain, but I could have gone all night trying if they would have let me. The doctor was disappointed that the VBAC did not work out for me. I too was disappointed but happy that I had at least tried. I was prepared mentally and emotionally that a c-section could possibly occur.
During this time of labor, my parents and Levi had visited twice and a pastor friend and his wife had come to pray with us. I had invited Mom to stay during delivery and after the first 2 hours she had decided it was best to go home. Dad wanted to be a part of the activities as well, so he had Levi camped out on a sofa in the lobby. It was a good thing they left, as the c-section was not a spectator event. I say that but Matt watched the entire thing. He was surprised by the extent of the surgery and tells me that someday he may share what they actually did to me, but now is not a good time as I continue to recover.
At 4:26 am, Asher was born. Loud cries, pink skin, and surprisingly a head full of dark brown hair! He was 8 lbs 6.9 oz, 22 in long, and beautiful! Matt was able to hold him during the rest of my surgery and it was my turn to cuddle while I was in recovery. It was such a joy to be able to experience EVERYTHING and to be able to take our healthy baby home with us three days later.
Almost 4 weeks later, our family has found our routine and feels complete. I am recovering well and with each day I gain more energy and endurance in overcoming my lack of sleep. It is nice to feel like my old self once again. Matt is truly a gem as he continues to help in every way with the boys and the house on top of his long days at work. Levi absolutely loves his brother. Holding Asher, hugging him, and helping Mama. Asher has started cooing and spending longer time periods awake and alert, just taking us all in. He is a content baby but isn’t afraid to use his strong set of lungs. God has blessed me with each of my boys and I try not to take them and my life for granted. For those who have been reading, THANK YOU for following our journey, encouraging us along the way, and praying for a HELLP free pregnancy. God heard our prayers and blessed our family beyond measure!