birth

Eleanor Grace: A Birth Story

2 weeks and 4 days ago my life changed. On Friday July 15, 2016 my husband and I welcomed our sweet Ellie girl into this world. 

My labor started on Thursday the 14th after my doctors appointment that morning. I had just gotten my membranes swept and I was feeling achey, crampy and just overall just exhausted and tired of being pregnant. I wasnt feeling well, but I wasn't giving into the notion that this could possibly be labor. Eleanor's due date was the day before and I was certain that I was going to be pregnant forever. I would spend days on the couch just imagining that moment when my contractions would be consistent or when my water would break. I longed for that moment for when I knew my little girl would be coming. 

That night we ate some dinner and just spent the evening relaxing on the couch. I grabbed my coloring book and just tried to cherish those last days of pregnancy and feeling my big belly, with Eleanor's tiny kicks coming through. It was around 9:30, when Aric and I decided to head to bed. We turned on one of our favorite shows, The Office, and I got ready for another restless night of tossing and turning. 

It was around 10:30, I realized my contractions were more annoying and I decided to shift my position and then all of a sudden I felt like I slightly peed my pants. I thought "Great, now I cant control my bladder! Pregnancy just keeps getting better and better." (sarcasm included) Then realization hit....could this be? could my water be breaking? I sat up in bed, slightly confused and wondering if when I stood up what would happen. My husband looked over at me with concern as I quickly walked to the bathroom. There in our bathroom I stood and my water broke. I stood there eyes wide as I looked at Aric....

THIS WAS THE MOMENT! Part of me kinda still thought....did I just pee my pants? Aric reassured me that was not the case. We both calmly grabbed our bags, and rushed out the door. As we drove to the hospital we called all the family letting them know, it was FINALLY time. We got to the hospital where I left a trail of water wherever we went. I was slightly embarrassed but part of me really didn't care, I kinda laughed at myself and knew I wasn't the only person for this to happen to.  We then were admitted right away since my water breaking was a sure sign baby was coming soon....or so we thought.

We arrived at the hospital at 11:10 on Thursday July 14, 2016. I was already 4cm dilated and my contractions were consistent.  Around 2 am the pain got to be too much, so I got my epidural. (I must say, ladies if you had a natural birth I applaud you! That is a great strength you have!) Things were moving along smoothly. Around 10am the next morning I got word I was 7cm dilated. I was moving along and was getting excited and a little nervous for the end to be here. A couple hours past and I realized I was not feeling well at all. The nurse took my temperature and I was developing a fever.

I had developed an infection. An infection that not only effected me, but it also effected Eleanor. Now, after Ellie would be born she would have to go straight to the NICU to get antibiotics. My heart broke. My baby was going to be taken away from me moments after she was born. I dreamed about the moments I would spend with her after birth. Just having her near and doing skin to skin. My expectations crumbled. However, I didn't let my mind stay in the disappointment. Around 2-3pm on that Friday they said I was 9cm. I was really getting excited because we were getting so close. However, hours past and I still was at 9cm. My body just would not go past this point. Around 6:30 on July 15, the doctor came in and checked me. I was still stuck at 9cm...Too much time has past for us to wait any longer for this little girl to make her appearance. I had to get a c- section.

Surgery?! Ugh, my heart sank once again. This is not what I had planned. However in those moments of disappointment and difficulty I felt the prayers of my family and friends. Never have I had such a peace and acceptance in a moment. No, this is not what I had planned, but God knew this was going to be what happened all along. He knew I would get an infection with a high fever, He knew I would go through 20+ hours of labor and He knew that Eleanor would be born by a c-section. I trusted in the fact that God had this all planned out and He loved my little girl more than I ever could. I knew He would be taking care of both of us. 

Eleanor Grace Burkert was born on July 15, 2016. She weighed 7.9lbs and was 20 inches long. While in those first moment of her life I only got to give my girl a sweet kiss on the cheek and she was taken away to NICU, I knew my life had been changed.

This little girl has shown me what it means to be selfless. To forget about my own needs and wholeheartedly serve someone else. She is beautiful and loved by her Dad and I and by her extended family. She is a picture of how beautiful our Creator is in His design. She is sweet and cuddly. She's my little girl and I'm so greatful the Lord chose me to be her mother. 

 

 

Her tiny kicks.

 

Thursday April 7, 2016 was my first real "up in the middle of the night in pain and discomfort" kinda night of pregnancy. For my entire second trimester I have had the worst acid reflux. The kinda reflux that burns like fire up your throat and makes your stomach turn because of the pain. I found myself scouring articles online, talking to my doctor and trying different remedies to soothe the pain so I could feel somewhat human again. A few would work for a couple of days and then I would be back to square one. I've never felt so defeated or discouraged.

On Thursday night I felt like I reached my limit. I sat up in bed almost in tears because of the pain of my hips, my back and mostly my acid reflux. I wondered, “Why did I have to go through this? Why did I have to have an aching back, sore feet, a swelling knee, a tiresome job, and on top of it this horrid acid reflux? Why do some women have such easy pregnancies? Why can't I enjoy this? Why do I have to be far from my family during the time where I needed that extra bit of encouragement?”

My parents.

My parents.

 When I couldn't take the pain anymore I went out to the kitchen to grab a glass of water and to find some medicine. I sat back down on our couch at 1:30 in the morning with my husband (who sweetly came to sit with me), with my selfish thoughts and with my self pity. Then my sweet little girl tapped away at my stomach. Her little feet and hands moving around getting cozy and comfy. In that moment the Lord, even now, was using my daughter to minister to me. 

Through her tiny kicks I was reminded that:

  • Aric and I are greatly blessed. In Psalm 127:3 it clearly states: "Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from Him." Christ has chosen to bless us with a child. She is made in His image. She is being formed by our Creator. She is our daughter to raise and guide in the way of the Lord.
  • God is giving Eleanor the strength to grow and move. He is the one making her bigger each day. He is the one who everyday is giving her life.
  • God is full of grace. I am now 26 weeks pregnant. The past 26 weeks I have been carrying our sweet girl. The Lord has enabled my body to carry a child. What a privilege. 
  • Although I may be suffering with different pregnancy woes, I know many have had it worse. Through her tiny kicks I was reminded of the good days Ive had in pregnancy. The days where I had little to no discomfort. Some women have no relief for 9 straight months. 

Through Eleanor's little kicks the Lord kinda kicked me in the pants. That night I realized how selfish and prideful I had been. I am so greatly blessed to be pregnant. Sure, it may not be easy, may not be what I have expected, but it has been one of the most faith turning moments in my life. Christ is still faithful, He is still good and He is still sovereign during those times when it feels like there is no more strength. I am thankful to serve a God that continues to humble and show grace to me. I am thankful through her tiny kicks the Lord used Eleanor to bring me back to reality and show me how to continue to lay my own problems down and seek the goodness of the Lord in all situations in life.

—Sarah