I10 months ago I stood during Sunday worship and with tears running down my cheeks I made a promise that if Im being totally transparent here I wasn’t sure I could keep, but I meant what I said. I made a promise to God that if he allowed me to get pregnant after all of these years I would spend my life giving this baby and my others kids back to Him. I would intentionally guide them toward Him and show them of His goodness. I left church that day with a hopeful heart for the first time in a long time.
The next month I would get pregnant, in December and we would find out in January. After 5 1/2 years God said “now is your time” and we were pregnant. Just like that.
Photo Cred: Kaitlin Branter Photography
Soon after I found out I was pregnant I started dreaming of this “perfect birth experience” I wanted. Luckily for me if I have learned anything over the last few years it’s hold loosely to our plans and embrace His as they come.
When I was 34 weeks and 1 day about 4 weeks ago I went into pre-term labor. I called my midwife and she wanted me to come in a get on a monitor to see if they were real labor contractions. We had just put the boys to bed so I made Tyler stay home with the boys and I drove myself the 45 minutes to the birthing center. Tyler was checking on me constantly he was so worried. I got on the monitor and after about 20 minutes sure enough they were real labor contractions. Because I was less than 36 weeks it wasn’t safe to deliver at the birthing center. After getting some fluid they increased and at that point the midwife thought I needed to go to the hospital. She thought I needed to go NOW and because the pain had increased she didn’t feel safe with me driving myself and Tyler was too far away to get there in a time she felt comfortable with so they called an ambulance to transport me.
We got to the hospital and i was 70% effaced and 1cm dilated. The plan was to get 24 hours of Magnesium to stop these contractions. At the 24 hour mark I would go off it and go home with an oral magnesium and hopefully make it to 36 or 37 weeks. As soon as the Mag was turned off my contractions started back up full force and 2 minutes apart. We were in labor. So at that point I had received steroids to quickly advance his lungs for a delivery and we had an ultrasound to show he weighed 5 lbs 1oz. They allowed me to labor naturally as long as I could but then we needed to progress things because we thought my water had broke (long story) so we started pitocin. After 16 hours of pitocin at a high dose still no progress with dilation. I cried and cried and cried some more. We ended up being in the hospital 4 days and came home with no baby. For most people this is a good thing, but we were TOLD we weren’t leaving without him and after years and years of waiting I just wanted to hold my son.
We went home. The contractions never stopped. For 3 more weeks I had contractions 4-5 minutes apart but they never dilated me. I was so exhausted and emotional. Saturday the 19th we went to a Texans game. Everyone stared. I was the size of a house.
The contractions started to intensify that night. All day Sunday I started noticing an consistency and them intensifying like I hadn’t seen before. Still not bad where I felt I needed to call because GAH I had been having active contractions for weeks. Monday Morning I woke up in a lot of pain and got in the bath at 7am. A friend from Church asked me if I wanted to meet up with her and some other girls from Church to take our kids to this Ninja Warrior obstacle course thing. I was in so much pain, but when you work from home it’s hard to make friends, so I was going no matter what. I had painful contractions the whole time.
I came home and told Tyler I was 89% sure this was it. By about 5:30pm we called his sister to come over and watch the kids because I really thought this was it. We were in contact with the midwife. About 9:30 the contractions were unbelievably painful. She came to the house (thankfully she lives close so we didn’t need to go to the birthing center) and checked me. I told her if she told me there had been no change to expect tears. She checked me and there was no change. I started balling. The house went to sleep and I sat in a bath for basically the next 4 hours straight with contractions that at times seemed unbearable. Tyler was so great helping me breathe through each one. 1:30 came and I was absolutely sure things were moving along. We had the midwife come back over to check me again. No change. I cried so much. She said sometimes this can go on for days. She went back home and for the first time I said it out loud, ” I don’t know if I can do this” and I cried and cried because I was so upset and exhausted from the last 3 weeks of contractions and now these. By 4:30 we made the decision to go to the hospital and get help to manage the pain. I told Tyler if I knew I was progressing I know I could stick this out, but after weeks…I could go days. I was throwing up constantly from the pain of the contractions. I slammed two fruit cups before we left because I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat at the hospital. We got to the end of my road and I threw it all up in my neighbors driveway (sorry about that, friend).
We got to the hospital, got checked 5 minutes after we got there and I was 4cm and 100% effaced. God knew we needed to be there.
Within 2 hours I was 6cm dilated. My white blood count was high and we found out I had a uterine infection that most likely sent me into labor and can be pretty dangerous for me. Had I not gone to the hospital we wouldn’t have known. Through tears and exhaustion I asked for an epidural. Tyler told me he was proud of me and I cried some more because I felt weak. However I was thankful for the relief. I hadn’t slept in what felt like weeks from the pain of the contractions and what it was doing to my back so that is the first time I was able to lay down and fall asleep not in pain. A little after 12pm I got checked again and the nurse said “You are 10cm and it’s time to push! She said “are you ready???”…I said “no” LOL
We started pushing and pushing and pushing. Harvey’s heart rate was very high and the doctor was getting worried. We took a 10 minute break from pushing, turned on different sides, I was on oxygen the whole time trying to get his heart rate down and we couldn’t. I started to spike a fever mid-pushing. All from the infection.. The doctor called the nurse that was with me pushing and said the words “C-section” and my nurse said “I think we will get there” but the Doctor (who I loved) was getting more and more concerned about his heart rate.
I began to cry again. I felt so defeated and like I wanted to do ALL of this on my own and here we were and when it came down to it, I couldn’t even push him out on my own. I was so upset. I knew my son needed to come out NOW and I could NOT get him out.
After 2 hours of pushing, spiking a fever, and his heart rate the doctor came in and said “Okay we have to get him out now” She came in along with another nurse to help encourage me and hold my feet and legs while I pushed as I was literally giving it everything I had. She kept telling me how great I was doing, told me she could see his head, told me that I was almost there. Within 20 minutes he was out.
Never underestimate the power of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Tyler was absolutely amazing the whole time. I have never felt closer or more in love with my husband than when I was in labor. He was there for me in a way I didn’t know I even needed.
We got home the day before Hurricane Harvey hit us in a bad way here in Houston. And don’t worry the fact that my son’s name is Harvey and the week he is born the biggest U.S. hurricane to hit is also named Harvey…is not lost on me. God has big plans for this baby. (but no I didn’t name him after the hurricane, we had his name picked out since I was 10 weeks preggo)
Harvey Rowe Zaruba, we waited a long long time to meet you. You lived up to every dream we had. Your bothers are madly in love with you and we love you so much.
If I learned anything from this it’s that it is so easy to get caught up what we want for our lives. It’s so easy to get stuck in the already and the not yet. The looser we can hold on to our plans the more opportunity God has to really show us His love. At the end of the day who cares how Harvey got here. He’s here and he was made perfect in God’s image, just like my other two sons.
I was reading this morning about “Echoes of Eden” where in a broken world we have these tiny moment’s that we feel unequivocally loved by a God that gave everything to give us everything.
-Walking into a NICU to see my son’s face for the first time
-That moment they set your new baby on your stomach that your body just made
-Reading words that give you chills
-A perfect moment of the trees swooshing back and forth and you just know it’s God with you
-Seeing your babies sleeping
-Seeing a child being baptized
-Seeing an elderly couple hold hands
-Seeing the love of a community surround one of their own
-Climbing into fresh sheets with someone you love
At the end of the day if we can hold onto these “Echoes of Eden” we will look back and only think how beautiful life was. We will focus on these tiny moments instead of the in between ones that brought about some pain. We will see God for the Good Good Father He is and we will plant our foundation on His truths, not our expectations.
Thank you for all of your prayers, love, texts, calls, and friendships. They truly mean the world.