Passionate About the Community
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The Birth of My Sixth Baby {Mother’s Day Series}

birth

{{Brea Delane Seale}}

Even as I write this, the roller coaster of emotions comes flooding back to me….

Fear.

Excitement.

Peace.

Frustration.

Heartbreaking Sadness.

Completion.

It was supposed to be an easy birth.  This was my sixth labor.  And all five of the previous labors were routine.  After a few hours of contractions, I’d get my happy drugs, push for a few minutes, and then out would pop a beautiful, healthy baby.

However, from the moment I found out I was pregnant, there was this constant feeling that something was not right. So I prayed and tried not to think about all the “what ifs”.

The day I went into labor – something felt off.  I wasn’t having contractions.  I just felt blah. And I kept hearing this voice in my head saying go to the hospital.  I brushed it off as paranoia at first.  But by lunch time I couldn’t ignore it anymore and decided that for peace of mind I needed to be seen.

Despite months of premonitions, I was not prepared for the events that unfolded from that point on.

It was quickly determined that somehow in the 24 hours since my doctor’s visit, my six plus pound baby had flipped herself and was now breach.  Horror settled in me. And the on call doctor confirmed my fear.

I would have to have a C-section.

After five very routine labors, my birthing luck was gone.

I quickly became a mental wreck.

However, I have an OBGYN that absolutely rocks and she swooped in and saved the day.

After evaluating me, Brea, and how she was positioned in my belly, Dr. Wayman looked at me and simply said, “I can flip that baby.”

And that is exactly what she did.

Three manipulations later, Brea was once again head down and engaged, and I was in full blown labor.

My first thought was, Was that it? Was that the “not normal” I had spent months preparing for mentally? Well, that wasn’t so bad.

And for the next five hours everything went perfect. I got my happy drugs. I was able to sleep for a few hours. I progressed faster than usual. And once it was go time, I pushed only twice and my beautiful baby girl was welcomed into the world.

Perfect.

Except….she didn’t cry.

I remember the room being eerily quiet. It should have been filled with the cries of new life but instead it was filled with a heavy silence. Nurses began flooding into the room, speaking in hushed whispers, and bulky equipment was rushed in. Doctor Wayman, always calm, began beating Brea’s back, prompting her to breathe.

“Come on, baby girl. Breathe,” she chanted over and over.

Then it came, finally.

Small urgent cries.  The most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

Doctor Wayman wrapped her in a blanket then handed her to me. I looked down at her small face, still covered in white film and thought she was the most perfect baby ever born. I said a silent prayer of thanks and breathed a sigh of relief, thinking, once again, the worst was over.

But then she turned blue and stopped breathing again.

And my whole world crashed.

A nurse grabbed her and a team of nurses along with Doctor Wayman began working on my limp baby. The once silent room was now alive with noise and commotion. My husband paced around them. And I knew the daddy heart in him was struggling, wanting to desperately do something, anything, to help his baby girl.

I lay there, horror struck. I kept wanting to ask what’s going on, what’s wrong with her. But the words wouldn’t come out. I was paralyzed, literally and figuratively. I remember looking at the clock and being shocked to see that it was less than five minutes since Brea came out. But it felt like an eternity.

Within minutes of her birth, Brea was loaded into an incubator and rushed away to the NICU. Doctor Wayman left. My husband left. All of the nurses left. The room that just moments before was full of chaos was once again silent.

I was completely alone.

Alone with my thoughts. Alone with my fears. Alone with my pain.

I desperately tried to understand what had just happened. I felt so helpless and hopeless. I had no idea whether my baby was okay. I had no idea what was wrong with her. I had no idea if she was even alive or, if or when I would get to see her again. My chest tightened and the room started to close in and swirl. I felt like every breath came shallow and lacking. And as the fear started to overtake my thoughts and my body, I did the only thing I could think to do. I cried out to my Father.

“Father, please let her be okay.  Please let her live.”

In an instant, an overwhelming peace surrounded me…

She is going to be fine.  It’s going to be okay.  Lean into Me and trust.

And then I knew.  All those months of warnings were my Father gently preparing me for this moment.  He was in control. I didn’t need to be afraid.  Brea was in His hands and that was the best place for her to be.

With tears streaming down my face, I began to sing.  It started as a whisper but grew until it overcame the silence that filled the room.

“Greater is the One who’s in us than he who’s in the world. So child of God, remember the battle is the Lord’s.  And if there’s anybody here who’s found Him faithful, anybody here who knows He’s able, say Amen.  And if there’s anybody here who’s seen His power, anybody here brought through the fire, say Amen.  Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow, peace in the storm , hope for tomorrow,  I’ve seen it time and time again, just say Amen.”

Amen.

The first two weeks of Brea’s life were rough as she struggled to breathe on her own, her little lungs finishing the growing they needed to do to support her. She looked like a healthy baby, weighing a whooping 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and earning her the title of “big mama” from the NICU nurses. But inside she was a preemie. Both lungs refused to inflate.  Without help from a machine, she was literally suffocating to death.  She was covered with wires and probes, some helping her breathe, some tracking her progress. She developed extreme jaundice and was put under the blue light to “tan”, wearing what I affectionately called her batman goggles.

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Laying awake in my recovery room at night, hearing babies crying all around me but my room was completely silent was torture. It was frustrating to watch as nurses, fed her, comforted her, and attended to her every need.  That was supposed to be my job. And it was hard not to become bitter and resentful and I regularly had to remind myself that they were on our team.  They were not the enemy. So instead I spent every moment I could in the NICU singing to her, reading to her, speaking life into her, desperately wanting to make sure she knew I was her mother.  Since I couldn’t even touch her, my voice was the only link she had to me.  It wasn’t until the third day that I was able to hold her.  I will never forget that moment and the rawness I felt, a weird mixture of pain, joy, relief, and sadness.

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The lowest low came the day I was discharged. I was wheeled out like normal but the car seat we had brought in was empty. My arms were empty. And my heart felt like it was getting ripped out of my chest. I have never felt such heartbreak and I never want to feel it again.

It was the longest, yet in many ways also felt like the shortest, two weeks of my life.  Ups and downs. Extreme sadness mixed with immense joy.  I don’t know how we got through it but for our faith, family, and friends.

The first night Brea was in the NICU, as she lay sleeping surrounded by machines whishing and humming her lungs to life, I stumbled across a verse, a promise of old, that became Brea’s battle cry. I wrote it out and taped it to her incubator and our family and friends prayed this promise over her as she, and God, fought for her life.

“The Lord, your God, wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you and will refresh your life with His love.” ((Zephaniah 3:17))

It’s been a beautiful unfolding since. By God’s grace and the power of prayer, Brea is now a healthy, happy eleven month old.  Her only complication is a hemangioma, a benign tumor, on her right cheek. As her first birthday quickly approaches, I can’t help but once again wonder why, after five normal labors, we had to go through this. But my faith grew as Brea’s lungs grew and for that I will forever say Amen.

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