By: Sarah White
Wednesday November 18th at 3am, I woke up to a morning I thought to be normal. At 27 weeks pregnant peeing at every hour of the morning is exactly that… Normal… until I felt this excruciating pain in my upper back and on top of my baby bump. I got down on my hands and knees on the bathroom mat and tried to stretch it out. Man oh man! What was my son doing in there! With no luck I decided a hot shower might work but still the pain did not fade. After trying to cope for half an hour on my own with no budge, I knew it was time to wake Nathan. He immediately called my mom in Calgary for what to do. Ice. Heat. Massage. Stretch. Walk. Essentially we tried everything we learnt in prenatal classes. Back Labor? Pre-Labor? Labor? Braxton Hicks??? Heck! If this was fake labor, HOW ON EARTH was I going to cope with the REAL thing!!? I could not sit still, the pain just got stronger and stronger with no breaks. After calling the hospital, we packed the car and were on our way.
4:00am we walked…waddled… into the emergency room. First thing I did was get down on my hands and knees and grab anything I could to empty my stomach contents in. Oh Lord! I’m already throwing up from the pain?!! You Wimp! All that ran through my head was, this is fake labor get up and deal with it. After Nathan got the wristband from the check in desk, the nurse offered a wheel chair. I obviously turned that down because I wanted to “woman up,” until I took two steps towards the door and realized I couldn’t walk the distance.
Nathan wheeled me up to the doors of the labor and delivery unit where I demanded I walk from that point forward. The nurses were expecting us as per our phone call. It felt like we were waiting forever in that observational room. I paced and paced the room, lay on the bare hospital floor. I was unable to sit, unable to keep still, this was pain I had never felt before. What was going on? My blood pressure spiked and I started going into labor. The nurses gave me a total of 20 milligrams of morphine that did nothing for the pain, then 10 milligrams of fentanyl (which worked for 10 minutes). They needed to get the pain under control so we could go and get an ultrasound to make sure baby was okay.
At 10:00am the doctor came in, there was no time for an ultrasound. They had figured out what was wrong. HELLP syndrome. H (Hemolysis), EL (elevated liver enzymes), LP (low platelet count).
Little background on what that is… HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening pregnancy complication usually considered to be a variant of preeclampsia. The most common reasons for mothers to become critically ill or die are liver rupture or stroke where you can lose mom or baby or both. There are usually a bunch of warning signs for this condition but I had none of them. My body went right into the liver pain.
So… It was liver pain that I was experiencing and my platelets were at 37 instead of a normal 300. That is when the doctor said two specific words that made my heart drop “Sarah, we need to get you in for an Emergency C-Section right away.” I knew something was wrong. It was in her voice. Lord no. Please no. Tell me my baby is okay. I cried out to God to protect my little baby boy, take me lord. Not him. Before we knew it, I was sitting on the operating table with a needle in my back for the epidural so they could start the surgery. I lay back on the table with my arms sprawled out with all these tubes in my hands. I turned my head and Nathan was sitting there crying his eyes out as he called out to Jesus to protect his family. So much emotion in his eyes. He was just as scared as I was.
I will never forget the feeling that ran through my body. This feeling that overtook my entire being. Lord, take me. Take me and not my baby boy. That was the only thing I could ask God for in that moment. I felt so helpless. So powerless. They put up a little curtain to protect the operating field, so I could not see what was happening. Time stood still as they began to rub my tummy down. They started to cut through the layers of skin to my womb…I sat as still as I could…. Listening…..waiting….praying….
“Stand up Nathan and watch your son being born.” Said the doctor. That’s when God answered my prayers, I heard my precious baby boys cry for the first time. He was okay. The Lord had protected my baby when I was physically unable to. I was so overwhelmingly grateful in that moment. What an amazing God we serve. Where I am weak, he is strong.
I just wanted to share this and say to all of you out there that no matter what the mountain is that you have to climb, God is greater. Whether you know it or not, he is walking with you, holding your hand. He hears your cries when no one else does. He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Please do not give up on him because he will NEVER give up on you.
Love you all. God Bless and Merry Christmas!