Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Jace Miguel is born

Jace Miguel
For this child we have prayed
I want to save in this blog entry all the happenings on the day Jace was born. As time passes I could start forgetting some details. But when written it will be there for generations to come, to testify God's love upon us.

On the day before his birth, Tuesday June 1st, 2010; we went to a pre-scheduled appointment to meet the one of the pediatric doctors we were interested in meeting, and to decide which doctor we liked the most. On that day Jessica was like all the previous days, without any contractions. We started thinking how ironic it could be if Jessica would have to be induced, after all those months of bed-rest at the hospital and at home and trying to keep the baby inside the womb. Now the baby could go beyond his estimated birth day on Saturday June 5th. So, we meet the doctor. And found out that they are also part of the same hospital network were we are planning to have Jace to be born. The staff was great.

That night Jess was having some back pain (just like all the previous days). I gave her the typical back massage, and her injection. As all the previous nights, I looked over the bags and check all the stuff we had prepared days ago: Jace's bag with his first outfit, his diapers, mittens, socks, hat, receiving blanket, bottles, pacifier, burping clothes, wet wipes, lotions and shampoo. Jessica also had her bag ready to go; with a couple outfits, her hair stuff, brushes, cameras, chargers, sandals, etc. I also had packed and installed the child carrier stuff in the car, his stroller, and my computer. The car was clean, full with gas, and ready to go.

On the next day June 2nd, 2010 when we woke up, Jessica was having some sharp lower pains, and she was feeling something like cramping. Around 7:15am I started timing those "pains" and after few of those I told her "I think you are having real contractions". She went for a hot shower trying to relax. And I kept a close eye on how frequent the contractions were happening. It was about 3 to 5 minutes in between them. But Jess thought that it was another false alarm. Thus, I was preparing myself to go to work, but I told my "mami" to be ready to leave the house at any moment for heading to the hospital.

When she got out around 8am, she kept having those contractions with the same frequency, but it was getting stronger. At this point I decided: Jess, I think today is the day, let's go to the hospital. She got ready; I packed everything in the car. I called work, and got my mami to help us load the stuff in the car, and I called Jessica's parents, telling them to get ready to start their trip to Michigan (from Oklahoma), because I believe Jace was going to meet us very soon, and we were on our way to the hospital.

I took the highway; it was less bumpy than the other route to the hospital. At the same time I called my American mom to let her know that it was time for her to come and join us at the hospital. Per Jess' request she was going to be the only person to be by our side during the labor process. Because she is a retired nurse, and she also was there when the triplets were born, her assistance during that on breathing and pushing was priceless.

When we got to the entrance, we were always greeted by the hospital workers at the door asking us: are you in labor now? This time we were very excited to answer: YES! So, they took her to triage and my mami went with them. I went to park the car, took all the bags with me, and I walked as fast and happy as I ever have been, thinking: this is it!

Jessica was still filling up the forms when I joined her. Now it was around 9:15am. One of the nurses came to pick us up, and then I pushed her wheelchair into the triage area, into room number 4. Nurses came in, check her vitals: all normal, then the resident OB came to do an ultrasound, finding that Jessica was already 6cm dilated! They were surprised that Jessica was not screaming out of pain yet. They brought some pain medications, because it was getting too strong for Jessica to handle it. Also the U/S gave them an estimated baby weight of 8lbs at the most (ha ha, they were a little bit off).

We were immediately transferred to the active labor section of the hospital, into room number 14. Our triplets were delivered few doors away on room number 21. And we went by it, I thought to myself: Thank you God for making this day so different and joyful than last year; and I love you my dear babies, you must be watching everything that is happening right now without missing any detail.

Jessica got on her bed. They got some IVs into her arms. And took some blood samples to determine if it was OK to go ahead and start the epidural, as requested by Jessica. Minutes later, our OB doctor walked into the room, reviewed all the tests, and gave the green light to the anesthesiologist doctor to start the epidural procedure.

I got my chance to sit down for few moments to take it all in, and let the whole world know, through facebook; that finally Jessica was going into labor! Yeah!

"I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the LORD. "And I will heal them."
(Isaiah 57:18-19)

Betty, (my American mom) walked into the room around 10am. Holly, her daughter came too. It was good for Holly and my mami to stay together in the waiting room. But I think they were outside the door, listening to everything that was happening. Around 10:30 am the first dosage of pain control trough the epidural was finally doing its job. And Jessica was finally feeling some relief; she did also vomit minutes earlier.

Around 11am the contractions continued, but her water did not rupture yet. So, the doctors decided to go ahead and break the water for her. And then we kept waiting to see when the final phase of labor would start. Jace heart rate was around 155 and stable, the doctor found that Jessica was now 10cm dilated. Heavy labor could start any moment. Jace was at the +1 vertex anterior position. He was ready for his birth trip.

Jessica asked again for some more epidural medication. I've placed on her some wet towels to help her to cool down. And giving her ice cubes to calm her thirst. My mom was on the other side coaching her breathing.

Around noon, I talk to her parents and they were finally getting ready to leave their home. My mom brought me some lunch, and I took a break to quickly eat some food!

Around 2pm contractions were getting stronger, Jace was at +2. The OB doctor, the resident doctor, and a couple nurses gave us the indication that now we have finally entered the final labor stage. Then doctor V. said "Jessica: go ahead start pushing with the next contraction"

I looked at the clock when she started pushing at 2:15 pm. Our room was located at the outside corner side of the building complex. So, we could see the weather outside. It was storming, very heavy rain, pouring out from the heavens. I could see the tree branches, being tossed side to side, and the thick drops of water hitting on the glass. I felt my triplet's love pouring out outside the building; it was not scary at all. Instead I felt the anticipation of the beauty that we were going to see.

45 minutes of pushing passed without any progress. Doctor V. pointed out and said: your baby has a full head of hair, look! So, I took a look and got my first glimpse at Jace, I could only see a little bit of his head, and yes! He has lots of hair, how lovely!

The heavy labor continued for another 2 hours, and Jace's heart rate started getting too high, up to 200 and down to 90 bpm. So the doctors told us that they might have to assist the labor, because the baby was getting stressed, and Jessica was getting too exhausted. They have tried a couple different techniques of pushing: holding her legs, or using the bar with a towel-rope like position.

Jessica started getting oxygen, to help her breath, and give extra oxygen for Jace. Every 2 minutes Jessica would get the oxygen mask, and then start pushing when the next contraction was starting. She was getting really frustrated, and eventually mad at people around her, and screaming. We all understood: she was in labor.

At 4:30pm, the full team of doctors entered the room, 4 doctors for Jessica: the OB Doctor V., the resident, the Anesthesiologist, a student doctor, and 2 doctors for Jace: The pediatric Dr, and the pediatric resident. In addition there were 3 nurses for Jessica, and 2 nurses for Jace. Now the room was packed full! When all this doctors and nurses entered, and all the commotion and all the doctors gearing up, we knew that we were almost there.

Beauty will rise - Jace Miguel journey to his birth video
At this point, doctors decided to use the forceps procedure. They placed all the tools in place and waited for the next contraction. At 4:42pm the final pushing started, the doctor had to make a cut to allow the baby to clear the opening. Then the doctors pulled, and at 4:43pm with the loudest scream I ever heard from Jessica, Jace was born.

Then I looked outside and realized that a beautiful sunshine was glaring trough the trees. The storm had completely disappeared, and blue skies were now in its place. I reached and touched Jace hand. The doctors clamped the umbilical cord, and the Doctor V. asked me: Luis, do you want to cut the cord? Yes! I replied. They gave me the scissors, and show me where to cut. And I did. Jace, my son is now in our world! For good!

His skin color was like bluish. But after the cord was cut, his skin color started turning pink. Later, I learned that the baby while in the mother womb as a fetus his blood is classified as venous blood, flowing from the umbilical cord. Once they are born, their blood flow will switch directions, their heart will also close an inner cavity, and the flow of blood trough the umbilical cord stops, and now their blood circulation is set to a normal cycle on their own. Simultaneously their breathing starts too. Amazing how all this happens at once.

The doctors kept working with Jessica, waiting for the delivery of the placenta. And she tore up very bad. Doctor V. told us that he lost count of how many stitches they had to do.

When they finally got the exact weight of Jace: he was 8 lbs 11 oz. Almost 9lbs!!! His length was 21 inches. He was crying heavily. I changed places from taking care of the new mommy to go and reach for my crying boy. As soon I got to him, while his doctors were vacuuming his airways, and cleaning his body, and applying lotion on his eyes; I reached for his desperate tiny hand and told him, the same phrase I told him through his mommy's belly all the previous months during the pregnancy: "Aquí está tu papito, te amo mucho, todo va a salir muy bien"

Jace recognized my voice! He stopped crying, it was breathtaking; an overwhelming feeling of love was holding son and dad together. They finally rapped him in a blanket; and placed him in my arms. Jace, you are the cutest baby ever! I love you so much. Jace started crying again, his crying is so adorable. I quickly called Jessica's parents on the phone, and when they answered the phone, I didn't say anything but put the phone close to Jace. So, Jace's crying could be heard over the phone. When I finally put the phone to my ear, and all I heard on the other side was crying too. What a beautiful moment.

Then, I went to the bed were Jessica was getting stitched, and place our baby boy in her arms. I had tears running down, watching mother and child meeting each other, face to face for the first time.

Dear God, thank you for the gift of life you've given us with Jace Miguel.

For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place.
       When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
  your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:13-16)

At the time I'm writing this blog entry, Jace is now 30 days old, and in all of these days since his birth, we have been Jace sleeping overflowed and showered with God's love in his image, his cuddly presence, his funny faces, and his beautiful cry. We don't have enough words to say how thankful we are to the Everlasting God, the creator of all things, for the gift of a new life and hope represented to us in Jace Miguel. Jace comes from the Greek word "healer", and Miguel comes from Hebrew language that means "Who is like God?" We hope and pray that we raise a child that will seek after God's heart and will, all the days of his life.

God is always in control. For this Dutch mommy and Venezuelan heritage daddy it has been a long journey for both of us, with the dream of having a child. A journey full of losses, with too many sad days, few bright moments, contentment, and sincere struggles. But with a blind-faith and a stubborn-trust in God. We knew that at the end of the day He always reveals His faithfulness. He has allowed painful experiences to happen in our lives to transform and shape us, and to create beauty.

If our triplets had survived, then Jace Miguel would have never existed. On this dedication day all of our children are here with us. Three in heaven and one in our arms, God is good. We have no regrets that we never refused on giving up on God. And now we can say: the enemy has been defeated once again.


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