Sunday, July 31, 2011
REFLECTIONS: 6 Years Ago Today & A Week of Miracles
How do I even start this post?!
I am preparing for a fireside I am doing this Tuesday night in Pleasant Grove, in our Relief Society. It is the same theme as all of the others I have done for many wards and youth groups. "Gratitude in the Face of Adversity". It's about our experience with preemie twins with a lot of focus on Dawson and his life, death & mission. I love sharing this message, mostly because I understand that it is part of my mission and by sharing it and telling about my little Dawson, I get, as a special gift and a confirmation that this is what the Lord wants from me, to have Dawson with me as I prepare and present his story. I have missed him! I think I have cried a few buckets of tears over the last few hours. Especially as I have read THIS, watched THIS & scanned through THIS. They are tears of gratitude & tears of grief. How can I have possibly survived this long without him....but then, I know the answer to that question, don't I.
As I was going over everything I was suddenly struck with the thought that exactly 6 years ago today I was Life Flighted from Twin Falls, Idaho to the University of Utah hospital. Thoughts of that day were overwhelming! Ryan was in Utah for his grandpa's funeral. That alone, the timing of it all, was a miracle that I will one day be able to thanks Ryan's grandpa for. He had his funeral planned and we all knew he was going to go, but he just kept holding on. Then he passed away, his funeral was scheduled and Ry headed out. If Ryan had not been in Utah, Life Flight in Utah wouldn't have come to get me. My doctor fought for me to get there, and they agreed only because Ryan was there. Dawson & Mallory would need Dr. Walker, and so many others that helped them there. They had to have Primary Childrens in order to survive.
I remember the Life Flight crew getting there to get me. There was a storm, so the flight time would be longer than usual. Their policy is NOT to take a woman that is dilated over a 5, because of the risk of the baby/babies being born on the airplane....not a good scenario. I was at a 6 and contracting like crazy. They didn't want to take me. I looked at the team leader, as she was deciding what to do, and with a calm overwhelming feeling I told her, "You WILL take me with you and I will stop dilating." The spirit was totally confirming this as I said it. Both in my heart and hers. She looked startled and said, "WHAT?!" I told her again. Firmly. She said, "Alright, but you better not have those babies on my plane, do you understand me?" I said, "Yes". And I meant it. I knew they would make it to Utah.
I remember my dear doctor, Dr. Allen, whom I will love forever for this, coming into my room as I was waiting for Life Flight. It was about 2 am. I was alone. He asked how I was feeling. I told him I was really nervous. I remember his talk with me about the Lords will and the hope he gave me. I remember him telling me that he could feel that they would make it. It would be hard because of their size, he told me, but miracles happen. I remember that as he told me this I could feel peace settle in on me. I felt so consumed and wrapped up in the Lords love. That calm stayed with me, through the flight on the plane, then to the helicopter and into the hospital. Come to think of it, I can't remember that confidence leaving me. There were scary moments, but I remember feeling peace throughout all of it.
I got to the hospital around 4 am. The flight was torture. I didn't dilate any further, as I promised, but I kept up with hard contractions ever couple of minutes the entire time. I was exhausted by the time I made it to the hospital. My strength and courage broke for a bit when I first saw Ryan. My rock. I didn't have to do this alone anymore. I didn't have to be strong for a bit. They rushed me into a room filled with SO many people. Everyone expected for 2 babies....2 26 week gestation babies, to arrive at any moment. They didn't.
I continued with hard contractions one after another for hours, still no dilation. They called off the teams and tried to stop my contractions. I dilated. Just a 1/2 cm, but still. A plan was developed. They put in an epidural, which they would remove and place a few more times....a first in Utah and something that left them all scratching their heads. They would give it to me to allow me to rest from the contractions. However, because of infections it would have to come out again. Divine Intervention was in play. These babies needed 1 more week. They wouldn't survive without it. I was called to go through the hardest physical trial I had ever been through. The contractions would slow from time to time, but they were hard and painful. The bed I was on was a delivery bed. Hard as a rock. Ryan didn't leave my side. They brought him scrubs so he could have a change of clothes. He played games with me to keep my mind off the pain. There were many unpleasantries in his role that week, but I have never in my life felt so loved, cherished and taken care of. This experience was taking a very strong and deep love even deeper. He is such an amazing and selfless man! He loves me so darn much!
Nearly one week into this experience they had still not let me out of bed to shower. I needed one! My Mom & Sister, Lisa, showed up one night. Lisa wielded a razor & lotion. My heart skipped a beat out of fear. Lisa + razor and my skin! EEK! However, an hour later I had perfectly smooth legs & beautifully polished toes. Who knew that such luxuries would be so nice at that time?! I tease her about my fearing her razor all the time, but I hope she knows that I know that it was a service she performed out of love for me. Our love, as sisters, grew deeper through not just that, but SO much she would do for me over the years. Did you know her voice and mine sound so much alike? When I took Mallory back to Idaho, when she was released from the hospital, my heart broke over leaving Dawson for a few days. Lisa stepped in. She would sit with him and talk to him. He fell in love with her. If he couldn't have his mama & daddy, Lisa was the next best thing. It stayed that way the rest of his life.
The next day my sweet nurse washed my hair, using a bucket of water and having me scoot to the top of the bed so I could lean my head over. Heaven!
I remember the morning of August 6th. I was completely exhausted. My body felt tortured...I'm not kidding. Everyday I had held on for their dear lives. Today felt different. 1 week of hard contractions coming regularly and the miraculous fact that I had not dilated at all since that episode when they gave me the meds and their was a feeling of peace and release that settled over all of us. Today was the day. It was OK for them to come. I really had no idea at all about what lay ahead of me, but I knew it was time to face it.
They tried to prepare me for the size of the babies. I couldn't imagine. They told me that they would be too small to cry and told me not to expect it. They would be far to small & premature. I was so nervous about the c-section. I mean, anxiety doesn't quite begin to describe it. I don't know if it was the exhaustion or what, but they kept coming in my room and telling me to breath. Apparently breathing had become voluntary instead of involuntary. I kept feeling like I was going to forget to breath. It was really quite crazy. Ryan gave me a blessing. Peace returned.
At 1:40 pm on August 6th Dawson let his voice be heard as he was removed from my stomach. It was a gift for me. He cried out to let me know that he would be ok. All 2 lbs 10 oz of him. I didn't get to see him, but Ryan told me he looked just like a little Lindstrom...and he did, at first.
At 1:41 pm on August 6th Mallory cried out as she made her way into the world. All 2 lbs 3 oz of the most feisty, fiery little girl the NICU would ever meet! She had made it! She was tiny! Her voice was music to our ears!
This week I am giving this fireside, preparing for Mallory's birthday party & finishing up my training for my 65 mile bike race, which I am dedicating to Dawson, on his birthday. I look forward to spending an entire week thinking about the miracle of these 2 little people! After 4 1/2 years of praying and crying, fasting and pleading, the Lord had answered our call in the perfect way. We had 3 children! 3, when I used to believe that I would never have 1! 3, which is all that we will now ever be able to have and all 3 bringing their own lessons to teach and missions to perform. Life is good! Hard at times....but when we make it through the hard spots it just makes the good that much better!