Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Part three-- the end, and the beginning

After my water broke on the helicopter, and by the intensity of my contractions, I pretty much knew now that this baby was coming tonight. But I wasn't ready to have a baby yet! This wasn't how things were supposed to happen. All I had with me was literally the clothes on my back--which happened to be a very large hospital gown and nothing else. No overnight bag, no treats for the nurses, nothing. I didn't even have shoes. I definitely hadn't shaved my legs or painted my toenails or done any of the normal preparations a woman likes to do before the majority of her body is on display. Yeah, I know, they're medical staff and they see all sorts of things every day and don't care, but I cared.

The rest of the helicopter ride was totally awesome. I saw the lights of the city and really enjoyed the view. Just kidding. I spent most of the ride howling in agony and only saw the lights for a second as we were descending onto the hospital roof. I wish I could say how cool it was to ride in a chopper, but things being as they were, I didn't have a chance to fully appreciate it. Or pay attention to anything besides contractions.

We landed on the roof and I was wheeled into the hospital. As we rushed into the Labor and Delivery unit, I saw that my parents were waiting anxiously in the hallway. My dad called out to me to let me know that they were there, which was very comforting. I love my parents.

Delivery room. Lots of nurses, doctors, hospital people. None of them gave me what I wanted, which was something to ease my pain, and some water. Even some ice chips would do. My throat and mouth were as dry as a desert, which seems like such a trivial thing to worry about while in the middle of such a traumatic experience, but it was seriously uncomfortable. And how could I scream with pain if my mouth was dry?

But scream I did. I screamed like I've never screamed before. You'd think that it wouldn't be that hard to push out a baby whose head is only slightly bigger than a golf ball. However, it was the most excruciatingly painful thing I've ever done in my entire life. Looking back, I think that a lot of the agony came from mentally knowing that this baby was not ready to be born. I wanted so much to protect her and keep her safe inside my womb. But my body was trying its hardest to expell her. It only took about 3 agonizing pushes to get her out, and I can't say that I was entirely focused on pushing my hardest, because I was distracted by the blinding pain, but I did my best. There was a momentary sweet relief after she was born, then I glimpsed the back of her bloody head before they whisked her away, and I started sobbing.

The placenta was delivered, and I only slapped away the hand of the doctor who was shoving on my uterus once.

After a short time, I was wheeled into a recovery room where I was joined by my parents and Clayton, and evenutally my sister and brother. Clayton and my dad gave me another blessing. I don't remember very much else that happened in this room, as I was very tired, physically and emotionally. I do remember that this is where Clayton and I agreed to name the baby Elsie Linda. Elsie was one of the few names that we had previously discussed and had mostly agreed on. And the name Linda is after my mom.It was a precious moment to see the expression on my mother's face when we announced the baby's name.

I didn't want to see Elsie at first. I was scared to see how I had damaged my precious child by letting her enter the world too soon. Thankfully, the nurses gave us a few warnings before we went in so that we weren't overly surprised at her appearance. Due to her extremely fragile skin and blood vessels, her head and face were very bruised from the trauma of childbirth. They were almost black with bruises. And because her skin is so delicate and translucent, she appeared to be red all over (where she wasn't black with bruises), and you could almost see right through her skin. Of course, she had multilple tubes and monitors attached all over her body. Her limbs and torso were skinny, too skinny, having had no chance at all to develop any body fat. But her hands and her feet, although tiny, were completely perfect. Here was something that I could recognize. Ten tiny finger and ten tiny toes. Here was something that helped me realize that no matter how many tubes, no matter how scary the bruises, no matter how many difficulties were coming down the road, this was my little girl. This was our little daughter. Born too early, yes, but by no fault of her own. A fierce motherly pride swelled inside me, and I cried in happiness and sorrow to see our little Elsie.

 Elsie Linda Sagers
Jan. 4, 2013, 10:12 pm
1 pound, 4 oz.
12.6 inches


  1. I've hated knowing the amount of pain you've been in, Ruthie, physically and emotionally, but I know that Elsie is as tough as you are... we love her and your family so much!

  2. You really smacked the doctors hand? I can see you doing that. I am so proud of you and Clayton. You are both so strong. I know your love for eachother and for Elsie will get you through this challenging time. So proud to be your sister. Love you!

  3. It was so hard for Dad and me to see you being wheeled by us, obviously frightened and in pain, and not be able to do anything for you, not even hold your hand. You have already matured since that moment. How we love all of you!!