My goal for this year, and the years to come, is to become better at writing regularly. For various reasons, I have fallen behind in keeping up with this blog.
This past year has brought to my wife and I a bundle of joy. Addalyn Grace Henderson was born November 2, 2011 at 10:08 am. She is a beautiful baby girl who has brought much joy and tiredness to me and her mother. The process of welcoming her into this world was challenging. On October 30, I took Kirsty to the hospital because she was experiencing difficulty breathing. We knew that breathing troubles are fairly normal during pregnancy, with the little one taking over mom’s entire inside. Yet, this one seemed different. While in the ER, the doctors performed a battery of tests to find out that Kirsty had developed two blood clots in her lungs. This caused the doctors some worry, since it was so late in the pregnancy. They admitted us immediately, with the hope that we could make it until 39 weeks (at this point, we were 37 and 3).
Talk about scary. Call it naiveté, call it arrogance, but my first thought, while the tests were being taken, was that this is not going to be anything. I have grown up, knock on wood, without any real major illness or death in my family. I have known all of my grandparents and great grandparents and currently still have 3 of my grandparents in my life. So, while we were sitting, waiting for the doctor’s to give us the news, my thought was, perhaps my wife will be fine and she’ll just have to deal with breathing issues until Addalyn decided to make her appearance into this world.
So, when the doctor gave us the news, my heart dropped. Now I was dealing with the first big issue in my life that I had absolutely no control over. We went over the process, the procedure and possible outcomes. In the 15 minutes the doctor was updating us on what happens next, I felt like everything was happening in slow motion. My head was spinning and I began to have difficulty catching my breath. I knew I wanted to stay strong in front of my wife, but I couldn’t handle what was being said. In the next hour or so, I made the calls to my in-laws and to my parents. I broke down completely during those phone calls. I finally was able to make a call to our chairman of elders and he immediately came down to the hospital to support us.
Kirsty was strong throughout the entire thing. We were admitted that night and it wasn’t until Tuesday, Nov 1, in the early afternoon, the doctors began to worry again. Addalyn’s breathing had slowed down tremendously and they were worried that it would keep happening again. The doctors decided to monitor her every 30 minutes to an hour and within those instances, her breathing continued to drop. They decided the best course of action was to induce labor in order to care for mom and baby separately.
Throughout this entire ordeal, Kirsty had been put on blood thinners in order to shrink the clots. The hope was that by holding out until week 39, the clots would be small enough or even gone, that the doctors could proceed with normal delivery. However, because they moved faster than anyone anticipated, we ended up delivering while on thinners. Addalyn Grace was born a healthy baby girl and mom did well throughout the delivery. She wasn’t able to use an epidermal, which made the delivery that much more difficult. It wasn’t until after Addalyn was born that we experienced the worst part about this entire journey.
Because she was on blood thinners, after delivery, Kirsty began bleeding tremendously. She developed a couple hematoma which required three separate surgeries. You always take for granted the birthing process and life in general until the doctors ask you to sign a piece of paper that exonerates them from any wrongdoing in case she died on the operating table. That is when it became so real to me, that I nearly lost it.
By this time, my parents and in-laws were out here with us. It was great having a support system, but it didn’t change the fact that I was terrified. My wife was losing a lot of blood. Just in the first few days, she had to have 2 separate blood transfusions. The worst part about it, is after the first two surgeries, she began to feel better. At one point, she showered and got dressed, had the tubes taken out of her body and began moving around, only to be slowly placed back on everything she was to begin with.
It was in those moments that we were both the most frustrated. I could see it in her eyes, the pain she was not only physically experiencing, but also the emotional pain of getting so close, yet being so far away from full healing. It was in those moments I felt the most helpless. I was supposed to be the protector, the provider. Yet, I could not heal her. It was something we had to just go to God with.
This was not something that was easy for me to do. To sit back, and wait for God to intervene was a hard pill to swallow. It suddenly became clear that was all we had left. So, we prayed. And so did a number of our 1000 + Facebook friends. And our home churches. It was a humbling thing to see and experience. We received cards and phone calls from people all over the United States letting us know Kirsty was in their prayers. It became clear that if we were going to survive this, we had to let God take full control.
Three surgeries, three blood transfusions and 12 days later, we left the hospital. It didn’t all end once we left, but the worst was over. It took a few more weeks just for Kirsty to feel remotely better and adjust to moving around again. It took even longer than that for her to get to back to her usual routines.
We are not out of the woodwork yet. She is still on blood thinners and in all likelihood will be for the next year or so. She is slowly but surely able to get back into the groove of things she used to do on a regular basis. In time, she’ll be back.
I thank God everyday for the minutes I get to spend with my wife and daughter. I know that there was a time when my faith was shaken through this ordeal. I know that God still worked his miracle, regardless of that shaken faith. Through this journey, God has found it possible to give me perspective on my relationship with Him. I needed Him the most during this time, but it took the completion of this journey for me to realize that.
God is bigger than anything we can ever imagine. This year, I plan to live that out.